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Saugatuck holds off Maple Valley to win district final

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By Leo Martonosi

Sports Correspondent

 

SAUGATUCK—There were many heroes for Saugatuck in its first-ever home district championship contest on Friday, Nov. 3, against Vermontville Maple Valley.

“This was a complete total team effort,” Indian coach football coach Bill Dunn said following his team’s 14-7 win. “Everyone played well. Even the guys who didn’t get in contributed to this victory.”

Dunn rattled off a good portion of his roster in the nail-biting win.

“I can’t say enough about how this team was able to overcome three turnovers to pull out the win against a good team,” Dunn said.

In addition to the three turnovers, the Indians also had a muffed punt.

The Indians (8-3) wouldn’t have advanced to the regional opener at Cassopolis on Friday, Nov. 10, if it hadn’t been for a pair of short touchdown runs by quarterback Jackson Shriver.

“All the credit goes to my offensive line,” Shriver said. “Those guys, along with our entire defense, did a great job.”

Shriver’s first TD came from four yards out and trimmed Maple Valley’s lead to one point at 8-7. His second touchdown—which proved to be the game-winner—was on a 1-yard plunge behind center Aedan Kelly and guards Colin Bush and Samuel Beckman.

Nicholas Baumbach made the comeback possible by intercepting a Maple Valley pass at the Lions’ 40-yard lime with 7:58 to play in the hard-hitting contest.

“This was my first interception this year and by far the most meaningful of my high school career,” Baumbach said.

Shriver couldn’t stop talking about Baumbach’s heroics.

“Nick made an amazing play,” Shriver said. “He just took it right away from their guy.”

Shriver changed the call at the line prior to his second touchdown.

“The play was designed for (Baumbach), but we decided to sneak if the defense was wide open,” Shriver said.

Evan Czarnecki made good on both of his extra-point kicks for Saugatuck.

With the Lions’ defense doubling up on the Indians’ Brad Dunn, who is capable of taking it to the house on any given carry, Jacob Stewart more than picked up the slack by rushing for 98 on 15 carries.

“They were keying on Brad, but we once again showed we have some other weapons,” Bill Dunn said.

Baumbach, who checked in with 48 yards on 15 attempts, was delighted to be a member of a team that presented Bill Dunn with his 100th career coaching win at Saugatuck.

“To be part of this is so exciting,” Baumbach said.

Bill Dunn downplayed his milestone triumph.

“It just means I’ve been here for a while and have been blessed with having a lot of very good players who come from very good families,” he said.

Bill Dunn thanked his defense—led by Reece Schreckenhust (seven tackles) and Bryson Davis (five take downs including one for a sack)—for its role in securing this win.

“Our defense did a great job,” he said. “Everyone stepped up when we needed them to.”

Contact Leo Martonosi at leomartonosi@gmail.com.