KENTWOOD – Grand Haven got off to a scorching hot start in Friday night’s game in East Kentwood. The Buccaneers led 28-7 through three quarters. The Falcons battled back to tie the game and send it into overtime. The Bucs won in overtime, 31-28.
“We talked all week about how we needed to start strong,” Grand Haven head coach Joe Nelson said. “Last week we played really well, but we started poorly. We focused all week on our start. We’ve got to make sure we go on and finish. This week they responded, they played really well, they had confidence and we did a great job.”
The Falcons got the ball first in the game, and started marching down the field making their way to the Grand Haven 17-yard line. The Falcons dropped back to pass and Owen Krizan broke on the ball and intercepted it with nothing between him and the end zone. Krizan’s 87-yard pick-six gave Grand Haven a 7-0 lead. Three minutes later, East Kentwood responded with a rushing touchdown to tie the game at 7.
“They were moving the ball on us and I just kept preaching to stay strong and that a big play was going to happen for us,” Krizan said about his big play. “We knew we had to come out of the gate fast. Thank god for the call we had from our defensive coordinator, it was right place, right time.”
The Bucs followed that up by going on a 21-0 run. Krizan put another seven points on the board with a 26-yard run with 27 seconds left in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Alex Kapala found Braydon Franz for a 46-yard touchdown pass. The last touchdown of the first half went to Connor Worthington, who ran the ball in on fourth down to increase Grand Haven’s lead to 28-7.
The third quarter was uneventful, as the halftime score held 28-7. The Falcons went on a run in the fourth quarter, scoring three touchdowns in less than 10 minutes. Both teams had opportunities to score with under two minutes remaining in the game, but neither managed points so the game went to overtime.
In overtime, Braydon Franz had two huge pass deflections followed by a sack by Landon VanBeek and the Falcons were facing a fourth and 20. Tyler Harp knocked away a pass in the endzone to give his team a chance to win. Grand Haven’s Three attempts to run the ball in failed, but Teague Wilson came up huge on fourth down and kicked the game-winning field goal for the Bucs.
Worthington and Krizan led the team in rushing yards on the game, Worthington had 97 yards and a touchdown and Krizan had 82 yards with a touchdown. The Buccaneers defense was strong all night long, forcing four turnovers.
“Our defense has been outstanding. We play such great competition,” Nelson said. “Kentwood was filled with athletes making plays but our defense has been playing outstanding and we got it done when it needed to get done. I’m so proud of them, they are playing so fast and so sound.”
Krizan knew that his team was never in trouble despite the scoreboard.
“We were never down. That’s what I kept saying. We were winning this whole time, I just tried to keep everyone’s confidence up and make sure everyone knew we were going to win no matter what it takes,” Krizan said. “It was a bumpy ride, nothing was given to us so we fought pretty well and stayed calm. Now we’re ready to celebrate.”