Blackhawks sneak past Clippers
For the majority of its SAC Lakeshore opener with Fennville on Friday, Sept. 21, the Martin football team managed to contain Fennville quarterback Matthew Sanchez and the Blackhawk offense.
In fact, the Clippers picked off three of Sanchez’s passes in the first half; Alex Hardy, Clayton Geerlings and Cayden Curry all had interceptions.
But for a span of about eight minutes that began late in the second quarter and spilled into the third quarter, Sanchez found his rhythm.
Sanchez threw one touchdown pass in the closing minute of the second quarter and two more in the third quarter to erase a 12-0 deficit and lead Fennville to the 20-18 win.
“This was a hard-fought game,” first-year Fennville coach Trevor Lucas said. “Give Martin a lot of credit. They came in here and made it tough for us. They made a lot of plays defensively and got us a bit out of sync. Fortunately we were able to regroup and we made enough plays to get the win.”
Sanchez’s first TD toss covered 13 yards to Dylan Schut and came with just 21.2 second left in the opening half. That cut Martin’s lead to 12-7 at halftime.
Sanchez opened the second half with a 35-yard scoring strike that put Fennville up 14-7.
With Fennville attempting a punt following a three-and-out on its next possession, Martin’s Hunter Kershaw came up with a block. Clipper Nate Westra then recovered the ball and made his way into the end zone as Martin retook the lead at 18-14.
“That was a big play and put us in great position,” first-year Martin coach Brad Blauvelt said. “Our special teams have been consistently good all year. We put a decent amount of time into specials during practice, so it was good to see some that preparation come to fruition.”
But back came Fennville, getting a 50-yard scoring strike from Sanchez to Teegan Lemmons on the next possession to put the Blackhawks up 20-18 with 4:15 left in the third quarter.
“I just wanted to come out and help us win,” Sanchez said. “We were moving the ball in the first half. I just had some turnovers. So I knew if we didn’t turn over the ball, we’d be able to move it and score some points.”
Martin had one final opportunity to go back ahead, driving from their own 19-yard line to the Fennville 9-yard line late in the fourth quarter. But Fennville came up with some big defensive plays—including a sack that cost the Clippers nine yards—to prevail.
“I was trying to find a good matchup to get one of our athletes the ball in some space,” Blauvelt said of the late drive. “We squandered two downs by taking a sack and a broken play, but we still got the matchup we wanted on fourth-down with Carter (Hilton) and took a shot in the end zone.
“Obviously we didn’t convert, but we had opportunities. That one sticks out because of the timing, but we missed some opportunities throughout the game that ended up hurting us in the end.”
Martin’s first two TDs came on a 1-yard run from Hilton in the first quarter and a 25-yard pass from Gabe Meyers to Hardy in the second quarter.
Curry finished with 153 rushing yards on 23 carries in the loss.