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Cedar Springs wins home opener over Swan Valley



Red Hawk quarterback Jeremy Champione, a junior, runs with the ball against Saginaw Swan Valley. Photo by Rob and Kelly Lalone.

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs has not been shy about opening their football seasons by playing strong opponents. And this year was no exception. Last year, they traveled to Saginaw and lost a tough first game to the Saginaw Swan Valley Vikings (21-12), a Division 5 team that consistently appears in the playoffs. This year they took on the Vikings again, but this time on Red Hawk turf and came away with a solid 34-21 win.

The game was scheduled for last Thursday evening, August 29, but due to lightning and storms, it was continually delayed and then finally postponed to Friday, August 30, at 3 p.m.

Swan Valley scored the first touchdown of the game with 3:46 left in the first quarter, when Viking Khyree Harris ran right for a 26-yard touchdown. The extra point kick by Easton Goldensoph was good, making the score 7-0, Vikings.

Swan Valley scored again with 8:43 left in the second quarter, when quarterback Avery Goldensoph passed to Trent Alworden for a 35-yard touchdown. The extra point kick was no good, making the score Swan Valley 13, Cedar Springs 0.

Red Hawk QB Jeremy Champione hands the ball off to Zack Schmid. Photo by Rob and Kelly Lalone. 

The Red Hawks didn’t wait long after to score. Just 20 seconds later, with 8:24 left in the second quarter, Ben Shaw ran up the middle for a 60-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion was no good, making the score now 13-6.

But Cedar Springs didn’t stop there. They scored two more times in the second quarter—once on a 45-yard pass from QB Jeremy Champione to Aiden Brunin, with an extra two points from Zack Schmid, and again when Ben Shaw ran up the middle for a 35-yard touchdown. At half, the Red Hawks led the Vikings 20-13.

Cedar Springs scored again in the 3rd quarter. With 6:20 left, QB Jeremy Champione ran the ball two yards into the end zone for the touchdown, and then made a short pass to Kaden Liggett for the two-point conversion. The score was now CS 28, Saginaw SV 13.

Swan Valley scored their final touchdown of the night with 2:41 left in the 3rd, when QB Avery Goldensoph ran 1-yard up the middle to score. He then passed to Ethan Champney for two points. The score was now CS 28, SV 21.

Cedar Springs scored one more time early in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. With 11:12 left to play, Landon Totten ran 53 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good. Score was now CS 34, SV 21.

It looked like the Red Hawks might score again when Ben Shaw broke away from the pack and headed down field with about 3 minutes to go. However, he took a knee, and the team continued to play the ball, running out the clock, and winning the game, 34-21.

The Post asked Coach Gus Kapolka what he felt his team did well. “It was a great win for our team against a quality opponent,” he said. “It showed the resiliency of our team in coming back from 13 down and scoring 28 unanswered points. We executed our offense well, especially after the first couple of drives.

“I’m proud of how our kids hung in early, took their best shot and responded by getting a tough victory under adverse circumstances.” 

What did he think Swan Valley did well? “Swan Valley ran the ball well and completed some big 3rd down conversions to their All State Receiver #7 Ethan Champney,” he remarked.

Cedar Springs gained 360 yards on the ground. Leading rushers for the Red Hawks included Ben Shaw with 146 yards on 10 carries, including two touchdowns; Landon Totten with 99 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown; and Jeremy Champione with 38 yards on 8 carries and one touchdown. Other ball carriers included Zack Schmid, Aiden Brunin, Da’montae Barnett, and Nathan Male. 

Cedar Springs gained 58 yards in the air. QB Jeremy Champione completed 3 passes on four attempts. Receivers included Aiden Brunin on a 45-yard pass (and TD); Da’montae Barnett on a 7-yard pass; and Zack Schmid on a 6-yard pass.

Swan Valley had 201 yards on the ground. Leading rushers included Khyree Harris with 141 yards on 13 attempts and one touchdown; Avery Goldensoph with 13 yards on nine attempts and one touchdown; and Andrew Rousseau with 42 yards on five attempts. Miekael Brooker and Callen Reaume also carried the ball.

Swan Valley had 155 yards in the air. QB Avery Goldensoph completed 8 passes on 20 attempts. Receivers included Ethan Champney, 4 passes for 92 yards; Ara Nab, 2 passes for 19 yards; Trent Alworden 1 pass for 35 yards and 1 TD; and Khyree Harris 1 pass for 9 yards.

This Friday, the Cedar Springs Red Hawks play another non-conference game, this time at Caledonia. Make the trip out there to cheer on your Red Hawks! The game starts at 7 p.m.

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Ready for some Red Hawk football?


Last fall the Red Hawks were OK-White Champions

By Judy Reed

Another exciting year of Red Hawk football is about to begin and you won’t want to miss it. It starts tonight, Thursday, August 29, at Red Hawk Stadium, with a rematch against the only team to snatch victory from the Red Hawks during the regular season last year—Saginaw Swan Valley, who was also last year’s opening game.

After the loss to Saginaw Swan Valley (who made it to the District 5 semifinals last fall) the Red Hawks went on to win 10 straight games—including their first ever OK-White Championship and two playoff games. They became District Champs, defeating a previously undefeated Mount Pleasant for the title, and ended the season with a 10-2 record. They only allowed 95 points during the regular season, and 55 during the post season, with their regional finals loss (18-34) to the Muskegon Big Reds making up the bulk of that. 

The Red Hawks will face the same non-conference and conference teams this year: Saginaw Swan Valley, Caledonia, Northview, Greenville, Allendale, Forest Hills Central, Lowell, Ottawa Hills, and Forest Hills Northern. 

Come on out tonight and support your Red Hawks! See spirit themes for all the games on page 8.

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Varsity boys baseball take one, lose two to Lowell


The Varsity boys’ baseball team has a record of 3-2 after last week’s games against the Lowell Red Arrows.

Senior Dylan Williams struck out six in the Red Hawks’ 13-3 win over the Red Arrows. Courtesy photo.

In game 1 of the three-game series, the Red Hawks ran into a tough left-hander from Lowell. He struck out 12 and walked 9. Caden Vandenberg managed one single late in the game, but the Hawks were led at the plate by Payton Newman who had 2 singles and a triple. Seth Biggs (0-1) pitched a great game, though the defense behind him committed 7 errors. Biggs struck out 2, but walked 0 in the 10-4 loss.  All ten of the Red Arrow runs were unearned.

In game 2, Connor Ellison (0-1) and Bryce Marvel combined to throw a great game. Again, defensive errors plagued the defense and all 4 runs were unearned. The bats came alive a bit as the Red Hawks managed six total hits. Vandenberg, Kyle Wise, Colton Moore, and Payton Newman each had one hit each. Dylan Williams added 2 hits in the 4-1 loss.  

In game 3, senior Dylan Williams (1-0) took the mound. He threw a complete game, striking out 6 and walking 3, while allowing only 4 hits. The Hawks hit the ball well the entire game, led again by clean-up hitter Payton Newman who had 3 hits and 2 RBI. Dylan Williams helped himself out by adding 2 singles and a double. Trevor Reed also had 2 hits, as did Bryce Marvel. Seth Biggs knocked in the winning run to earn a 13-3 win.  

This week the varsity is scheduled to play Ottawa Hills on Monday and Wednesday, and Forest Hills Eastern on Friday.

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Band receives top scores at District


Last Thursday, March 7, 2019, both the Cedar Springs High School Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble received straight 1’s at MSBOA District Band and Orchestra Festival, which was held at Greenville High School. Congratulations, Red Hawks!

You can see them perform on Sunday, April 28, at the Collage Concert (grades 6th-12th) at 2 p.m. in the High School Gym.

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Girls basketball wins semi-final, ends season at Districts


The Lady Red Hawks celebrate their semi-final win over Forest Hills Central last week. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Red Hawk Girls Basketball team advanced to the District Championship game this past week by defeating Forest Hills Central 42-38 in the District Semi-Final game that was played at Northview High School.

After losing to the Rangers by 9 points twice this season, the Red Hawks started fast building a 14-6 lead after one quarter. Sophomore Kaelyn Colclasure knocked down an early 3-point basket and scored off an inbounds play for five first quarter points. Classmate Maggie Prins chipped in four points on the quarter after the Red Hawks made the extra pass and broke the Central press.

The game remained close throughout the second quarter as Cedar headed into the locker room with a 21-15 lead. 

Sophomore Arianna Rau scored 8 third quarter points for the Red Hawks as she was the beneficiary of a multitude of assists from her teammates.  Cedar built a 12-point lead early in the third before FH Central ratcheted up the pressure defense forcing a couple of Cedar miscues.  Cedar Springs led 31-23 after three quarters.

The Lady Red Hawks maintained their composure throughout the final 8 minutes, handled the pressure of Central, and knocked down crucial free throws to seal the win and the right to play for the District Championship last Friday night, March 8.

The team was led by Senior Brighton Miller with 12 points, followed by Arianna Rau with 11 points and 9 rebounds. Kaelyn Colclasure chipped in 8 points, Sparling 7, and Prins finished with 4 points and 9 rebounds.

On Friday, March 8, the Red Hawks were geared up in hopes of winning their first District Title in 13 years as they took on Forest Hills Northern.  

A hot shooting Northern team jumped out of the blocks building an 11-2 lead. Cedar Springs kept the game within striking distance trailing 15-8 after the first quarter.

Northern’s hot shooting continued into the second and third quarters while Cedar tried to find its rhythm.  Northern made 10 three-pointers through the first three quarters and held a 34-16 lead at halftime and 52-24 lead after three quarters.  

The Lady Red Hawks continued to scrap throughout the night but the cards were not in their favor. The loss, 65-42, put and end to the Red Hawks season.  

Brighton Miller led the Lady Red Hawks in her final game finishing with 21 points. Maggie Prins followed with 6 points and 6 rebounds on the night.  The Red Hawks finished the season with a 10-12 over all record.

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High School wrestlers kick off a new season


Bill Hammer, 215 lbs, deserved a well-fought victory. Courtesy photo.

The high school wrestling team kicked off its season last week with trips to Hudsonville and Tri-County. At Hudsonville, the Red Hawks split a pair of duals with Division 1 O-K Red competition. The boys battled for a 37-36 tie breaker victory over East Kentwood but fell just short against the 2018 regional champs from Hudsonville 39-30. 

The junior varsity wrestlers competed at Tri-County on Friday night. The team displayed great sportsmanship and talent as they honed their skills on the mat. 

The varsity Red hawks also traveled to Tri-County and placed third at the Sam Frerovich Memorial on Saturday. The team posted victories over Portland (41-21) and Jenison (38-34) before falling to archrival Sparta in an early season match up. The third place dual pitted them against the Division 4, #8 ranked Bucks from Pine River. The team was supplied with a key win at 189 lbs over a defending state runner-up. The dual was defined by strong efforts from the entire line up to gain and defend bonus points. The Red Hawks wrestled on to rub off the Bucks 38-34. Carson City (Division 4 #4) defeated the Red Hawks and took home the first place trophy.

The wrestlers will be back in action on Saturday, 9 a.m. at Forest Hills Central for the Kent County Championships.

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Boys cross country team headed to state finals


The boys cross country team took second at regionals and are headed to state finals.

The Cedar Springs Boys Cross Country team is headed to the MHSAA Division 2 State Finals. The team placed 2nd out of the 15 teams that competed at the Division 2 Regional 10 meet at Michaywe Pines Golf Course in Gaylord, Michigan, on October 27.  

The boys were led by Corey Bowers who finished 3rd overall, breaking the 16 minute barrier for the second time this season in a time of 15:59. Jaydon Moleski had the biggest personal record of the day running a 30-second lifetime best and  finishing in 6th overall in a time of 16:14. Bowers and Moleski each earned All-Regional honors. Dilan Sargent just missed his lifetime best coming in 16th overall in a time of 16:44. Austin Mann ran a personal lifetime best time of 16:53 finishing in 19th overall. Gavin Braciak had a season best time of 17:09 to finish in 29th overall. Daniel Vermulm had his second best race of the year coming in 53rd overall in a time of 17:52. Carter Moleski ran well in his first meet of this importance coming in 64th overall in a time of 18:15.

 “Our boys’ team ran a hard fought race at regionals to finish 2nd and qualify for the D2 state finals at Michigan International Speedway this weekend,” said Coach Garrett Lacy. “We lost to a phenomenal Fremont team, who is one of the best teams in the state. We are excited about our potential moving forward to the state meet next weekend as well. Chelsea and Fremont look to be the top two teams in the state at this point, but after that I see it being a hard fought battle amongst several teams for spots 3-10. We are hoping for a top 5 finish to improve upon our 10th place finish at the state meet a year ago.” 

L to R: Marjorie Hosking, Tonya Tepin, Isabel VanDusen, Lily Howland, Maggie Prins, Ally Ladd, Carolanne Merlington, and Coach Melinda Stressman.

The girls team had a great day of season and personal bests. The team placed 10th out of 14 teams. Senior Carolanne Merlington led the Lady Red Hawks and placed 31st in a time of 20:30 and earned herself a season record. Maggie Prins placed 38th with a time of 20:46 to finish out her season with a lifetime personal best. Coming in next for the Red Hawks was Tonya Tepin, who placed 57th with a time of 21:35, and  also earned herself a lifetime personal record. Continuing with the trend of earning lifetime personal bests, Isabel VanDusen kept the streak rolling placing 64th in a time of 22:03. Following closely was Lily Howland placing 68th with a time of 22:25.  Aslo achieving a lifetime personal best was Marjorie Hosking with a time of 22:47. She placed 76th.  Finishing 84th was Ally Ladd in a time of 23:04. She also earned herself a lifetime personal best.  

“I was so happy with how the girls performed. They ran hard and continued to push each other in the race to move up as it went on. We had a lot of them reach their lifetime PRs and that’s great! The course was pretty fast. We were hoping for a better place but honestly they went out and did what they were supposed to do. I’m very excited for this program. There is so much talent and they work hard, now we just have to keep applying it in the competitions more and more as we go. I’m so proud of them, they’ve really come more together as a team,” said Coach Melinda Stressman.

The boys will travel to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Saturday, November 3, and compete at 1:30 p.m. Let’s go Red Hawks!

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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 Springs runs over Lowell


The Cedar Springs Red Hawks ran all over the field in their 50-0 win over Lowell last Friday. Courtesy photo.

Secures playoff bid

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks Varsity football team ran away with the win last Friday, October 6, on their way to a spot in the playoffs, when they hosted Lowell in their annual pink out game.

The Red Hawks tore up the field in their 50-0 win over the Red Arrows, raking up over 500 yards, with two players getting over 100 yards, and three other players getting 55-plus. Much of it was in the first half.

“As far as we can tell, the 473 yards rushing in the first half was a school record,” said Coach Gus Kapolka. “It’s the second time we’ve two players o over 100 yards this season.”

Ryan Ringler set a record on defense when he broke the previous school record of 301 career tackles. At the end of the game he had 304 career tackles, spanning from the 2015 to 2018 seasons.

The first score of the game came with 10:47 left in the first quarter, when Sage Serbenta ran right for a two-yard touchdown. QB Kolby Swank then ran it in for the extra two points.

Serbenta scored again with 5:41 left in the first quarter when he ran for a 62-yard touchdown. Swank’s pass to Serbenta was no good.

Cedar Springs scored again with :56 seconds left in the first when Lucas Pienton ran left for a two-yard touchdown. Ethan West’s run in for the extra points was no good. The score at the end of the first quarter was Cedar Springs 20, Lowell 0.

The Red Hawks scored again in the second quarter with 9:25 left on the clock when Ryan Ringler ran up the middle for an 85-yard touchdown. Pienton’s run in for the extra points was good.

The Red Hawks scored twice more in the second quarter. With 4:27 left, Zack Schmid ran right for a 10-yard touchdown, and Swank’s run into the end zone for extra points was good. They scored again with 1:16 left when Ben Shaw ran up the middle for a 42-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, and the half ended with the score Cedar Springs 42, Lowell 0.

Cedar Springs scored once more in the fourth quarter, with 10:20 left on the clock, when Ethan West ran 49-yards for a touchdown. West then passed to Justus Larsen on the two-point conversion attempt and it was good. The final score was Cedar Springs 50, Lowell 0.

The Red Hawks rushed for 512 yards, netting 505 after penalties. Serbenta rushed for 130; Ringler 128; Shaw 73; West 72; Pienton 55; Landon Totten 24; Swank 19; and Schmid 13. Pienton also had an interception.

On defense, Gage Gardner had the most tackles with 8; followed by Zack Schmid and Xavier Anderson with 6 each; Ringler with 5; and several others with 3 or less.

 “I’m happy with our performance and I thought our guys played well and we were able to play a lot of our bench guys who haven’t gotten a lot of playing time this season,” said Coach Kapolka. 

Cedar Springs is now 4-0 in conference, and 6-1 overall. They are in first place in the OK-White, with Northview a close second (4-1, 5-2). There are two weeks left in the regular season. The Red Hawks travel to Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills (0-5, 1-6) this Friday, October 12, and then host Forest Hills Northern (2-2, 4-3) on October 19. Come out and cheer on your Red Hawks!

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