Eddies win regional title
Published 3:57 pm Sunday, November 14, 2010
LANSING — When your team is playing in uncharted territory, sometimes you’ve got nothing to lose.
So on fourth and short late in the third quarter, Edwardsburg coach Kevin Bartz rolled the dice and came up huge in its 35-28 victory over Lansing Sexton Friday night.
Bartz, who believes his team should be able to pick up three yards or more on every play with its Wing-T offense, didn’t hesitate in going for it deep in his own territory.
The Eddies backed up his confidence with a huge first down that eventually led to a Division 4 regional championship victory over the Big Reds.
The championship was the first for Edwardsburg and propels the Eddies into the state semifinals on Saturday against Grand Rapids Catholic Central at Vicksburg High school beginning at 1 p.m.
“We played a heck of a football game,” Bartz said. “We went into halftime down against an extremely talented and strong football team. I thought our kids came out in the second half and dug down deep, especially defensively with some big stops.”
The Eddies took the opening drive of the second half and marched 47 yards, scoring on a 23-yard touchdown run by Lee Williamson with 8:34 left in the third quarter. Edwardsburg went for the 2-point conversion and Austin Stinnett broke through the Sexton line into the end zone and the game was knotted at 21-21.
It took only two plays for the Big Reds to reclaim the lead.
After a 14-yard run by Dominique Hoyle, the Sexton backup running back broke loose for a 66-yard touchdown run that gave the Big Reds a 28-21 advantage following the extra point kick by Nick Spearman.
The Eddies would answer once again, tying the score st 28-28 with 4:29 left on the third quarter clock.
Not to be outdone by Hoyle, Edwardsburg quarterback Ethan Zimmerman scored his own 66-yard run to ignite the Eddies for the remainder of the contest. The seven-play 65-yard drive, was highlighted by the fourth and short call. Adam Kendall picked up the fourth yards needed and on the next play Zimmerman was headed down the Eddies’ sideline to the end zone.
“At that point and time we hadn’t stopped them very often,” Bartz said of the decision to go for it. “At that point and time it didn’t matter if we were going to give them 80 yards or 30 yards. We felt we had to get yards. I guess with our offense we tell the kids if it’s three yards or less we ought to be able to get a first down.”
Hoyle’s run would be the last time the Big Reds would find the end zone against the Eddies. In fact, it pretty much was the end of Sexton’s offensive effort.
Edwardsburg dug deep and began to dominate the line of scrimmage and shut down the Big Reds. Lansing Sexton had minus 36 yards rushing the remainder of the contest.
The Big Reds went three-and-out on their final drive of the third quarter and on its two drives in the final stanza it ran a total of eight plays.
“Late in the third quarter into the fourth (Sexton) was starting to get a little tired and there kids were cramping up,” Bartz said. “We felt we had the momentum and had a little more stamina than them late in the game.”
Edwardsburg (11-1) used a 11-play, 64-yard drive to score the winning touchdown. Kendall capped the drive with a one-yard run with 8:53 to play.
The Eddies couldn’t have had things go any better to start the game. After winning the coin toss and electing to defer to the second half, they kicked off and Sexton coughed up the ball at its own 37-yard line. The fumble was recovered by Jesse Mays.
Two plays later, Zimmerman raced in from 29-yards out to give Edwardsburg a 7-0 lead following Jeff Roberson’s kick.
The Big Reds answered by driving down the field 65 yards to score on a Hoyle two yard run and a Spearman kick.
After the Eddies had turn the ball over on downs on its next possession, Sexton looked to take the lead, but on its third play of the drive, Willie Dillard was picked off by Tyler Hack at the Big Reds’ 33-yard line.
It took Edwardsburg five plays to find the end zone again, this time Zimmerman hit Kyle Dale with a 10-yard touchdown. The Eddies’ however, had the extra point kick blocked leaving them with just a 13-7 lead.
The second quarter was one that Edwardsburg probably wants to forget. After taking the lead into the period, Sexton scored a pair of touchdowns to take a 21-13 lead.
The first score came on a Kyren Kemp eight yard run, while the second one a 78-yard Anthony Goodman pass from Dillard with 31.4 seconds left in the first half.
The Goodman touchdown came after Edwardsburg, which was driving for a possible score, fumbled the ball at the Big Reds’ 22-yard line.
The Eddies finished the night with 393 yards rushing, while Zimmerman was 1-of-2 for 10 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Zimmerman led the ground game with 121 yards on seven carries and a pair of touchdowns. Kendall finished with 116 yards on 13 carries. Stinnett added 77 yards.
Hoyle, who replaced Michigan State-bound Onaje Miller in the starting line-up due to injury, finished with 205 yards and two touchdowns. Miller touched the ball just twice for the Big Reds.
Sexton (10-2) finished with 198 yards rushing and was 1-of-6 for 78 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception.
Edwardsburg 13 0 15 7 — 35
Lansing Sexton 7 14 7 0 — 28
E – Ethan Zimmerman 29 run (Jeff Roberson kick)
L – Dominique Hoyle 3 run (Nick Spearman kick)
E – Kyle Dale 10 pass from Zimmerman (kick blocked)
L – Kyren Kemp 8 run (Spearman kick)
L – Anthony Goodman 78 pass from Willie Dillard (Spearman kick)
E – Lee Williamson 23 run (Austin Stinnett run)
L – Hoyle 66 run (Spearman kick)
E – Zimmerman 66 run (Roberson kick)
E – Adam Kendall 1 run (Roberson kick)