Beavers shut down Sturgis, 35-3

Beavers shut down Sturgis, 35-3

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Beavers shut down Sturgis, 35-3

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For some teams, starting the season 0-2 isn’t a big deal.

But if you are team that went undefeated in the regular season last year, starting 0-2 is a huge losing streak.

Which means it was a huge relief for Harper Creek as it ended its short-lived losing streak with a 35-3 win over league-rival Sturgis (1-2) in this Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division football game at Beaver Stadium on Friday.

Harper Creek had started the season with tough losses to quality teams from the SMAC West Division in Stevensville-Lakeshore and Portage Central.

“We played two real good team, but two teams we thought we could beat, so it was tough,” Harper Creek coach Ed Greenman said. “It’s tough when you lose, it just takes the heart and soul out of you and really tests your character. But I was really proud of our kids with the way they have fought back from that start. We saw more leadership this week. We are a long ways from being a good football team, but we are taking those baby steps right now and this was one of them.”

Harper Creek came up with the victory thanks to a huge effort by its senior running back Kasey Carson, who had 207 yards and three touchdowns. The 207 yards is the sixth most in a single game in Harper Creek history.

“It was real important to get this win. We felt like we needed to get a win under our belts and get our confidence up and get this train going in the right direction,” Carson said.

The victory makes Harper Creek 1-2 on the season, but more importantly, it puts the Beavers at 1-0 in the SMAC East Division and in first place. Harper Creek is trying to win its third division title in a row.

“One of our goals was to go 9-0 and that went out the window early, but the second goal was to win the league championship and if we can win three years in a row that would be a huge statement and tonight we took a huge step toward that,” Greenman said.

After trailing 3-0 early, Harper Creek’s Carson scored two touchdowns in the first half, one on a long run from 56 yards out and one from a yard out to make it 14-3 at intermission.

Carson kept it going in the second half as he broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run to make it 21-3. The Beavers scored on another long run as quarterback Trevor Johnson scrambled for 62 yards for a score to put the lead at 28-3.

The Beavers final score came in the final minute on a 11-yard fumble recovery by Robert Nelson.

And Harper Creek was able to put seven points on the board each time it scored due to the consistent leg of kicker Alec Fisher, who made all of his extra points and broke the Beavers’ all-time record of 71 extra points, eclipsing the mark of 67 held by Charlie Taft.

But it was Carson who had the huge night as he had his 207 yards on just 19 carries as he also climbs toward the all-time rushing mark at Harper Creek as he is now within 154 yards of the top spot.

“Carson is just a competitor. I look to the sidelines to my coaches when we need a big play sometimes and they just say, whatever you run, just make sure it’s in Carson’s hands,” Greenman said. “He makes it a lot easier to coach out there.”

While Harper Creek’s offense was taking care of business, the Beavers defense was almost more impressive.

Sturgis only had a total of 117 yards for the game. Sturgis junior quarterback Chance Stewart, who has already committed to play at Wisconsin, was held to just 50 yards passing on six completions.

“To be fair, I don’t think he has the kids around him that he has had in the past,” Greenman said of Stewart. “He’s a great talent, so to just keep in him in check and to contain him and not let him get the big play was big for us.”

Pete Taylor and Zach Testolin led Harper Creek with nine tackles each with Testolin getting four tackles for loss. Brandon Hutson added seven stops and Trevor Stout had six tackles.

“We worked hard on defense all week. Testolin really stepped up and took control today. I think he’s a D-1 athlete and he showed that,” Carson said.

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