The St. Joseph Bears failed to score in their first game against the stingy Lakeshore defense, and for three quarters tonight the Bears had another goose egg on the board. An assist from Mother Nature at the start of the 4th quarter gave Griffin Shinrock his last touchdown of the season which ended the shutout, but the Bears could not capitalize on their last threat as they fall in defeat to the Lancers 14-9 inside a soggy Dickinson Stadium. It is Lakeshore’s first District Championship since 2013 as the Lancers went 0-3 from 2014-2019 in championship games. Now, the Lancers have their second rematch of the season as they travel to DeWitt Memorial Stadium next Saturday for a 1PM game against the #1 Panthers.
Lakeshore football coach Denny Dock knows a thing, or seven, about winning championships. Not only has Dock’s Diamond Dynasty won a Division 2 leading seven state softball championships, but he has now won nine district championships since 1999. Coach Dock, which earned his 100th career victory against rival Dowagiac and his 250th against St. Joe, added another notch to his total with the 270th victory coming tonight at the Home of the Bears.
Treyjen Keim kicked the scoring off with his 8-yard touchdown run in the 2nd Quarter after Lakeshore’s Landen Thompson ran for a 22-yard fake punt. The Lancers had a chance earlier in the game, but failed to capitalize earlier in the game on a 1st and Goal opportunity at the 6 yard line. The Bears backed up the Lancers to the 23 and forced an interception to stop the threat. The game went to halftime with the Lancers leading 7-0.
In the 3rd Quarter, Lakeshore took advantage of a short field as Aidan Jackson ran through the middle for a 16-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead that they held until a few seconds into the 4th Quarter. The Bears took advantage of a slippery field as Griffin Shinrock caught his touchdown pass after a Lakeshore defender slipped on the turf. Danny Vaughn forced the incomplete pass on the Bears final chance to tie the game as the Bears faced a 4th and Goal at the 14 yard line following a penalty that backed St. Joe up. That gave the ball to Lakeshore with 3:07 left in the game. The Lancers ran a fake punt back for a safety with ten seconds left as the Bears had no timeouts providing the final 14-9 score.
Aidan Jackson rushed for 97 yards on 24 carries, and JJ Bushu netted 30 yards. Treyjen Keim finished with 22 yards as Lakeshore rushed for just 172 yards in the game before the 45-yard run back for safety. Jackson and Ryan Kolessar each caught a JJ Bushu pass for a total of 11 yards. Tyler Gates connected on both PAT attempts.
The Lancer defense loved its second helping of Bear Meat tonight and held Troy Pratley to 62 yards passing (8 for 14) with one touchdown and one Grant Ruddell interception in the 4th Quarter. Prately did net 66 yards running as the pass defense clogged up the field most of the game.
Senior RJ Veldman stopped St. Joe’s first scoring threat after forcing a fumble after Coach Andrew Pratley took a timeout to set-up a 4th Down play attempt rather than the field goal. That cost the Bears 3-points and some early momentum. He also sacked Pratley for a 9-yard loss. Evin Koeppe led all tacklers with eight tackles (one for loss) while Tanner Jackson (seven tackles, one for loss), Keim (four tackles, one for loss), Thompson (four tackles), and Kaleb Tollefson (four tackles) paced a busy defensive attack.
The Panthers of #1 DeWitt made quick work of #5 Mason Friday night in a 43-0 District Championship blowout. The Panthers have not allowed a team to score since Lakeshore put a touchdown on the board late in their regular season finale. The Panther’s kicked a punt in that game for the first time since the season opener, and DeWitt’s QB threw his first interception of the season to Lakeshore’s Grant Ruddell. Lakeshore is seeking its first Regional Championship since 2013. Stay tuned to @LHSLancerSports on Twitter and Lakeshore Lancer Athletics on Facebook for ticket information.