Bears ground down Lancers to claim the Anchor Trophy

STEVENSVILLE — For the first time this season, St. Joseph has had to play in less than stellar weather conditions.  The forecast for Friday’s game in Stevensville, called for intermittent showers and cold conditions, and with a blanket of clouds.   The same thing happened on the field, as the Bears kept Lakeshore’s offense ice cold and with a blanket covering the Lancers attack, they best their offense could do was intermittent. St. Joe’s dominating defense held Lakeshore to just 231 yards of total offense in the Bears 42-14 win.

Facing the Bears without their starting quarterback, who was injured the previous week, Lakeshore’s offense was unable to do much against the Bears.   After forcing the Bears to a 3 and out on the game’s opening drive. Lakeshore used an assortment of odd formations and near trick plays to drive into Bears territory.   But the trickery was short lived when Dylan Stevens intercepted the Lancer quarterback Zek Ort and returned the ball to the Lancers 43 yard line.   Six plays later, St. Joe quarterback Matt Lanier scored on a 10-yard touchdown run for a quick 7-0 lead. 

After forcing Lakeshore to a 3 and out,  St. Joe went back on the attack. Scoring 5 plays later on a 38 yard touchdown run from Trey McGinnis to put the Bears up 14-0.

However Lakeshore would get on the board on their next drive when Ort threw a shovel pass to Trevor Griffith who went 50 yards to cut the Bears lead to 14-7, but that was as close as the Lancers would get the rest of the night. 

St. Joe would restore the 14 point advantage when the Bears again would grind the ball on the ground with the running attack of McGinnis, Joron Brown, and Lanier.  McGinnis would score on a 25 yard touchdown run, his second of the night to give St. Joe a 21-7 lead.

A 3 and out for Lakeshore and a punt of only 10 yards set up the Bears for a quick 3 play drive and a 4 yard touchdown run from Matt Lanier increased the Bears lead to 28-7, which is how the first half ended.

Following halftime Lakeshore’s big adjustment was to switch quarterbacks, with Matt Vaughn taking the snaps.  It didn’t matter as the Lancers were held to three and out once again, and then another short punt into the wind resulted in starting another drive in Lakeshore territory.  Five plays later. Trey McGinnis scored his third touchdown on the night, this from 7 yards out and St. Joe expanded the lead to 34-7.

Late in the third quarter, Lakeshore’s new QB Matt Vaughn would fumble the ball at the Lancers 13 yard line.  Then on the first play of the 4th quarter Joron Brown would score on an 8 yard run, he would also add the 2 point conversion as St. Joe would take a 42-7 lead, starting the MHSAA’s mercy rule just :03 into the final quarter.

With the clock running and the Bears 2nd team defense in Lakeshore was able to score on a touchdown pass from Vaughn to Alex Wojahn to make the score 42-14.

St. Joseph would kill of the final 5 minutes and celebrated the win over the Lancers, claiming the Anchor Trophy and improving the Bears record to 6-1 and 5-0 in the SMAC, matching Battle Creek Central, whom the Bears will face in the final week of the season in the Cereal City.  St. Joe will host Mattawan for Senior Night next week.   Lakeshore falls to 3-4 and 3-2 in the SMAC, they travel to Portage Northern next week.