Bears win defensive battle with Mattawan 13-0

(St. Joseph) – A defensive battle was in store last week for the Bears second home game of the season.  St. Joe coming in off of a 24-0 shutout victory at Niles, and welcoming in the defending SMAC East Champion Wildcats, who came into the game only allowing 6 points and no touchdowns in their first two games.

Not only was it a defensive battle it was a key SMAC West Division game since the Wildcats moved to the West Division this season.

After both teams went 3 and out on their opening drives, gaining a combined total of -1 yards.   St. Joe would open the scoring after the Bears defense gave a short field for the offense.

With the Wildcats at their 38 yard line.  Mattawan quarterback Kyle VanLiere’s pass was intercepted by St. Joe’s Derek Holowasko at midfield and returned the ball to the Wildcats 35 yard line.    St. Joe would find the endzone 8 plays later when Nathan Long threw a one yard touchdown pass to a wide open Konnor LaVanway for a 7-0 St. Joe lead.

St. Joe would add to the lead with 3:22 left in the second quarter when St. Joe was stopped on a first and goal and Antonio Buhrfiend made a 25 yard field goal to put St. Joseph up 10-0 heading into halftime.

St. Joseph would increase the lead on the opening drive of the second half thanks to another Buhrfiend field goal from 31 yards out and St. Joe took a 13-0 lead with 7:03 left in the third quarter.

Mattawan was unable to move the ball with any consistency the rest of the half.   Mattawan’s deepest penetration into St. Joseph territory came in the 4th quarter when they made it down to the St. Joseph 22 yard line, but a sack by Jackson Modigel on 3rd and 1 drove Mattawan back to the 30 yard line and setting up 4th and 9.  The 4th down pass was dropped by the Wildcats receiver turning the ball over back to St. Joe.

Mattawan would have one more chance with the ball, but Derek Holowasko intercepted VanLiere for a second time in the game, sealing the Bears victory.

St. Joe improves to 2-1 on the season and leads the SMAC West with a 2-0 record, Mattawan also falls to 2-1, but is 0-1 in the SMAC West.

St. Joe now gets ready for a showdown with Lakeshore in the annual War by the Shore.   Lakeshore is 1-2 coming off a 7-0 win at Niles.