Mattawan too much for Spartans

Mattawan too much for Spartans

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Mattawan too much for Spartans

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MATTAWAN

Following an eight year hiatus from postseason play, Lakeview was given the tall task of taking on a one-loss Mattawan squad in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs.

After winning five consecutive games to close out the regular season, the Spartans had momentum on its side Friday night, but so did the Wildcats whose only loss of the season was heart-breaker on the road to SMAC West champion Stevensville-Lakeshore.

Despite a game that saw monster scoring strikes from both teams, Mattawan proved to be too much, coming away with a 66-28 victory.

“They were strong, we had a really hard time defending the big play and we just made too many mistakes,” Lakeview coach Matt Miller said.

The Spartans set off fireworks late in the second quarter, coming up with the final score of the half.

With only a few ticks left on the clock, Mike Campbell ripped off a 66-yard run, crossing the goal line as the halftime whistle blew.

Campbell led the Spartans on the ground tallying 179 yards on 10 carries, including two touchdowns.

Though trailing by only two scores, The Spartans were unable to shutdown a fired-up Wildcat offense that scored almost immediately upon taking the field in the second half as it only took two plays and thirty seven seconds for Mattawan to find paydirt in the third to extend the lead to 35-14.

“It really wasn’t a magic thing, we just lined up our guys against their guys,” Wildcats head coach Matt Stephens said. “We run a pretty deceptive offense and we thought that they struggled with that early on. They committed to our fullbacks and we were able to use our quarterbacks and halfbacks to run off the edge.”

Not to be outdone, The Spartans answered right back with a quick march down the field that was finished off by a 20-yard scoring pass from Riley Davis to Donnie Ernsberger.

Davis and Ernsberger also hooked up midway through the third quarter on an impressive 60-yard touchdown pass that saw the receiver shuck a defender as he scampered past the goal line.

Ernsberger would finish the contest with 93 yards on three catches including the two scores. He would also recover a second quarter fumble deep inside Spartan territory, shutting down a possible Wildcat scoring drive.

Davis moved the ball respectably through the air, finishing with 116 yards.

“Offensively we did pretty good,” Miller said. “We took a big step forward this year, getting into the playoffs.”

But in the end Mattawan and Sweeny, the crafty senior tailback was just far too much to handle.

Sweeny ripped off scoring strikes of 68 and 82 yards as well as adding a one-yard touchdown plunge for good measure. The senior finished with a game high 205 on only 10 carries.

Elms added 44 yards rushing for the Wildcats and quarterback Austin Collison took three keepers for 137 yards including scoring runs of 46 and 78 yards.

Despite Mattawan’s big play brilliance, The Spartans did all they could to stay in the contest.

Trailing by three scores midway through the second quarter, the Spartans marched down the field, holding on to the ball for nearly five full minutes. The attack was capped by a seven-yard Campbell touchdown when the junior tailback slammed his way up the middle for the score.

Six fumbles, three of which were lost, did little to help a Lakeview club that needed to value every position if it were to pull off the upset.

“We didn’t execute as well as we had hoped to and it wound up hurting us,” Miller said.

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