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Happy Homecoming

Duncan MacLean • Sep 14, 2018 at 11:39 PM

SPRING LAKE TWP. — After two straight years of rain-logged losses on Homecoming, Spring Lake got to celebrate Friday night.

The Laker football team put on a 38-8 drubbing of O-K Blue Conference opponent Coopersville to bolster the festivities for a packed house at Grabinski Stadium.

A tough showing by the Spring Lake defense made the difference, once again. The Broncos drove down the field to score on their opening drive, tacking on an accidental two-point conversion off a fumbled snap on the extra point for good measure.

For the remainder of the contest, Coopersville would reach the Spring Lake red zone just once, while the Lakers scored 14 points in the first quarter, 17 in the second and seven in the third to take the Homecoming win.

“There was a lot of reasons for these kids to not be prepared today and they just refused to let that happen,” said Spring Lake head coach Dan Start. “With all the Homecoming stuff going on, we had a talk Wednesday and decided that we are done with the fun stuff. Our fun is here on the field. They dialed in and are just doing things the right way.

“It seems like every week our defense gives up some yards or a score on the first series, then they settle in and go blackout. We have to figure out a way to get them to start a little quicker, but I can’t say much else. They were pretty darn good tonight.”

Senior quarterback Caleb Montgomery was unstoppable for the fourth straight week, racking up 315 total yards for five scores. He finished 9-for-13 passing with a pair of touchdown passes and led all backs with 224 rushing yards on 23 carries for three touchdowns, including one from 49 yards out.

“He is just one of the biggest and strongest athletes I have ever coached,” Start said of his quarterback. “Our offensive line did a great job of opening up some holes and getting him to the second level and from there he is a mismatch for everyone left.

“He’s too fast for the linebackers and will punish the defensive backs, they don’t want anything to do with him.”

Aiden Carlson led the receivers, hauling in all three of his targets for 47 yards and a score. Mitch Payne followed with one reception for 23 yards and a touchdown, to go with 43 yards rushing on six carries.

Zach Keyser led the Laker defense with eight solo tackles with two assisted sacks. Steve Ready followed with nine total tackles, while Wyatt Lisman racked up eight.

Coopersville quarterback Vaughn VanTil managed 123 yards passing, finishing 12-for-23 in the air and led all backs with 56 yards rushing. Running back Cayden Schnieder scored the Broncos’ lone touchdown to go with 33 yards on the ground on 12 carries.

“These kids understand what it takes to win,” Start said of the performance. “More importantly, they understand that they don’t want to lose because of what they went through last year. They are just good kids doing things the right way.

“Noah Verlinde said it well to the Tribune the other day; they look at it like we are 3-9. They have a chip on their shoulder and makes for a fun team to coach.”

The Lakers will look to improve to 5-0 for the first time since the 2005 season as they travel to Comstock Park next Friday for just their second road contest of the season. The Panthers are off to a 0-4 start with losses to Northview, Wyoming and Grand Rapids West Catholic, but are no slouch, according to coach Start.

“They are an explosive team,” he said. “Their quarterback is an incredible thrower and they have some athletes on the outside that can really play. Some weeks they are up and score a bunch and some weeks they are down. I’m hoping we catch them on a down week, because it will be a tough road for us otherwise. They have some playmakers and coach Johnson does a great job over there.”

Freshman: The Spring Lake freshman football team defeated Coopersville 40-0.

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