Spartans surge past Redhawks, 36-13

Spartans surge past Redhawks, 36-13

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Spartans surge past Redhawks, 36-13

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They don’t get the glory of scoring touchdowns, but the Lakeview offensive and defensive lines set the tone against rival Marshall on Friday night.

The Spartans utilized a bruising rushing attack on a wet night at Spartan Memorial Stadium, running away with a 36-13 victory over the Redhawks in Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference East Division action.

Lakeview (1-2) won its third straight over Marshall, thanks in large part to its control at the line of scrimmage on offense. The Spartans’ defensive line did its part by helping contain Marshall’s electric running back, senior Tony Wimberly.

“A real big win. The offense finally started clicking tonight,” said Lakeview head coach Matt Miller. “Running backs ran hard. Defense played well. So it was a great win. I loved the way our kids played today.”

Wimberly still ran for 104 yards on 18 carries, but was kept out of the end zone. He also saw a couple of big plays wiped away by Marshall penalties.

“I think (it was a) lack of discipline today, and that’s not this team’s character,” said Marshall head coach Jim Hendershot. “Physically, I thought Lakeview was tougher up front, and that was the name of the game.

“We’ve got to block better for (Wimberly). He’s working too hard. On the field he’s working too hard. We need to open some holes for him. If he gets a little crack, he can do some things, because he has that ability. We just need to get better up front.”

Marshall (1-2) made the big play early, as its defense scored on just the second play from scrimmage. Redhawks’ senior defensive end Robbie Ranville ripped the ball away on a handoff attempt, and sprinted 37 yards for touchdown. Ranville, a standout basketball player, had only recently joined the team and his touchdown occurred on his second snap of varsity football.

Lakeview’s offense marched down the field its next possession with a 10-play drive that was only stalled by a 30-minute lightning delay. However, the Spartans fumbled on the first play following the delay as Marshall senior Nate Kraska recovered.

On the ensuing possession, Lakeview forced a punt that was returned 32 yards by junior Alex Schwartz. That eventually set up a touchdown by junior Riley Davis on a 2-yard QB sneak. Junior fullback Donnie Ernsberger rumbled in for a 2-point conversion to put Lakeview up 8-7.

For the rest of the first half, it was all Lakeview.

Schwartz had a 30-yard punt return, followed by a 40-yard touchdown run up the middle by senior halfback Nick Ayres to help push the lead to 15-7.

Facing a third-and-1 on the Marshall 14-yard line, Lakeview junior tight end Jake Love hauled in a play-action pass from Davis to score and put the Spartans up 22-7 in the second quarter.

Lakeview junior halfback Mike Campbell made it 29-7 when he ran a sweep 66 yards for a score with just under four-minutes left in the half.

Marshall’s Wimberly gave his team a spark to open the third quarter. He took the opening kickoff, fumbled it to himself, and returned it 70 yards down to the Lakeview 28-yard line. After a 20-yard reception by junior wideout Landry Reynolds, Marshall junior quarterback Danny Welke eventually ran in a 1-yard QB sneak for a score to cut the deficit to 29-13.

But Lakeview continued to run the ball hard to close out the game. With eight minutes left in the third quarter, the Spartans’ Ernsberger rumbled down to the 2-yard line, but fumbled the ball forward. Lakeview got the right bounce, as junior tight end Karman Munder recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown

Marshall threatened to score late, as Wimberly busted off runs of 46 and 24 yards on the Redhawks’ final possession. But Lakeview senior defensive back Jalen Robinson put an end to any late rally when he made an impressive interception in the back of the end zone to all but seal the victory.

Campbell had a big night for Lakeview, rushing for 153 yards and a score on 12 carries. He totaled 146 yards on the ground by halftime. Ayres ran for 92 yards and a score on nine carries, and Ernsberger carried six times for 50 yards.

The win sets up a big matchup for Lakeview against cross-town and division rival Harper Creek.

“The biggest rival, Harper Creek, next week,” Miller said. “It’s a great win for us. Marshall is a good football team. Next week is going to be an even bigger game for us and our kids are going to be up for the challenge.

“I’m real proud how we’ve gotten better every week. Last week we played really well at St. Joe, and we knew coming into this week it was going to be a dogfight early. Made some mistakes that we need to eliminate, but the kids played hard.”

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