By Travis Smola
Vicksburg football is officially in the post season after earning their sixth win of the season by taking down the Paw Paw Redskins 28-7, Friday night in their stadium.
The Bulldogs set the tone of the game early when they took a drive that started on their own 17 yard line and marched downfield on a long 15 play scoring drive that ate up more than half of the first quarter. The drive was capped off by senior quarterback Brenden Lovell, who took in a 3-yard carry for the score himself.
It was a drive that surprised even head coach Tom Marchese, who was pleased to see the offense get back on track against the Redskins. “That’s what you dream about,” he said of the drive.
The Redskins responded on their subsequent drive after a missed tackle resulted in a long touchdown pass. But it ended up being Paw Paw’s only score of the game as the Vicksburg defense continually stepped up to the challenge.
Senior defensive back Tanner Mendham had a key interception late to end a Paw Paw drive that got down to the Vicksburg 19. Junior defensive back Tyler Johnson had two key plays late in the game to also prevent any more Redskins points. One was a goal line pass tip and the other was a late tackle to prevent a touchdown as time was expiring.
Marchese also seemed relieved by something else in the game. “It was a much better game offensively,” Marchese said.
After a couple of slightly off games, Brenden Lovell returned to form in the contest, hitting senior receiver Deondre Lovell several times, including a wide open play Deondre broke for 67 yards and an easy score.
The Bulldogs also worked senior receiving weapon Blake Rankin into the run game as he had touchdowns on both the ground and through the air. The first was a wild, 18-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
Rankin’s second touchdown came on a wide-open, 53-yard pass down the left field sideline from Lovell. He coasted into the end zone completely untouched on the play. Joe Brady nailed every one of his extra points this week.
The Bulldogs played one of their cleanest games of the year penalty-wise. But things did get a little chippy towards the end. If anything, it indicates how heated the rivalry between Paw Paw and Vicksburg has gotten in recent years.
“It’s going to be that kind of down and dirty game,” Marchese said.