Harper Creek came downtown to do a job – and that was to finish off the season with a win, with a title and with momentum heading into the playoffs.
The Beavers took care of business on all fronts.
Harper Creek defeated city rival Battle Creek Central, 48-0, in this Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division football contest at C.W. Post Field on Friday.
With the victory, Harper Creek is the outright champ of the SMAC East, finishes the season 7-2 and will roll into the playoffs after the Beavers find out who they play on Sunday during the MHSAA Selection Show.
“Our kids came to play and we feel good about the fact that we came down here and took care of business, sole possession as Big 16 (SMAC) champs. It was a good night for us,” Harper Creek coach Ed Greenman said.
It is the third SMAC East title in a row for the Beavers and the second straight outright crown, while winning 18 consecutive division games.
“To win it three years in a row means an awful lot to our program,” Greenman said. ‘We talk about, ‘What is your footprint going to be? What are you going to be remembered for?’ To finish 7-2 and win three years in a row, that’s something to remember.”
Harper Creek kept the scoreboard rolling all night, scoring seven touchdowns by seven different players as the Beavers looked to get unsung seniors the ball with a chance to score.
“We did it tonight with seven touchdowns with seven different kids. We spread things around and everybody was a part of it,” Greenman said. “That was by design.”
The first three scores of the night came by Harper Creek players getting their first touchdown of the season.
Colton Eishen opened the game with a touchdown run from three yards out to make it 6-0.
Logan Smith followed with a touchdown reception from a yard on a pass by Trevor Johnson.
And, Jared Koerner caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to make it 20-0, still in the first quarter.
“That was by design. Our big thing is always team. We have a player named Colt Eishen who we named as a game captain tonight because of his attitude, the team concept he has brought to us for two years and the kids responded to that because they know how important that stuff is,” Greenman said. “It’s so easy to talk about the Connor Bauserman’s and Kasey Carson’s and they are great kids, but we are 7-2 because of kids like Colt Eishen, who don’t play a whole lot, but bring so much to our team and our program.”
The Beavers continued the scoring from there with Johnson scoring on a quarterback keeper from a yard out to make it 27-0. Bauserman and Carson each scored on touchdown runs after that to make it 41-0 before halftime.
The second half was played under a mercy-rule running clock with the final score coming on a 10-yard touchdown run by Jake Bishop with 1:02 left in regulation.
Carson led Harper Creek with 173 yards rushing on 11 carries. Austin Sackrider had six tackles for the Beavers with Pete Taylor adding four stops.
Highlights for Battle Creek Central include D’Quarius Yore getting seven tackles to lead the defense, including a sack. The Bearcats also had interceptions by Elijah Jackson and Idris Perry.
BCC had trouble moving the ball most of the night, finishing with a net total of 32 yards.
“Our kids needed a quick jumpstart to give them some confidence, but we had some early penalties, some fumbles, all those little things, so that didn’t happen,” BCC coach Lorin Granger said.
The Bearcats finish the season 0-9 on the year.
“It’s really been a special group all year. All the adversity we faced, this group has really sticked together,” Granger said. “We could have been better, but I had a lot of fun working with these guys – I’m going to miss them.”