Saginaw Township, Mich. - The Heritage Hawks (9-2) had their way at home defeating the Dow Chargers (6-5) 35-13 at Larsen Field. The Hawks will play in the second week of November for the first time in 22 years.
Heritage heads 128 miles west to play Muskegon High School next week in the regional final.
The Hawks hit the ground running. Junior Rhett Klepf, on the second play of the game, ran it in from 70 yards out to put Heritage up 7-0, 47 seconds in.
After Dow was turned over in the red zone, Heritage went 10 plays for 67 yards. The drive was capped off by a Zion Riley two-yard rushing touchdown to make it 14-0, with 27 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Chargers did respond. A roughing the punter penalty kept the drive alive and a Tyler Streeter 33-yard rush put Dow at the Heritage 21 yard-line. Garlands Randolph, who had two scores in the District Semifinal, jetted in from 12 yards out. The extra point was blocked to keep it 14-6.
The Hawks' next drive, saw them reach plus territory, but a fumble gave Dow the ball at their own 29-yard line. The Hawks reached the red zone, but for a second time in three attempts, were thwarted.
A 4th and Goal at the five saw an incomplete pass intended for Dow Senior Drew Ieuter and broken up by Heritage Senior Ethan Mason.
With 3:20 left in the first half, starting at their own five, the Hawks needed just two plays to get six. Mason connected with Senior Braylon Isom. Isom made a jumping catch at midfield and broke a tackle to take it to the house, a 90-yard touchdown. Heritage’s lead increased to 21-6.
Isom second touchdown was his 50th all-time touchdown, a new MHSAA record.
Dow entered the two-minute drive. Their second play was a throw picked off by Jace Sullivan at the Chargers own 19-yard-line. Heritage punched it again, Isom hauling in a back shoulder fade pass one-handed. The four-yard reception gave Isom his second score and the Hawks a 28-6 lead with eight seconds left.
In the second half, Dow’s first drive went 10:52 but stalled out, hindered by five penalties. Both teams got another score. Ethan Mason ran it in, and the Chargers final drive of 2023, was a one-yard Jacob Jensen rushing touchdown bringing the difference to 22 points.
Dow finishes their season 6-5, doubling their win total from a season ago. Heritage now has nine wins, for the first time since 2006.
Highlights of the game are below with the full game archive available here.