Photo Courtesy of Louis Murray


For the sixth straight season, the Grand Rapids Catholic Central Cougars opened the year taking on the East Grand Rapids Pioneers. This year however, the Cougars opened their season at home, their own home field. Catholic Central opened up their brand new state-of-the-art stadium Friday night in front of a packed house that was electric. Along with the off the field environment, the on the field talent did not disappoint as they dominated East Grand Rapids in a 27-6 victory.

After an interception, the Cougars faced a short field early in the first quarter. Nolan Fugate punched the ball over the goal line and halfway through the quarter it was 7-0 GRCC. Less than three minutes later, the Cougars had the ball back and Antonio Strong out ran the Pioneer defense for a 59 yard touchdown to expand the lead to fourteen.

In the third quarter, the Pioneers turnover woes continued as an errant snap bounced around in the end zone. East Grand Rapids quarterback Mike Malewicz attempted to bat the ball out of the end zone, however the Cougar defense pounced on it in the end zone for a touchdown. After the failed PAT, Catholic Central led 20-0.

With nine minutes remaining in the game, East Grand Rapids tailback Hub Hejna gave the team optimism as his five yard run broke the goose egg on the scoreboard. Another failed point after left the score 20-6 in favor of Catholic Central.

Six minutes later, the Pioneers had the football and were moving down the field in an attempt to cut the game to one score. Senior Max Vicari had other thoughts as he picked off Malewicz’s pass and took it all the way back for the touchdown.

Catholic Central would win this contest 27-6, defeating East Grand Rapids for the first time since 2012. They will try to improve to 2-0 when they take on St. Johns next week. For East, they fall to 0-1 for the first time in four years, and they will try to earn their first win against Forest Hills Northern, another team who lost this week.

Check out Photos of the game:


TimeScoreScoring Play
1Q 8:28CC 7-0N.Fugate 1yd run. (XP Good)
1Q 5:57CC 14-0A.Strong 59yd catch (XP Good)
3Q 2:11CC 20-0Defensive Fumble Recovery in End Zone. (XP Failed)
4Q 9:04CC 20-6H.Hejna 5yd run. (2pt Conv. Attempt Failed)
4Q 3:39CC 27-6M.Vicari INT Return. (XP Good)