Reyes’ superb blocking on a pair of toss sweeps for teammate Zack Goldman led to two long touchdown runs, the latter which covered 72 yards and broke open a 7-7 deadlock early in the fourth quarter. Goldman’s long scamper seemed to demoralize the Rockets, as Fruitport piled on two more rushing touchdowns in the quarter to pull away for a 28-7 victory in the season-opener for the long-standing rivals.
“Mikey spoke up on the sideline during a timeout and said ‘Coach, let’s run the other way and let me block for Zack,’” said Fruitport coach Steve Wilson. “And we got some great blocks on that side of the line. Really, that’s the way it’s got to be for our offense to flourish. We need different kids to carry the load. It has to be a team game.”
“Coach tries to spread (the carries) around, and it just comes down to the line blocking on how we perform. They were great tonight. We give all the credit to the guys up front,” said Goldman, who led Fruitport with 131 yards on just nine carries.
Fruitport tallied 227 of its 360 rushing yards in the second half. Reyes finished with 81 yards on 15 carries and Logan Six toted the ball eight times for 65 yards.
Fruitport’s machine had plenty of opportunities because the Trojans’ defense upped its intensity and turned in an inspired second-half performance. Playing under new defensive coordinator Greg Vargas, the Trojans bottled up the Rockets to the tune of just 56 total yards in the second half. It was an especially frustrating half for Puffer junior quarterback Zach Santose, who was just 2-for-10 for 19 yards and two interceptions after halftime.
With the Rockets stuck in neutral, the Trojans’ power run game took over, creating a fantasic fourth that also included an 18-yard touchdown run by fullback Six and a 3-yard score by junior quarterback Tyler Fehler. Fehler split snaps with senior starter Erik Johnson, but the junior signal caller had the better statistical showing, completing 3-of-3 passes for 20 yards and rushing for 46 more.
In a classy move before the contest, Reeths-Puffer held a moment of silence for longtime Fruitport assistant Larry Rueger, who passed away on July 31. After their win, the Trojans gave him a quick salute with Wilson screaming out, “Say hello!” and his squad replied with an equaling thundering “Hey Coach!” and pointed to the sky.
“He’s defintely over us watching,” Six said, a member of the Trojans’ outstanding linebacking unit. “He would have wanted to see how we carried things over to the second half. I think we made him happy.”
To read more of this story, see today's print edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.