The Montague Wildcats and Whitehall Vikings are part of one of the most storied rivalries in high school football. They were meeting for the 114th time on Friday night, making it one of the ten most-played rivalries in the state. Despite all of those previous contests, this one will be one of the most remembered games of the rivalry. In a double-overtime thriller, the Wildcats emerged victorious 34-31, keeping their perfect record intact and securing the West Michigan Conference title.
Sam Smith found the end zone in the first quarter, as his three yard rush was the only scoring play in the opening frame. This gave the Wildcats a 7-0 advantage after Andrew Kooi‘s extra point.
In the opening minutes of the second quarter, Nate Bolley put Whitehall back even on the scoreboard. He dashed through the defense for a seventy-seven yard score. Montague would respond with a touchdown run of their own, as quarterback Drew Collins kept the football and ran six yards. On the two-point conversion, Tugg Nichols and Rodney Brassfield paired up for the successful pass attempt. In the closing minute of the first half, Andrew Durbin aired it out and found Brodie Fogus for a nineteen yard touchdown strike. This brought the score to 15-14 Montague as they went to half.
The defenses really settled in during the third quarter. Much like the first quarter, there was only one scoring play. With just over two minutes to go in the quarter, Taden Brandel booted a thirty-six yard field goal to put Whitehall ahead 17-15.
Just fifty-four seconds into the final frame, Montague regained the lead. Drew Collins kept the football and scored from two yards out. He would attempt a pass on the conversion, but it fell incomplete, leaving the score 21-17 Montague.
After recovering a Montague fumble, Whitehall had a short field. They needed just five plays to regain the lead, as Nate Bolley ran it in from four yards out. Taden Brandel’s extra point made it 24-21 in favor of Whitehall.
The ensuing kickoff landed out of bounds, giving Montague the ball on the thirty-five yard line with 1:20 yards to play. Converting two crucial third down situations, Montague called out their kicking unit with just seconds to play to attempt to send the game to overtime. Andrew Kooi’s kick from twenty-six yards was good, and the game headed to overtime.
In the first overtime, Montague needed just one play to score. Drew Collins kept the football and ran ten yards into the end zone, pushing the lead to 31-24. Whitehall faced a crucial third down and five in their own overtime session, and Nate Bolley found a hole and ran it in for the tying touchdown.
In the second overtime, Whitehall began with the football. After a penalty and a negative rush, they sent on the kicker for a 34-yard attempt. The kick was missed to the left, leaving Montague needing just three points for a victory. On their fourth down, after gaining four yards, Andrew Kooi was sent out for a pivotal kick. He booted the 23-yard field goal through the uprights, delivering a 34-31 victory in thrilling fashion.
Andrew Durbin led the Whitehall passing attack with 104 yards and a touchdown. Nate Bolley was the leading rusher for the Vikings with 116 yards, while Brodie Fogus led Whitehall with 61 yards.
On the Montague side, Drew Collins passed for 78 yards on 10/12. He also led the team in rushing with 110 yards on 27 carries. Andrew Kooi, caught five passes for thirty-eight yards, and his stellar kicking performance, including that game-winner, earn him the Redi Rental Player of the Game Honors.