Varsity football vs. Grand Blanc: a tale of 30 seconds


At the 57-second mark of the fourth quarter, it seemed as if Grand Blanc’s hour and thirty-minute bus ride home would be a quiet one.

With just over a minute left in regulation, on its own 18-yard line, FHC faced a game-deciding third down and ten.

Junior quarterback Justin Osterhouse motioned sophomore running back JT Hartman out of a singleback formation and into a shotgun set before the snap. As junior Owen Meyer snapped the ball, Conner Milton took off towards the endzone and burned his defender on a quick post route. Grand Blanc’s 6’2” 195-pound linebacker, Jaylen Johnson, sprinted back to help guard Conner, forcing Justin to get the ball off quickly. Once Conner came within five yards of the endzone, Justin lobbed the ball up to him. 

Touchdown FHC—absolute pandemonium.

Conner Milton leaps up for a touchdown grab.

Senior Luke Gustafson would then boot the extra point in to give FHC a 34-31 lead over the 14th ranked Grand Blanc Bobcats. Going into the last 40 seconds of the game, it looked as if only a Flint miracle could help the Bobcats score a touchdown from their own 25.

“We were honestly trying to get all of our safeties and cornerbacks deep and prevent a big play,” senior safety Quentin Rudolph said. “All we were thinking about was preventing them from scoring.”

No matter how well the Rangers were prepared for the deep ball, though, they weren’t prepared for the confusing route pattern Grand Blanc would run on its first play of the drive. 

The Bobcat’s receivers were set up in a classic deep-ball trips formation and staggered off of the line of scrimmage. All three of Grand Blanc’s strong-side receivers leaned forward into their positions, ready to blast off into their routes. Taking four steps back in the pocket after he got the snap, Hunter Ames was immediately met with intense pressure from senior Colten Jenkins and junior Crandall Quinn, forcing him to step up in a dismantled pocket. By the time he stepped up in the pocket, one of his receivers, senior Nasir Carson, found himself all alone near the fifty-yard line. The moment he snuck past senior Jacob Bonnett was the moment that FHC knew they were in trouble. Hunter Ames lofted a 25-yard pass to Nasir Carson, and at first, it seemed like Jacob and Quentin would be able to chase him down. Yet, Nasir just had too much room to work with. 

That 75-yard dagger of a touchdown silenced the previously ecstatic FHC crowd; it spoiled the inaugural game at the newly-renovated Ranger Stadium. 

“It was devastating, especially after almost having the game,” Conner said. “I think we dealt with it by just coming together and working through the loss as a team.”

For FHC’s offense, the rest of the game was all about Jacob Bonnett. The senior playmaker grabbed 7 balls for 170 yards and scored a rushing and receiving touchdown. 

“Jacob is a big play guy who can be a game-breaker at any point in a game,” head coach Tim Rogers said. “He is always dangerous.”

Jacob Bonnett runs in for a Ranger touchdown after a massive block from Ben Scholler.

However, last week, coach Rogers wasn’t worried about how well Jacob or the offense would play against a large Grand Blanc defense. Instead, he was more focused on how senior linebacker Tyler Weaver and FHC’s offense would run to Eastern Michigan commit Elijah Jackson-Anderson. Although Elijah punched it in three times for Grand Blanc, coach Rogers believes that his defense did a nice job of containing him in the open field.

“We did a good job gang tackling most of the night,” coach Rogers said. “However, a few letdowns on defense hurt us big against a running back that you can’t let get past you.”

Tyler, who racked up 12 tackles, also thought that the Rangers held Elijah in check for most of the game.

“We played extremely well against their running back on the line and in the passing game,” Tyler said. “He was quick, but we were able to get out to those gaps and tackle him.”

Next week, the Rangers stay home to host the Northview Wildcats. Heading into this season, Northview features a new face at the helm in former West Ottawa head coach Ryan Oshnock. Usually, a new head coach means that a rebuilding year is imminent. So far, though, Northview is 2-0 and developing some promising traction for this season behind senior wideout Jalen Charity and senior linebacker Calvin Cuba. The FHC Athletic Boosters Tailgate is slated to start a few hours before the game, so coach Rogers is excited to coach in front of what should be another electric crowd.

“I’m looking forward to another great crowd for the Northview game,” coach Rogers said. “I expect us to learn from our mistakes during the Grand Blanc game and be a better team next week.”