Saturday evening, the West Michigan Hawks paid a visit to Vicksburg High School to square off with the Kalamazoo Grizzlies. After a 50-8 Hawks victory in the first matchup of the season, the Hawks took the field with plenty of confidence. Considering that the Grizzlies also guaranteed a victory this time around, the Hawks used the word “guarantee” as the mantra for this game. With the extra motivation, the Hawks were able to coast to a 45-6 victory.
After a bit of a sluggish start, the Hawks took a 3-0 lead on a 38 yard field goal by kicker Jacob Hardy. That score held until the end of the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, running back Eric Woodfork took a 15 yard run to the house for a touchdown, improving the score to 9-0. Wide receiver Monta Swanigan added to the lead later in the quarter with a 17 yard receiving touchdown, giving the Hawks a 15-0 lead at the half.
Quarterback Charles Manny Hodges rumbled his way into the end zone in the third quarter on a one yard quarterback keeper, extending the lead to 21-0. The Grizzlies found the end zone for only time on the evening on their next drive, returning an interception for a touchdown. After three quarters, the Hawks held a 21-6 lead.
The Hawks put the pedal to the medal in the fourth quarter. Swanigan pulled in his second touchdown of the game, a 22 yard pass, early in the quarter. Defensive end Rick Loper found the end zone after returning an interception the distance for a touchdown, and Swanigan scored his third touchdown of the game on the next Hawks possession. The Hawks’ defense also recorded a safety in the quarter.
Chaz Watford had an impressive day defensively, pulling in two interceptions, as well as breaking up another pass. Darnell Madison also had a solid game in coverage, bringing in a highlight reel interception while on his back. In total, the Hawks forced seven turnovers (Two interceptions for Watford, Loper interception, Court McSwain interception, Madison interception, Javon Welch interception, Nick Steimel interception), while they also had six turnovers of their own.
It was just another day at the office for Swanigan, who ripped off his second consecutive game with three receiving touchdowns.
Although West Michigan won big on the score board, the Hawks were penalized for a total of 150 yards, including six personal foul penalties.
“We played a solid game,” said head coach David Lange. “We got off to a slow start, which has become somewhat of a trend, and is something that we need to work on. We also need to work on our consistency, but in the end, it’s hard to be too upset about a 45-6 victory.”
With the victory, the Hawks are now the only undefeated team remaining in the Minor Leauge Football Alliance’s “Big Eight” division.
The Hawks will enjoy the holiday weekend with a bye week, and will be in action again on July 9th when they make the trip to Battle Creek for a tilt with the Coyotes.