Redskin “D” holds Sturgis scoreless

By: 
Butch Hindenach - pawtwice@bloomingdalecom.net
Paw Paw’s Nolan Beck (20) backed up by Kurtis Carr (3) are the wall the Sturgis ball carrier ran into last Thursday night.  The Redskin defense came on strong for their home opener, resulting in a 37-0 trouncing of the visiting Trojans.  Beck intercepted a pass and scored twice in the first half, among his evening’s stats.	Hot Shotz Photography/Matthew Day

    Paw Paw - In football, perhaps more than any other sport, every player gets by “with a little help from my friends.” Some-times, assistance from your opponents doesn’t hurt either.  
    This was spelled out Friday evening in Paw Paw’s 37-0 win over Sturgis, for the Trojans proved to be very generous to their hosts.  In the first half, the visitors committed six turnovers, which gave the Redskins a short field to the end zone several times.  It was a big help for Paw Paw who never really got their running offense in gear, averaging just over three yards per attempt in 40 running plays.   
    The Redskins won the coin toss and elected to go on defense which almost instantly produced a good result.  Nolan Beck picked off a pass right away and returned it to the Sturgis 20 yard line.  Quarterback Jacob Matheny took a keeper to the two yard line, but was injured on the play and was done for the evening.  This was the third time in four years that the Redskins’ quarterback had been knocked out of action by Sturgis; the two previous years, it was the last offensive play the player was on the field for the rest of the season.  Beck found the end zone on the next play and the ’Skins had a very early 6-0 margin. Sturgis soon benefited from a miscue with a fumble recovery on the Redskin 40, but the home team defense ended the short drive on the 30.  
    Michigan Wolverine-to-be Karsen Barnhart then exhibited amazing foot speed for a 6-5, 285 pound lineman by scooping up a fumble on the 15 yard line and streaking 60 yards before a diving desperation leg tackle saved a touchdown.  Nate Harden soon scored on a nine-yard run and Mason Popp’s two-point conversion made it a 14-point game after one quarter.
    Paw Paw linebacker Andrew Vorce was in the right place at an opportune moment a few minutes later, falling on a Trojan fumble at midfield.  This produced a 33-yard touchdown pass from back-up signal caller Mason Popp to Barnhart, and Beck’s two-point conversion gave the Reds a comfortable lead.  
    Sturgis, in the final seconds before intermission, had the ball on their own five. Instead of running out the clock and going into the locker room to regroup, they ran two plays, called time out and attempted a sweep.  This did not turn out well for them, for a fumble on the five was collected by Beck who fought his way into the end zone, and Popp’s conversion aerial to  Barnhart made it 30-0 Paw Paw, as the band took the field.
    When play resumed, the Redskin defense continued to dominate the line of scrimmage, and a seven-yard run over the goal line by Peter Frey and his conversion kick activated the mercy clock.  The rest of  the game went quickly with a running clock and no more scoring.
    Paw Paw’s running attack did produce some balance with five runners gaining between 31 and 22 yards, just not a lot of success.  Frey was the leader with 31 yards in seven attempts.  Mason Popp did a good job at quarterback off the bench completing four of seven passes for 76 yards with Barnhart snaring two for 42 yards, and Beck the other pair for 34.  
    Paw Paw’s defense was the difference in the game, with  standout performances by Beck and Vorce, supported by the overall effort of the entire line.     
 

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