(Battle Creek) – St. Joseph clinched the top seed in the district and home field advantage for at least the first three rounds of the playoffs after Lakeshore’s loss to DeWitt and the Bears 22-14 win at Battle Creek Lakeview.
St. Joe got on the board first after forcing a Lakeview missed field goal. St. Joe went on an 11-play 80 yard drive, ending with a 1-yard run by quarterback Troy Pratley on a quarterback sneak. However the snap on the point after sailed over his head and his pass attempt was incomplete, but the Bears took a 6-0 lead.
Lakeview would tie and then take the lead on the ensuing possession that continued into the 2nd quarter. Quarterback Jaden Simonson scored on an 11 yard run, with the PAT good. Lakeview had the lead at 7-6.
St. Joe would have two more opportunities to score in the half, but turned it three times, two by interception and once on downs before the half ended.
The Bears then took the opening possession of the 2nd half and retook the lead on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Troy Pratley to Griffin Shinrock. St. Joe would get the 2 point conversion on a Carter Vonk run to put the score at 14-7.
Lakeview would tie the game on their next possession, with 8:40 to go in the 4th quarter Jaden Simonson scored on an 11-yard run to make the score 14-14.
Just 13 seconds later the Bears got the lead back in a record smashing way. Griffin Shinrock took the kickoff at the 5-yard line and raced down the St. Joe sideline virtually untouched for a 95 yard kickoff return touchdown. Carter Vonk again added the two point conversion and the lead was 22-14. Shinrock’s 95-yard kickoff return broke the St. Joe school record of a 94-yard touchdown return by Bear legend Mike Ryan against Portage Central. Ryan’s record lasted 16,800 days.
Lakeview would appear to tie the game on the very next play with a kickoff return of their own, but multiple flags nullified the return and would set up Lakeview at their 22 yard line. However a Lakeview player disagreed with the call and removed his helmet to go after the referee. He was ejected and the Spartans were pushed back even farther to their 11-yard line and now without one of their running backs.
Lakeview went 3 and out on their next drive and then their last two drives ended by interceptions by Brennan Kerns and Malik Immoos.
With the win St. Joe evened the overall series with Lakeview at 9-9 and clinched the number 1 overall seed in the districts following Lakeshore’s 43-6 loss at #1 DeWitt.
St. Joe will open up the 2020 playoffs at Dickinson Stadium against 0-6 Gull Lake. The Bears defeated the Blue Devils 54-14 two weeks ago.
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