But its senior quarterback Alex VanDeVusse who stirs the drink in the Eagles’ high-powered offense and he proved it against visiting Fruitport on Friday in the opening round of the Division 3 state playoffs at Grand Rapids Christian High School.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound signal caller had three rushing touchdowns and passed for three more, leading the Eagles (9-1 overall) to a convincing 45-6 victory over the Trojans on Friday. Grand Rapids Christian advances to face Zeeland West, which stunned previously unbeaten rival Zeeland East on Friday, 45-0.
Fruitport (8-2 overall) sees its season end in the first round of the playoffs for the third-straight season.
Fruitport coach Greg Vargas commented extensively during the week about Harris and Grand Rapids Christian’s bevy of receiving threats, but VanDeVusse’s legs were a greater weapon.
“He’s been doing that all season,” said Christian coach Don Fellows. “He’s a pretty dynamic weapon for us. He’s passed for over 2,500 yards and rushed for about 600 more. In my opinion, he’s the state player of the year (in Division 3-4).”
The Eagles’ offense entered the game averaging nearly 40 points a game, but were held scoreless in the first quarter by an inspired Trojans’ defense. It was the first time all season that Eagles were shut out in any quarter.
“We wanted to get off the bus and bring an attitude,” Vargas said. “We threw everything at them that we had.”
Fruitport benefitted from a pair of Eagles’ fumbles in the first quarter, the first of which led to Fruitport’s lone scoring drive. The Eagles’ dangerous return man, Davaris Collier, muffed a bouncing punt, allowing the Trojans to recover with great field position at the 20. They found the end zone three plays later, as quarterback Tyler Fehler connected with receiver Aaron Veihl on a drag route across the middle for a 10-yard touchdown. The extra point was missed, giving Fruitport a 6-0 lead.
Christian coughed up the ball again with 21 seconds left in the quarter, as Fehler made a great hustle play to strip Harris of the ball after a reception over the middle.
“We started slow,” Fellows said. “That’s a credit to Fruitport. They had a couple big kids on their D-line who were pretty aggressive and their defense had their ears pinned back and were ready to attack. But we continued to play a fast tempo and they’ve got quite a few kids playing both ways. We’ve got one kid going both ways. That’s a big difference.”
To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.