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Cedar Springs runs Lowell out of first place

Cedar Springs runs Lowell out of first place

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs had a lot riding on the outcome of the varsity football game against Lowell last Friday. How the rest of the season would play out would depend on what happened. If the Red Hawks won, they would take sole possession of first place in the OK-White, and that sixth win would give them a berth in the playoffs for the third year in a row. That’s a lot of pressure. But the Red Hawks didn’t fall prey to the “what ifs.” They just went out and played their game—and won 44-20.

Teamwork and running their game plan has helped the Red Hawks earn another berth in the playoffs. Here Zak Schmid (right) runs with the ball against Lowell. Photo by Rob and Kelly Lalone.

“All week we talked about our focus on the task at hand and not to get caught up in potential outcomes,” explained Cedar Springs Coach Gus Kapolka. “We were locked in from the start and executed well on both sides of the ball early.”

Cedar Springs scored early and often, as they have done all season. They struck first with 8:45 on the clock in the first quarter when the team drove the ball down the field 65 yards and Aiden Brunin scored on a one-yard run into the end zone. Ben Shaw then ran in the extra points, and they led 8-0.

A little over a minute later, Brunin intercepted a pass at the Lowell 45 and returned it to the Lowell 35, where the Red Hawks took over. Three plays later they scored again, with 6:05 on the clock, on a 22-yard pass from CS quarterback Jeremy Campione to Nathan Elliston. Landon Totten’s run for extra points was no good, making the score 14-0.

On Lowell’s next drive, Doan Dean fumbled the ball at the Lowell 40, and it was recovered by Red Hawk Aiden Brunin with 3:14 on the clock. Cedar Springs scored for the third time four plays later, when Campione ran to the left 5-yards and into the end zone for the touchdown. He then passed to Brunin for two extra points. At the end of the first quarter, the score was Cedar Springs 22, Lowell 0.

The Red Hawks scored again early in the second quarter. The Red Arrows were at the Cedar Springs 25 with 10:08 on the clock when Brett Spanbauer fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Red Hawk Brennen Porter. Cedar Springs scored two plays later, when Ben Shaw ran up the middle for a 73-yard touchdown—the first of two long touchdown runs for Shaw. Campione’s run into the end zone for extra points was good, and the score was now Cedar Springs 30, Lowell 0.

Lowell finally scored on their next drive, made up of 10 plays, all runs by Brett Spanbauer. He scored on a two-yard touchdown, with 4:49 on the clock. The pass for extra points to Brennan Pawloski was no good. The score was now CS 30, Lowell 6.

Cedar Springs scored again in the third quarter with 7:11 on the clock, when Zak Schmid ran for a 45-yard touchdown. Brunin then ran in the extra points. The score was now Cedar Springs 38, Lowell 6.

Lowell scored again early in the fourth quarter, with 9:12 on the clock, when Doan Dean ran right for a 7-yard touchdown. The extra points were no good. The score was now CS 38, Lowell 12.

Cedar Springs was back on the board again less than a minute later, when Ben Shaw had his second long TD run of the night, running 82 yards and into the end zone to score. Brunin’s run for extra points was no good. The score was now CS 44, Lowell 12.

Lowell scored one last time with 4:37 left on the clock, when Doan Dean ran right for a 4-yard touchdown. His run into the end zone for extra points was also good. The score was now CS 44, Lowell 20.

Cedar Springs punted on their next drive, but on Lowell’s third play, a pass from Doan Dean to Cade Solomonson was intercepted by Red Hawk Miles Cartwright at the Lowell 37, with 2:38 on the clock. The Red Hawks ran one play, and the game was over, with Cedar Springs winning 44-12.

Cedar Springs netted 336 yards on the ground with several different players contributing. Ben Shaw led in yards with 198 yards on five carries; Aiden Brunin had 43 yards on 10 carries; Zack Schmid had 54 yards on three carries; Landon Totten had 20 yards on three carries; Jeremy Campione had 18 yards on three carries; and Nathan Elliston ad 12 yards on four carries.

CS quarterback Jeremy Campione completed one of one attempted pass, for 22 yards to Nathan Elliston for a touchdown. 

Lowell had 209 yards rushing, with Brett Spanbauer leading the way with 134 yards on 23 carries; Doan Dean had 60 on 20 carries; Nate Clark had 14 on five carries; and Sam Lixie had one yard on one carry.

Lowell completed 12 of 18 passes for 93 yards. Brett Spanbauer was 7 for 12 and 44 yards, with one interception; Doan Dean was 4 for 5 and 29 yards with one interception; Andy Anschutz was 1 for 1 with 20 yards.  

Seth Almas led in tackles for the Red Hawks with 11; Aiden Brunin and Nate Webb both had 8; Kaden Liggett and David Whitten both had 7; Miles Cartwright 6; Zak Schmid, Kaleb Colby and Nathan Elliston 5 each; Landon Totten and Ben Shaw 4; and seven others 2 or less.

Kapolka credited the team’s scouts with helping them to prepare for the game. “I thought our scout offense did a great job getting us ready for Lowell. Dylan Greenland and David Dipiazza especially were important to our preparation during the week,” he explained.

Cedar Springs is now 3-0 in conference, and 6-1 overall. They need to win the next two games—against Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills (1-6) and Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern (2-5)—to win the OK White Conference Championship outright. This Friday’s game against Ottawa Hills is Homecoming at Red Hawk Stadium, and has a start time of 5:30 p.m. 

What does Coach Kapolka think the team has to do to hold on to first place?

“We need to maintain our focus even with the distractions of early start times and Homecoming activities in order to win the OK White Championship outright,” he said.

Come on out and cheer on your Red Hawks in the last regular home game of the season!


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