After gnawing on it for one year, the Three Rivers varsity football team had to return the Swine Bone trophy to Vicksburg Friday in the regular season finale. Following six straight victories, Three Rivers couldn’t climb out of a deep first-quarter hole and fell to the Bulldogs, 30-20.
The loss dropped Three Rivers to 7-2 for the year, while Vicksburg improved to 7-2, bouncing back from a lopsided loss to Edwardsburg in Week 8. With Edwardsburg’s shutout victory against Sturgis Friday night, the Eddies put together an 8-1 mark for their fifth consecutive Wolverine Conference title.
Vicksburg opened the scoring with a three-yard touchdown run by Caleb Welch (PAT kick failed) at the 7:37 mark in the first quarter. Early in the second frame, the Bulldogs’ Garrett Ketelaar connected with Tim Gearig on a 40-yard TD pass (Brady Good PAT) for a 13-0 lead. With 4:32 remaining in the first half, Vicksburg’s D.J. Bullock intercepted a Three Rivers pass and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown (Good kick) to inflate the cushion to 20-0.
Three Rivers got right back up, though, with an explosive play to stop the bleeding. Heivilin hit Zac Meyer for what would be a 50-yard touchdown pass and Matt Lark put the extra point through the uprights to make it a 20-7 game.
The Bulldogs would manage to put three more points on the board with a 45-yard field goal by Brady as time expired for a 23-7 halftime lead.
It was a fairly quiet third quarter until Vicksburg’s Caleb Welch capped a drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 20 seconds remaining (Brady PAT). The Wildcats made things interesting over the final 12 minutes of the contest, scoring on a 13-yard Heivilin keeper with 10:37 to play and a seven-yard pass from Heivilin to Jensin Blyly with 6:13 left.
That’s all the Wildcats would get as time ran out on their league title hopes.
Three Rivers outgained Vicksburg 330-313 in the contest and was penalized only four times for 25 yards compared to the Bulldogs’ seven flags for 66 yards.
Ketelaar completed 14 of 19 passing attempts for 131 yards and he rushed for a team-high 106. Heivilin was 19-for-33 passing for 264 yards with the two TDs and an interception. Vicksburg’s Pryson caught six passes for 58 yards and Henderson made four catches for 68 yards. Gavin Charvat caught eight passes for Three Rivers for 57 yards, and Meyer had three receptions for 100 yards. Jett Haifley added two catches for 50 yards and Blyly had two catches for 20 yards for Three Rivers.
Bullock led Vicksburg defensively with seven solo tackles and the pick-6. Chris Morrill ended the night with 11 stops for Three Rivers. Mitchell Coney, Charvat and Traven Van Oss each had six tackles for the Wildcats. Nolan Mark, who registered five stops, had two tackles for loss.
Photos by Nicci Plummer
Video by Mat Stutzman