Dakota dispatches Chippewa 17-7 in football playoff opener
Cougars advance, will host L'Anse Creuse North next
By Jon Malavolti
C & G Staff Writer
MACOMB TOWNSHIP – Macomb Dakota defeated Chippewa Valley 17-7 in an Oct. 26 Division 1 pre-district playoff football game at Dakota.
“That’s a tough draw out of the box,” Dakota coach Mike Giannone said about his Cougars facing their rivals the Big Reds for the second time in three weeks. “For the most part our guys played hard.”
The Cougars, who beat the Big Reds 17-13 two weeks ago, advance to play Macomb L’Anse Creuse North in a district final Nov. 2 or 3 at Dakota. North defeated Romeo High 35-21 in its opener.
For Dakota, it was the defense that produced the lone points in the first half, scoring on a pair of safeties. Cougars senior Clay Prickett sacked Chippewa’s quarterback in the first quarter in the end zone, and senior Connor Wonsowicz blocked a punt which bounced out of the end zone in the second quarter.
“It was just an all-around great effort,” Prickett said. “We definitely rose to the occasion.
Both team’s offenses came alive in the third quarter.
Dakota senior running back Nick Cattaneo ran in for a 1-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter, putting the Cougars up 10-0 after the extra point attempt was blocked.
Chippewa got on the board a couple minutes later following a fumble recovery by its defense. On the next play, Big Reds senior receiver Jerry Taylor grabbed a deflected pass from junior quarterback Brendan Rohlfs and ran 52 yards for the score. Senior kicker Szabolcs Simo converted the extra point to make it 10-7.
Cattaneo barged his way into the end zone again a few minutes later, and junior kicker Pasquale Madonna made the extra point, making it 17-7 with a little less than a minute to play in the third quarter.
Cattaneo finished the game with 126 yards rushing.
“I thought Cattaneo ran hard,” Giannone said.
Chippewa had a field goal blocked midway through the fourth quarter, and the Cougars controlled the game and the clock from there on out, beating the Big Reds for the second time this season and 13th time in a row.
Dakota improves to 9-1 on the season, while Chippewa falls out of the playoffs at 5-5.
“The kids played their hearts out,” Chippewa coach Scott Merchant said. “I’m really proud of them.”