The Eagles' stadium is a thing of true beauty. The lines on the track haven't even been painted yet. Tonight was the home opener for the season, and the first ever game in the newly renovated stadium. The Lions were hoping to come in and steal some of that magic, but it wasn't in the cards.
The first half was all Lions. All the way. Had the game ended at halftime, the crowd would have been greatly disappointed with the zero points and many turnovers by the home team. The Lions fans, on the other hand, would have been ecstatic to see their young team with a new head coach putting together such a solid night of football.
Newaygo could do no wrong. Quarterback Remington Gracik was connecting with receivers on both sides of the field; running backs were slipping through holes in the line with precision; the defense was hitting hard and causing turnovers that were wearing on the Eagles.
So whatever Bill Crane, the Eagles' head coach, said to his team in the locker room on this hot, muggy night that got them going was exactly what they needed to hear. Kent City came out an entirely different team, and the crowd could feel it. The roar grew with every play. Momentum had shifted and there was nothing the Lions could do to stop it.
With 4:30 left on the clock the Eagles found themselves up 20-19, having closed the gap and capitalized on every Lion mistake. Mason Westbrook ran time after time, right then left, then back to the right. His line gave him room and there was no stopping him.
Two catches in to the drive and the Lions seemed like they had found a way through their second half slump. The passing game was opening up opportunities. But it was one pass too many that did them in. Gracik looked far up field and threw but Kent City's defense had read the play. Interception for the Eagles. Game over.
Coach Crane got doused with ice cold water for the victory on the first game ever played on the new field and a promising start to the brand new season.