The Hudsonville Eagles entered Week 9 with a 4-4 record and the #33 ranking in the Division 1 playoff rankings. Hudsonville was at home on Friday night, hosting Caledonia with hopes of improving their position into the 32-team field. On three separate occasions, Hudsonville led in this game, but Caledonia was on top as the game drew to a close. The Fighting Scots escaped with a 26-19 victory.
Caledonia got things started with a touchdown five minutes in. Brock Townsend powered across the goal line from two yards out, and a Connor Beach extra point gave the Fighting Scots a 7-0 lead. Hudsonville would trim their deficit late in the quarter, as Emmanuel Dieppa booted a 29-yard field goal.
With two minutes left before halftime, Hudsonville took the lead. Trey Carr aired it out, finding Jaden Timmer on a 5-yard touchdown. This gave the Eagles a 10-7 halftime advantage. The Eagles would extend their lead to six when Dieppa converted a 32-yard field goal.
Midway through the third quarter, Caledonia’s offense responded. Mason McKenzie, the Fighting Scots’ signal-caller, used his legs to find the end zone. He kept the football, reeling off a 58-yard dash to the end zone. Beach’s extra point powered Caledonia in front, 14-13 with a quarter to play.
Just seven seconds into the fourth quarter, Hudsonville regained the lead. Drew Baine reeled off a rushing score from 22 yards out, his twelfth of the season. A failed conversion attempt left Hudsonville ahead by five, 19-14.
The Eagles recovered an onside kick, and the momentum was entirely on their side. Caledonia’s defense answered the call, forcing Hudsonville to punt on a three-and-out. Without a return man deep, the ball rolled down to the Caledonia ten yard line.
On the first play from scrimmage, Mason McKenzie found Justice Reed, who made a catch near the sideline, remained inbounds, and raced down the sideline on a 90-yard dash. The Fighting Scots also attempted a two-point try, but failed. This left their lead at just a single point, 20-19, with 10:28 to play.
Owen Graham had a huge defensive stop for Caledonia, as he hauled in an interception off a tipped pass. This gave the Fighting Scots the football at the Hudsonville 45. Once again, Caledonia wasted no time in scoring. McKenzie kept the football, and bolted to the end zone. As he entered the end zone, he incurred an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for celebrating. This forced the Fighting Scots to attempt an extra point fifteen yards deeper, and it was no good. As a result, Caledonia led by seven, 26-19, with 8:31 to go.
After both teams were unable to put a drive together, Hudsonville got the football back at their own 29 with ninety seconds to go. Two downfield strikes got the Eagles down to the 45 of Caledonia. Facing a third-and-one, Trey Carr found Brad Raredon on an 8-yard toss, moving them to the 37 with 48 seconds to go. On the next play, Trey Carr was hit by the Fighting Scots’ defense, coughing up the football. Caledonia pounced on the loose ball, and they ran out the clock.
Mason McKenzie was 11/19 passing for 185 yards in this game. He added 162 rushing yards on 14 carries. Brock Townsend had a stellar rushing game with 106 yards on 20 carries. Justice Reed paced the receivers with 145 yards on just six catches.
Hudsonville saw Trey Carr complete 25/47 passes for 273 yards. Brad Raredon was his favorite target with 111 yards on seven receptions. Drew Baine was their leading rusher with 39 yards.
Caledonia finishes the regular season 8-1, their best mark since 2008. They will enter the Division 2 playoffs with one of the highest point totals. Hudsonville slides to 4-5 with this defeat. They will anxiously await the results around the State on Friday and Saturday, hoping they accumulated enough points to sneak into the postseason.