Story by Scott Morgan, Michigan Sports Radio
Coopersville Broncos came into the game tonight with a 2-0 record with big wins over Big Rapids and Wayland Union. OK Blue play started tonight as they squared off with the Fruitport Trojans, who came in at 1-1 with a victory over Kenowa Hills and a loss to Cadillac.
The Broncos for the first two weeks of the season took the open possession and turned it into seven points. Tonight, it was no different. Behind strong running by Dylan Merlo, the Broncos marched down the field with a 67-yard drive and a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Wes Near to cap off the drive. Cayden Rathka made the PAT to give the Broncos a 7-0 lead at the 7:47 mark of the first quarter.
The Broncos defense came out playing tough, and they stopped the Trojans initial drive to get the ball back for the offense. Colton Bosch led the Broncos back down the field, and Wes Near came back in for a 3 yard scamper into the end zone. Rathka converted his 2nd straight PAT, and it was 14-0 Coopersville with four minutes to go in the first quarter.
The Bronco defense for the past two weeks hadn’t given up a big play, but with 2:57 left in the 1st quarter, they gave up a 66-yard touchdown run to Paschal Jolman. The two-point conversion was good, as Gavin Reames ran it in.
The Broncos were able to take their next possession and drive the length of the field. Once again, Coach Kaman called on Wes Near, a senior, to punch the ball into the end zone. He did it so well that they asked him to complete the score with a two-pt conversion. This made the score 22-8 with 15 seconds left in the first quarter.
Both defenses then tightened up and held the offenses in check until the 8:37 mark in the second quarter. Colton Bosch hit Nash Merkins in stride down the sideline, and Merkins took it to the house for a 72-yard score. Fruitport’s Paschal Jolman responded by racing into the end zone, but the PAT was missed, so going into halftime the Broncos were up 29-14.
The second half became a defensive struggle. The only score in the second half was a 6-yard run by Aiden Vela and a two-point conversion from Paschal Jolman. The Trojans had a shot to take the lead with the ball at the Broncos 5 yard line, facing a 4th down, but the front line of the Broncos was able to make the stop at the line of scrimmage. The Broncos were able to move the ball away from the shadow yard line. of their own goal. However the Trojans defense stood the Broncos up and forced them to punt the ball. The Trojans had 1:30 on the clock with the ball at their own 30 yard line and one timeout left. Coach Kaman once again came to the defensive group and asked them to do it one more time. He then sent in Jayviaun Rogers, sophomore, to go in for this first play. This was his first defensive play of the night and he sacked Gavin Reames for a 15 yard loss. This caused Coach Smith to use his last timeout. Gavin Reames then came out and tried to hit Vela down the far sideline but Dylan Merlo came up with the interception for the Broncos and preserving the victory.
The Broncos record is now 3-0 for the first time since 2003 and 1-0 in the conference. The Broncos will face Holland Christian next week. Fruitport falls to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in conference, and they square off with rival Spring Lake next Friday.