Chieftains hold off Wildcats 31-28Published 10:59pm Friday, October 5, 2012
THREE RIVERS – A fourth quarter comeback came up short for host Three Rivers as Dowagiac remained undefeated with a 31-28 win Friday.
The Chieftains (7-0) avoided the upset and will now face Edwardsburg for the Wolverine Conference West Division title Friday night at Chris Taylor-Alumni Field. The Eddies held on against Berrien Springs 26-20 to set up the showdown.
Senior Brett Scanlon ran for a game-high 147 yards on 11 carries as Dowagiac built up a 31-14 lead before the Wildcats (4-3) rallied for a pair of scores in the game’s final 12 minutes.
Scanlon, who kicked a 36-yard field goal in the opening quarter, also threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Todd McIntyre and scored on a 1-yard run.
Three Rivers, with the best offense the Chieftains had faced so far this season, got on the board first when Sam Shutes connected with John Mrosewske for a 68-yard score on the second play from scrimmage for the Wildcats.
Dowagiac countered with a drive that ended with a 2-yard Brendan Murray run and a 7-7 score following Scanlon’s extra point.
His field goal with 2:11 left in the opening quarter gave the Chieftains a 10-7 lead. The field goal was set up by a Dallas Hale recovery of a Shutes fumble.
The Wildcats would briefly regain the lead early in the second quarter when Shutes, who finished with 219 yards passing on 15-of-31 attempts, hit Ryan Gard for a 23-yard touchdown to make it 14-10.
The fifth-ranked Chieftains would go on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that consumed more than five minutes off the clock. Cal Cox would capped the drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak as Dowagiac took the lead for good 17-14 with 5:02 remaining in the opening half.
Dowagiac wasn’t done just yet.
On a third-and-10 from his own 20-yard line, Shutes dropped back to pass, but was picked off by Dontel Highsmith.
The Chieftains needed five plays to make it 24-14 at the half as Scanlon hit McIntyre with the touchdown pass with 2:19 to play in the half.
The two offensive after combining for 38 first half points, couldn’t find the end zone in the third quarter.
The Chieftains put the only points on the board with 2:39 left in the quarter when Scanlon scored on a 1-yard run to make it 31-14.
It was all Wildcats in the final 12 minutes of play as they came storming back to try and upset the Chieftains.
Shutes scored in a 4-yard run to cut the lead to 31-21 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the game and then Maurice Shanklin scored on a 1-yard run to cap the scoring with 1:51 left in the contest.
Three Rivers tried the onside kick, which was recovered by Murray and the Chieftains were able to run out the clock.
Dowagiac ran for 320 yards and finished with 370 yards in total offense. Three Rivers, behind 338 yards in total offense by Shutes, finished with 368 yards against a Chieftain team that had previously allowed its opponents to score 26 points through the first six games.
Dowagiac 10 14 7 0 – 31
Three Rivers 7 7 0 14 – 28
TR – John Mrosewske 68 pass from Sam Shutes (Ryan Gard kick)
D – Brendan Murray 2 run (Brett Scanlon kick)
D – Scanlon 36 field goal
TR – Gard 23 pass from Shutes (Gard kick)
D – Cal Cox 1 run (Scanlon kick)
D – Todd McIntyre 12 pass from Brett Scanlon (Scanlon kick)
D – Scanlon 1 run (Scanlon kick)
TR – Shutes 4 run (Gard kick)
TR – Maurice Shanklin 4 run (Gard kick)