***Article by Josh Longstreth
The Bullock Creek Lancers kicked off their first playoff appearance since 2020 in a big way last week. Bullock Creek would upend Clare late to move into the District Final this week. The Lancers are hot as of late as they have won six of their last seven games, with the only blemish coming against a very good Millington team who they battled for much of the game. This week they would take on a Chesaning team who put together a dominant win over Central Montcalm in the opening round. The Indians have put together quite the season of their own. Chesaning fell in week one for their only loss on the season and have done on to beat teams such as New Lothrup, Montrose, Ovid-Elsie, and Laingsburg. This one was expected to be a tight battle but one team made it be known, they aren’t going anywhere.
Chesaning had a chance to get on the board first in this one. Driving the length of the field, the Indians would take up more than half of the first quarter before turning the ball over on downs as Bullock Creek gained some big momentum early. The Lancers offense jumped right on the opportunity and would strike first on a Lawrence Harding touchdown scamper. This would give visiting Bullock Creek a 7-0 lead late in the quarter. Chesaning would be limited on the ground throughout much of the opening quarter as the Lancers defense was able to keep nearly 2,000 yard back, Brayden Florian, in check. But the Indians found a little something with their passing game. They would cap it off with just seconds remaining in the quarter when quarterback Max Volk threw an absolute laser to Brady Sager. Things would stand at 7-7 after one.
The Lancers offense would get things going again early in the second quarter. Zane Schwartz would be on the receiving end of a big time throw from Landon Tarkowski and this would give Bullock Creek the lead right back at 14-7. On the ensuing kickoff, it would spell doom for the Indians. A fumble deep in their own territory would set up shop for the Lancers offense with the opportunity to take complete control of the game. Bullock Creek would go right up top to try and take all of the life out of Chesaning, but it wouldn’t happen as they planned. Volk would come up big on the defensive end to get the ball right back for the Indians. Their offense would drive the length of the field again but another turnover would give the Lancers the momentum back. Caden Tate would come up with the interception to give his offense a chance to put more points on the board with plenty of time left in the half. The Chesaning defense would come up big to force a three-and-out and a shanked punt would set the Indians offense up with great field possession at midfield. They wouldn’t capitalize, however. This time, Treyvion Toliver, would pick off Volk. With little time remaining in the quarter, Bullock Creek would decide to run the clock out as they would cruise into the half holding on to a slim lead.
Right out of the gate to start the second half, Bullock Creek continued to seize momentum from Chesaning. On the first drive coming out of the locker room, the Lancers took full advantage on a Bo Schwartz touchdown run. This would build the lead to 21-7, Bullock Creek. On the ensuing Indians drive, the Lancers took the ball right back on a Zane Schwartz fumble recovery. Again, they wouldn’t be denied as Bo Schwartz finished the drive off with another touchdown run. Everything was going the way of Bullock Creek as they upped the lead to 28-7. Chesaning wouldn’t go away, however. Feeling some urgency Volk would connect with Adam Woodcock on a passing touchdown that would cut the lead to 28-14. That’s where things would stand after three quarters of play.
There’s one thing this Lancers team has been able to do for much of the past month, when they are faced with having to answer back themselves, they do it. Another Bullock Creek drive would be capped off on a the third touchdown run of the night for Bo Schwartz early in the final quarter. The Lancers and their fans began to feel it a bit, leading 35-14. Chesaning, with one final gasp to get back in the game would be denied by the Bullock Creek defense. Zane Schwartz would add to his big night with a receiving touchdown and a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Indians would be able to get on the board again with just seconds remaining but it wouldn’t be enough. Bullock Creek secures their first district title since 2005, 49-22.
The great season for Chesaning comes to an end. Having not tasted defeat the Indians fall for the first time since week one. The Indians were forced to throw the ball a little more in this one and had trouble getting their run game going which has been a staple all season. With that, Chesaning returns a lot of talent in Max Volk, Brady Sager, Adam Woodcock, and Brayden Florian. Look for them to be a tough out yet again next season.
Bullock Creek came out with more intensity early in this one and they really set the tone. It’s a team that has an identity right now and they look like a team that no one wants to play at the moment. Outside of a few big plays from the Indians offense, the Lancers defense was able to create some turnovers on the night and did a great job limiting the Chesaning run game led by Florian. The Bullock Creek offense was unstoppable for nearly all of the game. Bo Schwartz had a big night with 268 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns. He would also pick up a passing touchdown when he connected with brother, Zane, on an identical play as the game winner for the Lancers last week. On the defensive side he added an interception and finished with 12 tackles. Zane Schwartz finished with 2 receiving touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown. He led the Lancers with 15 tackles on the night. Lawrence Harding helped with 81 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown. Caden Tate and Treyvion Toliver both added an interception for the Lancers defense.
The Lancers will be in for another big test when they face a Reed City team who is coming off a dominant win over Hart. But as they have showed by knocking off two ranked teams to begin the playoffs, they believe right now and they don’t care what they are up against.