Allegan upends Otsego on gridiron for first win
As the Allegan cheerleaders counted down the final seconds of their team’s homecoming football game against Otsego on Friday, Sept. 29, Tiger coach Josh Lucas pumped his fist and smiled broadly.
This was the moment he and his players had been waiting for all season.
After starting the season with five consecutive losses, Allegan found its way into the win column thanks to a 20-7 win over the visiting Bulldogs.
“I’m just so happy for these kids,” Lucas said. “They’ve continued to work hard each day and we continue to make improvements. We know where we are as a program and we know there’s a lot of work left to do. But it’s so nice to see these guys get rewarded for the hard work they’ve put into this thing.”
Not only was the win the first of the season for the Tigers, but it was also the first home victory for the Tigers in nearly five years, dating back to a 34-13 triumph over Comstock on Oct. 5, 2012.
Allegan did win its season finale in South Haven last season to finish that year 1-8 following a pair of winless campaigns.
“To be able to get this win in front on our home crowd on homecoming is pretty special,” Lucas said. “It’s great to see the support from the community. It means a lot to us.”
Neither team gave its respective fans much to cheer about in the first half, as the game went to halftime scoreless. Otsego had the best scoring chance prior to halftime, putting together a 12-play drive that ultimately stalled on the Allegan 5-yard line when the Bulldogs failed to convert on a fourth-and-goal play.
The second half opened with a 13-play, 58-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard run by Cameron Day to break the scoreless deadlock. The extra point from Damyon Wedge made it 7-0 in Allegan’s favor with 5:54 remaining in the third quarter.
Later in the quarter, Caleb DeKryger intercepted a pass from Otsego quarterback Will Eldred after it was tipped by Wedge, giving the Tigers possession at the Bulldog 34-yard line. Allegan took advantage of that short field to score its second touchdown of the game, this one on a 3-yard run by Day with 8:33 left in the game.
Wedge’s extra point made it 14-0.
Otsego answered on its next possession as Dyllan Swinehart hauled in a 12-yard pass from Eldred to cap an 11-play drive and narrow the gap to 14-7.
But Allegan wouldn’t be denied, getting a 71-yard scoring run from Wedge with 1:36 left to play to put the finishing touches on the win.
“The kids came out and they executed our game plan,” Lucas said.
Wedge finished with 160 yards on 24 carries, while Day added 60 yards on 17 carries. Chris Hitchcock completed three of his eight pass attempts for 56 yards.
“Hitchcock, Day and Wedge really stepped up big for us,” Lucas said. “Those guys are our leaders. They were the guys who were here when I got here and we rely on them a lot.”
For Otsego (1-5), Eldred went 8-of-19 passing for 86 yards. He also had a team-high 56 rushing yards on eight carries.