BENTON HARBOR — Benton Harbor’s football team built some momentum on the road and brought it home for Friday’s 36-0 homecoming victory over South Bend Clay.
Playing at home for just the second time this season, the Tigers won with ease, outgaining Clay 311-30.
“I think people came to see, and I think we showed them that we are going to play hard, we’re going to be physical, we’re going to do the things we have to do,” Benton Harbor coach Tom Matthews said. “It was real nice to get home, and the kids responded well.”
Benton Harbor (4-2) had 282 yards rushing, and two running backs crossed the 100-yard mark.
Ronald Roseburgh carried 11 times for 137 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage. Malachi Dezale added a 42-yard scoring run on the Tigers’ second possession and finished with 13 attempts for 119 yards.
“If they had success, it will have a lot to do with the offensive line,” Matthews said. “Our offensive line started the first game with two sophomores, a junior and two seniors that hadn’t played. They’re still the same guys that are now maturing, they’re getting better, they’re working together and they’re starting to show it.
“Teams know what we’re going to try to do. They put eight, nine guys in the box and we’ve still got to be able to run it.”
Clay (1-6) had a chance to get back in the game after recovering a punt that touched a Benton Harbor player on the first play of the second quarter. But starting from the Tigers’ 43-yard line, the Colonials only moved backward.
Two penalties and a pair of sacks by Benton Harbor’s Ricky Jackson pushed the ball back to the Clay 24-yard line, and on fourth-and-43, a bad punt snap gave the Tigers the ball at the 1-yard line.
Benton Harbor had six sacks as a team, and Clay finished with minus-38 rushing yards.
“Ricky’s an outstanding player, and really is the cornerstone there at defensive end for us,” Matthews said. “I’m very excited about the way the defense is playing.”
Quindarius Davis ran the ball in from the one after Clay’s botched punt, and later added a 7-yard scoring scamper and a 24-yard touchdown pass to Louis Johnson.
Benton Harbor needs to win two of its final three games to secure playoff qualification for the fourth time in five years. Next up is a home game with Mattawan (2-4), which defeated the Tigers 14-7 last season.
“We respect their program a great deal,” Matthews said. “They’re very good. We had a tight game with them last year. I expect it to be another game like that this year, a defensive struggle probably because they’re very good on defense.”
Benton Harbor 36, South Bend Clay 0
Ronald Roseburgh 61 run (pass failed), 10:35.
Malachi Dezale 42 run (Quindarius Davis run), 6:03.
Davis 1 run (Dezale run), 10:16.
Louis Johnson 24 pass from Davis (pass failed), 2:27.
Davis 7 run (Roseburgh pass from Davis), 5:58.
Total net yards`30`311
Rushing — Clay: Lemond Nance 4-16. Benton Harbor: Roseburgh 11-137, Dezale 13-119, Marlon Bowman 5-18.
Passing — Clay: Jamari Herring 4-11-0 25, Macey Ginzer 4-9-1 43. Benton Harbor: Davis 2-4-0 29.
Receiving — Clay: James Johnson 2-26, Douglas Johnson 2-14. Benton Harbor: Louis Johnson 1-24, Roseburgh 1-5.
Records — Clay 1-6, Benton Harbor 4-2.