To see the game in pictures click here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45681226@N02/albums/72157711613683822
Courtesy of Lou Gamlin
East defender Noah Moskal (#5) keeps a close eye on Lowell QB Doak Dean (#3) Photo courtesy of Murray Sports Photography.
Possibly one of the best rivalries in the area didn’t happen in 2018. The East Grand Rapids Pioneers and the Lowell Red Arrows hold 14 State Titles combined. The teams have met on the grid iron 50 times, dating back to 1950. Tonight they would play in just their 4th playoff game. The series has been quite lopsided as East holds a 34-16 advantage. The 3 previous playoff games have been decided by a mere 17 points combined. The Lowell Red Arrows have won 2 of those 3 playoff games. To say that these two teams have history would be an understatement. In their 51st meeting, the Senior heavy roster for the Pioneers would prevail over a Red Arrow team that has nearly half as many student athletes that will graduate in the Spring.
The coin toss was won by East. They elected to defer their possession until the 2nd half. Sr K Henry Wassink would kick it deep to the Lowell speedy returners, who would fumble the opening kick giving the Pioneers incredible field position. The Arrows defense would force a 4 and out, taking away not only the ball, but the momentum as well. The Pioneer defense would also stop the Arrows, forcing a punt on their 1st true possession.
East would score first on a 29 yard pass that Sr QB David Lime dropped into the arms of Classmate WR Jack Mundell (far left). The lead would not last long. The ensuing kickoff would be returned 91 yards for a score by Sr KR Andy Anschutz. The score would stay knotted at 7 each for most of the first frame, until Sr QB/WR Robbie Stuursma (center) would call his own number. The QB would dice his way through the Arrows defense for 55 yards. This would be the first of 5 unanswered touchdowns for the Pioneers.
Jack Mundell 1 handed grab, Robbie Stuursma scores untouched, and John Shelton IV goes air borne from 1 yd out. -courtesy of Murray Sports Photography
Sr RB John Shelton (far right) would score three consecutive times. He ran it in from 24, 1, and 26 yards helping the pioneers extend the lead to 35-7. On the next drive the Pioneer QB-WR combination of Lime to Mundell would again prove productive. This time for a 57 yard score, moving the difference to 35 points.
In the fourth quarter the Red Arrows would score the final touchdown of the game. Anschutz would again display his speed, running it in from 46 yards however the 28 point margin would remain and the Pioneers would claim victory 42-14.
The loss will bring the Red Arrows season to an end. They finish the year 5-5 overall. They have avenged their record from a year ago and begin another streak of consecutive playoff appearances. Their last streak ended at 22 consecutive years.
The win will improve the Pioneers record to 7-3. They will play Byron Center next week in a district championship game. The Bulldogs were able to improve to 10-0 with a victory over the Spring Lake Lakers 49-14. Byron Center will host the game, but the date and time will be decided early next week. My best guess would say keep Friday at 7:00 pm free on your schedule, but that is just a guess.