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Red Hawks take win over FHE

The Red Hawks honor Coach Kapolks on hid 100th career win. Photo by Brandon Kramer Photography.
Coach Gus Kapolka’s response to being honored on his 100th win. Photo by Brandon Kramer Photography.
Red Hawk Kyle Hoort is tackled by FHE’s Emilio Jazwinski on a kickoff return. Photo by Brandon Kramer Photography.

Coach Gus Kapolka gets 100th career win

By Judy Reed

It was a roller coaster of emotions for the Cedar Springs Red Hawks varsity football team and fans last Friday night—from it being their first home game without assistant coach Kevin Martens, who died last week, and was honored before the game, to a milestone win for head coach Gus Kapolka.

The team donned their striking new “brotherhood” jerseys in honor of the kickoff of Red Flannel in Cedar Springs. They went on to pick up another conference win, beating Forest Hills Eastern 54-23, to keep them tied for first in the OK Gold with Catholic Central (3-0, 4-1 overall). But the icing on the cake was Coach Gus Kapolka picking up his 100th career win.

As soon as the game was over, the team honored the coach with a poster and balloons commemorating his accomplishment. 

“I was surprised that anybody even knew and even more surprised that there was recognition of this after the game.  I’m very appreciative of that,” said Kapolka.

The majority of his wins (58) have come from his time at Cedar Springs (2013-2021) and 42 from his time at Manistee High School (2004-2012).

Forest Hills Eastern hit the scoreboard first, when Clune Van Andel kicked a 27-yard field goal with 5:40 left in the first quarter. Cedar Springs scored just a few minutes later, with 2:11 left in the first, on a 3-yard run by Ryan Mitchell. A pass by Aiden Brunin to Josh Kriekaard was good for the two-point conversion, making the score CS 8, FHE 3. FHE came right back to score with 1:55 left in the first, on a pass up the middle to Ashton Thompson, for a 70-yard touchdown. The extra point kick by Van Andel was good. The score at the end of the first quarter was CS 8, FHE 10.

Cedar Springs really took off in the second quarter. With 11:24 on the clock, Ryan West ran left for a 63-yard touchdown. The extra point run was no good. FHE scored with 6:06 left in the second, when Bryson Kudzel ran right for a two-yard touchdown. The kick by Van Andel was good.

The Red Hawks scored twice more in the second quarter. With 4:34 left, Carter Falan ran for a two-yard touchdown, and then ran in the extra points. They scored again, when, just as time ran out, Brunin passed to Falan for a 29-yard touchdown. Brunin’s run in for extra points was good. This made the score CS 30, FHE 17 at half.

FHE only scored once during the second half, when, with 7:53 left in the fourth, quarterback Brayden Stratbucker passed to Max Ferrick for a 16-yard touchdown. The extra point run was no good.

Cedar Springs scored three more times—once in the third on a two-yard run by Alex Ream (extra points were good); and then twice in the fourth. With 9:09 left to play, Ryan Mitchell ran for a 49-yard touchdown, and Brunin’s extra point run was good. Ryan West then put the final nail in the coffin with 17 seconds to go, on a 21-yard run up the middle for the touchdown. Nate Slager’s run in for extra points was good. 

Cedar Springs gained 469 yards rushing. Leading the way was Ryan Mitchell with 134 yards; Ryan West with 119; Antwuan Nicholls 80; Aiden Brunin with 68; Carter Falan with 62.

The FHE Hawks racked up 112 yards on the ground, and 167 in the air.

Coach Kapolka was pleased with the way his team played. “We executed our offense extremely well, and played good enough defense to win,” he said.

This week, Cedar Springs will travel to Middleville Thornapple Kellogg, who is 1-2 in conference, and 1-4 overall. But that doesn’t mean it will be an easy win.

“TK will be a physical test for us,” said Kapolka. “They will line up with multiple tight ends and try to pound the ball right at us. We have to be ready for that.”

Make the trip to Thornapple Kellogg this week and support your Red Hawks! 

OK Gold Standings Football

Team Conference Overall

Catholic Central 3-0 5-0

Cedar Springs 3-0 4-1

South Christian 2-1 3-2

Kenowa Hills 1-2 2-3

Forest Hills Eastern 1-2 2-3

Ottawa Hills 1-2 2-3

Thornapple-Kellogg 1-2 1-4

Wayland 0-3 0-5

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