Plainwell’s Ricky Holly (25) breaks up a pass intended for Allegan’s Damyon Wedge. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Trojans jump out to early lead in win over Allegan

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

How dominant was the Plainwell offense in its Wolverine Conference showdown against visiting Allegan on Friday, Sept. 15?
Consider this: the Trojans scored touchdowns on each of their first seven possessions and found the end zone on nine of their 10 total possessions for the game. And the only possession on which they failed to score was when quarterback Matt Root took a knee to run out the clock in the first half.
The result was a 63-0 Plainwell victory that upped the Trojans’ record to 3-1.
 “We wanted to come out and set the tone early and that’s what we were able to do,” Plainwell coach Darren Conklin said. “I was really proud of the effort and the focus the kids showed. We were coming off a tough game (a 22-19 road win over Vicksburg) and we wanted to make sure we didn’t have a letdown in this game.”
Root and running back Alex Brown did their part to make sure there would be no letdown.
Root threw for a pair of first-quarter touchdowns on Plainwell’s first two poss­­ess­ions—including one to Brown—while Brown ran for four touchdowns on 10 carries.
“Our offense went out there and executed our game plan,” Conklin said. “Everybody did their job right from the start.”
Indeed.
On the game’s first possession, Root hooked up with Brown on a 30-yard touchdown pass that started the offensive onslaught for the Trojans. Root then found Gunnar Gavalis for a 47-yard scoring pass on the next possession to make it a 14-0 lead less than six minutes into the game.
Those were the only two passing attempts of the game for Root, who finished with 77 passing yards to go with 35 rushing yards on one carry.
A 1-yard scoring run by Nick Lindsey upped the Plainwell advantage to 21-0 with 1:02 left in the first quarter.
“Jumping out to the early lead was big for us,” Conklin said. “It let our guys relax a little bit and just go out there and play our game.”
Then it was time for Brown to shine as he scored four of the Trojans’ next four touchdowns. The first three of those came in the second quarter on runs of 20, 34 and 29 yards to help Plainwell go up 49-0 at halftime.
Austin Williams also had a scoring run in the second stanza, finding the end zone from three yards out.
Brown’s final TD jaunt came in the third quarter and covered 24 yards. Rylan Betts closed out the scoring for Plainwell with his 8-yard TD run with 7:15 left to play.
Brown finished with 132 yards on his 10 carries, while Williams added 75 on nine carries and Lindsey had 40 on four carries.
Defensively, Plainwell effectively shut down Allegan’s ground attack. The Tigers managed 14 yards on 23 carries for a 0.6-yards-per-carry average.
Nico Lesher played a big role in that defensive effort, finishing with seven tackles and a sack. Six of his tackles were for a loss.
“Nico was all over the place out there,” Conklin said. “It seemed like he was in on just about every tackle. He had a great game.”
Allegan did have some success with the passing game, as quarterback Chris Hitchcock threw for 181 yards on 12-of-29 passes.
That passing game helped set up the Tigers’ best scoring opportunity as Hitchcock found Chris Ohst on passes of 27 and 19 yards and Damyon Wedge for 19 yards to get Allegan to the Plainwell 17-yard line late in the second quarter. But Ricky Holly intercepted a pass near the goal line to end the threat.
The loss was the fourth in four games for the Tigers, who slipped to 0-4 and have won one game since Week 8 of the 2013 season.
“I know it’s tough for (Allegan) right now, but Coach (Josh) Lucas is doing the right things,” Conklin said. “I feel for him, because we’ve been there before. I know what it’s like to struggle. You just have to keep pushing forward.
“And Allegan has some tough, hard-nosed kids. They just don’t have the (participation) numbers right now and that’s hurting them.”
Plainwell finished 0-9 during the early stages of Conklin’s tenure in 2010.
Wedge had four catches for 93 yards in the loss, while Ohst had five catches for 60 yards. Tyler Mead led the Allegan defense with eight tackles, followed by Hitchcock with six.
 

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