The Cadillac Vikings were one of the feel-good stories of the 2020 playoffs, making a surprise run to the Division 4 State Championship game. This year, they needed the whole game to ensure a first-round advancement, holding off the Fruitport Trojans 42-35.

Chris Reinhold got Cadillac started with a 4-yard touchdown on the ground. Paschal Jolman quickly responded by bolting through the Vikings defense on a 44-yard carry. Successful PATs on both sides left the score all square after twelve minutes.

Cadillac scored again early in the second quarter, as Aden Gurden powered across the goal line from two yards out. Once again, Fruitport answered. They got a 19-yard rush by Aiden Vela, and they took the lead with their successful PAT. Cadillac extended their halftime lead with a 57-yard touchdown by Gurden, and a conversion by him as well, to take a 21-14 lead at the break.

In the third quarter, Carter Harsh ripped off a 44-yard sprint through the teeth of the Trojans’ defense for a score. Over the final six minutes of the quarter, they would exchange touchdowns. Paschal Jolman returned to the end zone with a 3-yard carry, while Gurden continued to thrive with a 3-yard score of his own. This last score, on the final play of the third quarter, set the tone for a thrilling fourth frame.

Gavin Reames aired it out, finding Cody Nash on a 76-yard touchdown. This time, Cadillac was able to answer. They got a 14-yard touchdown run by Harsh to reaffirm a 15-point lead. With a minute to go, Fruitport got into the end zone once more. Reames found Aiden Vela on a 12-yard toss, and a conversion pass to Camden Ferrell brought the Trojans within a dollar.

Next week, Cadillac will host Whitehall, who thrashed Sparta on Friday evening, in the District Finals.