Backup QB, ground game push Dakota football to win over Stevenson

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published September 20, 2019

 Macomb Dakota senior quarterback Matt Love drops back to pass during a Sept. 20 win over Sterling Heights Stevenson. In his first start, Love threw two touchdown passes.

Macomb Dakota senior quarterback Matt Love drops back to pass during a Sept. 20 win over Sterling Heights Stevenson. In his first start, Love threw two touchdown passes.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Homecoming is a special time for most high school students, but this year it was extra special for Macomb Dakota senior quarterback Matt Love.

Love made his first start in the Cougars' 40-14 win over Sterling Heights Stevenson Sept. 20 and showed he was prepared for the role.

Love finished with 157 total yards and two passing touchdowns: a 58-yard strike to junior wide receiver Eric Reese and a perfectly-placed ball on a fade route for a 29-yard score to junior wide out Clinton Roberson.

“I just tried to stay confident coming in. When I play with confidence I play well,” Love said. “It’s a great feeling to get out there and help your brothers win.”

Dakota coach Greg Baur commended Love for his play. The Cougars coach said he watched Love prep for the game and believed the senior quarterback would play well.

To help ease Love into the new expanded role, Dakota leaned on its run game. Cougars running back De’javion Stepney ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Dakota sophomore back Caiden Sloan rushed for 107 yards and a score. The Cougars (3-1, 2-0 Macomb Area Conference Red Division) as a team rushed for 260 yards in the win.

“We feel our run game and our offensive line are our strengths, so running the ball was going to be the focus,” Baur said. “It was good to see our guys get going.”

Stevenson junior quarterback Dylan Kleinedler finished with 192 total yards and a first-half touchdown. 

Titans sophomore backup quarterback Biagio Madonna netted 88 total yards and a 25-yard rushing touchdown.

Stevenson falls to 2-2, 0-2 MAC Red.

It was a big night for the MAC Red. Dakota’s win helped the team stay atop the league standings. Utica Eisenhower knocked off Romeo High 17-7 for Romeo’s first divisional setback. Clinton Township Chippewa Valley bested Anchor Bay 49-13 to stay unbeaten in league play as well.

That means next week’s Dakota/Chippewa Valley matchup will be for sole possession of first place in the MAC Red. The matchup takes place at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at Chippewa Valley. The Big Reds are 4-0, 2-0 MAC Red.

“It’s Dakota/Chippewa Valley. Nothing else needs to be said,” Baur said. “That’ll be an amazing atmosphere, an amazing game. I’m glad I get to be a part of it.”