The Cedar Springs Varsity Red Hawks fought hard the last two weeks to keep the dream of the playoffs alive, but fell short of the six games needed. The Red Hawks ended the season with a 4-5 record overall, and were 1-4 in the new OK Bronze conference, finishing just ahead of Forest Hill Eastern (0-4).
The Red Hawks faced OK Bronze champion West Catholic (5-0) (6-3) in the 2nd to last game of the season. There was no score until the second quarter, when the Red Hawks scored 8 points on an Austin Hilyer pass to Dylan Block, and a two-point conversion pass to Cameron Link. They scored again at 2:24 left in the quarter, when Austin Hilyer passed right to Cameron Link for a 9-yard touchdown, but the run attempt for the two points fell short. The half ended 14-0 Red Hawks.
The Falcons owned the field in the third quarter, scoring three unanswered touchdowns and taking the lead 19-14.
The 4th quarter was a battle to the end. The Falcons scored first, then the Red Hawks answered with six points of their own, when Austin Hilyer passed left to Cameron Link for 5 yards for a Red Hawk touchdown. The 2-point conversion of was unsuccessful, ending the game 25-20 Falcons.
“I was extremely proud of our players,” stated Coach Brian Busen. “Our guys knew we had a chance for playoffs on the line. We outplayed West Catholic for three quarters but came up a little short. I saw our players play with more heart and emotion than they ever have before. We gave a gutsy performance.”
Forest Hills Northern
Last week the Red Hawks traveled to Forest Hills Northern to attempt to end their season with a win. The Red Hawks looked strong in the first half of the game, but it was the Huskies that would get the only touchdown in the first half. The Huskies scored three more touchdowns in the 3rd quarter, and the Red Hawks were unable to move the ball against the Huskie Defense. The Huskies continued full throttle in the 4th quarter, getting around the Red Hawk defense and holding the Red Hawks to a nonscoring game, ending the game 39-0 Forrest Hills Northern.
Leading the Red Hawks for the night were Allen Slagter and Jeff Newland. Nick Krajewski led in pass receiving yards, with Allen Slagter. Leading tacklers were Jeff Newland, with 11 tackles and 1 assist; Allen Slagter with 9 tackles, 1 assist; Nick Krajewski 9 tackles and 1 assist; Jason Vietti with 8 tackles; and Cam Cooper, Tim Karafa and Cameron Klompstra all with 6 tackles.
“This was a very emotional season and I want to thank all of the people that supported these kids through this season,” said Coach Busen. “This season the kids played their hearts out despite all of the tragedies and injuries we had this year. During the season we had 14 players miss a total of 35 games, yet managed to go into game seven with hopes of both a conference championship and a trip to the playoffs. We played our hearts out and put ourselves into a position in the 4th quarter to win both our Northview game and West Catholic game but came up short. Even though we came up a little short of our goal, our kids played unbelievable. They played that way because they were playing for those that we loved and lost this season. They played in memory of Jim Porter, Wyatt Phillips, Nick Vietti, Earl Vodry and Norman Zeigler. They played for Sean Thompson, their teammate who wasn’t able to join them on the gridiron due to his injuries suffered in the car accident. They were playing to make their parents proud, they were playing for one another and they were playing because they love the game.”