East Grand Rapids WR Robbie Stuursma settles under a 56 yard pass from Jalen Broussard as he scores the first Pioneer touchdown of the night. Photo Courtesy of Mike Steers.
The East Grand Rapids Pioneers continued their pursuit toward a third straight OK Gold Championship when they squared off on Friday night against the South Christian Sailors. A back and forth game early ceded to the Pioneers later in the contest as they would go on to win 42-29.
South Christian started the scoring in tonight’s game when quarterback Chase Bradman connected with receiver Peyton Vis on a 14-yard strike to put them ahead 7-0. This lead would not last however as Jalen Broussard took to the air connecting with Robbie Stuursma on a 56-yard touchdown to even the score at seven after the first quarter of play.
Bradman again showed off his arm early in the second quarter as his connection to Vis resulted in a 26-yard touchdown pass. East would block the extra point to keep the score within six. John Shelton would respond on the ensuing drive with a touchdown plunge from a yard out to put the Pioneers ahead by one.
South Christian would take the lead once more on a 22-yard field goal by Carter Dood. This was the last time the Sailors would be in front. Once Jalen Broussard crossed the goal line on a three yard keeper to put East ahead 22-16, there was no looking back.
In the third quarter, the only touchdown was a 72-yard rush by Jalen Broussard for a touchdown, his third of the night. East scored the first two touchdowns of the fourth quarter as well when John Shelton and Broussard each rushed it in from three yards out to extend the Pioneers lead to 42-16.
South Christian got a pair of late scores to cut the lead to thirteen, but they were unable to draw any closer, ultimately falling in defeat by thirteen. Both quarterbacks faired well in this contest. Chase Bradman finished the night 18/29 for 257 yards for South Christian, and Jalen Broussard countered that attack with 144 passing yards, 150 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. John Shelton also gained 112 yards and scored two touchdowns on 24 carries for the Pioneers.
It should not be forgotten that tonight was East’s “Hearts of Gold” night. The annual event was successful again as they raised $82,350 toward the Children’s Advocacy Center. The Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County provides the Kids Have Rights body safety program in many local schools, including East Grand Rapids. In addition, the organization assesses and supports child victims of suspected sexual assault. They have helped more than 20,000 local children, providing services, including free counseling through the age of 18. Since 2009, the Hearts of Gold events have raised more than $600,000.00.
With the win, East improves to 3-0 in the OK Gold and 4-2 overall. Next week, they take on Middleville in a battle for the OK Gold lead. South Christian slides to 3-3 and 1-2 in the OK Gold after tonight’s affair. They will take on Grand Rapids Christian next Friday.