Posted on 09 September 2016.
Red Hawk Jacob Hooker runs with the ball. Photo by K. Alvesteffer/R. LaLone.
By Maddie Nichols
After playing the Sparta Spartans 65 times in the last 66 years (and probably even longer) the Cedar Springs Red Hawks faced the Spartans for the last time this past Thursday. Sparta had asked to end their contract with Cedar Springs, saying the matchup was not “favorable to Sparta.” In this final rivalry game, Cedar ended the game with a significant 35-7 win.
The Hawks started the game off strong and held off the Spartans. With 4 minutes and 34 seconds left of the first quarter, Red Hawk junior John Todd made a run down the middle and scored Cedar’s first touchdown. After a successful two-point conversion pass from senior quarterback Collin Alvesteffer to another senior, Austin Basso, the Hawks were up 8-0. Cedar kept the lead on the Spartans with some great defensive efforts by sophomore Ryan Ringler and John Todd.
Early in the second quarter, senior Jacob Hooker made a long run in for a touchdown with 10 minutes and 31 seconds left. After a successful extra point, the Hawks were up 15-0. Cedar continued to shut down any of Sparta’s attempts with great tackles by Collin Alvesteffer, John Todd, and Austin Basso. At the end of the first half, the score remained 15-0.
The combined efforts of the offense and defense kept the Red Hawk momentum going in the third quarter. Tackles by junior Nathan Patin, senior Dustin Shaw, sophomore Lucas Pienton, senior Jaron Spencer and senior Thomas Hill kept the Spartans at bay. Runs by Jacob Hooker and pass deflections by Dustin Shaw and Lucas Pienton kept both the team and the fans energized. Ryan Ringler’s incredible 65-yard touchdown and Cedar’s successful point after at the end of third quarter made the score 22-0.
Cedar marched downfield in the fourth quarter with runs by Ryan Ringler, Jacob Hooker, and Collin Alvesteffer. Alvesteffer made a four-yard touchdown run with nine minutes left in the game. The two-point conversion was no good, but Cedar remained on top 28-0. Sparta snuck in a long run and a touchdown with six minutes 44 seconds left in the game, making the game 28-7. Cedar continued to push and Dustin Shaw got a touchdown and point after in with four minutes left, making it 35-7. The Hawks weren’t letting another touchdown go past them and they shut down the Spartans’ offense for the rest of the game.
Coach Gus Kapolka knows the Red Hawks still have some things to work on.
“After a sluggish start, I thought we played much better in the second half,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the number of penalties that we had, so it’s something that we will have to clean up for this week.”
The Red Hawks head to Greenville to take on the Greenville Yellow Jackets this Friday, September 9, and then will host Northview on Friday, September 16, the first home game of the season.