STEVENSVILLE, MI (WTVB) - The first ever appearance for the Coldwater Cardinals in the MHSAA Football Playoffs came to an end Friday night, but not without a fight, as Coldwater lost on the road at Stevensville Lakeshore 28-21. Coldwater scored first and led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Lancers responded with 21 unanswered through the second and third quarters. The Cardinals scored right at the beginning of the 4th quarter to draw to within 7, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the night. Trailing 28-21 with 3 minutes left, the Cardinals got the ball back after a Lakeshore punt. A Luke Beckhusen pass was intercepted on the Lakeshore 6 yard line, and the Lancers were able to wind down the clock for the win.
On the night, Cooper Murphy led the offense with 137 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown, while Chris VandenHout had 11 carries for 48 yards. Beckhusen had 12 carries for 48 yards and a score; he was also 5 for 10 passing for 62 yards and 2 interceptions. Luke Stempien had 2 receptions for 31 yards and one 2-yard carry for a touchdown. Stempien and Zach DeMeester had 7 tackles apiece to lead the Cardinal defense.
Coldwater finished the season with a 5-5 record under second-year head coach Jeff Schorfhaar. Lakeshore improves to 7-3 and will play St Joseph in the next round of the playoffs. The Bears beat Sturgis Friday night 16-0.
Our McDonald's Players of the Game were Coldwater’s seniors, who helped lead the team to the playoffs: Ryan Hadley, Chris VandenHout, Steven Suelzer, Austin Siegel, Cooper Murphy, Bryant Garrett, Tylar Rankin, Joel Jepson, Shawn Reincke, Cody Squier, Randy Brown, Mike Covey, Levi Wilson, Parker Dove, Austin Nichols, Darrien Bradley, Luke Stempien, and Francisco Hernandez.
DIVISION 2: Portage Central 38, Lansing Everett 6
DIVISION 2: Lakeview 31, Portage Northern 7
DIVISION 3: Byron Center 28, Harper Creek 3
DIVISION 4: Pennfield 21, Paw Paw 17
DIVISION 4: Dowagiac 21, Edwardsburg 17
DIVISION 5: Parchment 40, Jackson Lumen Christi 35
DIVISION 5: Olivet 14, Hopkins 6
DIVISION 6: Watervliet 44, Hartford 0
DIVISION 6: Schoolcraft 28, Niles Brandywine 21
DIVISION 6: Hillsdale 29, Jonesville 14
DIVISION 7: Homer 28, Reading 0
DIVISION 7: Lawton 21, Springport 6
DIVISION 8: Climax-Scotts 20, Bellevue 0
8-MAN: Battle Creek St Philip 62, Waldron 6
8-MAN: Lawrence 58, Burr Oak 8
On today’s schedule, the MHSAA Cross Country Finals take place at Michigan International Speedway. Branch County will be represented by Quincy’s Riley Horn, Logan Kestner, and Zachariah Slack in the Boys Division 3 Race and by the Lady Orioles team in the Girls Division 3 race: Haley and Kelsey Bean, Alyssa Bracy, Madde Horn, Nickole Loomis, Loren Reif, and Katie Spalding. Volleyball league tournaments are also on tap today, ahead of the start of the MHSAA Volleyball Districts on Monday. Coldwater will be at the SMAC Tournament at Portage Central, Bronson travels to Mendon for the final St. Joe Valley Tournament, and Quincy will host Union City and the rest of the Big 8 for its league tourney.