Indians put it all together in win over Panthers 39-6
Editor Note: Kevin Atwood contributed to this article
In 2009 the Indians rolled into Hesperia with an 0-7 mark during their second year in the pre-divided CSAA. The Panthers season had been equally frustrating as they too were getting pounded by the bigger schools and came in winless.
The Indians held their hosts to a single score and though they would lose the season finale the conference win was something to build on.
The following year due to declining numbers there would be no football in the Cloud.
It would be another 8 years and 43 straight conference losses before they would break the streak by once again holding their Hesperia hosts to a single score in a game where both teams were once again looking for win number one on the season.
Full disclosure here. In our preview article we predicted the Panther backs would run amok against an Indian defense that has struggled to hold opponents in check. Come game time both of the premiere Panther backs Gerrit Yates and Kanin Witte were out with injuries and the WC ‘D’ made sure the Panther running game never got traction. The defense even notched a score of their own on a 31 yard fumble return by Devon Trice.
The Indians scored on their first two offensive possessions and never looked back. It was not Hesperia’s night. With an opportunity to score before the half the Panthers were trying to punch the ball in from inside the 5 and as time grew short they spiked the ball to kill the clock.
Unfortunately it was 4th down and the ball went over to the Cloud on downs.
The WC offense behind the leadership of Kevin Arnold scored 5 times including a pair of passes from Arnold to Conner Maring (13 yards) and Eric Plotts (29 yards). Alex Doke scored one of three rushing TD’s with Arnold carrying in the other two.
The ground game was led by Buck Seabrook who pounded the Panther line for 71 yards Doke added another 48 and Steven Holt finished with 42.
On the defensive side Seabrook paced the group with 11 tackles followed by Adrian Rodriguez (7) and Tucker Kooman (6).
A huge win for the program and a lesson to never underestimate the heart and resilience of the players who wear the Orange and Black.
Newaygo 34 Big Rapids 27
Ok no one is mentioning the ‘P’ word yet but this was a really key win for the Lions who face winless opponents the next two weeks before the M-37 showdown with their neighbors to the south.
The Lions shook off a drive-killing first quarter fumble that Braeden Childress took the other way for an 84 yard touchdown and grinded out a large enough lead to cause a late game charge by the Cards to come up short.
Led by Connor Swinehart, the Lions scored the next three touchdowns then answered a Cardinal score in the 4th.
Swinehart flipped a screen pass to Anthony Hudson who raced in for a 14 yard score to tie the game just before the first quarter ended. The extra point attempt was unsuccessful but after that kicker Francisco Rios would split the uprights 5 straight times before the final gun.
Swinehart punched it in from 2 yards out to put Newaygo up 13-6 at the half then early in the third followed his o-line push in from a yard out to up the lead to 20-6.
Zachary Rodriguez tore loose for a 54 yard scamper to the end zone to push the Lion advantage to 27-6.
Swinehart would score again and the final quarter saw a furious rally by the Cards that proved too little too late.
“It was a big win for us,” said Lion Head Coach Scott Van Essen. “ I thought we played hard and our players came up with some big plays both offensively and defensively.
“Maybe not the way we wanted to finish but we're extremely happy to come away with a win.”
Rodriguez (164) and Swinehart (124) each eclipsed triple figures in rushing with Cooper Heinzman adding another 55. Heinzman and Braden Benjamin each recorded a sack while Dalton Jones and Noah Graff led the defense in tackles with 5 apiece.
Newaygo (2-2, 3-2) will be at home Friday to face Fremont (0-4, 0-5)
Central Montcalm 66 Fremont 30
Zane Stroven ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns and Caleb Kooman tossed a pair of TD passes to Riley Krim but in the end it wasn’t enough.
Not nearly enough.
The Hornets built a 28-0 lead before the Pack got on the board and held a 36-14 edge by intermission. While the Fremont offense moved the ball the defense had no answers for the CM offense that scored twice more in the third to make it 50-14.
The Hornets (2-2, 2-3) will host Big Rapids while Fremont (0-4, 0-5) heads east to face Newaygo.
Reed City 54 Tri County 6
The Coyotes piled up 472 yards on the ground and threw for another 100 as they raced past the Vikings to set up next week’s showdown with Chippewa Hills. The Vikings (0-4, 0-5) will host Grant.
Chippewa Hills 27 Grant 7
By Christi Evans
Photos by Chris Lesley
The Tigers came into Remus with determination to turn things around this week. The first quarter ended scoreless as the two teams’ defense was equally strong and neither team was able to find the endzone.
In the second quarter, a 34 yard run from Trent Throop and an 18 yard pass completion from Throop to James Montney got the Tigers within striking distance, but they were unable to convert and the ball was turned over on downs. The Warriors scored three times in the 2nd quarter and successfully completed one 2-point conversion out of three attempts, to make the score 20-0 going into the locker room at halftime.
Grant came out for the second half fired up and halfway through the third quarter, a Warrior pass was batted away by Joshua Wright and scooped up by Jaggar Jenerou. Grant marched the ball downfield on some inspired runs by Throop and Jared Evans, and were knocking on the door when a Throop pass was intercepted. This turnover resulted in another Warriors touchdown.
The Tigers, however, continued to battle as Throop completed passes to Brett Long and Alex Longcore in the fourth to once again get the visitors in position to score, and with 9 minutes left in the game, Jared Evans punched it in from 2 yards out with Tyler Naffziger converting on the PAT.
The Tiger defense shut down the Warriors offense for the remainder of the game. At the end of the night, Chippewa Hills came out on top, 27-7.
Grant did a good job of taking care of the ball, only allowing one turnover, but it was a costly one. They played with guts and grit but unfortunately, some missed scoring opportunities were too much to overcome.
The Tigers, now 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the CSAA Gold, are now in a three-way tie for third place in the conference with Newaygo and Big Rapids. They travel to Howard City to take on Tri County this Friday, September 29th. The Vikings are 1-4 overall and 1-3 in the conference. Chippewa Hills and Reed City are currently sharing the conference title and are headed to a showdown for sole possession of first place, also this Friday, September 29th.