The Allegan football team picked up its first win of the season with a dramatic 20-14 victory that saw the Tigers score the game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. (Photo provided)

Allegan upends Sturgis for first win of season

Jason Wesseldyk

With the score deadlocked at 14-14, Allegan found itself facing a fourth-down situation at the Sturgis 20-yard line with 38 seconds left in regulation in this Friday, Sept. 21, Wolverine Conference clash. When the Tigers failed to convert, first-year Allegan coach Chris Madill immediately turned his attention to overtime.
“I started talking to the other coaches, trying to figure out what we were going to do in overtime,” Madill said.
But Avery Martinez had other ideas.
Forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Tigers, Martinez helped set up his team for another chance at the win as Allegan took over at the Sturgis 16 with 22 second remaining.
It’s a chance the Tigers took advantage of.
Quarterback JJ Smith hooked up with CJ Chenard for the 16-yard scoring pass with three seconds left to give Allegan the 20-14 win in front of an appreciative homecoming crowd.
“That was a great win for our kids and our community,” Madill said. “We’ve gone through some adversity the past few weeks, and the kids have stuck with this team and are dedicated to working hard and getting better. It was amazing to see them rewarded for that hard work.”
The win is the first of the season for the Tigers and the first of Madill’s tenure with the team.
“I’m so proud of these kids and for the determination they’ve shown,” Madill said. “You could sense throughout the day they weren’t going to be denied. They were focused and really driven to get the job done.”
Trailing 7-0 following a 6-yard scoring run by Sturgis’ Angel Gomez in the first quarter, Allegan went up 14-7 at halftime thanks to a pair of second-quarter touchdowns. The first TD found Smith scoring on a 1-yard run with 4:36 before halftime, while the second was on a 5-yard run by Jason Macherzak with 25 seconds left in the period.
A 20-yard scoring run by Zach Chapman in the third quarter knotted the score at 14-14, setting the tone for the late-game dramatics.
“To be able to get this win on homecoming makes it that much more special,” Madill said. “This is a game a lot of people come out to even if they don’t come to any others. They gave us great support and we appreciate that.”
Smith finished 2-for-3 passing for 44 yards, while Jesse Macherzak went for 41 yards on eight carries to lead the ground game.
Defensively, Caleb DeKryger had eight tackles and a fumble recovery. Zac Foster and Avery Martinez also had eight tackles, with Martinez forcing a pair of fumbles.


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