By Shae Brophy
On a cold Saturday evening at Skinner Field, the West Michigan Hawks went to battle with a very game Lake Michigan Havoc team in a benefit game for Cedar Springs resident Brison Ricker.
A scoreless first quarter was highlighted by a blocked field goal by Hawks safety Robert Bell. The second quarter saw Lake Michigan jump out to a 12-0 lead, which they brought into the locker room at halftime. Bell had another highlight reel play in the quarter, however, when he intercepted a pass over the middle of the field.
The Hawks struggled to move the ball in the third quarter, as the Havoc opened up a 24-0 lead. Darius Bell recovered a fumble in the quarter for West Michigan, which was the lone highlight of the quarter for the Hawks.
The Havoc scored another touchdown early in the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 30-0. Darnell Madison gave the Hawks some momentum on the ensuing kickoff, as he rumbled all the way up to the Havoc 35-yard line before finally being caught. The Havoc also committed a personal foul penalty on the return, allowing the Hawks to start from the 20-yard line. Javon Welch got the Hawks on the board later in the drive on a seven-yard touchdown scamper, closing the gap to 30-6.
After a botched snap on an attempted Havoc punt, the Hawks recovered the ball in Lake Michigan territory on the next drive. Monta Swanigan capitalized on the good starting field position, reeling in a pass from Brant Brooks for a 22-yard touchdown. After the two-point conversion, the score was 30-14, which held up as the final score.
“We had a tough night,” said head coach David Lange. “We learned a very important lesson in this game. Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard, and we didn’t work hard enough. We made a lot of little mistakes on defense, and our offense wasn’t consistent enough.”
Despite the final score, the Hawks were able to raise $247 for Brison Ricker, as he continues his fight against a brain tumor.
The Hawks will be in action again this Saturday at Skinner Field, when they host the Indiana Wolf Pack. The team will be putting on another benefit during this game, as well. Stephanie Cornwell, who is battling breast cancer, will receive the benefits from a 50/50 drawing, as well as other giveaways. Gates open at 5 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. We hope to see you there!