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FOOTBALL: Bears hunt down Cardinals (PHOTO)
Roosevelt overcomes its own miscues and remains unbeaten
Nate Eady (32) and his mates wrap up Melvindale quarterback Jason Doyle on this play Friday night. The Bears rallied from a halftime deficit to win the Downriver League battle 17-10. Photo by Larry Caruso
One touchdown is all it takes to win a football game and one touchdown was all it took for the Roosevelt football team to top Melvindale at home on Friday night.
Both defenses have proved strong all season long and Friday’s contest was no exception. Fortunately for host Wyandotte, it was the Bears’ who proved the strongest in a 17-10 victory.
In the biggest matchup so far this season in the Downriver League, both teams were undefeated and Roosevelt was looking to uphold a long running reputation, while Melvindale was out to show everyone just how strong this year’s team is.
It was a long game with a lot of timeouts, penalties and some uncharacteristic plays and it looked like the teams could see overtime.
With both defenses doing their job, it took almost an entire half for either team to get a touchdown.
Melvindale got the first one with 2:07 left to play in the half and marched its way down the field in nine plays. With just one second to go, quarterback Jason Doyle connected with Albert Webster in the end zone for a 10-3 advantage at the half.
Earlier in the game, each team kicked a field goal for a 3-3 tie.
Roosevelt’s came on its first possession of the half when a botched Melvindale punt gave the Bears a first and ten on the 8-yard line.
With 8:04 to play, Jacob Simpson kicked the 22-yard field goal and the Bears had the lead.
On its next possession, Roosevelt ate up five minutes of the clock in 12 plays and Donovan Stewart went for a long pass to Donnie Corley in the endzone, but Devin Wise broke it up and the Bears were forced to punt.
The Cards got the ball and got their scoring started, taking the drive into the second quarter and marching down to the 10-yard line but had to settle for a field goal.
Ricky Cripps kicked the 27-yarder and things were tied at three.
Roosevelt recovered its own fumble on the next play, but then Wise came in to intercept a Stewart pass. The Cards moved nine plays and got down to a fourth and goal on the 1-yard line, but it was Roosevelt who came up with the interception this time when Kyle Matejko intercepted Doyle’s pass.
Roosevelt couldn’t capitalize and was forced to punt but botched the kick and hit its own guys giving Melvindale possession back on the 20-yard line. This time Melvindale couldn’t capitalize, and turned the ball over on downs.
The Cards scored on their next possession and held the lead almost halfway through the third quarter.
Melvindale ate up almost four minutes of the fourth in 10 plays when Damon Singleton intercepted a Doyle pass and returned it 21 yards.
It again didn’t result in anything as the Bears fumbled the ball and Melvindale’s Cameron Perryman recovered.
The Bears got their revenge when Sowards sacked Doyle on the next drive and then tied things up quickly.
Roosevelt got the ball with 4:55 to go in the third and it took just four plays for Stewart to connect with Sowards for a beautiful 56-yard pass.
Things started working for the Bears and they took the lead on their next possession.
Melvindale fumbled a snap and the Bears recovered with 2:30 to go. They moved the ball eight plays and after having a 42-yard touchdown called back on a holding penalty, capitalized on the next toss when Stewart found Sowards from 30 yards out.
“We actually ran that play with the intent of setting up the touchdown, so we got the look that we expected to get, and we wanted to make sure we were confident with the ball and we came right back,” Roosevelt Coach Ron Adams said. “The key is though that Donovan made the throw.
“In the past few games he’s been throwing a flat ball … I was very impressed with the way he put the touch on it and obviously Sowards made the play.”
The fourth quarter saw Melvindale punt twice and Kle’Sean Clark intercept a pass in the end zone.
With 1:31 to go, Melvindale got possession on the Roosevelt 42 and two incomplete passes and a loss of a yard brought up a fourth and 11.
Each team took a timeout as the suspension grew and with 40 seconds left, Doyle threw a Hail Mary pass with hopes of connecting with Clark, but it was just out of reach and the game was in the books.
Melvindale Coach Jason Carriveau knew that a running game was out of the question pretty early on and his team looked to Doyle to keep them in the contest.
“Wyandotte’s defense is very tough and it’s very tough to run the ball against them,” he said. “So they put is in a situation where we have to throw the ball so that doesn’t help JJ (Doyle) at all.
“With that said, he did a great job; he rose to the occasion and did what he had to do. It was a little disappointing we didn’t come away with the points down there, but we eventually did and went in with a halftime lead and we don’t dwell on the things that we miss.”
Carriveau said his kids only looked forward to the next snap and a chance to prove their will.
“Some teams would have crumbled down there and they didn’t,” he said. “They were excited because we held them out of the end zone for a full half and that’s a good offense.”
Adams knew his team made too many mistakes in the first half.
“We were fired up, we were excited and had a lot of adrenaline going,” he said. “It was uncharacteristic to basically what we’ve been able to do up to this point offensively. So I’m thankful for our defense; our defense played really well.
“Doyle is one of the best in our area and I’m thankful that we were able to play as well as we did.”
Doyle improved his season touchdown count to 15 in the air. He went 18-for-36 for 228 yards.
On the receiving end of things, Clark had 100 yards in eight receptions and Malik Boynton had 118 in six.
On the ground, Quincy Gibbs ran 14 times for 49 yards, Clark added 23 yards in eight tries and Boynton had 9 yards in two runs.
Roosevelt’s Stewart was 8-for-20 in the air for 158 yards and two scores.
Sowards totaled 126 yards in five catches, Corley had 15 and D’Aries Davis had 12.
On the ground, the team only totaled 26 yards and was led by Stweart with 14.
The importance of the game was not lost on either coach.
“Everybody knew the significance of this game,” Adams said. “It was no secret.
“We knew that this game put is in the position now to control our own destiny. We know the game against Truman here week eight is going to be very significant, but we’ve still gotta take care of our own business.”
Melvindale Coach Jason Carriveau was proud of his team for the game they played and said the scoreboard did not reflect how well they played.
“It’s obviously disappointing, but I’m proud of the boys for putting themselves in a position to play a huge game like this,” he said. “And it’s (losing). Losing’s not the end of the world; learning how to lose and bounce back and understand that they played their hearts outs. They’ll be fine.”
Carriveau said handling the loss wont be an issue for his team.
“These kids are very, very hungry and I have no doubt that they’ll bounce back very, very well.”
Melvindale will now turn its 4-1 season to Carlson when they host the Marauders next week but still have a chance at a share of the league title with Roosevelt still having to play Truman.
“We’re gonna look at film and correct the mistakes that we made and we’re gonna move forward like that,” Carriveau said.
“And when we get to Truman, if it still sets up that way, it’s gonna be awesome. (But) we’ll deal with whatever cards we’re dealt.”
The Bears will try to extend their season to 6-0 with a rivalry game against Anderson next week and Adams said the team will be fired up for it.
Overall, Adams was pleased to push forward with the victory and said it was the most positive thing to take away from the game.
“It wasn’t pretty,” he said. “We had some poor decisions, but we persevered.”
Last Updated: 9/28/2013 12:22:13 AM EST