Chieftains blanked by Plainwell
Published 10:25 pm Friday, September 13, 2013
The two-time defending Wolverine Conference champion Dowagiac Chieftains knew they had a target on their back heading into the 2013 season.
After all, the Chieftains had won 18 consecutive conference games dating back to a 6-3 loss to Vicksburg the third week of the 2011 season.
Plainwell came into Dowagiac Friday night, took advantage of five Dowagiac turnovers and pulled out a 10-0 victory at Chris Taylor-Alumni Field.
It was the first time the Chieftains have been shut out since 2005 when Marshall and Lakeshore blanked them in consecutive weeks when Dowagiac was a member of the Big 16.
“I just told the guys, this is our first lost in 18 games,” Dowagiac coach Mike Stanger said. “We sat on this field in 2011 and lost a heartbreaker 6-3 to Vicksburg and that team came back and ran the rest of the season off, won the conference title and district title. We hadn’t lost another conference game until tonight. We have got to understand people are gunning for us. This is the first time Plainwell has beaten us since we joined the conference eight years ago.”
Dowagiac was unable to generate much of any offense against the undefeated Trojans (3-0). Plainwell held the Chieftains (2-1) to just 42 yards rushing and 49 yards passing.
While the Dowagiac offense struggled, its defense turned in a stellar performance.
Put in bad positions multiple times thanks to turnovers, the Chieftains were able to hold the Trojans to a field goal and a touchdown — both in the first half.
“The defense played outstanding,” Stanger said. “We’ve got to work offensively. We’re juggling a lot right now. We’re juggling quarterbacks. The defense played outstanding. We only ran 14 offensive plays the first half. We turned the ball over twice in the first half, so two of our 14 plays were turnovers.
“I don’t question the heart of our kids. They played their butts off tonight. They played the whole game. We have to put some things together and adjust some personnel. We’re going to half to readjust again now with Bryce (Dodd) hurt. We’re not hitting the panic button. With the defense we’ve got, we’re not hitting the panic button. We’ve got to put some things together offensively.”
Early in the second quarter, Joseph Fazio connected on a 37-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 9:59 left in the opening half.
Plainwell would strike again before the second quarter was over as it recovered a Dowagiac fumble at the Chieftains’ 37-yard line.
Ten plays later Ryan Britton capped the drive with a 3-yard run to make it 10-0 with 43 ticks showing on the clock.
Neither team had much success moving the football in the second half. Dowagiac’s defense continued to play well despite being on the field most of the night.
Plainwell’s defense bent, but did not break against the Chieftains, who could not finish a drive.
In the end, The Trojans rushed for 166 yards, led by Jacob Geter’s 87 yards on 27 carries. Home Roblyer and Britton finished with 41 and 40 yards respectively.
Carter Yaw was 2-for-3 passing for 33 yards.
Brandon Hatch led the Chieftain ground game with 25 yards on three carries.
Quarterbacks Bryce Dodd and Austin Broda combined to go 8-for-15 for 42 yards.
Dodd was lost to an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. His status for next week’s game is doubtful.
Defensively, Nick Theilmann and Zach Williams both had six tackles. Jared Hatch had four and a half tackles.
Dowagiac will host Berrien Springs as it kicks of West Division play at 7 p.m.
Plainwell 0 10 0 0 – 10
Dowagiac 0 0 0 0 – 0
PL – Joseph Fazio 37 field goal
PL – Ryan Britton 3 run (Fazio kick)