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Red Hawks head to district championship game


There was no stopping the Red Hawks in their 46-7 win over Gaylord in the pre-district home game last Friday. Photo by Kelly and Rob LaLone.

STORY BY JUDY REED

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks were a force to be reckoned with in last Friday’s pre-district win at home over Gaylord. The Red Hawks racked up 410 yards rushing and 49 yards passing in their 46-7 win over the Blue Devils, and upped their record to 9-1.

“Home playoff games are very special,” noted Red Hawk Coach Gus Kapolka. “We’ve only had four in the history of Cedar Springs, so Friday night was a great experience for our team. Our guys were energized by the big crowd and went out and played a sharp game. I was pleased with the physicality that we brought, and our execution in all three phases of the game was good.”

The win means they will face the Mount Pleasant Oilers (10-0) at Mount Pleasant this Friday for the District Championship. They won 35-6 over Petoskey last Friday.

“Mt. Pleasant is an undefeated team that has only given up 75 points the entire season,” said Kapolka. “This will be our toughest test of the season so far. I believe that the game will come down to turnovers, explosive plays, and special teams.”

The Red Hawks controlled the game from the beginning kickoff. They went 70 yards on just six plays and scored when quarterback Kolby Swank ran to the right for a 17-yard touchdown. Sage Serbenta then ran in the extra points.

Their next scoring drive was set in motion when Serbenta intercepted a pass from Gaylord QB Ryan Stefanski at the Cedar Springs 10 yard line and ran it back to the 26. They scored with 1:27 left in the first when Ryan Ringler ran up the middle for an 11-yard touchdown. Serbenta ran in the extra points, and the score at the end of the first quarter was Cedar Springs 16, Gaylord 0.

Cedar Springs scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter. About a minute into the quarter, Gaylord punted and Cedar took over on their own 12-yard line. Several plays later it was 3rd and 11 at their own 39, when Serbenta threw a 43-yard pass to Nate Webb to make it first and 10 on the Gaylord 18. Ethan West made two runs of 7 and 8 yards, before Ringler ran in a 3-yard touchdown. Swank then passed to West for the extra points.

Ringler scored again on an 11-yard run with just 56 seconds left on the clock in the second, and West ran in the extra points. They then kicked off to Gaylord, and the Blue Devils got the ball on their own 35-yard line. With seven seconds remaining, Stefanski attempted a pass from the Cedar Springs 43 to Cade Foster, but Red Hawk Lucas Pienton intercepted it at the 2-yard line, ending their attempt to score in the first half.

The Red Hawks went into half time leading 32-0.

Cedar Springs scored again in the third quarter with 7:50 left when Landon Totten ran to the left for a 20-yard touchdown. Swank’s pass to Kaden Liggett was good for the extra points.

The Red Hawks scored one last time in the fourth quarter, when Jeremy Champione ran left for an 8-yard touchdown. The extra point run was no good.

Gaylord finally got on the board in the fourth quarter with 6:22 left when Cade Foster ran left for a 16-yard touchdown. The extra point kick by Joey Kotsko was good.

The District 3 Region 1 District 1 playoff game ended with a score of Cedar Springs 46, Gaylord 7.

Leading rushers for Cedar Springs were Serbenta with 109 yards; Ringler with 95; Totten with 54; West with 30; Ben Shaw with 27; Swank with 26; Zack Schmid with 23; Champione with 18; Lucas Pienton with 17; Elliston with 10; and Brunin with 1.

On defense, Ringler led in tackles with 8; Gage Gardner had 6; Totten had 5; Shaw 4; Serbenta and Xavier Anderson 3; and 11 others had 2 or less.

The Red Hawks will travel to Mount Pleasant High School this Friday, November 2, for the District Championship. Game time is 7 p.m., and tickets are $6. You can buy them at the gate, or purchase them at Cedar Springs High School on Thursday and Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. High School students will also be in the circle drive at Cedar Springs High School from 3-4 p.m. to decorate/paint your car if you’d like, and you can then caravan with others drivers from there at 4 p.m. The dress theme for fans is a black out, so fans are being asked to wear a black coat if you can. Check out the Cedar Springs Athletic Boosters Facebook page for updates.

If you cannot make the trip to Mount Pleasant, the game will also be streamed on MHSAA TV. For subscription options just go to https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/mhsaa-mi/gam9e380a9742.

The winner of the Cedar Springs vs Mount Pleasant game will move on to face the winner of the Muskegon vs Grand Rapids Christian game.

 

 

 

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Cedar Springs shuts out FHN 40-0


The Red Hawks scored their 8th straight win of the season Friday against Forest Hills Northern. Courtesy photo.

Red Hawks win OK White championship

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks Varsity football team accomplished three feats on Friday night—and two of them hadn’t been done in Cedar Springs for 60-plus years.

The biggest and most important feat was that they won their first ever OK White Conference championship, and they won it outright—they were undefeated in conference play, and finished 6-0 in conference, and 8-1 overall in the regular season. It was their first conference championship since they shared the OK Bronze conference championship with Forest Hills Eastern in 2015.

“It is a great accomplishment for our team,” said Coach Gus Kapolka. “Winning the OK White was one of our goals from the very beginning of the season. I’m proud of how dedicated all of our kids were in winning Cedar Springs’ first ever OK White Championship. We need to continue with our dedication and preparation moving forward throughout the playoffs.”

The second feat they accomplished was three straight shut outs in a row, which they hadn’t done since 1956, when they were part of the Newaygo-Cnty league and had five in a row. 

The third accomplishment was that they won eight straight games—something that had not occurred since 1954, as part of the Newaygo-Cnty league. That year they went 9-0, winning every game on their schedule. This year’s only loss was the first game of the season to Saginaw Swan Valley, the 2017 Division 5 state runner up. 

The game last Friday against Forest Hills Northern was cold and wet, but the Red Hawks pulled off another great performance. They scored once in the first quarter on a 33-yard touchdown run by Lucas Pienton, and quarterback Kolby Swank passed to Ethan West for the extra two points. 

They scored three times in the second quarter. With 9:48 on the clock, Kolby Swank ran in a 7-yard touchdown, and Ryan Ringler ran in the extra points. With 1:32 left, Sage Serbenta ran right for a 5-yard touchdown, and Ringler ran in the extra points. Then with 39 seconds left til half, Serbenta returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown, and Swank’s pass to Ringler was good for the extra points.

In the third quarter, Ringler scored on an 8-yard touchdown run, and Serbenta ran in the extra points.

The Huskies got close to scoring in the fourth quarter after a fumbled punt put them within five yards of the goal line. But the Red Hawks gave no quarter, and and the Huskies were stopped on the one-yard line, by Red Hawks Xavier Anderson and Zak Schmid, and Cedar Springs took over the ball.

The Red Hawks rushed for 333 yards, with Serbenta getting 109; Ringler 78; Pienton 44; Ethan West 41; Landon Totten 33; and Swank 24.

Ringler led in tackles with 12; the rest of the team had four or less.

This Friday Cedar Springs will host Gaylord (6-3) in the Division 3 (region 1, district 1) pre-district playoffs. Ticket prices are $6. Come on out and cheer on your Red Hawks!

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Cedar Springs shuts out Ottawa Hills 48-0


Cedar Springs ran away with the game against Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills last Friday, 48-0. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks varsity football team won their seventh straight game last Friday, October 12, when they traveled to Houseman Field to take on GR Ottawa Hills Bengals.

The Red Hawks controlled the game from the very first quarter, limiting the Bengals to only 47 yards and one first down the entire game. 

“I was pleased with the way our guys went out and took care of business,” said Red Hawks Coach Gus Kapolka. “We were focused and executed well, which sometimes is hard to do when you are playing an opponent who has a 1-6 record.”

Cedar scored early in the first quarter when Ryan Ringler ran up the middle for a 49-yard touchdown with 11:32 left on the clock. Ethan West’s run into the endzone for the two-point conversion was good.

The Red Hawks scored again in the first quarter with 4:43 left when Sage Serbenta ran left for a one-yard touchdown, and Kolby Swank then ran in the extra points.

They scored again with 2:09 left in the first when Ryan Ringler blocked a punt from Ottawa Hills, and Cedar scored a safety. The score at the end of the first was Cedar Springs 18, Ottawa Hills 0.

The Red Hawks scored three times in the second quarter. With 10:07 left on the clock, Ben Shaw ran up the middle for a 23-yard touchdown and Kolby Swank ran in the extra points. Three minutes later they scored again when Sage Serbenta ran one yard into the endzone for the touchdown and then Ethan West ran in the two-point conversion. They scored again at the 2:20 mark when Landon Totten ran left for a 10-yard touchdown, and took the ball into the endzone again for the two-point conversion. The score at the end of the half was Cedar Springs 42, Ottawa Hills 0.

Neither team scored during the third quarter, but the Red Hawks scored one more time in the fourth. With 2:11 left on the clock, Jeremy Champione ran up the middle for a 2-yard touchdown, then Champione attempted a pass to Zack Shcmid for the extra points, but it was no good.

The Red Hawks accumulated 380 yards rushing, with Ryan Ringler (92), Sage Serbenta (77), and Landon Totten (63) leading the way. Ben Shaw added 44, Jeremy Champione 30, Lucus Pienton 21, Gage Gardner 16, and Zack Schmid 14. Swank added 4 yards rushing, and 4 yards passing.

On defense, Kaden Liggett led in tackles with 6 and Miles Cartwright had 5. The rest of the team had 3 or less each.

The Red Hawks sealed at least a share of the conference title with the win, and as they are now only one game away from the playoffs, Kapolka was happy to give some of the younger players a chance to get some experience on the gridiron.

“We were able to play a lot of young guys in the second half, and those game reps are invaluable for them moving forward,” he said.

This Friday Cedar Springs (7-1, 5-0) hosts Forest Hills Northern (5-3, 3-2) in their last regular season game. Come on out and cheer them on!

Please note that according to Cedar Springs Athletic Director John Norton, the MHSAA has raised District Ticket prices to $6 moving forward. So be prepared as you head off to post-season events. This will include all playoff football games as well. And remember, even if the event is at Cedar Springs, no passes are accepted during post-season play.

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Cedar crushes Caledonia in home opener


There was no stopping the Red Hawks last Thursday as they garnered almost 400 yards in the game against Caledonia last Thursday. Photo by Rob LaLone.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks brought their A-game last Thursday, August 30, when they hosted Caledonia for the first home game of the season and ran away with the win 46-7.

The Red Hawks were fresh off a loss to the Division 5 state runner-up Saginaw Swan Valley, where they had some trouble getting the offense going that they needed. But the Red Hawks found their groove against the Fighting Scots, scoring once in the first quarter, three times in the second quarter, and twice in the fourth.

The Red Hawks netted 338 yards on the ground, and 56 in the air, for 394 total. Ethan West ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns, followed by Lucas Pienton with 96 yards and one touchdown; Sage Serbenta ran for 50, Ryan Ringler had 36, Zak Schmid and Kolby Swank each had 16, Ben Shaw and Landon Totten ran for 10 each, including a touchdown by Totten.

Swank completed three passes out of three attempts, with two resulting in touchdowns—a 25-yard pass to Lucas Pienton, and 20-yard pass to Kaden Liggett. The third pass was 11-yards to Ethan West. 

Their defense was also stellar, allowing Caledonia only 154 yards on the ground for the whole game and one touchdown, which came in the second quarter. Leading in tackles for the Red Hawks was Ryan Ringler with 12 and 3 assists; Xavier Anderson with 6 tackles and 4 assists; Gage Gardner with 8 tackles; and Sage Serbenta with 6 tackles, 1 assist, 1 QB sack, and 2 fumble recoveries. Many other Red Hawks also contributed defensively, including Lucus Pienton and Graham Bayink, both with 1 interception each.

Cedar Springs travels to Northview this Friday, September 7, to take on the Wildcats. They have beaten Northview for the last five meetings, but Northview came out strong this year, with a win over Comstock Park 68-47, and they still put a lot of points on the board in their loss to Jenison last week, 43-36. It should be a good game! Travel to Northview and cheer on your Red Hawks!

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