Chieftains roll to 55-12 win over Coloma

Published 1:34 am Saturday, September 9, 2023

DOWAGIAC — A sleeping giant may be awakening in southwest Michigan.

After winning just two games total the last two seasons, the Dowagiac Chieftains picked up their second win in three weeks as they rolled to a 55-12 non-conference win over Coloma at Chris Taylor-Alumni Field Friday night.

The back-to-back wins are the first for the Chieftains since the 2020 season. The 55 points is more than Dowagiac scored the entire 2021 season when it only scored 14 points.

There is something different about this Chieftain football team. There is a more confident air about this team, which might be because it is had a lot of experience and has been through an 0-9 season and a 2-7 campaign last year.

Third-year Head Coach Duane Davis has noticed the different. He credits the desire to change the culture in the program.

“The hard work is showing,” Davis said after the victory over the Comets. “Those guys up front this past offseason and this summer put in the time in the weight room and it shows. Our skill guys have gotten better. We are going back to old school and going right at people.”

While Davis credits being able to play power football, but was a pass that set the tone Friday night against Coloma.

After forcing the Comets into a turnover on its initial possession, Dowagiac needed just one play to get on the score board as quarterback Isaiah Fitchett pitched the ball to Lamone Moore Jr., who tossed a 33-yard touchdown to Josh Winchester-Jones. The extra point kick failed, but the Chieftains led 6-0.

Coloma would never recover.

Dowagiac (2-1) added two more touchdowns in the opening quarter as Jonah Peterson, who would later leave the game with an apparent knee injury, scored on a 19-yard run and Kaleb Smith scored on a 12-yard run. Jacob Rial connected on both extra points to give Dowagiac a 20-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Justin Bannow got into the scoring column with a 3-yard run. Rial’s kick extended the Chieftains’ advantage to 27-0.

The Comets (0-3) scored its only touchdown of the first half on a 24-yard pass from Maverick Kraemer to Treyton Myers. Coloma failed on its 2-point conversion and would have to settle for a 27-6 deficit at halftime.

Dowagiac would tack on a touchdown in each of the final two quarters.

Fitchett called his own number in the third quarter to score on a 5-yard run. Devin Rock would cap the scoring for the Chieftains with a 61-yard run in the fourth quarter. Rial hit both extra points kicks.

Coloma scored with eight seconds left as Kraemer and Myers connected again, this time for a 2-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion failed.

Davis said the defense was pretty solid, but still has some work to do.

“We just make mistakes at the wrong time,” he said. “That was what the first touchdown was. We just broke down in our coverage because the communication was bad.”

Dowagiac will hit the road after back-to-back road games to take on Parchment, which is 3-0 after its 36-14 victory over Galesburg-Augusta Friday night. The Panthers also own a victory over Coloma as they defeated the Comets 24-18 in their season opener.