New Look Tigers Stay Undefeated 23-6
By N3 Sports Team
Photos By Lisa Rau
The Tigers were looking for their third straight win to open the season and the visiting Hornets were hoping to claim victory number 1 on the year in this CSAA Gold matchup.
After the kickoff Grant’s Trenton Throop opened with a pass to Marco Alvarez for a 20 yard gain then after a pair of short gainers on 4th and 3...
...Rylee Schultz carried a couple of Hornets past the sticks for a first down.
Throop hit Casey Geers for another first down and The Tigers mixed the run and pass, moving the ball effectively until a holding call and a sack pushed them back into a long yardage situation. Evans ran for a few but a pass play led to another sack and a 4th and long.
That’s when Angel Ochoa trotted out took aim and pounded a 37 yard field goal through the uprights putting the hosts on the board with a 3-0 lead.
A couple of errant kickoffs led to the Hornets taking their first possession near the midfield mark. 3 runs went nowhere but a pass gave them a first down. The next play Ian Francisco caught the runner in the backfield for a loss and 2 plays later on 4th and 5 a pass attempt was picked off by Casey Geers and the Tigers took possession.
Jared Evans picked up 9 yards Throop carried it for a first down then two plays later Evans broke off another 9 before Throop busted tackles and rumbled for an 18 yard gain into CM territory. The quarter ended with Grant threatening to add to their score.
Throop hit Alvarez with a pass to begin the second frame then on 4th and 1 Evans hammered his way inside the 15. Three runs gained little so on 4th and long Ochoa came back out but misfired and the Hornets took over on their own 20.
CM back Blake Ryan busted one for yardage then Bo Studley broke loose for another chunk of real estate as CM crept into Tiger territory. Rylee Schultz and Francisco came up with big tackles to slow the Hornet running game then Schultz and T.J. Railing took down the CM runner on 3rd down followed by Francisco flying into the backfield to slow down the qb for Railing who dropped the ball carrier and Grant took over on their own 30.
Unable to move the ball Grant punted and the Hornets took possession 75 yard s away with 2 minutes on the clock.
Two plays later Hunter VeltKamp hit Ryan who shook off a tackle and raced 61 yards for the score and with 30 ticks until the half the Hornets went up 6-3 after a failed conversion.
The second half began with CM starting on their own 30. The Hornets failed to move the ball and on 4th and ten tried a fake punt and the Tigers took over on the CM 20.
The unsuccessful gamble seemed to shift the momentum toward the Tigers. Evans took the first pitch and drove to the 9. The next play Throop faked a handoff and behind a strong O-line push sliced his way untouched into the endzone. The extra point failed but the hosts had recaptured the lead 9-6.
Two plays after the kickoff the Hornets coughed up the ball and Francisco found it to put the Tigers back in scoring position.
Taking over on the CM 28, Throop found Francisco for a 16 yard strike and three plays later Geers broke around the corner for an 8 yard touchdown run. This time Ochoa pierced the posts with his conversion kick and Grant held a 16-6 lead.
The defense on special teams held the CM return game in check again and on the first play from scrimmage the Hornets fumbled again and Kyle Lowry recovered on the 16. Grant’s offense stalled a bit and the field goal attempt was tipped so CM regained possession on their 20.
The Tiger defense was in high gear penetrating the backfield and handling the o-line of CM handily in the second half. The teams exchanged punts then an interception by Schultz gave the Tigers another scoring opportunity with the ball on the CM 26.
A pair of holding penalties pushed the Tigers back to the 45 facing 2nd and 41. Throop fired a pass to Atwood who was interfered with and Grant got 15 yards back, but another hold pushed them back again and they yielded on downs.
CM needed to mount a drive and behind Manley and Zach Bigelow runs they grabbed a first down, then a personal foul put them on the Tiger 36. Bigelow got a block and went for another 10 then Studley gobbled up another first down on the 15. VeltKamp ran twice and on 3rd and 5 Studley took it to the 2 when Tiger Head Coach Darren Geraghty called time out to se up his goalline defense.
Studley was the first to try for 6 but was stopped by Benny Gonzales. VeltKamp called his on number on the next play but was stymied by Daniel Atwood. Studley went at it again but Schultz and Railing teamed to stuff him again. That brought up a 4th and goal from the 3 yard line and after a time out by the Hornets with the Grant bench exhorting the fans to make noise the defense gang tackled Studley and the Tigers took over on their own 5 with 4 minutes left in the game.
Schultz busted the Tigers out of the hole with a 23 yard gainer. Throop ran for 10 then kept it as the Tigers began to eat some clock. On 3rd and 4 Shultz made another big run gaining 23 yards and giving Grant the first down with less than 2 minutes left on the clock.
Finally with time running out Geers broke loose for the icing on the cake as he sped in for a 24 yard score and after Ochoa’s conversion the game came to an end with the Tigers posting a 23-6 win.
Grant will travel north to face the always tough Reed City team on Friday. The Coyotes and Tigers share first place in the Gold with Tri-County and Chippewa Hills at 2-0. Newaygo, Fremont, Big Rapids and Central Montcalm are each 0-2 in conference play