Second-half sailing

Duncan MacLean • Aug 23, 2018 at 11:48 PM

SPRING LAKE TWP. — Heading into their Week 1 matchup with Orchard View, the Spring Lake football team had not won a game since October 21, 2016.

Over the course of their 2017 season, they scored just 94 points.

After falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter Thursday, the 2018 season looked like it would be another rough go. But, a defensive shutout in the second half brought Spring Lake from behind to way out in front, as they picked up a 42-19 win over the visiting Cardinals.

“It feels really good,” said Spring Lake head coach Dan Start of the win. “Not necessarily for me, but for Spring Lake. For the students and the crowd here and the city, it is good to get a win for them. Now, hopefully, we can keep it rolling.”

Photo Gallery: Spring Lake tops Orchard View

It was a tale of two halves at Grabinski Field on Thursday. The Lakers trailed 13-0 after the first quarter and 19-7 at halftime, before flipping the script to outscore the Cardinals 35-0 in the second half.

“It wasn’t a good first half, but the second half made up for it,” Start said. “We made some adjustments at halftime. It was one of those things where the defense started playing really well, and I told the guys at halftime, we were doing the right things off offense, we just had to execute a little better, and that’s what happened.”

Senior quarterback Caleb Montgomery led the way, finishing with 164 yards rushing for four touchdowns on 21 attempts and 5-for-8 passing for 94 yards and a touchdown.

“No one deserves it more than him,” Start said of his quarterback. “He puts in his work and works his tail off and did a really nice job tonight. We are excited for him.”

Senior Noah Verlinde hauled in the lone touchdown pass, finishing with nine yards receiving on one catch.

Backup quarterback Zach Keyser capped off the Laker scoring, picking up 14 rushing yards and one touchdown.

Also generating yards on the ground for the Lakers were Mitch Payne with 24 and Steve Ready with 16. Emmanuel Wilson picked up 12 yards receiving, ahead of Steve Ready with 10 and Austin Schubert with nine.

Matt Beirman finished 6-for-6 on extra point attempts.


Orchard View kicked off the game with a touchdown, scoring on fourth-and-16 with a halfback pass.

On the ensuing drive, the first snap of Spring Lake’s 2018 season went through the hands of Montgomery, bouncing high into the air off his facemask. The drive ended in a punt.

At the end of the first, the Lakers had sent away two punts, while the Cardinals converted two touchdowns for a 13-0 lead.

In the second quarter, the Spring Lake defense put a lid on Orchard View quarterback Owen Swanson and managed to contain the bruising rushing attack of Edmari Mitchell. The Lakers got on the board with 3:30 left in the opening half on a three-yard touchdown run by Montgomery to cut the lead to 13-7.

With seconds to play in the half, the Spring Lake defense forced the Cardinals to fourth and goal, hoping to hold the lead to a touchdown heading into halftime. As time expired, Swanson lofted a pass into a sea of red jerseys, but the Lakers couldn’t make the play, as it landed into the arms of a Cardinal wideout, giving Orchard View a 19-7 halftime lead.

Montgomery went to work in the second half, opening the third quarter with a touchdown drive, powered by a 54-yard pass to Aiden Carlson and finished with a nine-yard pass to Noah Verlinde.

From there, a pattern emerged. The Laker defense led the way, holding the Cardinals inside their own 10-yard line on the ensuing drive to force a punt. Montgomery capitalized, breaking off a 30-yard run into the redzone and finishing the job with a three-yard touchdown carry to give Spring Lake a 21-19 lead.

Orchard View punted their next drive away on fourth-and-30 from their own 15, setting up another Montgomery touchdown run to kick off the fourth quarter.

Now completely in control, the Laker defense forced a turnover-on-downs on the Orchard View 10-yard line, allowing Montgomery his fourth rushing touchdown of the night with 7:38 left to play.

Yet another crushing stop by the Spring Lake defense forced an Orchard View punt from inside their 10-yard line, this time setting up backup quarterback Zach Keyser to cap off the Spring Lake scoring for the evening with a rushing touchdown, sealing a long-awaited field-charge by the Spring Lake student section.

The Lakers return to the field for a rivalry match at Fruitport on Thursday.

Freshman: The Spring Lake freshman football team defeated Orchard View 41-0 on Wednesday. 

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