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South Christian over Cedar Springs 32-14

Red Hawk Antwuan Nicholls runs with the ball against South Christian. Photo by Brandon Kramer Photography.

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs has never won a varsity football game against South Christian. Last Friday’s homecoming game was no exception. Instead, they suffered a humbling 32-14 loss.

“We did not play well Friday night,” said Cedar Springs Coach Gus Kapolka. “It was an uncharacteristic game for us. We were undisciplined and committed 9 penalties. Hats off to the South Christian players and coaches for playing well and out executing us in every aspect of the game.”

Kapolka expects to see more from his team this week. “We have a lot to work on for this week, but I have no doubt that we will approach Friday’s game with a positive mindset and a desire to improve,” he remarked.

South Christian scored three times before Cedar Springs ever hit the board. They scored two touchdowns in the first quarter (one a 3-yard run and one a 43-yard touchdown pass) and then again on a 32-yard field goal by Jeff Herrema with 7:20 left in the second quarter. That made the score 17-0.

Cedar Springs then scored with 4:52 in the second on a 58-yard touchdown run by Da’Montae Barnett. Antwuan Nicholls then ran it into the endzone to add two more points, to make it 17-8.

South Christian came right back and scored again with 1:30 left in the second, on a Ty Rynbrandt pass to Eli Smith for a 26-yard touchdown. The extra point was good. The score was SC 24, CS 8 at halftime.

South Christian scored again with 6:38 left in the third quarter on another pass to Smith, this one a 7-yard touchdown. Rynbrandt then passed to Daniel Possett for two more points.

Cedar Springs scored once more with 4:29 left in the fourth quarter, on a 15-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jeremy Campione. The extra point run by Nicholls was no good. The final score was South Christian 32, Cedar Springs 14.

Cedar Springs had 207 yards rushing. Barnett led the Red Hawks with 80 yards on the ground. He was followed by Nicholls with 64; Alex Ream with 31; and Campione with 29. Nathan Elliston, Kyle Hoort, and David DiPiazza also contributed net yardage of one each.

Campione completed 2 of 5 passes for 18 yards, and threw one interception to South Christian’s Will Fennema. Josh Kriekaard led in pass receiving with 13, and Dylan Greenland had one yard.

South Christian rushed for 37 yards but had 270 in the air. Rynbrandt completed 24 of 32 passes, three for touchdowns.

Defensively, Alex Ream led in tackles for Cedar Springs with 11; Elliston and Greenland both  had 7; Hoort and Mitchell Metiva had 5 each; Nicholls had 4; the rest of the team had 3 and below, for a total of 50.

South Christian had 54 tackles, with Evan Roedema leading with 9; Connor Dykema with 7; Ike Northouse, Jace Demann and Sam Meengs all had 6.

The Red Hawks are now 2-2 in the OK Gold and South Christian improved to 4-0. This week, Cedar Springs travels to Ottawa Hills, who is 0-4 on the season.

The standings for the OK Gold are: Catholic Central and South Christian (both 4-0) are tied for first place; followed by Forest Hills Eastern (3-1); Cedar Springs and Thornapple Kellogg (both 2-2); Kenowa Hills (1-3); and then Ottawa Hills and Wayland (both 0-4).

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Football rules change – disconcerting acts

Among the rules changes in high school football for the 2020-21 school year is an adjustment in the penalty assessed to the defense for disconcerting acts and sounds. Among the gamesmanship that sometimes takes place near the line of scrimmage at the start of the play, defensive players have been known to make sounds or act in a manner which otherwise might distract an offensive player waiting for the snap signal. Previously, the most egregious of these actions would be penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. But beginning this year, the disconcerting act foul is a five-yard penalty. The change in the rule actually makes it more likely that this kind of behavior will be flagged and may eventually lead to a reduction in this type of activity.

Be the Referee is a weekly message from the Michigan High School Athletics Association that is designed to help educate people on the rules in different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

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Volleyball honors seniors, begins tournament play

Lady Red Hawk volleyball seniors for 2020.

Cedar Springs Varsity Volleyball honored the contributions of its Seniors on Tuesday, October 6th at their final home match against the Kenowa Hills Knights. The Red Hawks took a conference loss in the hard fought match, falling 1-3 (25-18; 21-25; 22-25; 15-25) bringing their overall record to 2-11 and conference record to 1-6.

The Cedar Springs volleyball team in action.

Leading on the night were seniors Aina Catala with 6 kills, 3 blocks, the team high 8 aces with 15 service points and 8 digs, while Cassidy Canfield recorded 7 kills and the team high 6 blocks, with 3 solo blocks. Middle hitter Arianna Rau recorded 5 kills while Libero Elizabeth Fettig tallied 21 digs, 37 service receives and 3 assists. Defensive Specialist Avery Peterson notched 12 serve receptions and 5 digs. Aaliyah Calkins led the night with kills, putting down 10 while earning 14 digs. Setter Makenna Outwin added 33 assists, 3 aces and 10 service points while Kennedi Jager had 6 kills and 5 digs.

“This year we graduate five seniors whose exceptional contributions, leadership and work ethic has personified the core philosophy and objectives of Cedar Springs Athletics while providing a solid foundation to build on our goals.” stated Varsity Coach Ashley Lowing.

Junior Varsity took the Knights to three, taking the loss 26-28, 18-25 and 15-17 after an outstanding 15-24 comeback in the first set deficit to win. The Freshman lost in a tight 22-25, 17-25 match.

This week begins the OK Gold Conference Tournament where the Red Hawks will travel to take on the #2 seed Grand Rapids Catholic Central. Competition begins with Freshman at 4pm, followed by JV and Varsity. Outcomes of these matches will determine the opponents and location for the second round of Tournament play on Tuesday, October 20. On Thursday, October 15, all levels travel to Greenville for a non-conference match.    

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Red Hawk boys running strong

Cedar Springs placed second at the Autumn Sunrise Invitational last weekend. 

It was a beautiful morning as the boys’ cross country team competed against some strong local teams at the Autumn Sunrise Invitational held at Heritage Christian School, on October 10.  Cedar Springs placed 2nd to a very strong running Lowell team. 

Senior Corey Bowers finished first at 15:51 coming through with one of his best performances of the season. Clayton Akerman (10th) continued his tear of rapid improvement with his second straight sub 17 race. Gabe White finished 16th and continues to be one of the team’s most consistent racers this season. Closely following White was a pack of Red Hawks which included Cayden Steinebach (25th), Carter Moleski (29th), and Austin Mann (32nd). Gabe Minnich had a varsity performance finishing 37th and seniors Justin Voskuil (40th) and Caleb Menefee (45th) nearly ran season bests as well on the winding course.

The JV team ran yet another dominant race with a near perfect score of 19 taking first place. Freshman Jack Sherburn (1st) took home the win with a 14 second new personal best of 18:27. Sherburn was followed closely behind by Eli Malon (2nd) and Zach Reed (3rd). Eli Kleynenberg (6th) and Elliott Moleski (7th) both continue to come on stronger than ever as a part of the young freshman core that leads bright the future of the team. Alex Cole (10th) had his best race of the season by far finishing at 19:26. Rounding out the JV squad were Jonathan Reed (31st), Luke Price (43rd) and Clayton Auwema (53rd) who ran a lifetime best of 26:36. 

 “This was a great opportunity for us to try a few new things one last time before we start racing for keeps to end the season,” said Coach Justin Jones. “Our young men have been putting some serious tough miles over the past few weeks as we close in once again on the championship phase of the season. Our training program is built to peak in mid-late October, and we are ready to put it to the test as the boys try and make some noise at conference championships and Pre-Regionals next week.”

The Red Hawks will enter into championship season running in their third and final OK Gold conference meet at Thornapple Kellogg on October 20.  

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Another strong day of performances for Lady Red Hawks

JV cross country girls in the starting block at the Autumn Sunrise Invite.

The Red Hawk cross county girls ran in the Autumn Sunrise Invitational on Saturday, October 10, at Heritage Christian School.  The varsity girls took third, scoring 81 points which was only 2 points away from second place. 

“Being that it was our first time at this course, we did so well as a team. We had great individual performances as well as overall team scoring,” said Coach Melinda Stressman. 

Leading the Red Hawks was Danika Fessenden (6th) who got in a great position with teammate Annalise Elliott (13th) right beside her for most of the way both running very good.  Kelsi Green (19th) got out strong and placed herself in a good position to help her teammates, just a few seconds shy off her lifetime personal record. Addyson Brown (21st), who finished two spots behind Green, ran very well and closed some gaps as the race went on. Izzy VanDusen (22nd) broke away and ran her season best of 21:46. Laina Payne (23rd) ran really well and stayed with a few of her teammates to finish in a great spot. Molly Bentley (25th) made sure to stay with the pack to help keep the gaps small.  Larissa McGrath (26th) ran her lifetime best of 21:58. Kaitlynn Brown (31st) did a great job pushing herself and maintaining a good pace throughout the course. Rounding out the varsity squad was freshman Hannah Reed (44th) who ran a solid race, not letting the pack get too far ahead of her. 

The JV girls took second and scored 38 points, only 17 points behind Covenant Christian. Freshman Reagan Viau placed 2nd and ran a solid race earning her lifetime personal best of 22:49. Haylie Terrien (9th), who has dealt with an injury most of this season, also ran her lifetime personal best of 24:09. Right behind Terrien was Paige Marsman (10th) who helped her teammates around her and pushed herself to get a good position with nice finish at the end.  Madison Golliver (17th) did well maintaining on the course and pushing her teammates and finished strong.  Isabella Smith (18th) ran very good and helped her teammate Mikayla Caruthers (19th) run her lifetime personal best of 25:33.

“I’m super proud of our Lady Hawks. They have been working so hard and have been great and supportive to each other. I’m so excited for the rest of the season,” said Coach Melinda Stressman. 

The ladies will be racing at Thornapple Kellogg on Tuesday, October 20, where they will be competing in their last OK Gold conference meet of the season. 

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Catholic Central claims victory in OK Gold showdown

Photo by J. Harnden
Aiden Brunin had 151 yards rushing against Catholic Central last Friday. 

By Judy Reed

Two of the toughest teams in the OK Gold went head to head last Friday evening: Catholic Central—the reigning Division 4 state champs, and Cedar Springs—conference champs in the OK White two years in a row. Both teams were 2-0 on the season. 

But another win for Cedar Springs just wasn’t in the cards Friday night. They took it on the chin 42-28, in spite of a rally in the second half that brought them within a touchdown of the Falcons.

“We obviously ran the ball extremely well and controlled time of possession, but we gave up too many big plays on defense and couldn’t get off the field on 3rd down,” explained Cedar Springs Coach Gus Kapolka. “I’m proud of the fight our kids showed in the second half, scoring on three consecutive drives and recovering an onside kick.”  

Catholic Central scored first at the 2:10 mark in the first quarter when Joey Silveri completed a pass to Danny Mikolay for a 21-yard touchdown. The kick by Jack Barlow was good for the extra point. 

At 9:56 in the second quarter, Silveri completed another pass, this time to Jace Williams for a 5-yard touchdown. The extra point kick was good.

With 7:16 left in the second, the Red Hawks scored when Alex Ream ran to the left and into the endzone for a 3-yard touchdown. Quarterback Jeremy Campione then ran the ball in for the two-point conversion. 

Just seconds later, Catholic Central came back and scored again with 6:59 left in the half on another pass from Silveri, this time to Nolan Zeigler, for a 49-yard touchdown. The extra point kick by Barlow was good. At the end of the half, the score was CC 21, CS 8.

Cedar Springs came out in the second half determined to make up for lost opportunities.

Catholic Central scored first, with 10:29 on the clock, on a one-yard run by Nick Hollern. The extra point kick was good.

Cedar Springs then scored with 5:01 left on the clock in the third when Aiden Brunin ran for an 18-yard touchdown. Alex Ream’s two-point conversion was good, making the score 28-16.

CC scored again when Silveri passed to Hollern for a 48-yard touchdown. The extra point kick was good, making the score 35-16.

Cedar Springs rallied and scored twice in the fourth quarter, for 12 more points. The first was on a run by Brunin for a 7-yard touchdown, and the second on a one-yard run by Campione. Extra points were no good. The score was now 35-28.

Catholic Central sealed the victory with 1:28 left in the game on a 28-yard run up the middle by Silveri. The extra point kick was good, making the final score CC 42, CS 28.

Photo by J. Harnden 
Catholic Central outscored Cedar Springs Friday night by a score of 42-28. 

Cedar Springs had 383 yards on the ground. Leading the charge was Aiden Brunin with 151; Antwuan Nicholls with 88; Alex Ream with 87; Jeremy Campione with 28; Nathan Elliston with 20; Kyle Hoort with 6; and Da’Montae Barnett with 3.

Catholic Central had 191 yards rushing. Joey Silveri had 110, and Nick Hollern had 81. Silveri also completed 7 out of 8 passes for 191 yards on the air.

Defensively, Cedar Springs had 21 tackles, and Catholic Central had 73.

Cedar Springs (2-1) hosts South Christian (3-0) this Friday for homecoming. What does Coach Kapolka think they need to do win that game?

“We need to repeat our success on the ground against South Christian and limit the big plays on defense,” he said. “Those are our goals this week.”

While fans can buy tickets to the freshman and JV games this week, none are being sold at the gate for the Varsity Friday night, as it would exceed the 1,000 person cap. Three tickets to the game are being made available to participants (football, cheer, band) and extras to students.t

For others to watch, you will need to stream the game at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/cedar-springs-high-school-cedar-springs-mi/game2f253c198. According to a post by teacher Justin Harnden, their crew will be filming the game, not using the automated camera.

The cost for the streaming subscription to nfhsnetwork.com is $10.99 per month and less for a year’s subscription. A subscription allows you to watch games from all over the state of Michigan.

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Boys cross country runs strong in mid-season Invite

The Cedar Springs boys cross country team ran many of their season best times last weekend at the Shepherd invitational.

In nearly perfect race conditions, at what is widely considered Michigan’s best cross country course, the Red Hawk boys finished 3rd in their session at the Shepherd Bluejay invite to two teams competing for state titles this year and placed 8th overall with over half of the team running season best times.

“Our goal this past weekend was to take some risks during the race. With a few boys not racing, we wanted to make sure those who were able to be there were taking some steps forward and using the race to prepare for the end of the season which is fast approaching,” said Coach Justin Jones.

Corey Bowers (15:52, 1st) took charge of this race from the gun, and went through the mile and 2 mile at 4:50 and 9:56 – his fastest ever in a XC race. Clayton Akerman (16:49, 8th) pulled off a 30 second personal record (PR) and is now number 9 on the all-time sophomore list at Cedar Springs High School. Austin Mann (17:34, 19th), Carter Moleski running his season best (17:50, 24th), and Eli Malon (17:54, 27th) rounded out the top five with Malon running a lifetime PR.

Cayden Steinebach was not far behind at 18:07 finishing in the 31 spot. Gabe Minnich ran the race of his life and a PR with a strong move at the halfway point finishing at 18:27 in 39th place. Justin Voskuil ran a lifetime best of 18:32 placing 41st and freshman Elliott Moleski ran his lifetime best breaking into the 18s finishing at 18:43 at 46th place. Another win for the JV team stemmed from the 1-2-3 finish from Caleb Menefee (18:39, 1st), Zach Reed (18:46, 3rd), and Eli Kleynenberg (18:50, 4th) who ran a huge breakout race. Alex Cole who placed 11th ran his fastest time ever with consistent splits across the board finishing at 19:43. Luke Price (22nd) was just short of his lifetime PR but finished with one of the best kicks of the day at 22:09.

The Red Hawks are preparing for their next race which takes place on Saturday, October 10, at the Autumn Sunrise Invitational in Hudsonville with a 9 a.m. start time.

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Fast course equals fast times for CS girls cross country

Several Lady Red Hawks set new personal records at the Shepherd invitational.

The course at the Shepherd Bluejay Invite is known to be fast and with perfect running conditions on Saturday, October 3, this made for some lifetime and overall season personal records for almost all of the Lady Red Hawks. The varsity girls placed 4th overall with the JV team earning 1st place.

Danika Fessenden (14th) and Annalise Elliott (15th) both broke the 20-minute barrier running lifetime PRs of 19:52.0 and 19:52.1 respectively. Ally Ladd stayed with them most of the race finishing 19th at 20:24. Molly Bentley (23rd) had a breakthrough race and a huge lifetime PR of 20:48 demonstrating that she is improving with every run. Addyson Brown (27th) ran a great race and was close to breaking 21 minutes finishing at 21:04. Also running a lifetime PR of 21:21 was Kelsi Green (31st) who also ran strong. Not to be outdone, Laina Payne (39th) finished 20 seconds after Kelsi earning herself a lifetime PR of 21:41. Isabel VanDusen got herself back in the 21s again running at 21:52 and placing 43rd. Rounding out the varsity squad was freshman Hannah Reed (48th) running her lifetime PR of 22:08.

Each of the five Cedar Springs girls who ran in the JV race ran lifetime or season PRs. Leading the Red Hawks was Kaitlynn Brown (2nd) who ran a strong lifetime PR of 22:11 with Reagan Viau (8th) also earning herself a lifetime PR of 22:57. Earning season PRs were Madison Golliver (10th) and Paige Marsman (13th) finishing at 23:29 and 23:52 respectively. Isabella Smith (19th) ran a huge lifetime PR of 25:13.

“There were great performances across the board for all,” said Coach Melinda Stressman. “The meet went smooth, despite all the new rules this year.”

The ladies next take to the course on Saturday, October 10, at the Autumn Sunrise Invitational at Heritage Christian School.

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Girls place 5th at second OK Gold jamboree

On what was a very hilly and challenging course hosted by Wayland Union on September 29, the Lady Red Hawks managed themselves very well in OK Gold conference action with an overall fifth place finish missing out on fourth place by just three points.

Junior Ally Ladd led the Red Hawks on the course, keeping herself close to some of the top groups and maintaining a good position the entire race. Ladd finished 12th in a time of 21:12.Danika Fessenden was not far behind running strong herself finishing at 21:42 in the 16th spot.

Sophomore Molly Bentley ran a great race (21:58, 20th) by starting out in a good position at the beginning of the race and moving up as the race went on. Holding off the field behind her was Kelsi Green (22:08, 28th) with Annalise Elliott (22:34, 34th) helping out the team greatly. Isabel VanDusen (22:42, 41st) ran a solid race helping her teammates Addyson Brown who finished just behind VanDusen (22:57, 43rd) and Laina Payne (23:29, 49th) who ran strong to round out the varsity group.

The JV squad looked strong with Larissa McGrath who started out in the top 10 but moved her way up to the 3rd spot finishing in 22:56. Running with some fire under her shoes was Hannah Reed finishing 9th at 23:25. Next up and competing well was Reagan Viau (24:03, 15th) and maintaining a good pace not far behind was Kaitlynn Brown (24:34, 24th). Paige

Marsman finished 27th at 25:01 as she kept pushing herself to maintain a good pace and stayclose to some packs ahead. Madison Golliver ran a great race and finished 38th in 26:17. Also running well for the JV squad were Isabella Smith (27:01, 41st), Haylie Terrien (27:29, 43rd), and Mikayla Caruthers (27:38, 44th).

“Our girls have been improving every time and it is so fun to watch them go out and have fun,” said Coach Melinda Stressman.

The girls are currently 3rd in the OK Gold conference standings and will compete in their third and final OK Gold Jamboree on October 20th at Thornapple Kellogg High School.

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Red Hawk volleyball earns win against Ottawa Hills

Cedar Springs Varsity Volleyball competed in two matches this week, suffering a 0-3 (25-27,12-25,20-25) loss to South Christian at home on Tuesday, September 29 and earning an away 3-0 (25-12; 25-7, 25-23) victory at Ottawa Hills on Thursday, October 1. The Lady Red Hawks are 2-10 overall and 1-5 in conference.

Leaders for the week include outside hitters Kennedi Jager (12 kills; 3 aces; 3 digs) and Aaliyah Calkins (13 kills;20 serve receptions). Senior middle Arianna Rau contributed 10 kills and 4 blocks. Setter Makenna Outwin tallied 43 assists and 7 aces with 17 service points.  Libero Elizabeth Fettig was solid at defense registering 18 digs and 40 serve receptions. Alyssa Detweiler logged 4 blocks and 6 aces. Defensive specialists Isis Polczsk (10 digs/17 serve receptions) and Avery Peterson (4 digs/3 serve receptions) held the back line while Chloe Fish rounded it out with a kill, 6 service points and 5 serve receptions. 

“As a team we have set one of our goals to be better today than we were yesterday,” said Coach Ashley Lowing. “The girls are working hard each day, resulting in great success at meeting that goal.” 

The Junior Varsity went 1-1 this week losing to South Christian (17-25;12-25) and beating Ottawa Hills (25-8;25-19). Red Hawk Freshman lost on Tuesday to South Christian (26-28; 25-18;4-15). 

This week, the Volleyball program competes in a home conference match against Kenowa Hills on Tuesday, October 6. This final home match will recognize the five seniors: Cassidy Canfield, Elizabeth Fettig, Avery Peterson, Arianna Rau, Aina Catala. Freshman start at 4pm, followed by JV and Varsity.  Next week has two away matches, the first at Forest Hills Eastern on Tuesday, October 13, then Greenville High School on October 15.  Matches begin at 5pm.

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