By Jason Wesseldyk
NILES—After opening the season with a pair of home games, the Saugatuck football team hit the road for the first time on Friday, Sept. 8, for a game against Niles Brandywine.
The change of venue did nothing to change the Trailblazers’ good fortunes.
Saugatuck scored one touchdown in each of the first three quarters and improved to 3-0 with the 21-6 victory.
“It was a win on the road, which is always a tough thing to do, especially your first road trip,” Saugatuck coach Bill Dunn said. “It was a good test for our guys because it was a physical game for four quarters, which is a credit to Brandywine’s players and coaches.
“But our kids were able to keep their composure and match the physicality of the game.”
Senior quarterback Matt Hartgerink continued his strong play to start the season, as he had a hand in all three of his team’s touchdowns.
After scoring on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, Hartgerink connected with Cass Stanberry for a 15-yard TD toss in the second quarter. Hartgerink concluded Saugatuck’s scoring with a 5-yard run in the third frame.
All told, Hartgerink ran for 100 yards on 18 carries to go with 21 passing yards on 2-of-8 accuracy. Classmate Will Doucette gave Saugatuck a second 100-yard rusher, as he went for 113 yards on 19 carries.
Stanberry accounted for both of the Trailblazers’ receptions.
“Matt Hartgerink did an excellent job of managing the game and making plays to keep the chains moving, along with Will Doucette and Landon Miller,” Dunn said.
Miller added 20 rushing yards on four carries.
The second two Saugatuck touchdowns were clock-eaters. The second-quarter TD went of 16 plays, while the third-quarter score went for 17 plays.
“Offensively, we were able to control the clock and time of possession, as indicated by the long drives that resulted in touchdowns,” Dunn said. “Plus, we took care of the ball with no turnovers.”
Stanberry led the defensive effort with 15 total tackles, followed by Doucette and Miller with seven each. Carter Miller added six tackles.
Saugatuck has allowed a total of just 27 points in its three games.
“It was another great effort by the defense, limiting the big play by Brandywine and keeping their offense to one score,” Dunn said. “Cass Stanberry was the man in the middle and made plays all over the field.”
Cam Lewis shined on special teams for Saugatuck, connecting on all three of his extra-point kicks. That makes him a perfect 10-for-10 in PATs the past two weeks.
“He’s also kicking the ball deep on kickoffs, which puts the opposing offense at a disadvantage,” Dunn said of Lewis.
“Overall, the kids went on the road and played well, a physical, efficient win that moves the team forward in the right direction in all phases of the game based on their performance and results.”
Next up is a battle at Union City on Friday, Sept. 15. Union City is also 3-0.
“I’m anticipating a playoff-type atmosphere for that one,” Dunn said.
By Jason Wesseldyk