Pennfield rolls to district championshipPublished 8:12am Saturday, November 9, 2013
BATTLE CREEK — A week following an emotional upset of previously undefeated Edwardsburg appeared to have taken its toll on Dowagiac Friday night.
Battle Creek Pennfield (10-1) overwhelmed the Chieftains 35-21 in a Division 4 District title game that left the guys wearing the orange-and-black jerseys gasping for air.
The Panthers’ Nick Burnett served as the workhorse on the evening for Pennfield as he rushed for 154 yards on 11 carries, including a back breaking late game 83-yard run that set up the Pennfield touchdown that all but sealed the Chieftains’ fate.
The Panthers rolled up 305 yards on the ground and 373 yards in total en route to scoring four rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown to run away from a winded Dowagiac defense.
Though the stats and scores were clearly tilted in their opponent’s favor, the Chieftains found themselves in position for potentially another gritty come-from-behind victory after Austin Broda hit sophomore wideout Brandon Hatch with a 10 yard strike for a touchdown to lessen the Panthers’ lead to 21-13 as the third quarter came to a close.
However, that’s as close as Dowagiac (7-4) would come to the Panthers as they would rip off 14 consecutive points to ice the game and a district title.
Broda would go on to set a career-high mark in passing yards (285) with two touchdowns to pace what would wind up being Dowagiac’s most prolific passing game of the season.
Although Broda’s passing performance was an unexpected but welcomed facet of Dowagiac’s offense, the Chieftains’ inability to establish any real threat of a run game is what essentially did them in. They finished the contest with an abysmal 42 yards total on 26 carries as a team.
“They controlled both lines of scrimmage,” Dowagiac coach Mike Stanger said, “When they can do that, you don’t stand much of a chance at winning. I thought Broda did a real nice job for us in the passing game, but I think we had to lean on that quite a bit more than usual because they took our run game away.
“I’m proud of how these young men fought this year. There were plenty of times where we could’ve just thrown in the towel, but that’s not how we operate as a program and that’s not how they operate as men. I’ve got nothing but pride and respect for how these guys competed all season.”
Pennfield (10-1) will now have the dubious task of facing the top-ranked and defending state champion Grand Rapids South Christian (10-1) in the Division 4 Regional championship game in Grand Rapids on Friday.
Pennfield 8 14 0 13 – 35
Dowagiac 0 7 6 8 – 21
P – Jake Grimes 1 run (2-pt conversion run good)
D – Austin Broda 1 run (Lucas Petro kick good)
P – Grimes 25 pass to DaWan Smith (Jamie Collige kick good)
P – Jonathan Clements 2 run (Collige kick good)
D – Broda 10 pass to Brandon Hatch (2-pt conversion run failed)
P – Smith 7 run (Collige kick good)
P – Connor Clark 1 run (kick failed)
DU – Broda 37-yard touchdown pass to Brody Froehlich (2-pt conversion pass good)