The Hudsonville Eagles and West Ottawa Panthers entered Friday night with different positions in the conference title race. Hudsonville sat at 3-1 in league play, while West Ottawa was still searching for their first victory at 0-4. Although the Eagles won this game, West Ottawa put up a valiant effort in a 43-35 victory.

Hudsonville started this game with a pair of touchdowns, building a comfortable lead. First, Trevor McEachern ran two yards into the end zone for a touchdown. Six minutes later, Brennan Hayes found Carson Fisher for a twenty-two yard touchdown strike. Before the first quarter ended, West Ottawa got on the board after Jake Zimmer ran for a four yard touchdown.

In the second quarter, Devin Mervau was able to shift his way past tacklers before finding the end zone from nineteen yards out. Zimmer would respond for West Ottawa with a touchdown run of forty-nine yards. Hudsonville would extend their lead back out to 28-14 when Hayes found Keaton Meduna for a thirteen yard touchdown pass just seconds before halftime.

West Ottawa started the scoring coming out of the locker room, as Zimmer took to the air and found his most reliable target, Blake Bosma, for a twenty-four yard touchdown pass. Hayes and the Eagles would respond as Dylan Ham was open for a touchdown that went forty-one yards. Hudsonville would carry their 35-21 lead into the final quarter.

Zimmer continued to produce when he used his legs once again, powering across the goal line from a yard out. This brought West Ottawa with a touchdown with 9:43 to play. Hudsonville responded with a five minute drive that resulted in McEachern rumbling into the end zone from three yards out. Jake Zimmer and Blake Bosma paired up for a fifty-four yard strike with just under two minutes to play, and this brought West Ottawa within eight points. Hudsonville was able to recover the onside kick, and they ran out the clock, securing the victory.

Offensive numbers were nearly identical, as Hudsonville narrowly outgained West Ottawa 436-405. Brennan Hayes finished 7/10 for 143 yards and three passing touchdowns, and he added twenty one yards on the ground. Trevor McEachern led the rushing attack with 145 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. Dylan Ham hauled in four of Hayes’ seven passes, recording 104 yards and a touchdown in the process.

It was another electric night for Jake Zimmer, as he finished 16/26 for 208 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 165 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries. Blake Bosma was the only Panthers’ receiver with multiple catches, hauling in twelve passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Next week, West Ottawa and Grand Haven meet in a battle of winless teams. Hudsonville will take on neighboring rival Jenison in a crucial OK Red contest. That game will be LIVE on MSR.