Boys Varsity Football
Game Summaries & Headlines.
Armada defeats Richmond in battle of unbeaten BWAC football teams
By CHUCK KLONKE | Macomb Daily
PUBLISHED: September 19, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. | UPDATED: September 19, 2021 at 3:40 p.m.
A newly-installed play and Armada’s usual dogged defense made Friday a happy birthday for Tigers football coach Kyle Rowley.
“It’s the best birthday present I could ask for,” Rowley said after Armada’s 34-10 victory against Richmond in a battle of unbeaten Blue Water Area Conference rivals. “A big game, a great atmosphere and we’re 4-0. What’s better than this? And it’s my birthday. I’ll take it.”
The tone of the game was set early when halfback Vinnie Fodale took a handoff and threw a pass to Easton Vyt, who didn’t have a defender within 10 yards when he caught the ball. The 76-yard play and Eric Rogers’ extra point put the Tigers ahead 7-0 with just under six minutes left in the first quarter.
It was a play that Rowley and his staff added to the playbook earlier this week for the annual battle for the Little Brown Jug.
“I didn’t want to use it, but I had it in my back pocket, so I said, ‘hey, why not?” Rowley said. “Teams are starting to stack the box a little more against us, so we have to have more of the outside stuff to keep them on their toes a little bit. We got lucky and it worked. It was perfect, just like we drew it up in practice.”
Linebacker Cole Mahaffy, who was one of the standouts on defense for Armada, said the halfback option provided a lift on both sides of the football.
“That got everything going. That was the spark for everything, offense and defense,” Mahaffy said.
It was also a jolt for Richmond.
“That’s a real momentum swinger when you feel you’re in the game and doing good and playing hard,” said Blue Devils coach Sean Misko. “A halfback pass is something you can talk about until you’re blue in the face but when it happens in front of you, it’s pretty hard to react to.”
Armada increased its lead to 14-0 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half on consecutive quarterback keepers of 19 and 16 yards by George Hebb. Richmond got on the scoreboard in the final minute of the half on a 41-yard field goal by Drew Matyunas.
The Tigers stopped Richmond on its first two possessions of the second half and Armada went to the ground game with Kyle Coenen, who carried seven times in a 44-yard scoring drive, going in from the four for the first of his three touchdowns. Coenen also scored on two five-yard runs in the fourth quarter.
The Blue Devils scored on a 10-yard pass from Anthony Bonetti to Cole Murphy with 56 seconds left.
Armada had five interceptions, two apiece by Mahaffy and Hebb and one by Tristian Erb, and the Tigers stalled the Blue Devils’ ground game which had been so effective this season.
“Our line is amazing, our DBs are amazing,” Mahaffy said. “Everyone is working together, knowing it’s not one person. It’s the whole team.”
Rowley said the defense has been the key to Armada’s success this season.
“Our defense has been lights out for four straight games,” he said. “We’re a down and dirty kind of team, nothing too fancy. We’re coming at you. That’s the kind of defense we play and we pride ourselves in it. We call them the ‘dogs’ for a reason. They get after you.”
Misko said Richmond’s offense had been showing improvement.
“We’ve got some really talented guys,” he said. “Our inside run game they were able to answer pretty good tonight and caused us some headaches. Our passing game is starting to work. The most difficult part with passing in high school is it’s inconsistent. One bad pass or one drop and it changes the whole outcome of your series.
“It didn’t go our way tonight. The line of scrimmage battles wound up costing us and a couple mistakes here and there. A couple dropped passes, a couple turnovers — things you can’t do against a solid team.”
Photo by Calli Newberry
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