High school football: Harper Creek stops Lakeview

High school football: Harper Creek stops Lakeview

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High school football: Harper Creek stops Lakeview

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In a game when Harper Creek followers were thinking about the offensive side of the ball, it was the defense that stole the show.

Harper Creek defeated rival Lakeview, 22-0, in this crosstown Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division football contest on Friday.

Harper Creek (2-2) forced six turnovers and only allowed one first down the entire night as the Beavers’ defense frustrated Lakeview (1-3) on nearly every down.

While on offense, Beavers’ running back Kasey Carson tied the school record for career touchdowns and chased the all-time rushing record. But the defense kept Lakeview off the scoreboard and secured the win.

“Defensively, our kids played great. We pretty much limited them in the first down area. It was great hustle by our kids and we just made plays all night – goal-line stands, caused some fumbles – we took a step forward defensively tonight,” Harper Creek coach Ed Greenman said. “We saw what Lakeshore had done against them and stole what they did and put some pressure on them. We made them make some decisions right away in their offense and our kids responded on defense.”

Lakeview had only 12 yards of total offense in the first half and failed to get a first down. For the game, the Spartans had a total of one yard rushing and finished with 79 yards passing – all of which came on one screen pass to Don Ernsberger in the second half.

But the major problem for the Spartans on offense is that they didn’t have the ball long enough to gain any yards. Lakeview fumbled the ball four times and threw two interceptions.

“They have an awful good defensive football team over there and you can’t make that many mistakes against a good defensive team like that,” Lakeview coach Matt Miller said. “You can’t get any momentum when you are turning the ball over as much as we did. Our kids battled, they didn’t quit, but we have to eliminate those mistakes.”

Lakeview showed that tendency right away, fumbling on the first play from scrimmage, giving the Beavers the ball in the red zone.

Harper Creek was charitable from the start, too, as the Beavers then fumbled on their first play from scrimmage.

But Lakeview didn’t take advantage and after an exchange of possessions, the Spartans would have another turnover in the first quarter on an interception, setting the tone for the game.

“Can’t have six turnovers and expect to win. You have to hang on to the ball. We had several people doing it. We have to play better, we have to coach them better, we have to be better all around,” Miller said.

Harper Creek took that second turnover and eventually scored as Carson ran in a touchdown from a yard out to make it 7-0.

Early in the second quarter, the Beavers scored as Trevor Johnson hit Anthony McNichols on a short pass that he turned into a scrambling 42-yard touchdown reception to make it 14-0.

The Beavers finished their scoring with another short touchdown run by Carson in the third quarter to make it 22-0.

Carson finished with 106 yards on 27 carries and the two scores tied the school record of 48 career touchdowns by Charlie Taft.

“Hope we can take that and just build on it. I’m glad it’s in the past now, so now we can just move forward,” Carson said of the record. “It’s great to get that win, now we have to move on to next week.”

Carson is also 48 yards away from the career record for rushing yards at Harper Creek, also held by Taft.

“We always preach team, so I don’t think about those situations much, those records,” Greenman said. “But he’s a team player, he’s a great back, arguably the best we’ve ever had. I’ve said it hundreds of times, I am a heckuva lot better play caller when I’m getting him the ball.”

Josh Bass led Harper Creek with seven tackles with Zach Testolin getting give stops.

Lakeview was led by Rodney Harvey with 12 tackles with Isaac Cloward getting eight stops.

Harper Creek climbs to 2-2 on the season and stays in first in the division at 2-0.

“Going into the year we thought Lakeview and Sturgis would be frontrunners, and we have faced them now,” Greenman said. “We have to keep getting better and hopefully at the end of the year we can be in a situation to put ourselves in a position to win a league championship.”

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