Trevor VanTubbergen threw a school-record five touchdown passes and more than 300 yards to lead the Panthers to a 37-13 win over Grand Haven on Friday at home.
“Trevor was absolutely amazing tonight,” West Ottawa coach Rory Zegunis said. “He was spot on — making the decisions I knew he could make. Last week left a real bitter taste in our mouths. It showed tonight.
“We were hungry.”
The Panthers improved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the OK Red Conference — one game behind first-place Rockford. Grand Haven dropped to 3-4 and 1-2 in the OK Red.
“VanTubbergen had a great night,” Grand Haven coach Mike Farley said. “I give them a lot of credit. They wanted it more.”
West Ottawa’s spark came from a fake punt.
On fourth-and-three, Jared McNitt ran for four yards to give West Ottawa a first down just past midfield. A couple of plays later, VanTubbergen struck with his first touchdown pass of the night, hitting Ryan Verhelst on a 29-yard pass down the near sideline.
It gave the Panthers a 9-7 lead and all the momentum they needed.
“We felt like we were clicking right from the beginning,” VanTubbergen said. “I had a lot of help from my receivers.”
It wasn’t just his usual targets — Verhelst and Ato Condelee.
VanTubbergen hit Adam Olson for a 3-yard touchdown strike with 37 seconds remaining in the first half and found Condelee for the two-point conversion.
In the third quarter, he connected with JD Otteman for a 70-yard score on a deep slant across the middle. It was VanTubbergen’s first of three touchdown passes in the third quarter.
VanTubbergen hit Verhelst again with 5:31 to go on an 18-yard pass, then found Olson on a 3-yard slant pass with 36 seconds remaining.
“That is a testament to Trevor,” Zegunis said of spreading the ball around. “They are on Ato and Ryan so much. Trevor really was prepared.”
VanTubbergen passed the previous record of four, set by several players, including his older brother Tyler.
“It means a lot,” VanTubbergen said. “We have had a lot of great quarterbacks come through here.”
Grand Haven kept the game close in the first half.
After West Ottawa’s Bryan Holmes kicked a 30-yard field goal, The Buccaneers had a big run by Isaak Newhouse and another by Abe Westerman, setting up Newhouse’s 2-yard score.
Grand Haven cut the lead to 17-13 to start the second half as Newhouse scored on an 8-yard run with 10:06 to go in the third quarter. But West Ottawa’s defense didn’t give up another point.
“We had to execute, and we didn’t,” Farley said.