The Grant Tigers and Newaygo Lions squared off on Friday in the Battle of M-37 rivalry game. After a pair of losses in 2017 and 2018, the Tigers were able to snap the streak and regain the trophy on Friday night. Their defense froze Newaygo in their tracks, holding them to just seven points in a 27-7 victory.
In the first quarter, Grant took the 7-0 lead. With two and a half minutes left in that frame, running back Orion Evans plunged it into the end zone for a one yard score. This would be the lone touchdown of the first half on either sides, as the rain and windy conditions really slowed down both offenses in this game. Newaygo did have two opportunities to strike, reaching Grant’s five yard line on two separate drives. The Tigers’ defense stepped up to the challenge and held the Lions out of the end zone on both trips to keep the 7-0 edge as the teams entered the locker room.
In the third quarter, Grant was able to extend their lead. Keelean found the end zone again, as he ran it in from five yards out. Two minutes later, Trevor Lowry went thirty-nine yards through the Lions’ defense for a touchdown run. This gave the Tigers a 20-0 lead as they entered the final quarter.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, Newaygo was able to get on the board. Braden Benjamin punched it in from a yard out to cut the deficit to thirteen points. Grant answered the bell and sealed the victory with a one yard touchdown run by Lowry.
The rushing trio for Grant was pivotal to their victory. Keelean, who also kicked the extra points for the Tigers, led the way with 21 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Although he did not find the end zone, Orion Evans was a key part of the Grant rushing attack as he contributed 99 yards on his 20 carries. Lowry was the third part of this unit, as he scored two touchdowns and rushed for 67 yards on nine carries.
With the win, Grant improves to 5-2 on the season. They now just need one more win to clinch a playoff spot, and they will try to get that when they face Big Rapids next week. For Newaygo, their margin of error is slimming. At 4-3, they need to win both of their final two games to guarantee a playoff spot. They have a tall task against Reed City to start this two-game stretch next week.