By BEN SANDERS
HP Sports Editor
BENTON HARBOR — When South Haven had the ball, the Rams usually gave it to Trent Till. When Benton Harbor had the ball, Till often took it away. Till scored all three South Haven touchdowns as the Rams rallied to defeat Benton Harbor 20-14 in a non-conference football game, Friday, Sept. 10. He returned one of his four interceptions for a score, nearly took a fumble all the way back as well, and ran 30 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Half his carries came in the fourth quarter as South Haven worked to run down the clock.
“He’s a senior, he’s a leader, he started working in February,” South Haven coach Mark Eddy said. “When it comes to crunch time, I trust him to take care of things. He’s a leader who obviously plays hard, and when he talks to the kids, they listen. A couple times I was like ‘I’m going to give the ball to somebody else’... nope.
“A lot of credit to Benton Harbor, they played really hard tonight. They were physical. A couple times I thought we had them broke and they rebounded...Our young men handled adversity and kept battling and grinding. We were able to take back the lead in the third quarter, then we were able to play solid on offense and really stout on defense.”
Benton Harbor (0-3) had seven turnovers on the night. The Tigers still had a chance to win late in the game, driving to the Rams’ 29 on their final possession before Titus Davis recovered a fumble to secure victory for South Haven (2-1).
“That’s what decided the game was turnovers,” Benton Harbor coach Sheldon Nelson said. “You’ve got to take care of the ball.”
Till started the scoring, taking his second interception of the game back 50 yards with 1:40 left in the second half. His two-point conversion pass to Ray Woodall made it 8-0.
Benton Harbor responded quickly. Davionte Tasker found Devarious Hall wide open for a 34-yard touchdown with seven seconds left in the half, then hit Rodney Ford with a two-point pass to tie it.
The Tigers went ahead 14-8 on a 33-yard run by Tasker early in the third quarter, then recovered an onside kick and appeared to be taking control.
But Till recovered a fumble and it returned 48 yards to the Benton Harbor 21yard line before Ford made a touchdown-saving tackle. Till eventually found the end zone anyway, scoring from a yard out to tie the game.
Tasker left with an injury on Benton Harbor’s next possession, and Ford moved from receiver to quarterback.
Tasker eventually returned, but not before Till picked off two more passes, the second setting up his 9-yard touchdown run that proved to be the game winner.
“We forced turnovers,” Eddy said. “We played solid defense and we broke on the ball when it happened. We got picks like that, we knocked the ball loose on fumbles.”
Tasker finished with 17 carries for 104 yards, and completed 11 of 18 passes for 109 yards and two interceptions.
South Haven had the ball in Benton Harbor territory on its first three possessions, but twice turned it over, once on a fumble recovered by Jamarlin McKinney, the other on an interception by Sean Sargent. In between, the Rams had a drive derailed by three penalties in four plays.
“Offensively we hurt ourselves,” Eddy said. “Holding calls and jumping offsides, that’s something we don’t normally do. We killed our own drives.”
Woodall was the Rams’ second-biggest yardage producer, running eight times for 43 yards and catching two passes from Till for 47 yards.
“Defense played good tonight,” Nelson said. “They got tired. They were on the field for a long time.”
SOUTH HAVEN 20, BENTON HARBOR 14
S. Haven 0 8 6 0 — 20 B. Harbor 0 8 6 0 — 14 Second quarter SH – Trent Till 50 interception return (Ray Woodall pass from Till), 1:40.
BH – Devarious Hall 34 pass from Davionte Tasker (Rodney Ford pass from Tasker), 0:07.
BH – Tasker 33 run (run failed), 6:36. SH – Till 1 run (run failed), 2:58.
SH – Till 9 run (pass intercepted), 9:37.
Records – South Haven 2-1, Benton Harbor 0-3.