Davion Highsmith tries to haul in a first quarter touchdown pass against Vicksburg. He would later return a kick off for a touchdown and catch a touchdown pass. Dowagiac defeated Vicksburg 32-14 in its season opener Thursday. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)
Davion Highsmith tries to haul in a first quarter touchdown pass against Vicksburg. He would later return a kick off for a touchdown and catch a touchdown pass. Dowagiac defeated Vicksburg 32-14 in its season opener Thursday. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Defense leads Dowagiac to victory

Published 12:07am Friday, August 30, 2013

The “D” in Dowagiac still stands for defense.

The Chieftains rallied behind a stingy defense to score a 32-14 Wolverine Conference non-divisional victory over visiting Vicksburg Thursday night.

Dowagiac (1-0) forced three fumbles and intercepted two passes, one of which it returned for a touchdown to seal the victory.

“We hang our hats on our defense,” Dowagiac coach Mike Stanger said. “If they can’t score they can’t win. I was proud of these guys because we had two guys go down with injuries in the first quarter of the game. Austin Broda did a great job going to corner obviously with the pick for a touchdown. Bryce Dodd did a good job of coming in at quarterback and giving Broda a breather because we needed him to play defense.”

Dowagiac opened the scoring when Aaron Adams scored on a 2-yard run following a fumble recovery by the Chieftains gave them a short field. Rolly Lucio ran in the 2-point conversion and Dowagiac led 8-0.

Early in the second quarter Vicksburg cut the lead to 8-7 as Dalton Ketelaar connected with Chad Hettinger on a 2-yard pass.

Dowagiac responded quickly as Davion Highsmith took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 84 yards to extend the Chieftains’ lead to 14-7 after the conversion attempt failed.

Dodd replaced Broda late in the first half and after another fumble recovery, this one by Adams, he led the Chieftains to a touchdown as he connected with Highsmith for a 15-yard score to give the Chieftains a 20-7 lead heading into the halftime.

Vicksburg opened the scoring in the second half when Ketelaar connected with Brad Spieldenner with a 10-yard scoring strike to make it a 20-14 contest.

Again the Chieftains responded. This time Dodd picked off a Ketelaar pass at the Bulldogs’ 10-yard line to set Dowagiac up offensively.

A couple plays later, Lucio scored on a 2-yard run to make it 26-14.

It would remain that way until Broda stepped in front of a Ketelaar pass and returned it 80 yards for the final score of the game.

Dowagiac finished with 174 yards rushing and 61 yards passing on 14-of-18 between Broda and Dodd. Lucio led the Chieftains on the ground with 52 yards on 12 rushes.

Vicksburg had 148 yards rushing and 113 passing as Ketelaar was 10-of-26.

“We are going to have growing pains,” Stanger said. “It is evident that we have a lot of work to do.”

Dowagiac will hit the road next Friday night when it travels to Comstock for another non-division contest.

 

Vicksburg 0 7 7 0 — 14

Dowagiac 8 12 6 6 — 32

D – Aaron Adams 2 run (Rolly Lucio conversion run)

V – Dalton Ketelaar 2 pass to Chad Hettinger (Keenan Erb kick)

D – Davion Highsmith 84 kickoff return (conversion fails)

D – Bryce Dodd 15 pass to Highsmith (conversion fails)

V – Ketelaar 10 pass to Brad Spieldenner (Erb kick)

D – Lucio 2 run (conversion fails)

D – Austin Broda 80 interception return (conversion failed

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