South Haven rallies in second half for 22-21 win over Dowagiac

Published 11:24 pm Thursday, August 24, 2023

SOUTH HAVEN — Quarterback Brady Dannenberg ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns, including one with 1:34 remaining as host South Haven rallied from a 15-point deficit to defeat Dowagiac in the 2023 football season opener for both schools.

The Chieftains (0-1) had built up a 21-6 lead through three quarters, but Dannenberg scored on a 5-yard run in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 21-14 after the 2-point conversion was good, and then tied the score with a 1-yard quarterback keeper.

Xavion Harrington scored on the 2-point conversion run to put the Rams ahead 22-21.

Dowagiac covered the pooch kick, and after a skirmish on the Chieftains’ sideline involving multiple players resulted in two penalties — offsetting personal foul and an unsportsmanlike penalty that resulted in the ejection of a Ram player — Dowagiac was set up at the South Haven 43-yard line.

The Chieftains were unable to get a first down and the Rams took over on downs and ran out the final seconds for the win.

The loss is the fifth consecutive in the season opener for the Chieftains, who are trying to rebuild its program, which has not posted a winning season since 2019.

The Rams have now defeated Dowagiac three straight seasons.

A pair of Kaleb Smith touchdown runs sandwiched Dannenberg’s touchdown pass to Parker Williamson in the second quarter.

Smith’s second touchdown covered 65 yards, and following Jacob Rial’s second extra point kick, the Chieftains led 14-6 at halftime.

Dowagiac extended its lead to 21-6 in the third quarter as Justin Bannow scored on a 1-yard run and Rial added the extra point.

From there, the Rams grabbed control of the game and used a pair of methodical drives to erase the deficit.

Dowagiac will look to get into the win column Thursday night as it opens the home portion of its schedule by facing Watervliet at Chris Taylor Alumni Field.

The Panthers will open their season tonight as they host Brandywine. That game was moved from Thursday due to the excessive heat.