The Caledonia Fighting Scots took to the road to face off with the Lowell Red Arrows in a Division 2 playoff game on Friday night. Both teams were coming off thrilling opening round upsets, looking to continue their momentum. In an impressive display of offense on both sides, Caledonia was ultimately too much in a 55-38 victory.
Caledonia had a phenomenal opening drive that saw the team march down the field. Brock Townsend capped off the drive with a four-yard touchdown plunge. After recording a quick three-and-out, Carson Vanderhoff burst through the Red Arrows’ defense on a fake-jet sweep play for a seventy-two yard touchdown. A bad snap led to a blocked kick, but Caledonia was in control early 13-0.
In the opening plays of the second quarter, Doak Dean found the end zone for Lowell on a one yard touchdown run. Lowell too would miss their extra point, leaving the tally at 13-6. On the ensuing kickoff, Caledonia Coach Tom Burrill reached into his bag of tricks and executed a beautiful reverse on the kickoff. It allowed Justice Reed to spring free and run eighty-six yards to the end zone for a touchdown.
Lowell fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Caledonia took over. Carson Vanderhoff was back at it, crossing the goal line from a yard out to give the Fighting Scots a 27-6 advantage. With one second to go in the first half, Doak Dean found Brett Spanbauer for a one-yard touchdown pass. This allowed the Red Arrows to draw within two scores heading into halftime.
Coming out of the locker room, Lowell took the opening kickoff back to the twenty-five yard line. This allowed Doak Dean to rush for another touchdown, this time a ten-yard score. Caledonia would respond with their own march down the field. Sophomore Jett King subbed in at quarterback and powered across the goal line for a one-yard score to extend Caledonia’s lead back to fourteen points.
Lowell’s offense had a quick-hit big play touchdown on their ensuing drive. Doak Dean connected with Samuel Lixie on a fifty-eight yard touchdown. The missed extra point left the Red Arrows down eight. When they got the football back after a quick defensive stop, they wasted no time marching down the field. Doak Dean broke off a fifty-five yard run and eventually capped off the drive with another touchdown run. The Red Arrows ran a fake extra point play to try and even the score, but the conversion was unsuccessful. Caledonia would maintain their 34-32 heading into the final quarter of play.
One of the biggest plays of the game happened early in the fourth quarter. Caledonia faced a fourth down and one and elected to go for it. Carson Vanderhoff sprung off a huge block and converted the short-yard situation. A few plays later, he ran around the end for a ten-yard touchdown.
After a sack and a fumble recovered by Caledonia, Vanderhoff was back off to the races. He ran in an eleven yard touchdown to extend the Fighting Scots’ lead back to sixteen points with 7:14 to go.
Lowell scored with just under four minutes to play when Doak Dean found the end zone yet again. This time, Dean ran from a yard out. The Red Arrows attempted a two-point conversion, and Doak Dean scrambled to keep the play alive and find an open receiver. Ultimately the pass was short and the Scots maintained a ten-point edge.
Caledonia recovered the onside kick and looked to run out the clock. Facing fourth and nine, Coach Burrill dialed up a play action pot pass from quarterback Mason Mckenzie to tight end Tyler Burd. Burd went fifteen yards into the end zone to seal the victory.
Lowell outgained Caledonia in this game 381-375. This is attributed in large part to Lowell’s 208-26 advantage through the air. Doak Dean was phenomenal in this contest. He finished 13/19 for 208 yards and two touchdowns through the air. On the ground, Dean turned 25 carries into 80 yards and four more touchdowns.
Caledonia was led in this game by OSKAR Scots Fighting Scot of the Night Carson Vanderhoff. The senior tailback had 43 carries in this game, and he racked up 336 yards and four touchdowns. Mason Mckenzie was effective passing the football with two completions for twenty-six yards and the fifteen yard touchdown to Tyler Burd.
The Fighting Scots have now won two playoff games for the first time since 2012. They will look to win their first district title since 2012 as well when they travel to Mona Shores next week. The unbeaten Sailors narrowly escaped against Forest Hills Central on Friday night. These two are meeting for the second time in the playoffs, with the Sailors winning 42-14 back in 2014. In five all-time meetings, Mona Shores has won the last four contests.