Cass wins battle of Lakeland unbeatens 50-28

Published 2:05 am Friday, September 14, 2007

By By TOM NYHUIS / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS – From the opening drive of Friday night's varsity football game between visiting Buchanan and the host Cassopolis Rangers you knew it was going to be a high scoring affair.
And when the final second clicked off the clock it was the Rangers (4-0) posting a 50-28 Lakeland Conference win over a 3-1 Buchanan team.
Ranger running back Dashaun Curtis was nearly unstoppable as he finished the night running the ball in for five touchdowns and racking up 196 yards on the ground. Teammate A.J. Ballard added a score and ran for another 149 yards as the Ranger offense tore up the turf with a total of 434 yards on 70 plays. Larry Harris finished the night with 89 yard rushing.
Buchanan took the opening drive 56-yards for the games first touchdown with the big play coming on a 48-yard Taylor Oake pass to Clinton Orr giving the Bucks a first and 10 at the one. Marquis Hall busted through the Ranger defense for the score and Josh Borr's extra-point kick gave Buchanan an early 7-0 lead.
The Ranger came back with a pair of touchdowns the first on a 26-yard run by Ballard followed by a Curtis score from 3-yards out and the Ranger led 14-7 with 3:50 left in the first quarter.
Buchanan's next drive was capped off by a 76-yard scoring run by Hall and the Bucks knotted the game at 14.
Cassopolis scored with 17 seconds left in the half on a 7-yard run by Curtis to take the seven-point lead at the half.
The Ranger's opening drive of the second half was halted on its first play from scrimmage as defensive end Jon Mondschein came out with a Curtis fumble returning it to the Ranger 13.
"The fumble right there at the start of the first half hurt us. I thought we would come out and we were going to control the game the second half," Cassopolis coach Andy Hubbard said after the win. "I thought they were a little tired going in at halftime and I thought we were just warming up. But our kids recovered and I was real proud of them. They didn't hang their heads and all three of our running backs did a heck of a job for us tonight."
Four plays later the Bucks tied the game at 21 on a 1-yard haul by Hall and an extra point kick by Borr.
"When we got it back to 21-21 we had three or four different defenses in there and no matter what we tried we just couldn't slow down No. 24 (Curtis) down," Buchanan coach Joe Austin following the loss. "That was the name of the game, we couldn't tackle them and we couldn't slow them down. They are as advertised and a well coached team and they are a good team."
From that point on it was Cassopolis' turn to take over the game taking their next drive 63 yards to paydirt finished off by Curtis' 20-yard scamper into the end zone. Travis Elledge gave the Ranger a 28-21 advantage.
The Ranger's pinned Buchanan at the 6-yard line on the kick off and three play's later Oake was sacked in the end zone for a safety and a 30-21 lead.
Buchanan had and opportunity to get back into the game after the free kick Buchanan was covered by the Bucks at their own 40 but the offense stalled and they punted the ball away. The Ranger offense didn't let up one bit as they pushed the ball down field in 13 plays capped off by a 1-yard rush by Ranger quarterback Nick Davis.
A blocked point after left the Ranger leading 36-21. The ensuing kick off bounced off one of the Bucks front line and the Ranger once again had control of the ball. This time it was a 16-yard run by Curtis to double up the score on the Bucks 42-21.
With 4:28 to play in the game Cassopolis tacked on their seventh and final touchdown of the night on another Curtis run. This time it was from 21 yard out and Larry Harris ran in the point after for a 50-21 margin.
Buchanan kept attacking the Ranger defense and drove the ball 54 yard in 11 plays for capped off by a 1-yard run by Orr with :50 left to play.
Buchanan's Hall finished the night with 125 yards rushing on 13 carries. Oake was 5-of-11 passing for 80 yards. Orr had 68 of those yards and also added 44 yard rushing for the Bucks.
Buchanan 14 0 7 7 – 28
Cassopolis 14 7 9 20 – 50
B – Marquis Hall 1 run (Josh Borr kick)
C – A.J. Ballard 26 run (kick failed)
C – Dashaun Curtis 3 run (Curtis run)
B – Hall 76 run (Borr kick)
C – Curtis 7 run (Travis Elledge kick)
B – Hall 1 run (Borr kick)
C – Curtis 20 run (Elledge kick)
C – Safety Darby Kelly sack
C – Nick Davis 1 run (kick failed)
C – Curtis 16 run (pass failed)
C – Curtis 21 run (Larry Harris run)
C – Clinton Orr 1 run (Borr kick)