QB Patrick Burns leads the Pioneers to a second round win. Photo curtesy of Lou Murray Photography.

Check out pictures from the game here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45681226@N02/albums/72157716802782356

Although many may have thought this game would not prove to be competitive, The Dutch players and fans were ready to give the Pioneers a challenge. Coach Casey Longo and the East Grand Rapids Pioneers knew they couldn’t assume a victory was inevitable against the 1-6 Holland Dutch. The opening drive of the game was started by the Dutch, and ended with the Pioneers in the end zone with the first score of the night. The Dutch were forced to punt on a fourth and long, and that set up a 62 yard punt return for Nate Milanowski and the Pioneers were up 7-0 before QB P. Burns had brought the East offense onto the field.

The first half was dominated by East. The tally at the break was 49-8 due in part to Burns and Milanowski. The pair connected on 40 yard pass play extending the East lead to 14-0. The Burns put just enough air under the pass to allow the speedy receiver to make the reception and enter the end zone untouched, again. (Photo curtesy of Lou Murray Photography)

The catch would be the second time #2 scored, but not the last. After a Aiden Stadel 75 yard pick 6 which would end a Dutch drive and extend the East lead to 21-0, Nate would score the next two EGR Touchdowns on the ground. The first from 10 yards and the second from 67 yards. The lead would now be 35-0 in the second quarter, but the Dutch NEVER quit. They put together another long drive that would result in a 2 yard score by Jr QB Zachary Hop. Hop also serves as the holder for PAT’s and when the snap reached him on a two bounce carom, he alertly made something out of nothing, throwing it to Sr WR Kyle Torres for the two point conversion. With the score now 35-8 the Dutch finally had a little momentum. The tide would again turn toward the Pioneers as Burns connected with Oscar Osbourne for a 20 yard score followed by a Burns run from a yard away on the next drive. This moved the score to 49-8 and the Dutch were looking to the halftime intermission to regroup.

The second half began with East extending their lead thanks to a 53 yard touchdown run by RB Khris Williams-Young. K Jack Higgins would convert the PAT and East would now have a 56-8 lead. Hop and the Dutch would show great resiliency,  as he would lead them on 3 scoring drives. He threw touchdowns to SR Alex Daniels, and JRs Javiont’e Kirk and Andon Grigg, but the Pioneers would score one more time in the fourth quarter on a 63 yard run by Drew Caswell.

The Pioneers finished the District Semi Final game with 473 yards of total offense, of which 352 came from the running game. East would only run 27 plays on Offense compared to the 66 plays for the Dutch. Of the 27 plays only four were passes, all complete for 121 yards and two scores. The rushing attack had 23 attempts offering an impressive 15.3 yards per carry. Credit the Offensive Line as they were able to dominate the line of scrimmage all night.

With the Loss the Dutch season has concluded. They finish with a record of 1-7, but with the youth on the roster the future for the Holland Dutch is bright.

The Pioneers will host the Trojans of Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg next Friday night at Memorial Field in District Championship action. T/K was idle tonight as their would be opponent, the Dux of Zeeland West had to forfeit due to COVID-19 protocol. This should serve as a reminder to everyone, do your part to stay safe and healthy.