Photo Credit: Lou Murray
The South Christian Sailors have pushed Grand Rapids Catholic Central to the brink in several of their more recent meetings. Despite that fact, the Sailors always fell short. On Friday night, South Christian finally got over the massive hurdle that is Coach Kolster’s Cougars. After 42 consecutive victories, Grand Rapids Catholic Central was taken down on Friday night, 36-34.
Neither team was able to find the end zone in the first quarter of action. Grand Rapids Catholic Central would strike first, early in the second quarter, as Connor Wolf found Billy Mikolay for a 21-yard touchdown. A missed conversion kick left the Cougars ahead just six. With five seconds left in the second quarter, South Christian struck. Jake DeHaan found Seth Ritsema for a 32-yard touchdown. Nate Brinks booted the extra point to give the Sailors a 7-6 halftime lead.
Midway through the third quarter, South Christian extended their advantage. Coach Danny Brown dialed up a trick play, and Carson Vis found Jake DeHaan for a 6-yard touchdown connection. GRCC would quickly answer with an equalizer, as Wolf and Mikolay paired up for a 28-yard score. The duo completed the Octopus, and the game was knotted up at 14 entering the fourth quarter.
The final frame was wild, with six separate scoring plays. First, Jake DeHaan stepped in front of a Cougars’ pass and raced home for a 37-yard interception return touchdown. GRCC would draw back even with a 5-yard run by Kellen Russell-Dixon.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jackson Haik fielded the football at his own seven yard line. Like he was shot out of a cannon, Haik barreled straight through the oncoming Cougars’ coverage team. Ninety-three yards later, he scored the go-ahead touchdown.
With just under two minutes to play, Russell-Dixon returned to the end zone. The Cougars’ backup placekicker had entered the ball game, and he had the most vital kick of the ballgame. Unfortunately for Cougars fans, he could not quite connect. His blocked attempt left GRCC behind by a point, 28-27.
Jake DeHaan has had many notable moments as a Sailor, but perhaps none more than what transpired on South Christian’s next drive. The senior signal-caller kept the football, racing 83 yards untouchded for a touchdown. Danny Brown dialed up the two-point conversion play, and DeHaan found Seth Ritsema for the score, giving the Sailors a 36-27 lead.
Trailing by nine with 90 seconds to go, Grand Rapids Catholic Central would have to move quick. Connor Wolf found Jami Williams on a 27-yard score. The successful PAT kick brought the Cougars within two points. They attempted the onside kick, but were unable to recover.
This is the first loss for Grand Rapids Catholic Central since they fell 21-14 against Notre Dame, a high school from Niles, Illinois in Week 2 of the 2019 campaign. The last Michigan team to defeat the Cougars were the Edwardsburg Eddies in the 2018 Division 4 Semifinals.
Jake DeHaan was phenomenal in this game. He was 19/28 passing for 168 yards and a touchdown. DeHaan added 181 rushing yards and a score on 19 carries.
Next week, South Christian (6-0) will take on Wayland. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (5-1) will try and start a new streak against Ottawa Hills.