Eddies win Lakeland championship

Published 10:29 pm Thursday, October 20, 2011

Edwardsburg’s Lee Williamson sets his sights on one of several fumbles during Friday night’s contest. The Eddies defeated the Shamrocks 42-13 in a showdown for first place in the Lakeland Conference. (Edwardsburg Argus photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

The showdown for the Lakeland Conference football championship Friday turned into a mismatch as Edwardsburg rolled past No. 10-ranked (Division 5) Berrien Springs, 42-13, to finish the league season at 5-0. The Shamrocks ended up at 4-1.

The Eddies, who claimed their first conference title since 2005, had to wait awhile before celebrating as the game took almost four hours because of two lightning delays.

“As much success as we’ve had here lately we haven’t been a conference champ,” said Edwardsburg coach Kevin Bartz, whose team improved to 7-0 overall. “That’s a good way to end the Lakeland Conference. It was kind of one of those unexpected victories. If you would have told me it would be, 42-13, I wouldn’t have guessed it. I think we took a huge step forward tonight on finding out who we are as a team.”

Edwardsburg, which is joining the Wolverine Conference next year, dominated behind its wing-T rushing attack, special teams play and defense. The Eddies rushed for 360 yards with four rushing touchdowns and also scored on a kickoff return and a blocked punt and, defensively, held the Shamrocks to 135 yards.

“It was kind of everything for us,” Bartz said. “We got the offense going early with two quick touchdowns. Defensively, we were tenacious all night and we came back in the second half and within two minutes we run back the kickoff and blocked a punt. To say it was an overall effort, it was.”

The Eddies jumped out to a 14-0 lead with 4:27 left in the first quarter after getting 49-yard touchdown runs from Adam Kendall and Ethan Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s score came on a quarterback keeper. Kendall finished with 98 yards rushing on nine carries before re-injuring his ankle in the third quarter. Zimmerman gained 71 yards on the ground on five carries.

“He sprained (the ankle) pretty good again,” Bartz said about Kendall’s injury.

To start the second half, Edwardsburg’s Jesse Mays scored on an 88-yard kickoff return. Then, after stopping Berrien Springs on downs, Matt North blocked the Shamrocks’ punt and Garrett Hunsberger fell on the ball in the end zone to give the Eddies a 27-0 lead with 7:04 left in the third quarter.

“We’ve been going aggressively at punts for the last four to five weeks,” Bartz said. “I think we’ve blocked four of them.”

After Berrien Springs pulled within 27-7 on Alex Padla’s 64-yard fumble recovery, David Kiefer faked out everybody and scored on a 53-yard run to give the hosts a 34-7 lead with 5:19 left in the third quarter.

“I thought, especially on, we beat them up front,” Bartz said about his team’s wing-T execution. “We were more physical than them and we were blowing them off the ball and getting yards in big chunks.”

Ten seconds after Kiefer’s touchdown, the second lightning delay came. When the game resumed, Edwardsburg put together a 12-play, 57-yard drive capped by Tyler Williamson’s two-yard touchdown run with 9:37 left in the game. After a two-point conversion pass from Jason Schimpa to Mays, the Eddies had a 42-7 lead.

That advantage was quickly reduced as on the following play Berrien Springs got an 84-yard kickoff return from Chris Rodgers.

Berrien 0 0 7 6 – 13

Edwardsburg 14 0 20 8 – 42

E – Adam Kendall 49 run (Austin Teter kick)

E – Ethan Zimmerman 49 run (Teter kick)

E – Jesse Mays 88 kickoff return (kick failed)

E – Garrett Hunsberger recovered blocked punt in end zone (Teter kick)

BS – Alex Padla 64 fumble recovery (Christian Haack kick)

E – David Kiefer 53 run (Teter kick)

E – Tyler Williamson 2 run (Jason Schimpa pass to Jesse Mays)

BS – Chris Rodgers 84 kickoff return (kick blocked)