By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg varsity football team blasted by Otsego in the annual “battle of the Bulldogs” with a 38-0 shutout to bring their regular season record to 4-2.
“I thought we played probably our most complete game all year on both sides of the ball,” Head Coach Tom Marchese said, “tackling, blocking and just making some plays when we had to do it.”
Vicksburg started off that complete game on a strong statement of an opening drive. Jacob Conklin capped off the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to his favorite target, Toby Stock. It was the second of eight receptions Stock had in the game. Seven of those catches came in the first half alone. For a while it seemed that Otsego had no one covering him.
“They were playing off him a lot, so we took what they give him,” Marchese said. “That’s the good thing about Conklin being a third-year starter; you know it doesn’t always have to be the home run or the deep ball, he can give it to the guy 10 yards downfield and he makes something running, so that was pretty good.”
Conklin also scored twice in the game using his legs, first on a four-yard run with four minutes left in the first half and again on a designed 13-yard QB keeper in the third. Conklin also tossed a second touchdown to Breckin Burdette, a 20-yarder on a fourth down and eight that was just outside of field goal range.
Vicksburg also had arguably its strongest game of the year running the ball. Elijah Bombich and Xavier Wadley took turns plowing through the Otsego defense all evening, churning yards and chewing up clock. Bombich carried the ball 12 times and Wadley seven times. Bombich finally found the endzone from one yard in the game’s final minute.
“Up front and offensively, I thought we played one of our better, more complete games up front blocking,” Marchese said.
Kyler Dean missed two extra points in the contest, but he also connected on two field goals from 20 and 23 yards out to help give the team a well-rounded performance on special teams. The defense made an especially strong showing, forcing two turnovers on downs. Burdette had an interception that he nearly turned into a pick-six, and Vicksburg also recovered a late fumble to stop a late Otsego drive.
“I thought defensively we ran to the ball like no other,” Marchese said. “We did a really good job keeping (Ashton) Atwater at check because he’s a really good back.”
All four of Vicksburg’s wins this year were shutouts and all were by at least 30 points. Their two losses came against Edwardsburg in the season opener and against Paw Paw in a tough home loss.
By Travis Smola