Rangers need to finish against Bees

Published 8:21 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cassopolis’ Marquise Curtis (24) hopes to help lead the Rangers to a victory over Bridgman Friday night. (Leader photos/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Cassopolis’ Marquise Curtis (24) hopes to help lead the Rangers to a victory over Bridgman Friday night. (Leader photos/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

For the second straight year, the Cassopolis football team will travel west to Bridgman to compete for the Division 7 District championship.

The host Bees scored late last year to pull out a 17-14 victory against the Rangers, who advanced to the title game again this year with a 41-14 thrashing of Hartford Saturday.

Cassopolis coach Dan Purlee has been preaching one thing to his team as it prepares for Bridgman — finish.

“We just need to finish,” Purlee said. “We just have go to finish this thing out. Hopefully we will be able to move the ball a little better offensively and we need to slow their run game down with our defense.

“We just need to find a way to win. The last two years we have gone over there and we have lost in the last minute of the game on a long pass.”

For the Rangers to be successful, they are going to have to focus their attention to Bridgman quarterback Ryan Chang, who ran for 287 yards and four touchdowns, along with running back Julian Sheriff, who added 230 yards and a pair of scores.

“We have got to eliminate the big plays,” Purlee said. “The Chang kid is extremely fast and the Sheriff kid is a good back as well. He is a powerful kid. They do a nice job offensively. They run the spread, but they want to run the ball. They do a nice job up front making openings for their backs and they have some pretty talented kids in the backfield.”

A.J. Green helped Cassopolis run over visiting Hartford in the opening game of the Division 7 MHSAA football playoffs Saturday.

Green, who along with teammate Daniel Deubner, missed practices last week as they competed at the FFA National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, rushed for 234 yards and a touchdown as the Rangers rolled to a 41-14 victory over the Indians.

Despite a steady rain throughout the contest, Cassopolis (8-2) was able to run for 388 yards and finished with 435 yards of total offense as quarterback Shane Los hit 3-of-5 passing attempts, including a 9-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Anderson.

Los also had a 3-yard touchdown run.

Nick Baker added 67 yards and touchdown runs of 5 and 20 yards, while Marquise Curtis finished with 79 yards and a 51-yard score.

Hartford finished with 328 yards of total offense, including 224 through the air as Indians quarterback Lincoln Gendron was 12-of-34 with a touchdown.

toss to Devin Oldham and a 1-yard run.

“We need to tackle better,” Purlee said. “I’m not happy with our tackling. Especially this week with the Sheriff kid. If we don’t wrap him up he is going to run right through us. We need to get better up front. Last year Bridgman handled us up front. That was a big difference in the game. We were unable to move the ball as effectively as we had done in previous games.”