The Grand Haven Buccaneers and Caledonia Fighting Scots met on Friday night in a game with tremendous postseason implications. Each team came in with a 2-4 record, and that meant that they both could win out and get into the playoffs with some help as an at-large. With manageable schedules the rest of the way, the winner of this game had a chance to reach the five win plateau. In a back and forth affair, a late touchdown propelled Grand Haven to a 34-27 victory.
Carson Vanderhoff got things rolling in this game with a four yard touchdown run. This was the lone scoring play on either side in the first twelve minutes, giving the Scots a 7-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
Grand Haven evened the score when Alex Kapala plunged across the goal line on a two yard run. They would take the lead four minutes later when Connor Worthington ran for a three yard score.
On the ensuing drive, Vanderhoff found the end zone once more when he broke off a 57 yard run through the Bucs defense. The extra point by Mitchell Hooker evened the score at 14. Grand Haven would take a seven point lead into the locker room after Austin Broemer ran ten yards for a score.
Broemer found the end zone early in the third quarter to push Grand Haven’s lead to thirteen points. Once again, the Scots looked to Vanderhoff for the answer. He went 50 yards to the end zone to bring Caledonia within six. The special teams unit of Caledonia got in on the scoring fun when they blocked a Bucs punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. The blocked extra point meant that the teams would be tied at 27 entering the fourth quarter of play.
After ten scoreless minutes in the fourth quarter, Grand Haven was able to score the game-winning touchdown. Connor Worthington ran nine yards through the Scots’ defense for a touchdown to give the Buccaneers the 34-27 lead with 2:08 to play. Caledonia was unable to score in the final two minutes, leaving them seven points short.
Mother Nature forced this game to be a ground affair. Ninety-three of the 109 plays ran in this game were on the ground. Caledonia’s Carson Vanderhoff had 32 carries for 243 yards and three touchdowns in the defeat. Grand Haven was led by a duo of running backs as Austin Broemer (16 carries for 183 yards and two scores) and Connor Worthington (21 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns) were on the forefront of a unit that rushed for 383 yards as a team.
Caledonia is now eliminated from the postseason with a 2-5 record. They will try to play spoiler over the rest of the season, and that starts when they take on Northview next week. For Grand Haven, they have now won three games on the season. The Bucs have a navigable schedule over the last two weeks as they play West Ottawa (0-7) on Friday and Union (0-7) in the regular season finale.