By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg varsity football team moved one step closer to clinching a playoff spot in a rivalry game against the Paw Paw Redskins.
The Bulldogs came out on top 21-12 against the Redskins a week after destroying Otsego 70-13 on the road.
Paw Paw and Vicksburg had a scoreless stalemate for their first four drives. On their third drive it looked like the Bulldogs were marching down the field for a score when senior quarterback Garrett Ketelaar was intercepted at the two yard line.
But he made up for his mistake on the next drive, marching the Bulldogs 49 yards before he capped off the drive himself with a 10-yard quarterback scramble for the touchdown. Joe Brady’s kick made 7-0.
On the very next drive Ryan Morgan picked off a Redskins pass at the Paw Paw 28 yard line. After a 19 yard pass to Gavin Leach got the Bulldogs knocking on the door, Ketelaar again ran in for the score himself, this time from nine yards out.
The very next drive played out in very similar fashion. Adam Henderson managed to scoop up a lofted pass for an interception right before it hit the ground. Two plays later, junior running back Caleb Welch found some space on the left side and rumbled 53 yards, stiff-arming a Redskin defender on his way into the end zone for the score and to extend the lead to 21-0. Welch led the team with 80 yards on the ground.
“We played really well in the first half,” Head Coach Tom Marchese said while also admitting there had been some missed opportunities like a dropped pass in the first quarter that hit Morgan right in the hands while he was wide open in the end zone.
“That wasn’t how you draw it up,” Marchese said.
In the second half, Paw Paw used deception from the T-formation to march down the field and break the goose egg on the scoreboard. “They found something in their run game,” Marchese said. But the extra point was shanked and helped give the Bulldogs just enough of a cushion.
When Paw Paw finally scored again on a one-yard touchdown run with 1:42 left in the game, they were forced to go for two and failed to get it. Vicksburg recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.
The good news is the Bulldogs now only need one win to secure a playoff spot. The Wolverine Conference will likely come down to the wire once again this year. The Bulldogs will face South Haven next week, but will then face two tough tests in games against Edwardsburg and the Bulldogs’ arch-rival, Three Rivers.