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FHC Sports Report

The home for coverage of all FHC athletics

FHC Sports Report

An interception secured FHC varsity football 18-14 win over Zeeland West to make back-to-back appearances at Ford Field

Olivia Oorbeck

A single catch from junior Brendan Cargill sealed the fate of the Zeeland West Dux. 

However, this wasn’t only a catch but an interception made with 1:30 left on the clock that decided the fate of which team would continue to the MHSAA Divison III State Finals. With this catch, the FHC Rangers completed an exceptional comeback during the second half to win 18-14. 

Overall, this game proved to be a battle of the defenses. 

Going into this game, there was much speculation on how FHC would cover Zeeland West’s Wing T offense. The last time the Rangers faced a Wing T team was in 2019 against Grandville. With this in mind, senior captain Lucas Fors knew how much of a difficulty it was going against this type of offense. 

FHC and Zeeland West trenches

“We haven’t been up against it, none of us on this team,” Fors said. “It was going to be a learning first run and, as you saw, a second drive three and out. We just had to hit them hard and be tough for them.”

Even with this difficulty, senior Ty Hudkins still had an idea of what to prepare and look for going into this game.

“Just a dogfight,” Hudkins said. “A fight in the phone booth, as coach Rogers calls it. And just a dogfight and a battle of the trenches.”

Zeeland West was the kickoff team at the start, allowing FHC to open up with offense. Although, at first, there was movement down the field and in close range of the red zone, the Dux defense kept the Rangers contained, resulting in a ball turnover. This later ended the first quarter with the score being tied, 0-0. 

However, with FHC unable to fully grasp what the Dux offense was doing, Zeeland West moved down the field swiftly in the second quarter. Even though, at times, FHC had finally grasped what was happening, another fake play would confuse and allow another first down for Zeeland West. 

Dux’s senior quarterback, Trenten Bolhouse, threw a touchdown pass to put the Dux on the board. They scored the two-point conversion, taking the lead 8-0 with 8:33 left in the second quarter. 

Alex Moeller (#20) kicking off

After the touchdown, there was a back-and-forth between the teams. With Zeeland West forced to punt, the Rangers would once again have the ball. Even with some movement down the field, FHC had a penalty called on them for holding. 

Senior kicker Alex Moeller, who is committed to Western Michigan to play Division I soccer, put FHC on the board 8-3 with 0:33 left in the second quarter. Zeeland then ran the clock out, leaving the score with the Dux up 8-3.

With the first half behind them, head coach Tim Rogers had an idea of some change and fixing little errors that were needed for the Rangers to have a chance to head to the state finals.

 “The wounds in the first half were self-inflicted,” Rogers said. “So the challenge was let’s stop shooting ourselves in the foot. I think in the second half we cleaned up some of our own mistakes and played Ranger football. That was enough to get it done.”

Fors agreed with the assessment from coach Rogers.

“Stop punching ourselves in the foot,” Fors said. “Just do our job, [and] don’t make stupid mistakes.”

Hudkins thought the understanding of Zeeland West’s playing style helped boost the team during the second half.

Zeeland West punting the ball

“It was just the motivation in the locker room,” Hudkins said. “ And it just took us a little bit to get used to it, 

but then we got used to it, and it was domination. We dominated that second half up front and in the defensive backfield as well.”

Zeeland West opened up the third quarter as the receiving team, forcing FHC to take on the Wing T offense again. However, the Rangers’ defense came out strong. Although Dux gained one first down, FHC’s defense held them at their 41-yard line, forcing them to punt. The punt was short, letting FHC gain possession on its 47-yard line. With this field placement advantage, the Rangers moved down the field. 

At the two-yard line, FHC gained a first and goal. The Dux, at first, contained FHC for two downs, but senior captain quarterback Mason McDonald ran the ball in for a two-yard touchdown. This touchdown placed the Rangers ahead 9-8, and a two-point conversion extended their lead 11-8 with 1:02 left in the third quarter. 

Mason McDonald (#9) running the ball

Early in the fourth quarter, Zeeland West scored and tried for a two-point conversion, but FHC’s defense held them. The Dux led14-11 with 8:50 left in the fourth quarter. 

A three-point difference didn’t discourage the Rangers but rather motivated them as they slowly worked their way down the field. With two minutes left in the game, FHC was first and goal at the 10-yard line. This anticipation grew with the Rangers on the 2-yard line and a fourth down; however, McDonald rushed the ball into the end zone, placing FHC in the lead again. Moeller gained an extra point to extend the Rangers lead 18-14 with 1:38 left in the fourth quarter.

Now, with the ball in the Dux’s hands, it was whether or not they’d be able to move down the field. Cargill’s interception halted this hopeful movement for the Dux. FHC gained possession of the ball at midfield. The Rangers ran out the clock to secure the victory.

Brady Drueke (#24) and Joe Donker (#63) celebrating the win

The FHC Rangers will continue its football run for one more game against the Mason Bulldogs at Ford Field. Even with this tough match-up, there is much excitement. 

“We’re feeling good,” Fors said. “ We’re feeling excited, and we’re ready to go.”

One reason for this excitement is due to a back-to-back appearance with the Rangers advancing onto Ford Field the previous year when they were in Division II. Even with this exciting advancement, Rogers knows of the expectations on these high school players. This stems from the beginning of the season to now, but he knows what they have been through to get here.

“We have been talking about it all year, and that was the expectation,” Rogers said. “That’s a lofty expectation for a bunch of high school kids, but we’re excited. We’re confident. We’ve been there before. And hopefully that experience is enough to put us over the hump this time.”

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About the Contributor
Olivia Oorbeck
Olivia Oorbeck, Editor-in-Chief
Olivia Oorbeck is a senior on the FHC Sports Report. She is excited about entering her second and final year on the staff. This year, she received the title of editor-in-chief alongside Lily Ohlman. Olivia was a competitive swimmer for eleven years but is part of the ski and water polo teams here at FHC. Her favorite things to do in her free time are art, makeup, or reading. She is an avid sports fan and loves learning new things about different sports. When she graduates, she hopes to go into aviation or aeronautical engineering. Although she doesn't plan on going into any form of journalism, she has a passion for writing and the experiences that come along with it. Her favorite sports team: The Chicago Cubs Her dream vacation: Most places throughout Europe Her pets: She has three dogs and three cats Unusual facts about her: She prefers cold weather over warm weather, so winter is her favorite season; tea over coffee any day; knows how to fly a plane better than driving a boat; and can very much be an introvert at times even though she seems like an extrovert.

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