The Forest Hills Central Rangers’ senior class accomplished something on Friday night that no other senior class has ever experienced in school history. For the first time ever, the Rangers have qualified for the MHSAA State Playoffs for the fourth straight year. This happened as a result of their 14-7 victory over the Lowell Red Arrows.
In the first quarter of this one, there was only one touchdown scored. This occurred with just under seven minutes left, when senior quarterback Jimmy Scholler connected with junior Joey Wise for a nine yard score. The Will Gustafson extra point gave the Rangers a 7-0 advantage.
Two more touchdowns were scored in this game, both in the second quarter of play. Carson Dienes ran three yards through the Red Arrows’ defense for a touchdown with five minutes left in the first half. Once again, Gustafson was successful on the point after try to put FHC up by fourteen. In the last seconds of the first half, Lowell was able to get on the board. Doak Dean threw a five yard touchdown pass to Nolan Anschutz to cut the score to 14-7.
Neither team scored the rest of the way, leaving the final score at 14-7 in favor of FHC. Both defenses played tremendous football in this game. Lowell forced FHC to commit two turnovers and they held them to 159 yards of total offense. Forest Hills Central limited Lowell to 264 yards, but they really made the difference on third down conversions. In fifteen third down tries, Lowell only converted five.
Lowell once loomed as an immovable hurdle for Forest Hills Central, losing 15 straight matchups since the turn of the century, but the times have changed. The Rangers have now won three straight against Lowell. FHC still has an outside chance at the OK White title, sitting one game behind Cedar Springs. They would need Cedar Springs to fall to Forest Hills Northern next week, and the Rangers would need to defeat Greenville to create a tie atop the standings. Regardless of that fact, they can improve their playoff point total and aim to earn a first round home playoff game. On the other side, Lowell slides to 4-4 with the defeat. They will take on Northview in the regular season finale. The Wildcats are also fighting for a playoff spot with their 5-3 overall record. Lowell is hoping to avoid the first two-year streak of playoff absences since they made their first trip to the postseason in 1997.