Edwardsburg remains undefeated with 22-12 win over Dowagiac
Published 9:03 am Sunday, September 27, 2015
When Dowagiac and Edwardsburg get together you can usually count on a hard-hitting, defensive battle.
And on Friday night, the host Eddies and Chieftains did not disappoint the near-capacity homecoming crowd of more than 3,500 fans at Leo Hoffman Stadium.
Despite not having its starting quarterback, Dowagiac was able to keep the game close, but as championship caliber teams do, Edwardsburg found a way to pull out a 22-12 victory.
“That was a great high school football game,” Edwardsburg coach Kevin Bartz said. “We knew they were good defensively. They were aggressive and scrappy, just like we thought they would be.”
Dowagiac was able to keep the fact that starting quarterback Anthony Neubauer would not play after sustaining an injury the previous week against Allegan.
Senior Scott Hassle stepped in and despite having not completed a pass in a varsity football game, directed the Chieftain offense to a 6-0 lead after connecting with Marcus Winchester-Jones on a 24-yard touchdown pass for the only points of the first quarter.
Hassle would finish the night 6-of-8 for 97 yards.
“There is a saying, ‘juniors become seniors,’” Dowagiac coach Mike Stanger said. “And Scotty exemplifies that. He worked his tail off all summer in the weight room and has become a leader. And when we had to call on him, tonight he stepped up and did it.”
Edwardsburg (5-0) took the lead for good early in the second quarter when Joey Hess capped off a drive with a 7-yard touchdown run. Austin Cline added the 2-point conversion run to give the Eddies an 8-6 lead.
Neither team would score the remainder of the first half as the two defenses continued to stifle the offenses.
Edwardsburg extended its lead to 14-6 on an 8-yard Dante Razzano run.
The lead reached 22-6 on an Isaiah Miller 17-yard run with just under five minutes to play in the game.
Dowagiac would not go away quietly, as the Chieftains took the ensuing kickoff drove it down the field and scored on a Hassle 4-yard run.
Dowagiac was unsuccessful on the on-side kick attempt and Edwardsburg ran out the clock.
Dowagiac gave up 378 yards of total offense to the Eddies, including 342 on the ground, but Edwardsburg had to earn every inch it gained on the Chieftains Friday night.
“We know we have a good defense,” Stanger said. “But there are no moral victories. We want to win games. We didn’t come here to play close. We came to win and I think we put ourselves into a position to do that tonight.”
Cline led the way with 124 yards on 12 carries, while Miller finished with 110 yards on 16 carries.
Dowagiac (3-2) finished with 221 yards of total offense, including 123 on the ground.
Lazaro Piedra had 54 yards on 11 carries and Erik Walker 43 yards on five totes.
Defensive leaders for the Chieftains were Austin Jones with seven tackles and Ronnie Payne Jr. with four.
Cline led the Eddies with 11 stops. Chase Tarwacki and Bo Thomas finished with nine and eight tackles respectively.
Edwardsburg, a state semifinalist last season, will be looking to earn an automatic berth Friday night at South Haven.
The Chieftains will be looking to move a step closer to the post season as they head to Plainwell.
EDWARDSBURG 22, DOWAGIAC 12
Dowagiac 6 0 0 6 – 12
Edwardsburg 0 8 6 8 – 22
D – Marcus Winchester-Jones 24 pass from Scott Hassle (run failed)
E – Joey Hess 7 run (Austin Cline run)
E – Dante Razzano 8 run (pass failed)
E – Isaiah Miller 17 run (Thor Fifer run)
D – Hassle 4 run (run failed)