MATTAWAN — Lakeshore’s football team will miss the playoffs for the first time in 21 seasons.
The Lancers had troubles on both offense and defense in Friday’s Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division matchup against Mattawan, a 32-6 loss.
“We’re accustomed to winning. When you don’t win, it’s uncharted territory,” said Lakeshore coach Bryan Keim on the Lancers’ absence from the playoffs. “We’ll have to go back and figure it out. Right now we’re just going to try to love up our seniors, and help them understand that football is one of those games that, when it’s over it’s over forever, and that all of these kids are still kids. We’ll figure it out.”
Mattawan improves to 5-4 after winning four straight games to end the season, and will wait to find out if it is awarded a playoff spot.
“We’ve had some ups and downs,” said Mattawan coach Ryan Brown. “We started the year kind of slow. We found our groove mid-season and really went from there. We were focusing on doing what we do, but just focusing on doing it better.”
In Friday’s matchup, the Wildcats (2-3 SMAC West, 5-4) got out in front early. On the very first play from scrimmage, Mattawan quarterback Jalen Jones found Noah Janssen with a short screen pass to the near sideline.
Janssen then ran 71 yards to inside the Lancers’ 10-yard line, and Jones was able to finish off the drive on fourth-and-goal from the one with a sneak up the middle.
Mattawan added a 24-yard field goal by Luke Warren in the second to take a 10-0 halftime lead.
Lakeshore (1-4, 4-5) struggled offensively early on, particularly with running the football. The Lancers had just three net rush yards in the opening half.
They improved in the second half, finishing the night with 87 net rush yards. The Wildcats outgained Lakeshore 350-249 in total net yardage.
With the run game stalled out, Lakeshore turned to its pass attack. Jimmy Gillette threw 39 passes. He completed 15 of those for 179 yards, but also threw five interceptions, two of which came late when the Lancers were trying to claw back into the game.
“We just weren’t able to get anything going running the ball,” Keim said. “If you become one-dimensional, you’re not going to win many games. That’s kind of what bit us tonight. When you have to throw as much as we did, you’re going to throw some picks. It just wasn’t our night. They outcoached us, they outplayed us. They beat us.”
Ja’Kobe Young caught eight of Gillette’s passes for 111 yards, and helped set up the Lancers’ lone score by catching passes of 13 and 34 yards before the third quarter’s end.
Gillette capped off the drive with a 13-yard strike to Riley Adams to give Lakeshore its only points of the evening.
Zeke Rohl had 16 touches in his final game as a Lancer, ending with 36 yards. Aidan Jackson had seven carries, most of which came in the final quarter, for 49 yards.
Treyjen Keim and Jake Trivedi each had seven tackles on defense, with Evin Koeppe adding six.
Mattawan put the game out of reach in the third quarter.
Jones threw two touchdown passes, one to Holden Kellogg for 10 yards and another to Janssen, who ended the evening with 202 receiving yards, from 51 yards out that proved to be the dagger.
A final, 71-yard scamper by Mattawan’s Ian Knepple capped off the scoring for the night in the final quarter.
“(Tonight) was kind of like how the whole season went,” Keim said. “We had some ups and downs, gave up some things that we don’t usually give up on defense, which really you can’t do on the road.
“(Mattawan) did a couple new things on us on offense that were pretty good, but we had a few plays out there that we could’ve made.”
Mattawan 32, Lakeshore 6
L 0 0 6 0 — 6
M 7 3 15 7 — 32
M — Jalen Jones 1 run (Luke Warren kick), 9:33.
M — Warren 24 field goal, 7:32.
M — Holden Kellogg 10 pass from Jones (Warren kick), 4:07.
M — Noah Janssen 51 pass from Jones (Kellogg pass from Janssen), :31.
L — Riley Adams 13 pass from Jimmy Gillette (run failed), :00.
M — Ian Knepple 70 run (Warren kick), 3:18.
First downs 20 12
Total net yards 249 350
Rushes-yards 27-87 32-160
Passing yards 179 202
Comp-att-int 15-40-5 13-21-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-yards 4-52 9-115
Punts-avg. 3-26.3 7-34.7
Rushing — Lakeshore: Zeke Rohl 16-36, Aidan Jackson 8-49. Mattawan: Jalen Jones 10-31, TD; Ian Knepple 1-70, TD.
Passing — Lakeshore: Jimmy Gillette 15-39-5-179, Jake Trivedi 0-1-0-0. Mattawan: Jalen Jones 13-21-0-202, 2 TD.
Receiving — Jakobe Young 8-111, Riley Adams 4-39, TD. Mattawan: Noah Janssen 8-176, TD; Holden Kellogg 1-10, TD; John Herman 2-18.
Tackling — Lakeshore: Treyjen Keim 7, Jake Trivedi 7, Evin Koeppe 6. Mattawan: Landry Ringlover 9, Parker Hoffman 6.
Records — Lakeshore 1-4 SMAC West, 4-5; Mattawan 2-3, 5-4.
Contact: bspencer@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSpencer