ST. JOSEPH — Five turnovers and a few long passes led to St. Joseph’s first loss of the football season on Friday.
Battle Creek Lakeview defeated the Bears 14-0 in a Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference non-divisional matchup of previously unbeaten teams. The Spartans recovered two fumbles and had three interceptions, and scored on a pair of touchdown tosses from Jack Goodman to Jackson Kitchen.
“We’ve got to cut down on mistakes,” St. Joseph coach Andrew Pratley said. “We can’t beat ourselves. We can’t turn the ball over five times. You’re not going to beat anybody with five turnovers, certainly not going to beat a good team like that.”
St. Joseph (6-1), ranked No. 7 in Division 3, was shut out for the first time since Oct. 7, 2014, also against Lakeview.
“Our defense has been like that all year long,” said Lakeview coach Jerry Diorio, who served as defensive coordinator at Benton Harbor for three years under Elliot Uzelac. “They’ve been fantastic.
“(St. Joe is) a heck of a football team. They’re big, they’re strong, they’re fast, they’re very well-coached. That was a championship game, and we won.”
After a scoreless first half, Lakeview (7-0) got its offense going early in the third quarter with a 60-yard pass from Goodman to Kitchen. A few plays later, the pair hooked up again for a 25-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
Kitchen finished with four catches for all 154 of Lakeview’s receiving yards. He also had a team-high 65 rushing yards on 13 carries.
“I tell our kids ‘Let me know if you see something open,’” Diorio said. “Jack Goodman and Kitchen both told me ‘Hey, this is open.’ We hit them about three or four times on it and they were all big plays.”
St. Joseph threatened to tie the game on its next two possessions, but the first ended in a turnover on downs at the Lakeview 18-yard line, and the second in an interception on the first play of the fourth quarter.
St. Joseph also forced some turnovers. Lakeview’s first possessions of the fourth quarter ended in a Griffin Shinrock interception, and its next with a St. Joseph fumble recovery, but the Bears weren’t able to move the ball either time. The Spartans then put the game out of a reach with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Goodman to Kitchen.
“Our defense played great all night,” Pratley said. “A couple big plays, they got some touchdowns. They did enough to win, we just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”
St. Joseph was held to 150 yards of offense. Quarterback Andy Blomgren was 9-for-23 passing for 75 yards and three interceptions. Jeremiah Sterling led the rushing attack with 11 carries for 57 yards.
St. Joseph has big road games the next two weeks, travelling to DeWitt next Friday before closing the regular season at Portage Northern for the SMAC West Division title.
“One game doesn’t make or break a season,” Pratley said. “Obviously we’ve had a good run so far, but that was a great football team that played a great game. We’ll regroup and come back next week.”
Battle Creek Lakeview 14, St. Joseph 0
Lakeview 0 0 7 7 — 14
St. Joseph 0 0 0 0 — 0
Jackson Kitchen 25 pass from Jack Goodman (Matthew Basic kick), 5:43.
Kitchen 37 pass from Goodman (Basic kick), 5:44.
First downs 12 9
Total net yards 281 150
Rushes-yards 46-127 25-75
Passing yards 154 75
Comp-att-int 4-10-2 9-23-3
Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-2
Penalties-yards 3-35 9-61
Rushing — Lakeview: Kitchen 13-65, Frank Tatum 9-29, Goodman 20-27. St. Joseph: Jeremiah Sterling 11-57, Drake Collins 6-24, Konner LaVanway 2-11.
Passing — Lakeview: Goodman 4-10-2 154. St. Joseph: Andy Blomgren 9-23-3 75.
Receiving — Lakeview: Kitchen 4-154. St. Joseph: Griffin Shinrock 5-41, Christian Myers 1-16, Luke Hedstrom 1-15.
Records — Lakeview 7-0, St. Joseph 6-1.
Contact: bsanders@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSanders