Rangers face tough test Friday night
Published 9:01 am Thursday, November 12, 2015
For the first time in school history, the Cassopolis football team brought home a MHSAA district championship with a 48-14 win over host Bridgman Friday night.
“We have never won the district championship and that’s a main focus for us,” Cassopolis senior running back Nick Baker said earlier this year.
Cassopolis had that opportunity last Friday night as it squared off with the Bees for the second year in a row for the championship game.
Last year the Bees came out on top 17-14.
This year the Rangers, behind some stout defense and effective rushing, throttled Bridgman for its first district title.
“The last two times we came here we had a lead late and gave it up,” Cassopolis coach Dan Purlee said. “The kids were ready, came out loose and strong. They played hard for all four quarters and they finished this one off tonight.”
The Rangers (9-2) will travel to Pewamo-Westphalia (11-0) for the Division 7 Regional Championship game. The winner advances to the state semifinals Nov. 21.
The Rangers, who have rushed for more than 3,000 yards this season and threw for 811, are led offensively by A.J. Green with 1,050 yards rushing, Marquise Curtis with 746 and Nick Baker with 526.
Shane Los is 42-of-75 for 811 yards passing with 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Green is also Cassopolis’ defensive leader with 125 tackles.
Bryce Saxton leads the team with four interceptions, Reece West with four fumble recoveries and John Linardakis with seven sacks.
Pewamo-Westphalia will count heavily on junior running back Jared Smith, who has rushed for 2,675 yards and 46 touchdowns in 2015.
Smith ran for 300 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns in the district championship game.
Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Lehman throws the ball well with his favorite targets being Mason Schneider, Colin Smith and Garrett Trierweiler.
Defensively, Logan Hengesbach has seven interceptions for Pewamo.
In their win against Bridgman last Friday, the Rangers ran all over the Bees as Baker, Green and Curtis amassed a combined 375 yards and scored five rushing touchdowns.
Curtis also had a 43-yard touchdown reception from Los.
Baker led that trio with 147 yards and scores of 42 and 72 yards.
Green finished with 116 yards and an 11-yard touchdown, while Curtis had 112 yards and scored on runs of 5 and 65 yards.