Early kick-offs this week in Hastings and Delton
Delton Kellogg senior kicker Gabby Petto drills one of her two extra-point kicks out of the hold of Jordan Rench in the Panthers' SAC Valley loss at Schoolcraft Saturday evening. (Photo by Perry Hardin)
The times they are a changin' – again.
Early kick-offs abound again this weekend as the Hastings varsity football team will host the undefeated Jackson Lumen Christi Titans at 5 p.m. Friday inside Baum Stadium at Johnson Field. Delton Kellogg will kick-off its homecoming contest against Watervliet at 5 p.m. in Delton.
Thornapple Kellogg will kickoff at 5 p.m. at Grand Rapids Christian too.
All three of those local teams, the Saxons, Panthers and Trojans either started or started and finished their week five ballgames on Saturday last weekend. The Saxons and Trojans got about a half in before thunderstorms rolled across the state, forcing the delays to Saturday. Delton Kellogg had already planned to play its ballgame Saturday at Schoolcraft last weekend. Only the Trojans came away happy, finishing off a homecoming victory over Wyoming.
Thornapple Kellogg is one of four OK Gold Conference teams with two conference victories this season, and one of four with 3-2 overall records. TK is 2-1 in the conference, while East Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Christian and South Christian all sit at 2-0 in conference and 3-2 overall. The last two ballgames between the Trojans and Christian Eagles have been decided by seven points or less.
Hastings has never defeated the Jackson Lumen Christi Titans, who come to Hastings as the defending back-to-back Division 6 State Champions. Lumen Christi hasn't lost a ballgame since a week three defeat against Harper Creek in September of 2017 – a string of 28 consecutive victories.
Watervliet, Delton Kellogg's homecoming opponent, has had a very different string in recent seasons, seeing a stretch of seven consecutive playoff appearances brought to an end with a 2-7 season last fall. The Watervliet Panthers are currently 2-3 overall this season after getting shut out 35-0 by Kalamazoo United last weekend.
Lakewood and Maple Valley are getting to play under the stadium lights Friday, with regular 7 p.m. kick-offs still planned.
The Vikings return to Greater Lansing Activities Conference action this week after the long trip to Cadillac last week, heading to Stockbridge Friday. Lakewood and Olivet, the two perennial conference powers, remain as the only two teams with perfect conference records to this point. Stockbridge is struggling this season, being outscored 246-88 in its five losses.
Maple Valley gets a home game after a long bus ride last week too, hosting Toledo Christian Friday. Kick-off is still planned for 7 p.m. in Nashville. Toledo Christian is another program playing its first varsity season of 8-player football.
“I started this summer, just reading news articles in the Toledo Journal just about their football program and of course you look up the history of their football program and they have a strong history of making the playoffs and having good football teams,” Maple Valley head coach Marty Martin said. “They're very similar to us in the fact that they only have two seniors. I think they have six or seven juniors, and then the rest are freshmen and sophomores.
“I know that they're having a hard time finding eight-man games in Ohio, so that is why they're coming up here to play us. They're 3-1, coming up here to play us. We're going to prepare for them and we're going to do the best that we can.”
(record, playoff points)
Thornapple Kellogg 3-2, 45.800
Delton Kellogg 3-2, 41.600
Lakewood 2-3, 29.400
Hastings 1-4, 21.200
Maple Valley 1-3, NA
Conference Standings (overall, conference)
Interstate 8 Athletic Conference
Lumen Christi 5-0, 4-0
Marshall 3-2, 3-1
Coldwater 4-1, 3-1
Parma Western 4-1, 3-1
Harper Creek 2-3, 1-3
Hastings 1-4, 1-3
Northwest 1-4, 1-3
Pennfield 1-4, 0-4
OK Gold Conference
South Christian 3-2, 2-0
East Grand Rapids 3-2, 2-0
GR Christian 3-2, 2-0
Thornapple Kellogg 3-2, 2-1
Forest Hills Eastern 2-3, 1-2
Wyoming 1-4, 0-3
Wayland 0-5, 0-3
Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley
Schoolcraft 5-0, 1-0
Constantine 4-1, 1-0
Kalamazoo United 2-3, 1-0
Delton Kellogg 3-2, 0-1
Watervliet 2-3, 0-1
Coloma 1-4, 0-1
Greater Lansing Activities Conference
Olivet 5-0, 3-0
Lakewood 2-3, 2-0
Leslie 2-3, 1-2
Perry 2-3, 0-2
Stockbridge 0-5, 0-2
Here is a round-up of last weekend's local gridiron action.
Parma Western 42, Hastings 20
Western won the battle of adjustments Saturday to score a 42-20 victory over the Hastings varsity football team in a ballgame that was stretched between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon due to the severe weather that passed through the state.
Parma Western clung to a 14-12 lead with seven and a half minutes remaining in the first half when the contest was brought to a halt Friday. The Panthers scored 14 points before the half once play resumed Saturday, and eventually pulled away with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
“Western made some defensive adjustments that slowed our running attack down on Saturday,” Hastings head coach Jamie Murphy said. “Friday night we were running on them at will, on Saturday we had a difficult time running off tackle.”
“Western's passing attack was different on Saturday as well. They began to throw short three-step passes because of our pressure we gave them in the pass rush. The QB (Tyler Pape) was on target and on time with his passes.”
Hastings was right in the ballgame until the final two fourth-quarter scores. The Saxons put together a 65-yard drive to open the second half, getting a two-yard touchdown run from Hunter Allerding and a two-point run from Gabe Trick. That score moved the Saxons with 28-20 with 19 minutes to play.
Hastings twice took a lead in the opening quarter, first on a two-yard touchdown run by Austin Bleam that opened the game's scoring, and then on a 20-yard touchdown run by Bleam that put his team up 12-7.
Parma Western moved back in front, 14-7, with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Pape to Kendall Wadsworth two and a half minutes into the second quarter. Landon Raczkowski took away the first Saxon lead of the ballgame with a six-yard touchdown run eight and a half minutes into the contest, with Clay Falde adding the extra-point kick to put the Panthers ahead 7-6 at the time. Falde was a perfect six-of-six on extra-point kicks.
“After being down two touchdowns our kids fought back and brought the game to a one score deficit two different times. I was proud of their resilience and their effort,” Murphy said. “We consistently had guys in the right spots. Now we need to work on finishing plays. I also liked how our front six played, our D-line and linebackers really slowed down any running game they had.
“If we can continue to do that this week against Lumen Christi we will be in good shape.”
Gilli Perez, Evan Eastman and TJ Russell each had a sack for the Saxons, and Eastman, Russell, Corbin Ulrich had two tackles for loss each. Christian Stacy had a team-high six and a half tackles for Hastings. Eastman had five and a half tackles while Carson Fouty and Russell had five each.
The short passes turned into long ones when the Saxons' didn't finish plays early Saturday. A couple missed tackles in the secondary allowed the Panthers to score on a 55-yard touchdown reception by Landon French and a 69-yard touchdown reception by Mason Gillespie before the half.
Pape added a five-yard touchdown pass to Gillespie with seven minutes to go in the ballgame for his team's final touchdown, after a Panther interception. Raczkowski also scored on a five-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Pape finished the ballgame 18-of-22 passing for 414 yards and fourth touchdowns. French had five catches for 139 yards and Gillespie four for 116 yards. Wadsworth added another four catches for 84 yards.
Raczkowski led the Panthers on the ground, rushing 24 times for 85 yards. Pape had 11 rushes for 50 yards.
Bleam led the Hastings offense with 15 rushes for 109 yards. Allerding had 13 carries for 78 and Carter Cappon broke loose for 72 yards on jut five rushes.
Schoolcraft 67, Delton Kellogg 14
Saturday wasn't the Panthers' day.
Schoolcraft improved to 5-0 with a 67-14 victory over Delton Kellogg in the teams' Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley Division opener Saturday evening in Schoolcraft.
The Eagles' first offensive plays of the ballgame were a 43-yard run by senior running back Kobe Clark and a 25-yard pass from junior quarterback Alex Thole to junior wide out Harmon DeVries. Clark was bumped out of bounds at the end of his long run and DeVries crashed to the turf as he made his reception inside the Panther five-yard-line.
The next six Schoolcraft offensive plays all ended in touchdowns as the Eagles built a 40-0 lead in the first half.
Clark finished off that first Schoolcraft drive with a three-yard touchdown run. He added 11-yard and three-yard touchdown runs on the Eagles' next two possessions, and eventually finished his team's 40-0 run to start the ball game by taking a pass from Thole 33 yards to the end zone.
Thole also connected with DeVries on a 25-yard touchdown pass and threw a 52-yard TD pass to Jimmy Downs in the first half.
Delton Kellogg got a two-yard touchdown run by by Hunter Belew and recovered a Schoolcraft fumble before the half.
Richard Hill added a six-yard touchdown run for the Panthers in the fourth quarter. The Eagles returned ensuing kickoff 66 yards for their final touchdown.
The Eagles scored on a 65-yard touchdown run by Clark, a seven-yard touchdown run by fullback Mark Fox and a five-yard touchdown run by Trenton Cook in the third quarter.
Hill was the leader for the DK offense in the loss, rushing 15 times for 76 yards and the one score. Jordan Rench, the Panthers' quarterback, rushed 12 times for 44 yards.
Thornapple Kellogg 45, Wyoming 28
Bleachers tend to start clearing out in a three-score ballgame after the homecoming king and queen have already been crowned, just not as quickly as they did in Middleville Friday night.
The Thornapple Kellogg varsity football team built a 24-7 lead in the first half of its homecoming contest against OK Gold Conference foe Wyoming. The Trojan band shared its Imagine Dragons halftime performance and then the TKHS homecoming royalty were introduced and the 2019 homecoming king and queen crowned when lightning bolts shot across the western sky behind Bob White Stadium. Ball gowns were few and far between, and the student section had shrunken to about a third of its previous size on Saturday at noon when the TK football team returned to finish off a 45-28 win over the visiting Wolves.
The Trojans pushed their lead to 38-7 with short third quarter touchdown runs by Reece Garbrecht and Colton Vanloozenoord. Adam Bush added the Trojans' final touchdown with 6:50 to play on a six-yard run – his third touchdown run of the ballgame.
Trojan kicker Mitchell Middleton was a perfect 6-for-6 on extra-point kicks, and drilled a 52-yard field goal two minutes into the second quarter to up his team's lead to 17-7 at the time.
The Trojans jumped in front early in the ballgame, taking the opening kickoff and scoring three snaps later. Vanloozenoord covered the first 39 yards with a pair of rushes and then Bush bounded into the end zone at the end of a 41-yard run 80 seconds into the contest.
The Wolves answered right back to even the game at 7-7, getting a 26-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Berg to Adel Odobasic on their first drive.
The Trojans steadily marched the ball back down the field to score on a two-yard TD plunge by quarterback Garbrecht with 2:29 still to play in the opening quarter.
Vanloozenoord sacked Berg for a loss on a fourth down play on the Wolves next drive, and the next two full Wolves drives before the half ended in punts.
Vanloozenoord had 16 rushes for 166 yards in the win, and Bush rushed seven times for 92 yards. Middleton was solid on the ground as well, carrying nine times for 77 yards.
Jake DeJong had TK's lone reception, for 14 yards.
Wyoming showed some life in the fourth quarter, scoring on a ten-yard touchdown pass from Berg to Mahki Matthews. Matthews hauled in ten catches for 64 yards in the game.
Diamonte Parks returned the final Trojan kick-off of the ballgame 85 yards for a touchdown, and Jeremy Barber scored on a two-yard run in the final minute of the game.
Berg was 18-of-25 passing in the game for 128 yards. Parks led the Wolves on the ground, rushing nine times for 65 yards.
Alex Bonnema had a team-high 8.5 tackles for TK, including three for a loss. DeJong had eight tackles and Bush and Ryan Holmes added 7.5 each.
Cadillac 26, Lakewood 6
A handful of times the Cadillac blockers did their job a little too well, or the Lakewood defenders didn't quite stick quite firmly enough to their assignments Friday night.
The Cadillac Vikings (3-2) scored a 26-6 victory over the visiting Lakewood Vikings (2-3) in the first-ever meeting between the two varsity football teams.
“They had our number tonight,” Lakewood head coach Matt Markwart said. “They shut us down pretty good and they got us on big plays. It wasn't that they drove down on us, they got us on some big plays. They pinned us back early and it constantly rained tonight. When we got pinned back it was hard to do stuff in the rain.”
It wasn't just a new foe for the Lakewood Vikings to see Friday night, but a style of offense that they certainly haven't faced this fall and rarely ever see.
The Lakewood boys could stop one run for no gain, hold the next ball carrier to three or four yards and then boom an opening.
“It is a designated, assignment defense,” Markwart said of what a team needs to play against the veer-option attack of the Cadillac program. “You have to have a guy for the quarterback, because if he goes down after the dive, they're going to pull it and pitch it. They don't say they're running the dive on this. They run the veer, and they read the dive keys and then they read the pitch key. They go down the line until you run out of guys, and if they get one of them (with a block) you are in trouble and it is off to the races.
“We really wanted to shut down the option, and they got us on a couple of dives and a couple other things. We haven't seen it. If you don't see it, it is tough.”
The Lakewood boys chased down the runners after most of Cadillac's big gains, but Cadillac eventually got the ball to the goal-line. The host Vikings built a 20-0 lead in the first half with Tipp Baker scoring on runs of five yards, three yards and 17 yards in the first half. He also ran in one two-point conversion attempt as well.
Cadillac hit its big play for a touchdown on the first snap of the second half, with Aden Gurden connecting with tight end Alec Barczewski for a 63-yard touchdown pass that upped their team's lead to 26-0.
Lakewood didn't get on the scoreboard until Denny Sauers III scored on a 19-yard run with 28 seconds left in the ballgame.
“They had our number tonight,” Markwart said.
Lakewood had trouble sustaining offensive drives. The visiting Vikings were just 1-of-11 on third-down conversions, and 1-of-3 when going for it on fourth down.
Offensively, Garrett Stank led the Lakewood attack with 11 rushes for 84 yards. Sauers carried seven times for 51 yards and Brent Sweet had 14 rushes for 47 yards. Lakewood quarterback Jayce Hanson was just 3-of-7 passing for -4 yards and an interception, while rushing five times for 34 yards.
Cameron Winter had a team-high six tackles for the Vikings. John Hewitt and Nick Helt had five tackles each.
Gurden was 2-of-3 passing for Cadillac for 63 yards. Baker rushed eight times for 80 yards and the three touchdowns. Teammate Collin Johnston carried the ball nine times for 71 yards, and Carter Hash got five carries for 64 yards.
Onekama 35, Maple Valley 8
A long bus ride, about three and a half hours, was followed by a long opening quarter for the Maple Valley varsity football team Friday at Onekama.
The Portagers improved to 4-1 on the season with a 35-8 victory over the visiting Lions in a steady rain that eventually turned into a football game that was shortened by six minutes in the end.
Onekama scored 22 points in the opening quarter on three big plays, a 52-yard touchdown run by Aaron Powers, a 35-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Bennett to Luke Mauntler and a 69-yard run by Aaron Rogers.
“We played really well except for six plays,” Maple Valley head coach Marty Martin said. “We gave up six big plays on defense, and that was the difference in the ballgame. We outplayed them in the second quarter. We outplayed them in the third quarter, and we outplayed them for half the fourth quarter. Six big plays, they scored on their first play (Power's 52-yard TD run).”
Powers tacked on two more touchdown runs in the second half, one covering another 52 yards in the third quarter and on from 11 yards out.
Quarterback Blaze Sensiba scored the lone touchdown for the Lions, with 4:43 to go in the third quarter. Hugheston Heckathorn added the two-point conversion run, pulling his team within 22-8 at the time. That was the culmination of a 90-yard Lion drive after the Maple Valley defense stopped the Portagers on their first possession of the second half.
The Lion defense managed another stop after the touchdown, but the offense fumbled the ball away two plays later. Power's second 52-yard touchdown run came on the first play following that Lion turnover.
“If we could have held onto the ball in the second half, I think (Onekama) would have been in some trouble,” Martin said.
The Lions couldn't though. Maple Valley quarterback Blaze Sensiba was intercepted twice in the first half and the Lions fumbled the ball away once in the first half and two more times in the second. Martin said that fumbled snaps on fourth down attempts also gave the ball over to the Portagers a couple of times.
Maple Valley was still able to hold onto some hope throughout the evening as Onekama turned the ball over three times too.
“We're growing, we're getting better, the kids didn't give up,” Martin said. “As a young team on the road playing against a senior-laden team like they are, a playoff team, the score was not indicative of how close that ballgame was.”
David Hosack-Frizzell led the Lion defense with 14 tackles. Heckathorn had nine and Tyler Rose six. Heckathorn also had a team-high 56 rushing yards on 13 carries on offense. Sensiba rushed 12 times for 40 yards and completed three passes for 24 yards on 15 attempts.
Powers powered the Portagers' attack, rushing nine times for 225 yards.
“We're doing a lot better job of coming off the ball on offense and controlling the clock and controlling the downs,” Martin said. “The defensive line is doing a lot better job, both Hugheston Heckathorn and AJ Raymond played a great game at defensive end, and then we lost AJ halfway through the game and Christian Hensley stepped in and did a great job. Our linebackers are getting better at heading down hill. That right now is our Achilles heel. Now we just have to get them to tackle when they get to the point of attack. Our defensive backs kind of blew some coverages tonight, but they're coming up and tackling.
“On offense, we're really getting better at our double teams. Blaze Sensiba, our quarterback, is really starting to settle in and take command of the huddle. We're really getting better at being optimistic.”