Turnovers halt Constantine’s season
HILLSDALE — Turnovers at chilly Baumgarten Stadium in Hillsdale ended up bringing Constantine’s playoff drive to a grinding half.
Constantine put the ball on the ground twice, one in each half, and Hillsdale scored off one of those miscues and held off the Falcons 20-14 to win the Division 6, District 1 title.
Zach Hornak scooped up a Constantine fumble and returned it 40 yards for what would prove to be the winning Hillsdale TD with 5:36 left in the third quarter. Ethan York’s PAT put the Hornets up 20-7.
Constantine took possession on its next series at its own 40 late in the third and scored in 10 plays.
Freshman tailback Brayden Clark waltzed into the end zone from 10 yards out with 11:54 left in the fourth quarter for the Falcons. Logan Hofmeister booted the PAT, cutting the Falcons’ deficit to 20-14.
After forcing a Hillsdale punt with just under three minutes left, Constantine took possession of the ball at its own 19. Behind the running of tailbacks Isaac Hall of Brayden Clark, the Falcons moved the ball to its own 40. On fourth down and five from its own 38, Constantine, which finishes 8-3, attempted a pass inside Hillsdale territory. The Falcons’ receiver had the ball in his hands for a brief moment before it popped out ending the drive.
Hillsdale’s offense came on the field and was able to run out the clock.
Hillsdale (11-0) advances to the Region 3 championship to face either Grass Lake or Onsted next week.
“We knew offensively Hillsdale was going to do some things early in the game. Once we made some adjustments I though our kids did a great job of stopping them defensively,” said Constantine coach Shawn Griffith.
“That turnovers there in the second half was key, but you can’t fault kids for trying to make plays. Maybe we tried to do a little bit more than we were capable of. Our kids came out and played hard. Hillsdale is a good football team. You have to make key plays at key times. We had two pass plays in the fourth quarter just outside of fingertips of the guys we wanted to get the ball to.”