Last fall, Grand Rapids Catholic Central played one game within striking distance. Cedar Springs pushed them to the brink, falling 41-40 when John Passinault made a huge tackle on a two-point try. In 2022, the scenario arose once again. This time, it was Michael App, wearing Passinault’s #2, who delivered the saving tackle in a 21-20 Catholic Central victory.

The scoring started late in the first quarter, as Cougars’ quarterback Connor Wolf kept the football on a 1-yard sneak up the middle. A missed extra point left GRCC ahead by just six points.

Midway through the second quarter, the Red Hawks responded. Ryan West broke the 139 minute touchdown drought for Cedar Springs, scoring the team’s first touchdown of the 2022 campaign. Rory Schoenborn added a successful point after kick, and Cedar Springs took a 7-6 lead into halftime.

Ryan Mitchell would pad the Cedar Springs advantage with a 5-yard touchdown run. Schoenborn’s boot extended the lead to eight points with nine minutes left in the third quarter.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central would roar back, finding the end zone on consecutive drives. First, Wolf found Kellen Russell-Dixon on a 4-yard touchdown pass. Russell-Dixon would complete the octopus with a conversion catch that evened the score at 14.

Russell-Dixon would use his legs on the ensuing possession, carrying the football 20 yards for the score. John Meyer converted the extra point, giving GRCC a 21-14 lead.

With just thirty-eight seconds to go, Cedar Springs found the end zone. Ryan Mitchell returned to the end zone, his second trip of the evening. Like the foreword alluded to, Coach Gus Kapolka faced the identical decision to the 2021 game. Once again, he sent his team on the field for the game-winning conversion attempt. For the second straight year, the Cougars’ defense stepped up and stonewalled the Red Hawks short of the end zone.

The 40th straight win for the Cougars was not an easy one. Cedar Springs gave GRCC all they could handle. Though some may question the decision to go for two, I find it commendable. With such a remarkable streak hanging in the ballads, and the chance to deliver a statement against a heavyweight? Take the knockout punch! Unfortunately for Cedar Springs tonight, the champ punched back.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central improves to 3-0 on the year. They will face Kenowa Hills next week. Cedar Springs’ gauntlet continues next week, as the 0-3 Red Hawks square off against South Christian.