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Cedar Springs soars past Saginaw Swan Valley 48-16

Thursday they will take on Rockford at Rockford

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs Red Hawk Antwuan Nicholls runs with the ball. 

The Cedar Springs Varsity Red Hawks football team owned the field at Red Hawk Stadium last Thursday, against Saginaw Swan Valley, for the opening game of the 2021 season. 

“I felt our guys came out ready to play and started fast,” said Cedar Springs Coach Gus Kapolka. “I’m proud of how we prepared and how we executed.”

The first scoring drive started on the Cedar Springs 17, with 6:33 left in the first quarter. Quarterback Aiden Brunin, Alex Ream and Ryan West all moved the ball 42 yards before Antwuan Nichols ran it the rest of the way in to score a 41-yard touchdown with 4:56 left in the first. A pass into the endzone from Brunin to Ream added two more points, making the score 8-0.

Cedar Springs quarterback Aiden Brunin racked up over 130 yards rushing in last week’s game against Saginaw Swan Valley. 

The Red Hawks scored again on their next possession, when Brunin had an awesome 74-yard run into the endzone with 2:21 left on the clock in the first. The extra points attempt was no good. The score was  now 14-0.

CS kicked off, and Swan Valley ran two plays, and on the third play, the ball was intercepted by Red Hawk Carter Bayink at the Swan Valley 45 and returned it 20 yards. This set up the next scoring driving, when Alex Ream ran the ball in for a 6-yard touchdown, with 10:28 left in the second quarter. The extra points attempt was no good.

Lightning from an impending storm then delayed the game for two hours. It was 9:48 p.m. when it restarted, with 10:28 left in the half. “I really don’t feel that the lightning delay affected us very much. I thought our guys handled themselves very well and stayed focused,” said Kapolka.

The Red Hawks scored their next touchdown with 1:10 left in the quarter, on a 69-yard run by Antwuan Nicholls. Brunin’s pass into the endzone to Kyle Hoort was good for two more points. 

Nicholls scored again in the third quarter, on a 13-yard run, with 5:52 left. Ryan West’s run into the endzone was good for two more points.

West scored his own touchdown with just 47 seconds left in the third quarter, on a 5-yard run. An extra point run was no good.

Swan Valley finally got on the board in the fourth quarter, when Brandon Brandt ran in a 4-yard touchdown with 8:42 to go. A Colton Klein pass to Sam Wickham was good for extra points.

Cedar Springs hit the scoreboard again just two minutes later when Carter Falan ran in a 30-yard touchdown. An extra points run was no good.

The final score of the night came with 35 seconds left in the game, when Swan Valley’s Matthew Stark ran for a 10-yard touchdown. Tyler Drain’s run for extra points was good.

The final score was Cedar Springs 48, Swan Valley 16.

While Kapolka was pleased with the game, he said that the team still needs to improve and cut down on their penalties. The team had five, and Swan Valley had four.

Cedar Springs had 406 yards on the ground. Leading rushers were Brunin (132), Nicholls (128), Falan (45), Ream (31), West (24), Ryan Mitchell (19), Hoort (18), and Bayink (9).

Swan Valley had 170 yards rushing. Stark led with 104, Cody Ueberroth had 37, and Brandt had 31.

Alex Ream led in tackles for the Red Hawks with 11. Rest of the team had 5 and under. Drew Kaeckmeister led in tackles for Saginaw Valley with 5.

The Cedar Springs defense also picked off two passes, with both Carter Bayink and Ryan West each snagging one.

The Red Hawks have an exciting opportunity to play the Rockford Rams this Thursday, September 2, at Rockford. It will be the first time since 1981 that Cedar Springs and Rockford have met on the gridiron. The Red Hawks and the Rams used to meet regularly when they were both part of the Tri River Conference in the 1960s, then Rockford left the conference. Cedar Springs picked up a few non-conference games with them in the late 1970s, early 80s, but then never played them again.

Last season, Rockford, a member of the OK-Red, lost in the state semifinals to Davison.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to play a program as storied as Rockford,” said Kapolka. “We want to measure ourselves against the best and Rockford will be a big test for us.”

Game time is 7 p.m. You can buy your tickets online at http://ow.ly/SpFx50G0PA3 or purchase them at the gate. See you there!

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