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Delton is last team with some playoff hopes

Hastings running back Gabe Trick lunches towards the goal-line in an attempt to score a touchdown against Jackson Northwest Friday during the Saxons' homecoming victory over the visiting Mounties. (Photo by Brett Bremer)

Brett Bremer

Sports Editor

Maple Valley was eliminated from postseason contention before the season began, being too large of a school system to qualify for the MHSAA eight-player varsity football postseason.

Along the way, Lakewood, Hastings and Thornapple Kellogg have all suffered a fifth defeat eliminating hopes of a spot in the 11-player state tournament.

Delton Kellogg will being trying to score a spot in the postseason with five regular season wins for the third time in five years, and their fourth playoff berth during that stretch, when it plays host to Constantine Friday at 5 p.m. The Panthers upended the Falcons a year ago to secure their six regular season victory and earn a spot in the playoffs a year ago.

Constantine had its playoff spot wrapped up by the time it faced the Delton Kellogg Panthers a year ago, and the Falcons do once again. Constantine moved its record to 6-2 overall this season with a 40-15 win over Kalamazoo United last weekend. Undefeated Schoolcraft and Berrien Springs teams are the only varsity teams to have defeated the Constantine team so far this season.

Delton Kellogg will hosting Senior Night as well as its annual Coaches versus Cancer Game, where the Panthers will be drawing attention, along with the help of the American Cancer Society, to the efforts in attacking the disease. There will be a 50/50 raffle held by the DK Athletic Boosters with a portion of the Boosters' proceeds going to the cause. A portion of the proceeds from the game's ticket sales will also be donated to the American Cancer Society. The DK Cheer team will be offering up opportunities for folks to donate throughout the game towards to the endeavor as well.

The Panthers are inviting anyone in attendance to join them in bringing a sign/banner with the name of someone that they know that has been touched by cancer and display it throughout the game. In addition,Delton Kellogg will be taking a moment to honor recently retired, long-time assistant football coach (35 years of coaching at DK) Mike Powell, he being a cancer survivor as well, in between the first and second quarters. Former head football coaches Fred Pessell, Rob Heethius, Vic Haas  and Rollie Ferris, along with long-time assistant coach John Greenman, will join current head coach Ryan Bates for the presentation at mid field.

Delton Kellogg wil honor its football, band and cheer seniors before the game, beginnig at approximately 4:55 p.m. Parents of those seniors receive free admission to the game.

Maple Valley faces a 5-3 Bellevue team to close out its season Friday, in Bellevue. The Lions are looking at the battle for the Little Brown Jug with the Broncos as their playoff game.

Nashville and Bellevue started the tradition of playing for a Little Brown Jug, back before Maple Valley schools were even a thing.

Bellevue captured the jug a few times from the Nashville Tigers, but the Broncos are just 30-3-1 since  Nashville and Vermontville combined to form the Maple Valley Lions. The three Little Brown Jug trophies, covered with the results from over the decades, have been at Maple Valley High School since the Lions' last played the Broncos in 2004 – a 59-8 Maple Valley victory.

“I had to actually take a picture of it and send it to Bellevue's A.D. They hadn't seen it in such a long time their kids didn't know what it was about. They're definitely looking forward to it to, I know that for a fact,” Maple Valley head coach Marty Martin said.

He said the trophy, the proximity of the school districts and the fact that many of the players on both sides know each other had his team circling this ballgame with Bellevue on the schedule at the start of the season.

The Lions still plan to kick-off at 7 p.m. Everyone else has early kick-offs.

Thornapple Kellogg will close out its season against Ottawa Hills at Grand Rapids Christian High School beginning at 5:30 p.m. Hastings plays host to Charlotte for a 5 p.m. kick. Lakewood has plans for a 4:30 kick-off at home against rival Ionia.

Local Standings

(record, playoff points)

Delton Kellogg               4-4, 38.250

Hastings                       3-5, 35.875

Thornapple Kellogg       3-5, 34.750

Lakewood                     3-5, 31.833

Maple Valley                 3-4, NA

Conference Standings (overall, conference)

Interstate 8 Athletic Conference

Lumen Christi       8-0, 7-0

Coldwater                7-1, 6-1

Parma Western       6-2, 5-2

Marshall                                     4-4, 4-3

Hastings                                     3-5, 3-4

Harper Creek           3-5, 2-5

Northwest                1-7, 1-6

Pennfield                 1-7, 0-7

OK Gold Conference

East Grand Rapids                  5-3, 4-1

GR Christian                            6-2, 5-0

South Christian                       4-4, 3-2

Forest Hills Eastern               4-4, 3-2

Thornapple Kellogg               3-5, 2-4

Wyoming                                  3-5, 1-4

Wayland                                     0-8, 0-5

Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley

Schoolcraft              8-0, 4-0

Constantine            6-2, 3-1

Kalamazoo United                  4-4, 3-1

Coloma                    2-6, 1-3

Delton Kellogg      4-4, 1-3

Watervliet                2-6, 0-4

Greater Lansing Activities Conference

Olivet                        7-1, 4-0

Stockbridge            3-5, 2-2

Lakewood                                  3-5, 2-2

Perry                          4-4, 1-3

Leslie                        3-5, 1-3

Here is a round-up of last Friday's local gridiron action.

Hastings 62, Jackson Northwest 34

The Hastings class of 2020 finally got to celebrate a homecoming victory inside Baum Stadium at Johnson Field Friday night - in its last chance before graduation.

Its freshman year, Coldwater celebrated on homecoming night in Hastings. Marshall did it two years ago. Last fall it was Jackson Parma Western. This year the Saxon seniors, and their teammates on the Hastings varsity football team, scored a 62-42 win over visiting Jackson Northwest.

Quarterback Carter Cappon rushed for two touchdowns for Hastings, as did backs Elijah Smith and Austin Bleam. Keegan Olson and Gabe Trick had one TD run apiece.

“They were pretty focused all week,” Hastings head coach Jamie Murphy said. “They knew that Friday night was their time to shine. The rest of the week is kind of homecoming for the rest of the school and Friday night is the football team's. There was good focus all week long. The kids knew what they were up against and what we were preparing for.”

Hastings closes out the Interstate-8 Athletic Conference season with back-to-back wins over Pennfield and Northwest.

“It feels great. Oh my gosh. There is nothing like a winning feeling like that, especially on homecoming,” Cappon said.

“I just try and tell myself that it was just another game,” Hastings senior right guard Ben Farrell said, “but it is really exciting to get a homecoming win senior year. It has been a while.”

Interceptions by Trick, Logan Wolfenbarger and Zeb Carey were key stops for the Saxon defense that had nearly as much trouble slowing down the Mounties as the Northwest defenders had slowing down the Saxon Wing-T.

“What hurt us the worst were the outside sweeps and the passes,” Farrell, who plays middle linebacker on the defensive side of the ball, said. “Throughout the season we have had trouble stopping that. We kind of knew that was going to happen, but the offense kept us in the game. We did get those three turnovers. That helped a lot.”

The Mounties managed 430 yards of offense, with 271 yard  through the air and 159 more on the ground. The Saxon offense rushed for 536 yards, turned the ball over just once, converted on three of five fourth down attempts, and never punted.

“These kids have been running this offense since they were in third grade, so most of these kids know how to run our offense. They understand now, as seniors, they're starting to understand what we want, how to read a defense, and what the defense is giving them. That is what we're looking for – what is a defense giving us. They get it.

“I know they get it, because when they come off on the sideline they give us information. This is happening here. I have this technique over me, and he is stepping inside, so these plays are available.

Murphy said that feedback from his guys really started in the past two weeks.

The two teams combined for 52 points in the second quarter alone. Northwest scored the first touchdown of the ballgame, but the Saxons answered with a 49-yard touchdown run by Austin Bleam and a Bleam two-point run to take an 8-6 advantage.

The Saxons led from that point on, pushing their lead to as large as 40-20 in the first half before Mountie quarterback Isaiah Grybauskas led a touchdown drive for his team in the final minute of the first half to get back within 40-26 by the break.

Olson scored on a 14-yard run for the Saxons a minute and a half into the second quarter and Bleam added a 44-yard touchdown run. Smith scored twice in the final five minutes of the first half, on runs of five yards and 18 yards.

Farrell said the Saxons' experience in the offense showed on Smith's second TD run, which pushed the Saxon lead to 20 points for the first time with 3:26 to go in the first half. He said the offense changed the play call at the line of scrimmage, seeing a cluster of defenders on the right side of the offensive front. The Saxons went the other way for 18 yards, and Smith dove into the left corner of the end zone for the score.

“You could see the holes (in the defense), and they could see the holes over there (on the sideline),” Cappon said. “Talk to the coaches and it's like, 'okay, let's run this for 25 yards'. The next play,' all right five yards'. The next play, 'break it for a touchdown'. It was great.”

Cappon scored on runs of 20 yards and two yards in the third quarter, pushing Hastings' lead from 40-26 to 54-26. Trick put the finishing touchdowns on the Saxon win with a nine-yard touchdown run with 51 seconds to go.

Bleam rushed 12 times for 199 yards in the game and Olson had 14 carries for 109 yards. The Saxon team also got six rushes for 60 yards from Hunter Allerding, five carries for 56 yards from Cappon, six carries for 49 yards from TJ Russell, four rushes for 39 yards from Smith, and five carries for 24 yards from Trick. Bleam also had the Saxons' only two receptions, covering 14 yards.

Corbin Ulrich had a team-high 6.5 tackles for Hastings. Smith had six, Zeb Carey 5.5 and Evan Eastman 5. Eastman, Colton Carter and Allerding each had one sack of Grybauskas.

Northwest answered the final score, getting a two-yard touchdown run from Anthony Hale with 34 seconds left. There was a lot of that throughout the evening. Anthony Cole scored the Mounties' first two touchdowns, on one-yard runs, and added a six-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Grybauskas was 13-of-22 passing for 271 yards and two touchdowns, one to Roy Guy for 21 yards and one to Devin Kalis for 25 yards. Grybauskas was also his team's leading rusher, carrying the ball 15 times for 63 yards. Cole had 16 rushes for 48 yards. Kalis had six receptions for 171 yards.

Coloma 22, Delton Kellogg 20

Each team had a fourth quarter lead, but Coloma had it last.

The Coloma Comest scored a 22-20 victory over the visiting Delton Kellogg varsity football team Friday in Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley Division action, erasing the possibility of the Panthers' guaranteeing themselves a spot in the state postseason with six victories on the season. DK is now 4-4 overall heading into its regular season finale at home against Constantine Friday.

Cody Palgen scored on a 40-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to put the Comets in front 22-20 soon after a two-yard touchdown run by Bradley Bunch and an extra-point kick by Gaby Petto had given the Panthers their first lead since the opening quarter.

Delton Kellogg's final two fourth quarter drives stalled out, one with an incomplete pass in Comet territory and the second when a fourth down run was stuffed in the backfield back in the Panthers' end in the closing moments.

In between those two final drives for DK, the Panther defense came up with its second big goal-line stand of the game. The DK defense also got an interception from Jordan Rench in the second quarter to kill another Comet drive, but the Panthers fumbled the ball right back over leading to a five-yard touchdown run by Cristian Eutsey. The two-point run by Comet quarterback Michael Case put the Comets in front 16-7.

DK got back to within 16-13 at the half with an 18-yard scoring run by Rench.

Delton Kellogg got its first points on a 37-yard touchdown run by Bunch pushing the lead to 7-0 in the opening quarter with Petto's extra-point kick.

Coloma took the lead soon after on a one-yard touchdown run by halfback Kenyon Boyd on a direct snap to the back. Boyd ran in the two-point try as well for an 8-7 Comet lead.

DK quarterback Payton Smoczynski was 2-of-3 passing for ten yards in the ballgame. Bunch had a team-high 21 rushes for 129 yards. Rench rushed 16 times for 92 yards and Richard Hill had four rushes for 49 yards. Hill also had a team-high six tackles for the DK defense, with Kaleb Post adding four and Cole Pape four.

South Christian 27, Thornapple Kellogg 7

The Thornapple Kellogg varsity football team scored its first points since its Sept. 28 homecoming victory over Wyoming on Friday night at East Kentwood High School, but not enough.

The Trojans fell to 3-5 overall this season and 2-4 in the OK Gold Conference with a 27-7 loss to host South Christian in Kentwood.

The Sailors held the Trojans to just 109 yards rushing on the night, and allowed the Trojans to pick up a first down on just two of 11 third down attempts.

The Trojans were down just a touchdown though until South Christian quarterback Chase Bradman tossed  a1-yard touchdown pass to Elliott Grashuis with ten seconds left in the first half to boost their team's lead to 21-7.

Bradman and back Daniel Possett each had a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to put the Sailors ahead 14-0.

The TK offense finally put together a few first downs between the end of the first quarter and the start of the second, with Adam Bush finishing off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run three and a half minutes into the second quarter. Mitchell Middleton's extra-point kick was good for the Trojans.

The teams traded interceptions with Logan Kimbrue pulling one in for TK and Casey Boomsma picking one off for the Sailors.

The Sailors moved in to take a two-score lead before the half and then added field goals of 44 yards and 25 yards by Jeff Heerema in the third quarter.

Alex Bonnema led the TK defense on the night with ten total tackles and an interception. Kimbrue had eight tackles and an interception. The Trojans also got 7.5 tackles from Ryan Holmes and seven each from Adam Bush and Cole Shoobridge.

Brendan Hood was the Trojans' leading ground gainer on offense, rushing 15 times for 58 yards. Bonnema added five carries for 31 yards. Shoobridge had three receptions for 66 yards in the ballgame, while quarterback Reece Garbrecht was 5-of-16 passing for 84 yards and two interceptions.

Bradman finished with 16 completions on 22 attempts, covering 162 yards. He did more damage with his legs, rushing 15 times for 135 yards. Possett added 18 rushes for 77 yards.

Issac Northouse had 11 tackles for the Sailors.

Lakewood 26, Charlotte 21

Things slowed down after a wild first quarter, at least until the closing moments when the Vikings decided they weren't going to lose again.

The Lakewood varsity football team pulled out a 26-21 victory in a non-conference ballgame at Charlotte High School Friday, scoring 12 points in the final five minutes to make up for a few big plays they allowed to the Orioles in the first half.

Lakewood junior Sawyer Stoepker, splitting some time at quarterback and receiver in recent weeks, took a reverse 53 yards for a touchdown with some great blocking on the outside by tight end Lucas Tacey and wide receiver Parker Anderson. The score pulled the Vikings to within 21-20 with 4:53 to play, but the two-point conversion run by Jacob Elenbaas came up short of the end zone leaving the Vikings still down by a point.

“That was my decision to go for two,” Lakewood head coach Matt Markwart said. “We were down in there, we were on the road and wanted to go for the win, and we knew with five minutes left if we didn't make it that we'd get a stop. They were having trouble moving the ball. Our defense was playing really solid.”

Charlotte took over at its own 20-yard-line after the Viking kick-off. Elenbaas stuffed Charlotte's Alex Willison for a one-yard gain on first down. Bryan Makley made the tackle on the Orioles' Ashton Sentell on second down, and then Denny Sauers III helped make sure a Charlie Grant pass fell incomplete on third down, forcing a punt by the Orioles' Alex Thorne with 3:45 still left for the Viking offense to go the other way.

Lakewood got a big 44-yard pass from Stoepker to Brent Sweet to get to the Oriole 12-yard-line, and then four runs by Elenbaas had the Vikings in the end zone again and in the lead with 1:06 to play.

Charlotte bobbled a squib kick by the Vikings, and it was recovered by Lakewood's Ethan Rodriguez allowing Lakewood to seal the victory.

Lakewood had a lead 97 seconds into the ballgame thanks to a 65-yard touchdown pass from Elenbaas to Brent Sweet and an Elenbaas extra-point kick, but that lead lasted just seconds as Bo Brandt fired a 28-yard touchdown pass to Braden Hill for a touchdown and Ashton Sentell added an extra-point for the Orioles after a 57-yard kick-off return by Brandt.

Charlotte put together its most sustained drive of the game following a Lakewood punt, driving 80 yards for a six-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Cifaldi and another Sentell extra-point to take the lead with 1:43 to go in the first quarter. That lead lasted just seconds too as Sweet returned the Oriole kick-off 85 yards for a touchdown and Elenbaas booted another extra-point.

The Orioles then took the lead, finishing a 66-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown pass from Brandt to Alex Thorne with five minutes left in the first half. Sentell's extra-point had his team up 21-14.

That was where things stood until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Braden Hill intercepted a pass for the Orioles.

“We just wore them down in the second half. We had some bigger defensive linemen than they had, and we just started wearing them down and getting a push on them,” Markwart said. “They really had one play that they hurt us with, the counter, and the kids started figuring out how to play against it and they weren't getting their big runs on it anymore.”

Martin Hollern, John Behrenwald, CJ Morgan, Cameron Winter and Josh Cronk were all a big part of the defensive rotation in the trenches that slowed the Charlotte offense in the second half.

“The boys came out (in the second half) and they got a stop. They played hard the whole game, they just decided they were going to take it into their own hands. We made some great plays and won us a ballgame,” Markwart said.

Elenbaas rushed 21 times for 65 yards in the ballgame, and connected on 4-of-7 passes for 71 yards. Stoepker had the one 44-yard pass and rushed three times for 63 yards. Sweet finished with four receptions for 115 yards.

John Hewitt led the Viking defense with 17 tackles. Sweet had 6.5 tackles, and Sauers and Carson Deleeuw had 5.5 each. Deleeuw had three tackles for a loss.

“They were very excited. We had a lot of good bounces go our way tonight. The last few weeks we didn't have those bounces,” Markwart said.

“We are finally back to almost healthy,” he added. “We still have a couple kids that are banged up a little bit. We haven't been playing with 100 percent of our guys the last few weeks and when they were in there they weren't 100 percent. We finally got that. We finally got some good bounces, we finally put things together, they played hard, they hit hard, and they were ecstatic about it.”

Maple Valley 24, Webberville 8

The Maple Valley defense came to play Friday night.

The Lions' varsity eight-player football team shut out Webberville for the first 44 minutes of a 24-8 victory at the home of the Spartans.

Lion quarterback Blaze Sensiba scored three rushing touchdowns and teammate Dillon Jorgensen one as the Lions built their 24-0 lead. Maple Valley improves to 3-4 on the season and  can finish the year with a .500 record with a win at Bellevue next Friday.

“We just throughly dominated them on the defensive side of the ball. They couldn't do anything. They couldn't run, they couldn't pass,” Lion head coach Marty Martin said.

“If things had been going right for Webberville, you would have seen their quarterback rolling out, extending the play and throwing it deep over the defensive coverage. All week long we worked on dropping back and keeping the receivers in front of us. Webberville likes to run a lot of crossing routes and getting people in behind other people by pulling that defensive back forward and then throwing one up over the top of them. We just stayed behind everything and then when the ball was in the air we reacted.”

He liked how his guys came up to stop the run, pinched on the inside run and had good back-side pursuit then the Spartan backs tried to cut things back.

Hunter Basett led the Lion defense with seven tackles. Jesse Deppe had six tackles and Tyler Rose and David Hosack-Frizzell had five tackles each.

The list of stand-outs was long for coach Martin Friday.

“We had some young guys step up and play good games for us. A freshman, Jesse Deppe, he stepped in for us at safety and then he had to step in for us at linebacker later and really made some nice plays. He made a few touchdown saving plays when we had our second defense in there.”

“David Hosack-Frizzell played a very nice game for us both on offense and on defense. Travis Mater did a great job for us tonight at center. Christian Hensley had to step in tonight and really did a nice job for us at guard.”

The Lion coach was also very happy with the play of Jorgensen, filling in for the ill Anthony Raymond and the injured fullback Colton Gibson.

“Dillon really did a nice job carrying the ball. He did a great job blocking. He really stepped up. He is a junior and we're really glad that he decided to play football and be a part of tonight.”

Jorgensen had 17 rushes for 77 yards and two receptions for 22 yards. Hugheston Heckathorn added 13 rushes for 63 yards and Sensiba added seven rushes for 51 yards.

Sensiba scored the Lions' first points three and a half minutes into the ballgame on a two-yard run following fumbled punt by the Spartans. Jorgensen added a two-yard touchdown run in the opening minute of the second quarter, then Sensiba scored on a two-yard run with 3:05 to go in the first half. Sensiba's final TD came from 13 yards out five minutes into the fourth quarter.

The Spartans got their lone touchdown on a 31-yard rush by TJ Coe, with Oscar Fuller connecting on a two-point pass to Kolson Lycos.

About the only thing that didn't go right was the extra-point tries for the Lions.

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