Eddies spoil Paw Paw’s perfect season

By: 
Butch Hindenach • pawtwice@bloomingdalecom.net
Paw Paw’s Kolby Hindenach (23) carries the ball through the Edwardsburg line as his brother,  Connor Hindenach (35) moves in to help block during Friday’s Wolverine Conference matchup. Hot Shotz Photography/Matthew Day

   PAW PAW - What had been a dream season of football for the Redskins took a hit in the final regular season contest, a 44-14 defeat by perennial nemesis Edwardsburg Friday. 
   With two undefeated teams, each rated second in the state in their respective divisions lining up to decide the Wolverine Conference championship, the Eddies took control of the game late to claim their ninth straight win over Paw Paw; the tenth of the 11 games the two programs have played since Edwardsburg joined the league in 2010. 
   Recent  games have been very one-sided in favor of the Orange and Blue; but there is a history of amazing examples of offensive football also. Paw Paw’s only win came in the second year of the series, 46-36. Their opponent has prevailed in some classic encounters with scores such as 56-48, 62-52, 56-21, and 60-34. Judging by the final score it might be assumed this was another blow-out win for the Eddies, but for more than 30 minutes, it was a tight game with the Redskins dominating in the early going. The massive lines of the visitors, which resembled a smaller college team, eventually wore down a determined band of Redskins. 
   Paw Paw took the opening kickoff and marched smartly down the field in a five-minute drive. Nolan Beck had a big 25-yard run enroute, with Kolby Hindenach putting the ball in the end zone from the one. Claudia Muessig’s almost automatic kick conversion made it a 7-0 ball game early.
   In the second period, Edwardsburg took control of the pigskin on their own 17, and methodically moved down the field for six, but their two point conversion attempt was stopped by the Redskin line. With just over two minutes to the break, Paw Paw attempted a fake punt near midfield, but failed, giving the Eddies a chance to take a lead. 
   Redskins Mason Popp and Conner Hindenach each came up with a big quarterback sack on the ensuing thrust, but with 28 seconds left, the Eddies grabbed the lead, 14-7, going into the break. 
   Taking the second half kickoff, the Orange and Blue drove again to increase their margin to 22-7. Midway through the quarter Kolby Hindenach struck again for Paw Paw with a 40-yard streak over the goal, and after Muessig’s extra point, the outcome was still very much undetermined. 
   However, after that, the Eddies were able to move the ball consistently, scoring in four minutes and adding another touchdown in one play after recovering a home team fumble on the Paw Paw 27. A fourth period run by the Eddies ended the scoring and the hopes of much of the large crowd of an estimated 3,000 fans.
   Kolby Hindenach accounted for most of the running attack with 161 yards on a tiring 27 carries. Beck added 56 yards of his own in eight attempts. 
   Popp had his best passing night of the season, completing 10 of 11 aerials for 109 yards, with Beck gathering  in three receptions for 50 yards, and Logan Cummins, three for 33. 
   An obviously exhausted but strong and determined Redskin defense was led by Andrew Vorce, Beck, Nate Harden, Levi Penning, Popp, and Connor and Kolby Hindenach - all were standouts, playing much of the game on both offense and defense. It may be that the Redskins ran out of gas while battling a much larger opponent, but they never ran out of heart.

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