Poor execution, missed tackles, mental mistakes, and flat play are all phrases that best describe the first half for the Red Hawks against Grand Rapids Catholic Central last Thursday night, September 3. After a stirring and emotional win versus Lansing Eastern in the opening week, expectations were high going into this non-conference meeting at Grand Rapids Christian field. Hopes were dashed quickly as Catholic Central jumped out to a 14-point lead after Cedar’s first two opening series.
An interception on the Red Hawks’ second offensive play led to a quick score for GRCC. Cedar’s next drive was a quick three and out. The ensuing short punt was returned 37 yards for a touchdown by Nathan Lowe. Just like that, down 14 points, facing an aggressive defense and an offense led by highly touted quarterback Nick Ens, Cedar dug itself a hole that they would not recover from as GRCC continued to pour it on.
Ens threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter of 19, 6, and 21 yards all to John Haley to extend their lead to 35-0 at the half. Total yards in the first half reflected the lopsided score as GRCC outgained Cedar Springs 224-4 in total yards in the first half. If any team needed half time to come to regroup it was the Red Hawks.
The Red Hawks came out in the second half and showed their coaches and fans their heart and determination by scoring two touchdowns to make a game of it. Junior James Putnam legged out a 64-yard run for a touchdown and the sophomore duo of Tyler Covell and Hank Porter connected on a 49-yard touchdown pass. After the Red Hawks took control of the third quarter with their aggressive play, GRCC came back in the fourth to close out the scoring with another touchdown pass from Ens to Haley.
The Red Hawks will need to take the lessons they learned about preparation, execution, and mental readiness into their next game this Friday against rival Sparta at Red Hawk stadium. The team is expecting a large and raucous crowd at home as this rivalry produces tough and hard-hitting football.