“We started out too slow again, and spotted them 14 points right off the bat. We had to fight like crazy just to get a few stops and try and get back in the game,” said Grand Haven head coach Joe Nelson. “We got some points on the board to end the quarter, had a few stops on defense and felt good at halftime about where we were at.
“They’ve played great defense all season, so for us to play from behind the whole game against their strength was tough.”
The Buccaneers started the contest slow, giving up back-to-back touchdown drives to the Eagles early in the first quarter to fall behind, 14-0.
The Buccaneers responded with a 32-yard field goal by Jake Thayer to end the first quarter, but that would be the only points the offense could muster in a first half that saw the Grand Haven defense stand their ground for most of the second quarter.
Hudsonville would add a 24-yard field goal with less than a minute left to play in the half to hold a 17-3 lead at the break.
“We talked at halftime about focusing on executing better and doing things the right way and playing with effort,” added Nelson. “Hudsonville just came out and played really well in the second half, and we didn’t match that on our end. Hats off to them, they are a talented team and they took advantage of our mistakes.”
The third quarter saw the Eagles feast on a few miscues and 3-and-outs by the Buccaneers.
On their opening drive of the half, Hudsonville drove 80 yards down the field and score on a 28-yard touchdown run to extend their lead to 23-3.
Undaunted, the Grand Haven offense responded with a 64-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Adam Nelson to senior tailback Malic Love to cut the deficit to 23-10.
It would be all Eagles from that point on, however, as Hudsonville would add a 13-yard touchdown on the next drive to take a 30-10 lead and added a defensive score on Grand Haven’s next possession when the Bucs fumbled the ball away and an Eagles defender scooped the ball up and took it back 22 yards for a touchdown.
Hudsonville would add another touchdown on their next offensive possession to close out the third quarter with a commanding 43-10 lead and take all the air out of Buccaneers’ sails.
The Eagles would add one more score late in the fourth quarter to bring the game to its final score of 50-10.
Senior tailback Malic Love led the way for the Bucs (0-8), rushing for 36 yards on 11 carries and hauling in two receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Senior Charlie Young added 48 yards on three carries, while Collin Takas added a 17-yard carry and Alex Kaufman added 15 yards on three carries.
Adam Nelson went 3-for-12 passing for 82 yards and one touchdown.
“Malic is a fighter, and he’s a leader out there,” added Nelson. “That kid is amazing, and his attitude and his heart are great. He is an inspiration to all of us on this team. He believes he can score whenever he touches the ball, and that’s an infectious attitude to bring to the table.”
On defense, Takas led the Buccaneers with 13 tackles, while Ryan Klahorst and Carter Williams each added seven.
Grand Haven will travel to Grand Rapids Union next week to close out their season and try to avoid the first winless season in program history.
“We need to evaluate where we are and make sure we finish the season doing our best,” said Nelson. “We talked after the game about how we wanted to finish the season on a positive note. Our motto is to always do the right thing and give our best effort. We just have to make sure we give it our all next week, focus on the fundamentals and hopefully head into the offseason with some positive momentum.”