Chieftains roll past South Haven

Published 7:07 am Monday, August 28, 2006

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Dowagiac Daily News
SOUTH HAVEN – Despite trailing 14-0 after the first five minutes of Friday night's season opener, Dowagiac opened up play in the Wolverine Conference with a 46-21 victory over South Haven.
The Chieftains outscored the Rams 39-7 over in the second half to earn the victory.
The Rams (0-1, 0-1 Wolverine) scored on a pair of first quarter passing plays to open up the two-touchdown lead in the Chieftains.
Drakkar Klose caught a 7-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Isiah Grimes before Kelip Goodwin caught a 23-yard pass from Grimes. Doug Raak connected on both extra points to give the Rams a 14-point lead.
The Chieftains cut the lead to 14-7 in the second quarter when Nick File hit Chris Primley with a 5-yard touchdown pass. Tony Black added the extra point.
A late turnover gave the Chieftains a chance to tie the score, but an interception ended the threat.
Dowagiac (1-0, 1-0 Wolverine) opened up the second half with a bang as Jamie Simpson took the kickoff and raced 92-yards to the end zone. Black's kick knotted the score at 14 and gave Dowagiac the momentum.
That momentum appeared to be short lived as South Haven's Clyde Lavondo returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. A penalty, however, brought the play back and gave Dowagiac the edge it needed for the remainder of the contest.
After forcing the Rams to turn the ball over on downs, Dowagiac scored quickly as File hit Primley with a 62-yard scoring strike. The Chieftains were flagged for taunting on the touchdown, forcing Black into a long extra point attempt which was wide left.
Leading 20-14, Dowagiac continued to pour it on.
David Sayre hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from File to extend Dowagiac's lead to 27-14 following Black's kick.
The Chieftains struggled to run the ball much of the night, however, Simpson broke loose for a 41-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
Dowagiac then added a 6-yard run by Jake Shelton and a 30-yard run by DeShaun Baylock. Black connected on one of two extra point attempts.
South Haven concluded the scoring in the final minutes as Goodwin ran in from 2-yards out and Raak connected on the extra point.
File was 5-of-7 from 130 yards and three touchdowns. Primley hauled in a pair of touchdown passes. He was also a force on defense where he had two quarterback sacks and blocked a punt.
"Chris played great," Dowagiac coach Mike Stanger said. "We expect big things out of him this year."
Grimes was 8-of-17 for 145 yards passing. Damien Ross caught four passes 68 yards. Kameron Jackson rushed for 64 yards on 19 carries.
Stanger was pleased to open the season with a victory, but he knows that there are very few breaks on the schedule.
"We've got some work to do," he said. "Everyone is going to be gunning for us. Everyone has circled us on their schedule. We need to play with more emotion and desire. We came out flat Friday night and I am not sure why. But we have to be ready to play from the get-go. We cannot afford to be flat with our schedule."
The Chieftains will play their first Thursday night varsity football game when arch rival Three Rivers comes to Chris Taylor-Alumni Field.
The Chieftains and Wildcats haven't met on the football field since the 2000 playoffs. Three Rivers defeated Dowagiac, 20-17.
Dowagiac 0 7 20 19 – 46
South Haven 7 7 0 7 – 21
SH – Drakkar Close 7-yard pass from Isiah Grimes (Doug Raak kick)
SH – Kelip Goodwin 23-yard pass from Grimes (Raak kick)
D – Chris Primley 5-yard pass from Nick File (Tony Black kick)
D – Jamie Simpson 92-yard kickoff return (Black kick)
D – Primley 62-yard pass from File (Black failed)
D – David Sayre 28-yard pass from File (Black failed)
D – Simpson 41-yard run (kick failed)
D – Jake Shelton 6-yard run (kick failed)
D – DeShaun Baylock 30-yard run (Black kick)
SH – Goodwin 2-yard run (Raak kick)