Fennville quarterback Dakota Latchaw looks for some running room as Martin defenders Canton VandenBerg (82) and Austin Pillars (62) give chase. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Fennville ekes out win over Clippers

MARTIN—The offensive performance he got from his team in its season-opening contest Aug. 25 with Martin wasn’t exactly what Fennville football coach Brian Sackett had envisioned.
“We were very sloppy offensively,” Sackett said. “Hats off to Martin’s front four on defense. They dominated the game up front.”
That was the bad news for the Blackhawks.
The good news? In spite of that lackluster showing by the offense, Fennville still found a way to come away with the 12-8 victory thanks to a solid defensive effort.
“We played with great energy defensively,” Sackett said. “I was extremely proud of how our kids continued to fight and bounce back from adversity.”
Martin coach Randy Hunt was also proud of his squad.
“The kids went out there and worked extremely hard,” Hunt said. “The coaches did a great job preparing the players and the kids did a great job battling.
“We were especially good defensively. I thought we did a great job limiting (Fennville) and not really giving up too many big plays. We just were a little out of sync offensively and weren’t able to move the ball like we would have liked. That’s something we need to work on.”
After struggling offensively for most of the game, the Clippers finally found a rhythm late in the fourth quarter. Martin marched 65 yards on 11 plays, culminated with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Evan Tuinstra to Carter Hilton with 1:43 left to play to account for the Clippers’ first points.
A successful conversion run by Payton Hunt cut Fennville’s lead to 12-8.
But an onside-kick attempt on the ensuing kickoff was recovered by the Blackhawks, who ran out the clock to preserve the win.
“We did some good things on that last drive,” Hunt said. “We started hitting the holes a little harder and executing a little better. Hopefully we can carry that over into our next game.”
The game remained scoreless until the end of the opening half when Fennville’s Noah MacDonald scored on a 10-yard run with 2:41 left in the second quarter, giving the Blackhawks a 6-0 lead.
That’s where the score stayed until, with 5:48 remaining in the game, Fennville’s Jordan Watkins scored on a 22-yard run, making it 12-0.
Watkins finished with 102 yards on 20 carries to go with 34 receiving yards on four catches.
“Jordan was our workhorse,” Sackett said.
Watkins also led the defensive charge for the Blackhawks, posting a team-best 10 tackles with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
MacDonald was close behind with nine tackles to go with 69 rushing yards on nine carries. Matt Lavery matched Watkins with 10 tackles and had three sacks.
“Noah played a huge role on both sides of the ball and Matt really stepped up defensively,” Sackett said.

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