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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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