The Grand Rapids Christian Eagles were back in the playoffs this year for the ninth straight season. Their opponent, the Northview Wildcats, were in the playoffs for just the third time in school history. After getting out to a large lead, the Eagles were able to fend off a late charge by Northview to secure a 28-21 victory.
Eason Hardouin took to the air to start the scoring for Christian, as he found Tyler Koeman on a 20 yard touchdown pass. After getting a stop on defense, Hardouin would find Brian Hunter on a 12 yard pass for their second score to increase the lead to 14-0 after the first quarter. This would be it for Hardouin, as he left the game in the second quarter. Hardouin finished the day 8/9 for 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air.
While the Eagles’ offense needed to find its footing with backup George Bolt under center, Northview clawed a bit closer with a 38-yard field goal by Chris Mendez. The lone scoring play in the second quarter brought the Wildcats within eight heading into the locker room.
Cody Tierney got Northview rolling offensively in the second half as he hauled in a pass from Kennedy Smith and went 33 yards for a touchdown. The two-point try brought the Wildcats within three points at 14-11. On the ensuing drive, George Bolt hit the air and struck for a big play connection with James Patrick. The pair connected on a 90-yard touchdown play to extend the Eagles’ lead back to ten points. Before the quarter was done, Tyrell Allen rushed for a nine-yard touchdown to give GRC a 28-11 lead.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Northview got on the board when Chris Mendez hit his second field goal of the night. With just under four minutes to play, Cody Tierney got back into the end zone on a three yard catch from Kennedy Smith. This brought Northview with seven points.
The Wildcats were unable to score again, and as a result their season ends seven points short to Christian. Not to be lost in defeat were strong games by Smith and Tierney. Kennedy Smith finished the game 13/24 for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air, and he also added 72 yards on 14 carries. Tierney had nine receptions in this game, and he turned them into 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Grand Rapids Christian got some incredible bench play from quarterback George Bolt. He was 9/11 in relief effort, tossing for 222 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The poise and ability he showed in the later stages of the game could prove to be huge depending on the status of Hardouin next week. The Eagles are back in action next Friday night in the District Finals. They will hit the road to take on Muskegon, who enters the game at 10-0 and they are the defending Division 3 Champions. They advanced to the District Finals with a 42-35 win over East Grand Rapids, a team that GRC beat by three in Week 8.