Dowagiac upsets previously undefeated Eddies 21-17

Published 8:47 am Saturday, November 2, 2013

Brandon Hatch slips a tackle in Dowagiac's 21-17 upset of Edwardsburg Friday night. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Brandon Hatch slips a tackle in Dowagiac’s 21-17 upset of Edwardsburg Friday night. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

EDWARDSBURG – For the second time in six years, the Dowagiac football team was able to turn a lopsided regular season loss into a playoff victory against the same team.

In 2007, the Chieftains lost 70-20 to South Haven in the regular season, but were able to rebound for a 54-22 victory over the Rams in the opening round of the playoffs.

Friday night, Dowagiac (7-3) reversed a 36-0 loss to Edwardsburg by rallying to beat the previously undefeated Eddies 21-17.

The Chieftains advance to Friday night’s Division 4 district championship game at Battle Creek Pennfield, which defeated Paw Paw 21-17.

Dowagiac coach Mike Stanger, his coaching staff and the players knew they were better than the score two weeks ago showed and they wanted to prove it Friday night.

“It was a challenging week I am not going to lie to you,” Stanger said. “It was a tough week when you lose two in a row and you are limping into the playoffs. The kids deserve all the credit in the world, they played their hind ends off.

“The definitely believed in themselves and they got a life lesson out here tonight that kids that don’t play sports ever get. Maybe guys didn’t want to try because it’s Edwardsburg, they beat us 36-0. Hey, we tried. But now they have changed their perspective.

“Now, later in life when they run into a hurdle they can look back at this and remember they had done it before. We overcame that hurdle. That’s what we told them all week. It’s bigger than just a game.”

From the start, there was a different vibe to the game. Dowagiac switched from its regular defense to an even front scheme and were able to stay lower than in the first meeting and get into the Edwardsburg backfield faster and disrupt many of the plays that the Eddies had used successfully in the previous meeting.

On the other side of the ball, Dowagiac was able to push the Edwardsburg defensive line around a bit an open up holes for its running backs to get through.

The result was a 14-14 deadlock at halftime instead of a 22-0 Eddies’ advantage as in the first meeting. Dowagiac really had to feel pretty good about where it stood as it actually outgained Edwardsburg 138-131 at halftime.

While the Chieftain defense was making the Eddies earn every yard, the Dowagiac offense was putting together long drives much in the same way Edwardsburg did in the first meeting.

After the Eddies took a 17-14 lead on a 26-yard Tyler Treat field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter, the Chieftains took over and used up much of the clock in driving from its own 29-yard line for the game-winning score.

Dowagiac used 14 plays and 8:27 off the clock, scoring on a 5-yard Brandon Hatch run with 3:26 showing on the clock.

Edwardsburg (9-1) wasn’t done yet.

The Eddies started their final drive at their own 31-yard line and used 12 plays to get down to the Chieftain 4-yard line.

But like Dowagiac had done earlier in the game, it defense stiffened and on fourth-and-goal with 1.9 seconds remaining, capped the comeback when Dante Razzano’s pass fell incomplete as time expired.

“We came out flat in the first half,” Edwardsburg coach Kevin Bartz said. “I don’t have an explanation for it. We had a great week of practice. I thought we were prepared for it. We just didn’t move bodies like we had up front all year. And they made the plays when they counted.”

One of those plays came at the close of the first half when Dowagiac was facing a fourth-and-short. Hatch took the handoff from quarterback Austin Broda and weaved his way through the Edwardsburg defense for a 56-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14 with 26.7 seconds left in the half.

The Eddies moved the ball up and down the field against Dowagiac in the third quarter and held the Chieftains to minus-3 yards rushing, but failed to capitalize.

Dowagiac’s defense kept Edwardsburg out of the end zone with a goal line stand. The Eddies had three cracks at scoring from the 1-foot line, but couldn’t get the back across the line.

The Eddies ended up holding a 300-189 advantage in total offense, including 286-180 on the ground, but just couldn’t come up with the big plays that highlighted the first meeting.

Hatch led Dowagiac with 127 yards on 12 carries.

Dustin Vires led the Eddies with 76 yards rushing.

Dowagiac’s defense, which had played poorly each of the two previous weeks, was led by Carl Grant’s 8.5 tackles. Josh Lamphere and Chase Camp finished with 7.5 and 6.5 stops respectively.


Dowagiac 0 14 0 7 – 21

Edwardsburg 6 8 0 3 – 17

E – Brett Bowman 4 run (kick blocked)

D – Rolly Lucio 10 run (Xavier Marquart kick)

E – Jackson Gaideski 9 run (Damion Pompey pass from Dante Razzano)

D – Brandon Hatch 56 run (Marquart kick)

E – Tyler Treat 26 field goal

D – Hatch 5 run (Marquart kick)