The Unity Christian Crusaders had their chance for a District Championship taken away off the field a year ago, with COVID cancelling their matchup against Hamilton. When they returned to that point in the playoffs this fall, they delivered a statement. Their 79-21 domination of Grand Rapids Christian not only set a program record for points scored, it showed that they have aspirations of a State Championship that are fully attainable.
In the first quarter of this game, Unity Christian got the scoring started with two touchdowns. First, Micah Bush carried the football 11 yards across the goal line. Cam Chandler contributed the two-point try. On their next drive, Chandler got into the end zone for six points, with a 13-yard sprint through the Eagles defense. Unity took a 14-0 lead into the second quarter.
Both teams found the end zone multiple times in the second quarter. Unity extended their lead to 22 points when Micah Bush added a 4-yard touchdown. Grand Rapids Christian finally responded with an 80-yard burst provided by Aviere Thomas.
Ahead by fifteen points, the ‘Saders added sixteen unanswered points to extend the gap to 31. Abe Rappuhn and Micah Bush rushed for scores, with Mitch Tibbe and Drew Chandler adding two-point tries. Shortly before half, Alek Wickstrom found Aviere Thomas for another big play, a 40-yard passing touchdown. This brought the tally to 38-13 in favor of Unity after two quarters.
The second half saw Unity zoom into cruise control with a 41-8 edge. Drew Chandler (twice), Micah Bush, Ethan VanOtterloo and Noland Schuitema added to the scoring after halftime. Defensively, they recorded three interceptions. The third of these was a pick six, a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown by Nate Beute, the final score of the day.
Grand Rapids Christian saw Alek Wickstrom finish 11/15 passing for 171 yards and a touchdown. Aviere Thomas was effective in the pass and rush game, with 149 total yards. Amir Nixon added 114 receiving yards for the Eagles.
Unity Christian had 546 yards of total offense, all on the ground. Abe Rappuhn led the way with 17 carries and 196 yards. Drew Chandler added 137 yards on 12 carries. Micah Bush, who scored four times, finished with 101 yards on 11 carries. Ethan VanOtterloo had 86 rushing yards on just five carries.
The ‘Saders have now scored 640 points in 11 games, an average of 58.2 per contest. If Unity Christian ended with this average, it would be the fifth highest in MHSAA history, and the only four higher averages occurred between 1908-1918. The total points of 640 is tied for 24th in the history of the MHSAA, tied with the 2017 Edwardsburg Eddies. They are on pace to challenge the 1999 Orchard View state scoring record (774 points, 55.3 PPG).
In the regional finals, Unity Christian will take on Cadillac. This game will be hosted by the ‘Saders. Cadillac advanced to the regional finals after defeating Whitehall 24-14.