Rare Caledonia win over Lowell one sided
Caledonia – It turns out Noel Dean wasn’t bluffing.
The Lowell coach said prior to Friday night’s showdown for first place in the OK White Division that he didn’t think the ninth-ranked Red Arrows didn’t stand chance against the 18th-ranked Caledonia Fighting Scots.
The final scoreboard left no doubt: Caledonia 33, Lowell 0.
It marked the first time in 24 years that Caledonia defeated Lowell – long before any of the current Scots had been born. It also helped the Scots (6-2) clinch a playoff spot and tied the Red Arrows (7-1) atop the division with 3-1 records.
"I tried to tell the truth earlier in the week and everybody got all (worked) up,"
Dean said in the aftermath of being shut out. "They’re good. They methodically just devour you. The problem is you have to talk to people who actually watch film and look at the games. They’re a pretty good team, well coached, they deserve it.
"I have nothing but respect for Tom Burrill and their coaching staff."
At the beginning of the week, Burrill called it "laughable" that Dean would issue such a proclamation before such a big game, insisting he had too much respect for the Lowell program to ever think such a thing.
Yet, even he seemed impressed with the way his team dominated the Red Arrows.
"Our kids are peaking at the right time. We’ve played so well the last three or four weeks," Burrill said. "It was just one of those things, once we got the lead tonight, it was going to be tough to come back (against us). I thought our kids played amazing.
"We’re just getting so much better on defense. Offensively, we’ve got good football players that make a lot of plays for us."
Eddie Kelly, a punishing 6-foot, 215-pound senior running back, put together a personal highlight reel against a Lowell defense that had held opponents to less than a touchdown per games this season.
He rushed 25 times for 171 yards, but did most of his damage through the air.
He turned a simple pass over the middle from junior quarterback Tanner Christian into an 83-yard touchdown at the 9:05 mark of the second quarter. He shredded three tackles before reaching the end zone.
He hauled in a shot-put of a toss from Christian on fourth-and-16 midway through the fourth quarter and turned another simple pass over the middle into a 31-yard touchdown. He burst through a pair of tacklers to score.
"It’s kind of new to me catching the ball. I don’t know very many routes. If I find a space, it works," Kelly said of being a key target in the Scots’ limited passing game. "I gotta get upfield, not run sideways."
He insisted the Scots were confident about the matchup against Lowell.
"It’s not a surprise really, it’s just a good feeling," he said. "We came ready to play."
The weather conditions hampered the Lowell passing game all night.
Junior quarterback Ryan Stevens finished 8 of 30 passing for just 58 yards. He had several passes dropped, while both he and his receivers ended up slipping and sliding on the natural grass surface.
Senior fullback Logan Soule opened the scoring with a 1-yard run at the 4:05 mark of the first quarter. It ended a seven-play, 96-yard drive that began with Kelly’s 31-yard run on Caledonia’s snap of the game.
Christian scored on a 1-yard run with 16 seconds left before halftime. It put the Scots ahead, 20-0.
Senior running back Jalen Burton added a 5-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
"The schedule our kids have played this year and the adversity they came through losing to (Grand Rapids) Forest Hills Central and (Muskegon) Mona Shores . it’s just shows the senior class," Burrill said. "We talked about, ‘What is your legacy going to be?’
"We’re making a statement right now."
Dean said his team needs to regroup despite already having clinched a playoff spot.
"I am happy with the way our kids came out and played in the second half. There’s still a lot of football left. Our preseason goals are still attainable," he said of a team that lost 18 starters from a year ago.
"It’s just . you get knocked a little sideways after a game like that."