The Hudsonville Eagles headed into the final week of the regular season with five wins. Though many believe that they would qualify on playoff points alone, the Eagles decided to take matters into their own hands and clinch their berth with a surprising win over West Ottawa, 23-16.
In the first quarter, both defenses held their own and neither team would get on the board. Hudsonville broke the drought on an eight-play, fifty-six yard drive capped off by a two-yard run by Bryce Herrema early in the second quarter. Ben Dykstra’s extra point put the Eagles up seven. They would extend their lead to ten when Dykstra kicked a 40-yard field goal to give Hudsonville a ten-point lead. Right before the half, West Ottawa got on the board when Isaac Van Dyk found Matt Cox for a 37-yard touchdown to close the deficit to 10-7 at the break.
The defenses continued to play strong throughout this one, as West Ottawa scored the only points of the third quarter on a 23-yard Max Voet field goal. This evened the score at ten heading into the final twelve minutes.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Hudsonville took the lead when Drew Martinie broke off a 42-yard run to put the Eagles ahead by seven. After forcing a quick punt, Hudsonville extended their lead to fourteen points when Martinie got another long run, this time from thirteen yards out.
Trailing 23-10, West Ottawa was in need of quick offense. They got the first touchdown on a Van Dyk pass to Cox, their second touchdown connection of the night, this time from five yards. They got the football back after a stop, and they got inside the Hudsonville ten yard line, but they were unable to punch it in. This left them seven points short, as Hudsonville went on the road and got the 23-16 win.
West Ottawa and Hudsonville both finish the season 6-3, meaning that they both will be playing in the postseason next week. Traditionally, these teams have always been paired in the same district, so don’t be surprised to see a rematch of this tremendous contest at some point in the postseason. The playoff matchups will be revealed during the Selection Sunday special.