By Travis Smola
The 2019 season couldn’t have started out better for the Vicksburg varsity football team as it scored in all three phases of the game against the Sturgis Trojans.
Chase Myers opened the game with a bang by returning the kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. On the Trojans’ first possession, Myers found the end zone again after picking off the Sturgis quarterback and returning the ball 40 yards for the touchdown. Jacob Conklin’s extra point made it 14-0 only minutes into the game.
There was only one way to describe the momentum Myers’ plays gave the team: “Gigantic!” Head Coach Tom Marchese said. “At one point I looked up, and we hadn’t even touched the ball yet and it was 14-0.
“Our whole kickoff team did a great job when he took it to the house,” Marchese added. “It just sets everyone at ease. We didn’t even run a play and we’re up 7-0. And then he jumped on that curl route. The crowd was into it, our team was into it. It settles everything down pretty quickly.”
The Bulldogs continued their perfect start with a five-play drive on their next possession, capped off by a 11-yard designed quarterback run by Conklin. Thanks to great blocking by the offensive line, Conklin walked into the end zone completely untouched by Trojan defenders.
The Bulldogs defenders kept steady pressure on the Sturgis offense all night and gave the offense a short field after a turnover on downs. Jared Gorsline capped off a short drive with a six-yard run through a huge hole opened by the offensive line.
On the subsequent point after attempt, a high snap resulted in Conklin scrambling after the ball far behind the line of scrimmage. Somehow, he was able to recover the ball, turn and sling a pass to a wide-open Brendan Monroe standing in the endzone for two. That made the score 29-0.
Conklin was intercepted on the next possession as the Bulldogs were driving, but Sturgis fumbled it back to Vicksburg. The Bulldogs turned the mistake into six more points on a seven-play drive, capped off by a three-yard run by Christian Roth. Conklin’s extra point made things 36-0.
The Bulldog’s final score of the night came in the second half on a three-yard QB keeper to make the score 42-0. The extra point was no good on a high snap.
As clean as things may have looked to the fans, Marchese still sees areas where improvements could have been made. He said their expectations are to get back to the playoffs this year, but that they need to take things one game at a time and not get too far ahead of themselves.
“It (the game) seemed pretty complete, but we still have a few things we’ve got to clean up,” Marchese said. “You can’t rest on your laurels. We’ve got Plainwell coming in here. Whenever we’ve played them the last five years, it’s been tough.”