Indians come up short in upset bid against unbeaten Lawton
By Jason Wesseldyk
Saugatuck’s football game against division-leading Lawton couldn’t have started much better for the Indians.
And it couldn’t have ended much more painfully.
After building a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, Saugatuck went scoreless the rest of way and dropped the 20-14 decision to the Blue Devils.
The loss not only ensured the Indians would miss out on the playoffs for the first time in five years, but also guaranteed their first losing season since 2006 as they fell to 3-5 with one game remaining.
“This was another tough loss, especially they way we started the game with a 14-0 lead,” Saugatuck coach Bill Dunn said. “We came out with a good energy, we were well-prepared and we had a few good drives. But you can’t make mistakes against a good team like that and expect to win.”
Lawton, which improved to 8-0 and clinched the SAC Lakeshore Division championship, got all it could handle from Saugatuck in the early going.
On the Indians’ first possession, Benny Diaz raced 70 yards to the end zone. Griffin Milovanski followed with a successful extra-point kick to give Saugatuck the 7-0 lead.
That lead grew to 14-0 early in the second quarter as Keiran Boerema hooked up with Tommy Beckman for a 58-yard TD, with Milovanski adding the extra point.
But Lawton answered with a pair of TD passes from Dustin Nobles later in the second quarter—the first going for 80 yards to Alex Rueff and the second going for eight yards to Jake Rueff—to knot the score at 14-14.
And Noble wasn’t done, tacking on a third scoring pass as he found Alex Rueff for a 3-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give the Blue Devils their first lead at 20-14.
“As the game progressed, Lawton was able to make plays, and we unfortunately could not,” Dunn said. “We did a good job of limiting their run offense and they made some big plays through the air.”
Offensively, Saugatuck racked up 234 rushing yards, including 119 on 13 carries from Diaz. But the majority of those came in the first half, as the Indians struggled to move the ball after halftime.
“Lawton controlled the line of scrimmage in the second half and we could not do what we’ve been accustomed to, which is run the football,” Dunn said.
Boerema added 36 yards on 13 carries, while Donnie Drew had 34 yards on nine carries and Ben Drew had 30 yards on eight carries.
Beckman led the Saugatuck defense with 10 total tackles, followed by Donnie Drew with eight. Donnie Drew also had a fumble recovery.
Boerema and Acdan Kelley added six tackles each.
While disappointed with the result, Dunn was not disappointed with his team’s effort.
“The kids gave an undefeated team a good scare and I’m proud of their effort,” he said. “We had a chance at the end but we just couldn’t finish.”
Saugatuck’s final drive ended at the Lawton 26-yard line as the Indians turned over the ball on downs.