Photo courtesy of Lou Murray
To see pictures of the game click here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45681226@N02/albums/72157711412930421
The East Grand Rapids Pioneers and the Grand Rapids Christian Eagles each started the 2019 campaign 1-2. Weeks 4-7 would see both OK Gold powers emerge victorious now boasting 5-2 overall and 4-0 conference records. That would set the stage for yet another epic game with conference title implications on the line. With each having struggling teams on the week 9 schedule, unofficially the Gold title was up for grabs.
East would spend the first 4 1/2 minuets of the first quarter trying to wear out the GR Christian defense, culminating in a 4 yard John Shelton TD run. The Eagle offense would answer on their first play from scrimmage in a huge way. Sr QB Eason Hardouin would find Jr WR Marcellus VanderKodde for an 84 yard answer. The Eagles would extend the lead with two more scores. First a Sr RB Thad Gamble 68 yard ramble, followed by a 14 yard Hardouin to VanderKodde connection. East RB Shelton would again score from 4 yards narrowing the lead to 21-14 at the half.
GR Christian would score on each of their first three possessions of the 2nd half. Hardouin would find Jr slot receiver Brian Hunter on a 55 yard pitch and catch. He would follow that by finding Soph WR C.J. Jones for a 32 yard score. Jr K Will Heemstra would add a 33 yard FG as the final scoring play for the Eagles. East would also score three times in the half. Shelton would score his 3rd TD of the night, this time from 50 yards. Sr QB Robbie Stuursma would sneak it in and Sr K Henry Wassink would kick a 21 yard FG but the deficit would never close to less than 7 points. The Eagles would enjoy a 38-31 victory, giving the Pioneers only their second ever Ok Gold conference loss. Last year in week 8 the Eagles won by 3.
With the win GR Christian improves to 6-2 overall and 5-0 in the Gold. Next week they travel to Wayland, a victory will guarantee an outright conference championship. Tonight’s win also secures a playoff game for Christian. The Pioneers fall to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the Gold. They host the Wyoming Wolves nest week. A win will secure their post season goal, and IF Christian would fall to the Wildcats, a share of the conference title.