The Unity Christian Crusaders entered Saturday’s semifinal with one of the most prolific offenses in MHSAA history. They were set to go up against Edwardsburg, who had a strong defense allowing 4.7 points per game. Something had to give in this matchup, and it was the Eddies defense. Unity Christian exploded offensively with a 58-8 thrashing of Edwardsburg to punch their ticket to Ford Field.
Edwardsburg got the football first, and their drive stalled at their own 45 yard line. Unity Christian would march quickly, scoring on a 5-yard keeper by Cam Chandler. After another defensive stop, Chandler broke off a 32-yard scamper. This gave the ‘Saders a 14-0 lead ten minutes in.
The Eddies’ Connor Ostrander broke free for a 58-yard touchdown sprint on the ensuing drive, stopping the Unity run. This 14-8 lead would carry over into the second quarter.
After converting on a 4th down inside the Edwardsburg 20, Unity Christian returned to the end zone. This time, it was Abe Rappuhn who powered in from four yards out. The ‘Saders defense stopped the Eddies at midfield once again, and Abe Rappuhn made them pay. The speedy tailback shot through the defense on their first play from scrimmage, a 52-yard race to the end zone. He would not be done, as a third touchdown run of the quarter gave Unity Christian a 37-8 halftime lead.
One of the more impressive plays of the first half came on special teams, as Edwardsburg’s Trevor Houseworth booted a punt that rolled nearly the length of the field.
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In the second half, it was a continued stretch of offensive success for Unity. They took to the air for their first score of the third quarter, as Cam Chandler found his brother Drew Chandler for a 24-yard strike. Early in the fourth quarter, with the running clock in play, Noland Schuitema extended the lead to 51-8. Mitch Tibbe would round out the scoring with a 60-yard touchdown pass to Carter Bylsma.
The 58 points scored by Unity Christian was more than Edwardsburg’s first twelve opponents combined (56). It is the most points the Eddies have yielded since 2004, when they allowed Constantine to score 61. This is the first time that any team scored over 50 points against Edwardsburg since South Christian defeated the Eddies 50-48 in the 2014 Semifinals.
Unity Christian will be back in Ford Field for the first time since 2018 next Friday. They will take on Chelsea, who escaped Freeland’s grasps in a 3o-27 game. The ‘Saders will be looking for the school’s second State Championship in football.
In addition to the State Championship, Unity will also be chasing offensive history. Coach Tibbe’s crew now has scored 751 points on the season, the second most in MHSAA history. They need just 24 points in the final game to set a new record, passing the 1999 Orchard View Cardinals (774). Coach Tibbe’s crew would like to not only best the Cardinals in total points, but in end result. That Orchard View team came up seven points short of a State Championship.