Chippewa Valley football beats rival Macomb Dakota to win district championship

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published November 2, 2018

 Clinton Township Chippewa Valley football players are pictured celebrating a district championship following a 51-10 victory against Macomb Dakota Nov. 2. With the victory, the Big Reds improved to 11-0 this season.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley football players are pictured celebrating a district championship following a 51-10 victory against Macomb Dakota Nov. 2. With the victory, the Big Reds improved to 11-0 this season.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

CLINTON TOWNSHIP— Clinton Township Chippewa Valley’s football team won the program’s second consecutive Division 1 district championship with a 51-10 victory Nov. 2 against Macomb Dakota at Chippewa.

 

With the win, the Big Reds improved to 11-0 on the season.

 

Chippewa advances to the regional round of the playoffs and will play Dearborn Fordson at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at home.

 

For as significant as winning postseason championships are, Chippewa coach Scott Merchant has other reasons to be happy his team’s season has been extended.

 

“Honestly, I don’t care about the trophy,” Merchant said. “For me, it means we get to practice again. We get to still be together. This is the 56th team in the history of Chippewa Valley. Team 56 is (going to) live to fight another week, and for me, that’s the biggest thing.”

 

After getting a touchdown run from David Ellis and a field goal, Chippewa led 10-0 in the first quarter.

 

Dakota followed that with its only touchdown of the game, when quarterback Mark Tocco connected with receiver Brandon Michalak on a long pass play.

 

With a 10-7 lead after the first, Chippewa extended its lead in the second via one touchdown run from Ellis and two from Andre Chenault.

 

The Big Reds led 30-10 at the half.

 

Chenault had three more touchdown runs in the second half to help secure the victory for Chippewa, with two coming in the third and one in the fourth.

 

It was Chippewa’s fourth consecutive win against its rival, with one of those victories coming in a district final game last year as well.

 

Although playing a rival in the playoffs may be fun for fans, Merchant has a different perspective.

 

“It’s a huge rivalry,” Merchant said. “Any time we have a game with them, it’s very nerve-wracking. There’s a lot (of) hype around it; they’re our inter-district rival. So, it’s not really enjoyable. We try to treat it like a regular game, but we all know it isn’t a regular game.”

 

Chenault described Chippewa’s victory as “real special.”

 

“It was a good game,” Chenault said. “Their defense is physical. They have a good offense; good quarterback. We just had to come out, play our best game.”

 

Dakota finished the year at 8-3 overall and 3-2 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division.

 

Coach Greg Baur shared an evaluation of his team.

 

“Really proud of our seniors,” Baur said. “Believe it or not, we’re really young still. Defensively, we start four sophomores. But really proud of (them). They worked their tails off to get here, we just ran into a team that was better than us.”

 

Going forward, Dakota’s youth could serve the program well.

 

“Our younger levels were both undefeated,” Baur said. “We’re real happy (with) where we are, but that doesn’t make up for right now.”

 

For Chippewa right now, Merchant feels his team has been playing its best football of the season.
 

“I felt like we kind (of) had it on cruise control a little bit,” Merchant said. “And then from Week 9 on, we talked about how we have to peak; we have to get better every week (because) we’re (going to) be in tough, tough games in the playoffs. I really think the last three weeks we’ve played our best football.”