West Michigan Hawks suffer first defeat of the season

The West Michigan Hawks traveled south for their game against the Battle Creek Coyotes on Saturday, June 9. The Hawks brought an undefeated 4-0 record into the game, while the Coyotes entered the game at 2-2.

West Michigan got off to a quick start, taking a 7-0 lead on an Eric Woodfork 47 yard touchdown run. That would be the only scoring of the half for the Hawks. Battle Creek scored the next 18 points to close out the first half, taking an 18-7 lead into the locker room.

After another Coyotes touchdown early in the second half, the Hawks turned up the pressure. Brant Brooks hauled in a pass from Charles Manny Hodges for a touchdown, making the score 24-14 in favor of the Coyotes. Donell Jones added another touchdown for the Hawks in the fourth quarter, closing the gap to 24-20, but that was as close as the Hawks would ultimately get.

With a chance to get the ball back in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, the Hawks made a costly mistake. Battle Creek punted the ball away with 2:30 to go, but after a miscue from the Hawks punt returner, the Coyotes were able to recover a fumble on the return and resume possession. Battle Creek scored another touchdown, opening the lead to 30-20, which held as the final score.

“I think we beat ourselves,” said Hawks head coach David Lange. “We were hit with adversity, and didn’t respond the way that we needed to.”

“Both teams played hard until the whistle”, said Coyotes head coach Robbie Hattan. “I thought it was a good game. David and I are close friends, so I hated to be their first loss because I want to see him succeed. I think we let a up bit after the half, and they almost pulled the comeback, but the ball fell our way. It was a good game all around.”

The Hawks will be back in action this Saturday, as they return to their home field for the first time in July. They will host the reigning national champion Toledo Thunder, who will bring a matching 4-1 record into the contest.