ELKHART — It may have taken Concord a series or two to find its hard-hitting stride on defense.
But once the Minutemen began attacking and getting to the football, the opportunistic bunch made enough big plays Friday, Aug. 29, to help secure a 29-6 Northern Lakes Conference victory at Elkhart Memorial.
Concord senior free safety Marcus Fragale summed up his team's defensive effectiveness in its ability to work as a cohesive unit.
“As we've practiced, we've built a brotherhood, and the brotherhood we've built together as a ’Strike Force’ unit was the deciding factor," said Fragale. "We like to fly around and play smash-mouth football. It took us a minute to get rolling."
After a 4-yard touchdown by Jerrell Pointdexter and 33-yard field goal by Ryan Tepe 33-yard, the Minutemen were up 10-0. It was Fragale who turned a second-quarter fumble recovery into Concord's second touchdown.
Fragale gave all the credit to his defensive buddies.
"My teammates performed their individual tasks, and I was able to scoop up the loose ball and run it back," said Fragale. "The gratitude goes to my teammates.
"My brothers on defense showed up, did a good job (against South Bend Washington in a 29-6 victory and against Memorial) and you see the result."
Minutemen coach Tim Dawson credited the play for seizing the momentum just as the Crimson Chargers were on the march.
"Their kids played hard, and they got some turnovers (interceptions by Geno Peek and Kaleb Summers), they just couldn't capitalize on them," said Dawson. "We were able to capitalize."
Dawson watched his offensive stopped by Memorial (0-2, 0-1) on four plays inside the Charger 1 and his defense give up a few chain-moving plays to the Chargers.
But Concord did not let the hosts sustain enough offensive momentum to get into the end zone (Memorial's TD came on an 86-yard kickoff return in the third quarter by David Doyle).
"I was proud of the way our defense played in the first half," said Dawson. "We stopped some drives and made some big plays."
While Fragale had the scoop-and-dash, senior linebacker Zach Wynn was credited with two fumble recoveries.
"Our defense gave us great field position most of the night," said Dawson, who also saw starting quarterback Cullen Fisher toss TD passes of 71 yards to Pointdexter and 22 yards to Matt Wilmore. "Now we've got to go down to Andrews Field (at NorthWood), which will be extremely tough."
CONCORD 29, ELKHART MEMORIAL 6
Scoring by Quarters
Concord 7 10 12 0 — 29
Memorial 0 0 6 0 — 6
School — Scoring Play
C — Jerrell Pointdexter 4 run; Ryan Tepe kick, 608.
C — Tepe 33 field goal, 3:45.
C — Marcus Fragale 86 fumble return; Tepe kick, :28.
C — Matt Wilmore 22 pass from Cullen Fisher; kick blocked, 4:32.
M — David Doyle 88 kickoff return, kick failed, 4:19.
C — Pointdexter 71 pass from Fisher; kick failed, 3:21.
Officials: Drew Danik, South Bend; John Wilson, Jim Kocsis and Dan Knaup, Mishawaka; Dale Tafelski, Rochester.
Team Statistics Co Me
Net yards rushing 252 105
Net yards passing 118 71
Total Yards 370 176
First Downs 18 8
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 3-3
Penalties 8-77 2-20
Concord: Rushing — Matt Fragale 10-75, Jason Grooms 9-53, Brandon Thomas 8-46, Cullen Fisher 8-41. Passing — Fisher 7-12-118 (2 int.), Grooms 0-1-0 (0 int.). Receiving — Jerrell Pointdexter 1-71, Jake Wirt 3-21, Matt Wilmore 2-18.
Memorial: Rushing — Christian Donovan 9-51, Jaylin Rhodes 10-43. Passing — Trevor Trowbridge 9-16-71 (0 int.). Receiving — Eric Holt 2-27, Chris Kale 3-21.
Interceptions: Memorial — Geno Peek, Kaleb Summers.
Fumble recoveries: Concord — Zach Wynn 2, Marcus Fragle; Memorial —Donovan.