Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior quarterback Andrew Schuster surveys the field for an open man.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior quarterback Andrew Schuster surveys the field for an open man.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Chippewa Valley football edges rival Macomb Dakota 28-21 in MAC Red showdown

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published September 29, 2023


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — A beautiful yet fierce rivalry between two Macomb Area Conference Red rivals was put on hold momentarily when Clinton Township Chippewa Valley hosted Macomb Dakota on Sept. 22.

Chippewa Valley held their cancer awareness game with not only the players and student section sporting purple, but with a touching tribute. With the players lined up on the field, the announcer went player by player and named who they were playing for or in memory of.

Some players embraced the person they were playing for with a hug while others stood silent in memory.

Once the opening kickoff took place, it was all business for Chippewa Valley as they bested Dakota 28-21, earning their first win against Dakota since 2019. Chippewa Valley also snapped Dakota’s 17-game regular season win streak, which was two days away from hitting the two-year mark.

As the fourth quarter came to a close and fans stormed the field, it was evident for Chippewa Valley how much this game meant for them.

“This is personal. This is everything for us,” senior Jordan Byers said. “We had no other option (than) to win. It’s been years, years and years. Coach (Scott) Merchant deserves it, and we had to give it to him.”

Byers, along with senior Cash Shaw, were the Dakota defense’s kryptonite throughout the game, especially Shaw.

With three minutes left in the fourth quarter and holding a 20-14 lead, Chippewa Valley attempted to drain the clock as they had done efficiently all game. Shaw had other plans as he ripped off a 54-yard touchdown run to give Chippewa Valley the 28-14 lead. Shaw finished with 12 carries for 101 yards on the night.

Dakota junior quarterback Jadon Ford would connect with senior wide receiver Keleb Pritchard, who tallied seven receptions for 96 yards in the loss, for a 14-yard touchdown catch to cut the lead to seven with a minute left, but Dakota was unsuccessful on the onside kick attempt.

Byers opened up the scoring for Chippewa Valley on a 17-yard touchdown run up the middle on third down to take an early 7-0 lead in the first. Byers said the offense liked what they saw from the Dakota defense on third down to execute the run play.

“We thought we could run,” Byers said. “We’d been working on it, and we’d seen what we liked, and we ran it.”

Dakota junior running back Ethan Hamby put Dakota on the board with a 59-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. Hamby finished with 74 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground in the loss.

While Chippewa Valley senior quarterback Andrew Schuster’s only touchdown on the night came on an 8-yard run, Schuster was getting it done with his arm when Chippewa Valley needed him most. Senior wideout Evan DiBucci and junior wideout DeShaun Lanier were finding space throughout the matchup, including Lanier on crucial first down catches throughout the game. Lanier finished with nine receptions for 93 yards in the win

Lanier said he credits their chemistry to their success on the field.

“Ever since freshman year when I got brought up from JV, we just been working together and building that chemistry between each other,” Lanier said. “We’re best friends. That’s my brother right there. We just go to war, and you already know we’re on the same page.”

The Chippewa Valley defense deserved some credit as they returned to form this week after allowing 43 points to New Baltimore Anchor Bay the week before.

Chippewa Valley senior defensive back Rayshaun Hester and junior linebacker Donny Diegel each recorded an interception in the win.

Chippewa Valley junior kicker Juliano Haddad drilled a pair of field goals as well.

Chippewa Valley has redeemed themselves since starting the season 1-2, and they carried the momentum of the win over Dakota into a 38-21 win over Sterling Heights Stevenson on Sept. 29 at Stevenson High School.

Schuster connected with Lanier for three passing touchdowns while Shaw ran for two in the win.

Dakota avenged the loss to Chippewa Valley to the tune of a 31-19 victory over Romeo on Sept. 29 at Dakota High School as Hamby ran for two touchdowns in the win.

There’s now a four-way tie for first in the MAC Red between Chippewa Valley, Dakota, Romeo, and Utica Eisenhower.

Dakota and Eisenhower will face each other on Oct. 6 at Swinehart Stadium while Chippewa Valley and Romeo will go head-to-head at Chippewa Valley High School.

Lanier said the team is just getting started but said he knows the kind of squad they can be.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Lanier said. “It’s personal. We can’t be not finishing these games. We’re finishing this year and we’re going to win it all. We’re winning the MAC. We taking over. That’s the plan. It’s personal.”