From the outside, this looked to be a little bit of a trap game for Lakeview. The Spartans were set to face city rival Harper Creek next week in what could be a battle for first place in the division.
But first, Lakeview had to take care of an improved Coldwater, that was hoping to catch the Spartans looking ahead.
It turned out that it was Coldwater that was caught in a trap. Coldwater had to have had kind of a sandtrap-like feeling as the Cardinals kept sinking further and further behind as Lakeview dominated this game early.
Lakeview defeated Coldwater, 56-7, as the Spartans remain undefeated at 7-0 in this Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division football game on Friday.
Lakeview showed it wasn’t looking ahead as the Spartans jumped on Coldwater early and scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and never looked back.
“There was no way our kids were going to fall into a trap in this game. I am so proud of our senior class and there is no way they were going to let that happen and they showed it today by jumping on them in the first half,” Lakeview coach Matt Miller said.
In the end, the win does set up a monster city and division battle next week with 7-0 Lakeview hosting 6-1 Harper Creek as both teams will go into that game tied for first in the SMAC East Division at 5-0.
But Lakeview had to deal with an improved 3-3 Coldwater team first, before it could get ready for the Beavers.
“Very important to focus on this game against Coldwater because this was the game of the week,” said Lakeview senior running back Mike Campbell. “Harper Creek doesn’t matter to us until Monday.
“But they are a big rival and it will be a good game. But we had to win this one first.”
Lakeview dominated this game early with a relatively new wrinkle in its already impressive offense.
The Spartans’ Campbell was already approaching record numbers in the running game for Lakeview as he is just one touchdown away from the school record for a single season. Now, on top of that, Lakeview has added rumbling running back Donnie Ernsberger to the mix.
Campbell started the scoring with a 17-yard touchdown run to put Lakeview up 7-0 with 5:55 left in the first quarter.
Ernsberger added to the score with a 36-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-short in which he bounced off Coldwater defenders before breaking free for the score to make it 14-0 with 3:01 left in the quarter.
Ernsberger then added a short touchdown run from three yards out where he moved the pile into the end zone for the score to give the Spartans a 21-0 lead with 11:54 left in the half.
“Ernsberger just ran us over. We had a hard time bringing him down,” Coldwater coach Jeff Schorfhaar said. “They just outhit us. That’s the hardest hitting team we have seen this year.”
The combination of the strong and powerful Campbell and the straight-ahead linebacker-turned-running back Ernsberger has teams struggling to stop the Spartans. With both playing just a half, Campbell had 87 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Ernsberger added 77 yards and two touchdowns.
“We have Mike and he’s fast. And now we have me in there also as another powerful running back. And then you add our offensive line and we just are running the ball really well right now,” Ernsberger said.
The scoring continued with a 13-yard touchdown on a quarterback keeper by sophomore Skyler Nichols to make it 28-0 with 6:45 left in the half.
With Coldwater selling out against the run, Nichols then found Jake Love for a 55-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-0 with 3:36 still left in the half.
The points kept rolling up as Lakeview scored on 45-yard punt return by Alex Schwartz to make it 45-0 with 2:11 left in the half.
Then Campbell ended the first half scoring with a short touchdown run from four yards out to take the game into halftime at 49-0.
The Lakeview defense also came to play once again, allowing only 22 yards of total offense in the first half.
But it was the running game that was the talk of the game as Campbell talked about a powerful offense, that has even become better with the addition of Ernsberger in the backfield.
“They can’t watch both of us and then when we add the passing we had tonight, they really can’t stop all of us,” Campbell said. “So we are clicking on offense right now.”
With a running mercy-rule clock in the second half, Coldwater came up with its lone touchdown on a 17-yard touchdown run by Sawyer Murphy.
Lakeview added a late score by backup quarterback Hunter Bost on a keeper from three yards out.
Following the win, Lakeview allowed itself to start thinking about rival Harper Creek, coming up next week.
“Last year, the last team to beat us in the regular season was Harper. They have such a great program and we have been trying to get our program up to their level,” Miller said. “Our senior class made a commitment to be ready to play Harper Creek this year and we hope we are. We know they are the top dogs and we got to knock them off if we want to be on top.”