The Cedar Springs Red Hawks have something to prove this postseason, as they entered with a 7-2 mark, and defeats against their two toughest foes. They started the playoffs off with a bang, defeating a talented Coopersville team 45-6 in the first round.
In the first quarter, Aiden Brunin got Cedar Springs on the board. The signal-caller kept the football, and he bowled through the left side of the line for a 2-yard touchdown. Antwuan Nicholls added the two-point try, and the Red Hawks led 8-0 after one quarter of play.
The lead widened in the second quarter, as Cedar Springs repeatedly found the end zone. In the opening minute, it was Brunin again, this time powering across the goal line from a yard out. At the midway point of the frame, Ryan Mitchell bolted through a hole up front, racing for a 77-yard touchdown. Ryan West added the conversion. Finally, with 20 seconds remaining before halftime, Brunin aired it out. For just the third time all year, he found an open receiver for a touchdown. This time, it was a 16-yard connection to Ryan West, giving Cedar Springs a 30-0 halftime lead.
Coopersville finally found the end zone in the third quarter. Dylan Merlo was able to score his 18th total touchdown of the season on a 5-yard carry. A missed extra point left them behind by 24 points with a quarter to play.
During the opening minute of the quarter, Cedar Springs expanded their lead once again. Antwuan Nicholls took the handoff on a sweep, running left for a 4-yard score. Kyle Hoort, who had scored a pair of conversions this fall, scored his first touchdown of the 2021 season on a 5-yard carry.
Ryan Mitchell paced the Cedar Springs offense with 146 rushing yards. Aiden Brunin (79) and Carter Falan (67) added to the count with strong rushing efforts, as 10 different Red Hawks tallied 56 carries, 392 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground.
Cedar Springs will advance to the District Finals next week, facing the winner of Saturday’s Muskegon and Lowell game. If the Big Reds win, Cedar Springs will travel to Muskegon, setting up a showdown with the team that has ended their last three playoff runs. If Lowell is able to win, Cedar Springs would host the Red Arrows.