Sometimes a season comes down to one play.
That was the case Friday night for the Spring Lake football team, as a controversial 2-point conversion by Belding ended the Lakers’ year in the first round of the Division 4 playoffs.
Down 20-13 late in the fourth quarter, Redskins’ quarterback Kole Hart found running back Nick Price for a 16-yard strike on a third-and long play deep in their own territory. Fullback Neil McCully took it from there, traveling 64 yards on three carries to bring Belding within one point.
The Redskins decided to go for the win.
Hart didn’t hand the ball off to the horse that brought him there on the 2-point conversion, instead rolling out to find Price in the back of the end zone.
It appeared that Price was out though, and the officials hesitated before calling the 2-point conversion good.
Did they think he was in? That he got a foot in? Or that he was forced out by a Laker defender?
Lakers’ coach Jerry Rabideau, for one, didn’t agree with the call.
“It was out of bounds — the guy was out of bounds clearly,” a crestfallen Rabideau said after the game. “I’ll watch film. I’ll honor what the officials said out there, but I want to see it on film.
“I just feel like we were the better team. … Right now it just stings because I feel bad for the seniors. They were such a great squad, it was an honor to (coach them).”
Spring Lake ends the season with an 8-2 record.
The Lakers never trailed until the closing minutes of the contest, which was their first home playoff game in nearly a decade.
The conditions of the night lent themselves to the Belding run game. The Redskins ran a variety of draws that made the Lakers hesitate, and Neil McCully continually gashed the defense, going for 250 yards and two rushing touchdowns on the night. The first of those came after a long drive late in the second quarter.
The extra point was blocked, and after failed drives by both squads, Spring Lake went into the half up 14-13.
The Lakers struck early in the third quarter as Williamson found Charlie Warber on a long pass down the left sideline. Warber wrestled the ball away from a Redskin defensive back on the pass, going 57 yards for the score.
The extra-point was wide left, leaving the score 20-13.
It appeared late in the fourth that Spring Lake might be able to stop Belding and run out the clock.
But Hart connected with Price on third-and-7 from his own 16 for a first down. McCully rumbled up the left sideline for a 45-yard gain on the next play, refused to go down easy on the one after that for a gain of 12, before dragging a couple defenders into the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown.
The Lakers had no answer after Price’s controversial grab to take the lead on the 2-point conversion.
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.