The Sturgis football team aims to make sure the only chance anyone from Coldwater has to see the rivalry’s Silver Football again is if they come to check out the Trojans’ trophy case. That’s been its home the last three seasons and Sturgis coach Jimmy Lamb would like it to be its permanent residence.
The Trojans (3-1) and Cardinals (1-3) square off for the last time tonight in Coldwater before both programs join new leagues in 2014. Sturgis has won the last three games in the series.
Sturgis enters the game 2-1 in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division, having won its last three games by 11 points, coming from behind in each. Coldwater (1-1 SMAC East) is coming off a 39-9 defeat at Harper Creek.
Senior lineman Taylor Mayo (6-foot-2, 270 pounds) might be out for as many as four weeks with an ankle injury suffered during the third quarter last week against Marshall. Brevin Jandreau will see even more time as a result.
Senior defensive end/tight end Luke Summey could miss the rest of the season after a knee injury dropped him near the end of Wednesday’s practice. It’s feared that the 6-1, 195-pounder tore his medial collateral ligament. Summey was to get checked out by a doctor today.
“He was starting to play really well,” Lamb said. H”e’s going to be missed. It could be that he just tweaked it and felt like something might have torn. We’ll find out [Friday]. He was walking off on his own. We’ll see.”
Junior tight end/linebacker Jacob Haas was on track to be cleared from an early season concussion last week, but symptoms reappeared and he has been shelved for at least another week.
“That’s something you have to take seriously,” Lamb said. “If he’s out the whole season, and I can get him back healthy next year, I’ll take that.”
Senior lineman Michael Manga and junior tight end/linebacker Oakley Stevens have been ill this week. The Trojans didn’t have enough bodies to run a full team period Wednesday.
The Cardinals’ wing-T offense is capable of chewing up the clock and yards. And just when it has lulled an opponent’s secondary to sleep, Coldwater will take a shot downfield.
“They’re O-line is more than decent,” Lamb said. “These guys are crafty with what they’re doing. It’s not like it’s something we haven’t seen, but they are pretty good at what they do. I have all four films on them and they moved the ball efficiently against everybody on certain drives. They just come off the ball and know how to run their stuff. It’s so hard to simulate that in practice because we’re not running that. I’ve seen them go 50-60 yards on some plays. They have a couple backs they like to use. For 1-3, they look better than that.”
Lamb said Tuesday wasn’t his team’s best day, but that Wednesday was productive in terms of new installs on both sides of the ball. The offensive line, which shuffled personnel last week (guards and tackles switched positions), is “picking up the stunts Coldwater’s doing,” Lamb said.
Junior J.D. Bowdish has impressed at running back and complements senior bruiser Matt Phillips well.
“I really like the way he’s running the ball right now,” Lamb said of Bowdish. “He’s making cuts. I’m not going to fault him; he’s just skinny. He’s going to get bigger next year. He’s got the concept of this zone and the ability to make moves.”
Defensively, the Trojans focused on filling injury voids.
“We have got kind of a boundary field package using the sideline as a 12th defender,” Lamb said. “There will be a lot of guys playing this week that haven’t gotten a lot of reps, but I know through the conversations I’ve had with them, especially Austin Smith (senior), that they’ll stick their nose in there and blow stuff up.”
This team is definitely happy to have junior Jack Scheske back at 100 percent after dealing with a nagging back injury the past two seasons. The wide receiver, linebacker and safety even got a little time at tight end this week, though Lamb said that might be a bit of overload. However, Scheske is coming off a spectacular outing against Marshall, having made major impacts on both sides of the ball.
“He had a breakout game,” Lamb said. “He’s got a knack for the ball. He’s athletic, so he can make plays. If we fine-tune his technique, he could be a terror out there. It could be a linebacker or a strong safety look. We played him down in the box, on the edge and at inside linebacker.
“I think him and [receiver/defensive back] Kalvyn [Bowdish] would be the two most versatile players. You could probably put them just about anywhere on the field and they’re going to find a way to make a play, which is what you ask for.”