Dowagiac fights back to win third straight game

Published 6:28 pm Monday, October 13, 2003

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
ST. JOSEPH -- For the third straight week Dowagiac fought through adversity and came home with a victory.
Friday night the Chieftains (4-3, 2-0) rallied time and time again before knocking off St. Joseph, 41-31.
The victory was the third in a row for the Chieftains, who also picked up a forfeit victory from Coldwater earlier in the week according to the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
Coldwater has submitted information to the MHSAA that they must forfeit their first three games of the season, including a 33-0 victory over Dowagiac, due to the use of an ineligible player.
Dowagiac athletic director Bob Follett has not yet been notified by the MHSAA.
The Dowagiac Daily News in a telephone conversation with John Johnson, MHSAA communications director, confirmed that Coldwater has notified the state of their intensions to forfeit their first three contests.
Johnson said that the state still had to contact Coldwater to find out exactly why they were forfeiting its first three games, but confirmed that Coldwater had made that decision.
If the forfeit stands, Dowagiac would need to win just one of its last two games to lock up its first winning season in three years.
A sweep of powerhouses Niles and Lakeshore in their final two games would automatically qualify the Chieftains for the post season.
A 5-4 record could still get the Chieftains into the playoff based on points.
Bryan Powell's two-yard run with just over a minute to play gave the Chieftains' the victory.
Powell's heroics were set up by a 67-yard pass reception by Robbie Ferrier.
The touchdown capped a dramatic turn of events for the Chieftains.
With 4:19 to play and St. Joseph leading 31-28, Dowagiac had justed thrown an interception at its own 47 yard line.
The Chieftain defense rose to the occasion and stuffed the Bears on three downs, forcing a punt.
With 3:06 left in the contest, Dowagiac was starting at its own 21 yard line.
Junior quarterback Jesse Cox found Ferrier open on second and eight.
Ferrier took the pass, along the sideline, avoided several St. Joseph defenders and raced to the Bears' 12 yard line.
Two plays later Powell bowled in with the go-ahead touchdown.
Hillary Bisnett missed the extra point attempt, however, she was roughed on the play giving the Chieftains another chance.
Bisnett did not miss on her second attempt giving the Chieftains a 34-31 lead.
St. Joseph turned the ball over on down on its subsiquent possession.
Powell got loose again, this time from 39-yard out to cap the scoring.
Dowagiac finished the night with over 480 yards in total offense.
Powell rushed for 238 yards on 27 carries, with touchdown runs of two, 72 and 39 yards.
Duane Davis, who scored on a 28-yard run, finished with 95 yards on eight carries.
Ferrier scored twice for the Chieftains in the first half on a 24-yard pass from Cox and a six yard run. Ferrier ended up with nearly 100 yards in total offense.
Stanger was also pleased with his offensive line, which really has begun opening up holes for his trio of running backs to plow through.
Dowagiac also played well defensively, giving up just one sustained St. Joseph drive.
St. Joseph did take advantage of a pair of special team breakdowns by the Chieftains to score 14 quick points Friday night.
Sean Baptist scored on an 83-yard punt return to open the scoring and then set up St. Joseph's other first half touchdown with a 78-yard punt return down to the Chieftains's one yard line.
St. Joseph led 17-14 at the intermission as Nick Sherrill kicked a 40-yard field goal with plenty to spare at the end of the first half.
St. Joseph's other scores came on a four-yard pass from Andy Schueneman to Baptist and a five-yard pass from Schueneman to Dan Lafond.
Dowagiac will travel to Niles Friday night for the 100th meeting between the two schools.