Saturday at Grand Valley State University, a pair of the area’s top teams squared off in the GRidiron Classic. East Grand Rapids and Zeeland East both finished 9-0 in last year’s regular season, but they both were upset in the first round of the postseason. This year, the two teams faced off for the first time ever, and it did not disappoint. After a back and forth game early, Zeeland East’s senior quarterback Gabe Taylor led the Chix to a 36-27 victory.
In the first quarter, both teams had little trouble finding the end zone. Gabe Taylor led the Chix on an opening drive that resulted in a pass to Ryan Stockdale for a touchdown. East Grand Rapids bounced back on their very first play from scrimmage as Jalen Broussard found Jack Billo for a 63-yard score. At the end of the quarter, Taylor ran for thirty-five yards to put the Chix ahead 14-6.
The second quarter was all East Grand Rapids, as the Pioneers scored a pair of touchdowns. First, John Shelton punched it in from a yard out. Later in the quarter, Robbie Stuursma scored from 21 yards to give the Pioneers a 20-14 halftime edge.
Taylor found the other Stockdale brother, Aaron, for a 24-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in the second half of play, evening the score at twenty. With thirty-eight seconds remaining in the quarter, John Shelton hauled in a pass from fourteen yards to put East Grand Rapids ahead 27-20.
In the final frame, it was all Chix. Ryan Stockdale was on the receiving end of his second touchdown, this time from thirteen yards out. A two-point conversion put Zeeland East in the lead 28-27. After an interception, they would extend their lead by eight more points as Gabe Taylor kept the ball for a 21 yard score. Zeeland East would win by a final of 36-27.
Next week, Zeeland East will host Detroit Douglass in their home opener. The Hurricanes lost their season opener to Detroit Community 28-0. For East Grand Rapids, they are back in action next week on the road against Forest Hills Northern. The Huskies won their season opener 22-21 over Byron Center.