By Shae Brophy
The West Michigan Hawks hosted the #10 ranked Wayne County Bengals, in a divisional matchup Saturday, June 27. The Hawks came up short, in an exciting game, falling 48-34.
Wayne County scored the first touchdown of the game and took a 6-0 lead, after failing to convert on the first two conversions. The Hawks then scored 18 consecutive points in the first quarter. Joel Paasch intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it 103 yards to the three yard line. On the ensuing drive, quarterback Jeff Krebs found Omar Haynes in the end zone for a touchdown. Defensive end Corey Steele returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown, and Dontae Ensley caught his first touchdown of the season as well. The Hawks led the game 18-14 after one quarter.
After a very defensive second quarter, Wayne County led 26-18 at the half. The Bengals proceeded to build a 40-18 lead after three quarters. The Hawks made things interesting late in the game, but were unable to close the gap on the scoreboard.
Wide receiver Dontae Ensley finished the game with two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions. Wide receiver Omar Haynes scored a touchdown, and quarterback Jeff Krebs pounded one in on his own from the two-yard line. Defensively, cornerback Joel Paasch wound up with two interceptions. Safety Nate Johnson also had two interceptions, and cornerback Omar Haynes finished with one interception. All together, the Hawks forced 10 turnovers for the game (5 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 turnovers on downs), while only committing five of their own. The 34 points were more than twice as many as the Hawks had scored in any other game this year, and the most the Bengals had allowed to any team this season.
Ensley remarked: “We started out better than we ever have. I knew it was going to be a good game until (we gave up) the two straight scores, then we fell apart a little bit. That didn’t keep us down too long though, because we started fighting back again. In the end it’s all about having fun.”
Head Coach David Lange had this to say about the game: “We played a hard fought game which I think we could have and should have won. We put up 34 points and forced 10 turnovers, which is outstanding. However, the one thing we as a team need to work on is keeping our foot on the gas the whole game and not let up. We are a first year team; we are going to run into problems along the way. All we can do is overcome these problems and move on. In our next game, we face the Michigan Renegades in Detroit and I can promise that we are going to take it to them.”
After taking this weekend off to celebrate Independence Day, the team will be in action again on July 11, traveling to Detroit to face the Michigan Renegades.