ST. JOSEPH — Berrien Springs started its football season with a little revenge on a team that has often ended its season.
The Shamrocks defeated Grand Rapids West Catholic 28-3 on Thursday at St. Joseph’s Dickinson Stadium, where they will play most of their home games this season while their own field is under construction.
West Catholic eliminated Berrien Springs from the postseason in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
“So many years they’ve been the ones that have knocked us out of the playoffs, rudely,” Berrien Springs coach Bill Bergan said. “It was good to get these guys, and to beat them for the first time is huge.”
Berrien Springs led throughout, scoring a touchdown in each quarter. Danny Vinson started the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the game. He finished with 18 carries for 158 yards.
Kansas recruit Garrett Jones also had a big night, adding an interception on a tipped pass to his usual dominance of the line on both sides of the ball.
“(Vinson) is such a great athlete,” West Catholic coach Justin Michalowski said. “And Jones, he’s going to play on Saturday, he’s a special player. They’ve got a great program, their community’s great out at Berrien.”
Berrien Springs scored on a 13-yard pass from Nick Nelson to Anthony Latin in the second quarter that slipped through a West Catholic defender’s hands, and led 14-3 at halftime.
West Catholic moved the ball in the second half, but its drives stalled in Berrien Springs territory. Back-to-back penalties killed the momentum on a drive late in the third quarter. In the fourth, Latin picked off a pass at the Shamrocks’ 10.
“When we needed some things to go our way, we had some untimely turnovers, some wrong reads,” Michalowski said. “It just didn’t get done.”
Immediately after Latin’s pick, Nelson found Marshall McFarland for a 67-yard touchdown that sealed the game. McFarland also had a key 44-yard run in the third quarter that set up a 1-yard scoring plunge by Nelson.
Bergan was pleased with the performance of his team despite only having 23 players.
“We’ve got some dudes, but we’ve only got so many of them,” Bergan said. “When they were fresh, we were tough, but they’re going both sides of the ball. They gave us what they had, and that was enough for tonight.”
Berrien Springs 28, West Catholic 3
W. Catholic 0 3 0 0 — 3
B. Springs 7 7 7 7 — 28
BSp — Danny Vinson 8 run (Faith Kittleson kick), 7:34.
BSp — Anthony Latin 13 pass from Nick Nelson (Kittleson kick), 9:56.
WC — Chris Curry 26 field goal, 6:22.
BSp — Nelson 1 run (Kittleson kick), 6:44.
BSp — Marshall McFarland 67 pass from Nick Nelson (Kittleson kick), 6:31.
First downs 18 15
Total net yards 281 391
Rushes-yards 29-117 37-279
Passing yards 164 112
Comp-att-int 13-28-2 5-10-1
Fumbles-lost 2-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 8-65 8-70
Punts-avg. 4-34.5 4-30.5
Rushing — West Catholic: Spencer Zobro 11-62, Zach Patin 13-38. Berrien Springs: Vinson 18-158, McFarland 2-50, Nelson 7-32, Chris Pitone 9-26.
Passing — West Catholic: Zobro 11-24-2 139. Berrien Springs: Nelson 5-10-1 112.
Receiving — West Catholic: Zane Way 4-64, Boston Wilson 5-39. Berrien Springs: McFarland 1-67, Sean Carl 3-32.
Contact: bsanders@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSanders