ST. JOSEPH — Berrien Springs’ inability to contain Kalamazoo United quarterback Chris Bartholomew proved costly Friday night in the Division 5 district opener at Dickinson Stadium.
The Titans’ Bartholomew rushed for 134 yards on 21 carries scrambling for huge yardage on several busted plays scoring two touchdowns on runs of 22 and one yard in leading his squad to a 16-12 victory over the previously unbeaten Shamrocks. Bartholomew also completed 9-of-11 passes for 126 yards.
“His ability to make plays on busted plays was the difference,” said Berrien Springs coach Bill Bergan. “They were physical up front and we just weren’t consistent enough, especially on offense.”
Concerning the Sharocks unbeaten regular season, Bergan said: “I’m extremely proud of our guys’ effort. If someone would have told me we would go undefeated (8-0 during the regular season) at the beginning of the season, I would have told them they were crazy.”
“(Bartholomew’s) got some legs on him,” noted United coach David Arrasmith, of his 6-1, 175-pound quarterback. “He’s very mobile and he keeps plays alive with his feet and ability to see down the field.”
United, which lost 23-12 earlier in the season to Berrien Springs, has now won six of its last seven, and has knocked off two unbeaten teams in a row.
“These kids just grind and grind,” added Arrasmith. It’s just a great bunch of kids and I’m super excited. Playing and beating some tough teams helped prepare us for the playoffs.”
United (6-4) will travel to Hopkins (9-1) next week for the district champiuonship. Hopkins defeated Dowagiac 29-14 in the other district opener.
The Shamrocks took a 6-0 lead when Marshall McFarand broke loose on a 56-yard run. But the extra point kick was blocked.
United answered late in the first period on a 22-yard TD scamper by Bartholomew and Connor Wurtz extra point gave the Titans a 7-6 lead after one.
The Shamrocks quickly answered on their next possession early in the second when Danny Vinson capped a 79-yard drive with a nifty 7-yard scamper around end.
But a 2-point conversion pass attempt failed. Key plays in the drive were a 27-yard pass to Payton White, and a 29-yard run by quarterback Nick Nelson.
Berrien Springs never really came close to scoring after that.
United cut the Berrien lead to 12-9 thanks to a safety late in the first half, and took the lead for good with 8:05 remaining in the game on a 1-yard TD plunge by Bartholomew that capped an 8-play, 74-yard drive.
Key play in the drive was a 44-yard scramble by Bartholomew, who escaped a sack, and rumbled to the Shamrocks 20-yard line.
A personal foul penalty put the ball on the 10, and following a 9-yard run by Garrett Warner, Bartholomew snuck it in.
McFarland led Berrien Springs rushers with 91 yards on14 carries and Vinson added 58 on 11 totes.
United outgained Berrien 327 net yards from scrimmage to 229.
Kal. United 16, Berrien Springs 12
United 7 2 0 7 — 16
Berrien Springs 6 6 0 0 — 12
BS - Marshall McFarland 56 run (kick blocked)
KU - Chris Bartholomew 22 run (Connor Wurtz kick)
BS - Danny Vinson 7 run (pass failed)
KU - Safety
KU - Bartholomew 1 run (Wurtz kick)
First downs 11 10
Total net yards 327 229
Rushing 201 171
Passing 126 58
Comp-Att-Int 9-11-0 4-13-1
Fumbles-lost 3-3 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-40 4-35
Punts-Ave. 4-26 6-28.5
Rushing - KU: Bartholomew 21-134, Warner 18-61. BS: McFarland 14-91, Vinson 11-58.
Passing - Bartholomew 9-11-0-126. BS: Nelson 3-7-0-40, Ewalt 1-6-1-18.
Receiving - Wyatt Steensma 4-35, Will DeJong 2-35, Josh Ebbeler 1-48. BS: Payton White 1-45.
Records - Berrien Springs 8-1, Kalamazoo United 6-4.