Tyler Hudkins and JT Hartman showcase their promising talent in varsity football’s 45-6 victory over Greenville


Tyler Hudkins celebrating after a big stop on defense.

On Friday, in FHC’s 45-6 homecoming-game victory over the Greenville Yellow Jackets, sophomores JT Hartman and Tyler Hudkins accounted for half of the Rangers’ total points. 

“Varsity is a whole different level of gameplay,” Tyler said. “It was just good for me to get in and start playing with them. It was nice because I got to practice with varsity all week and learn the defense and help our team win more football games in the future.”

Up to this point in the season, Ty and JT have had different experiences on Friday nights. JT, for one, debuted as the main man in the backfield for FHC. Since his varsity debut in FHC’s 29-14 win against Jenison, JT has maintained his starting job, tallying 208 yards on 45 carries, along with 3 touchdowns. Ty, on the other hand, has traveled the waters of the “five-quarter rule.” The five-quarter rule allows promising players on the JV level to play three quarters on Thursday for their JV team and then two quarters the next day for their varsity team. Fellow sophomore standouts David Galloway, Brady Drueke, and Mason McDonald also abide by the five-quarter rule.

For Friday’s game against Greenville, the five-quarter rule was scratched away.

Greenville is a city of around 8,376, according to the World Population Review—Ada alone has a population of 14,717 people. So, based on numbers alone, Greenville doesn’t have as much talent to pick from as a school like Forest Hills Central. That small population, on top of a long list of previous head coaches, has significantly hurt Greenville’s football program and its numbers. Without enough players to play JV, Greenville combined its JV team with its varsity team. In response to that, head coach Tim Rogers decided to give the JV players a taste of varsity football.

“There’s nothing like being under the bright lights on a Friday,” coach Rogers said. “It helps the JV team learn to handle the stress and anxiety they will feel as a varsity player.”

Before JV players got into the game, though, senior Jacob Bonnett continued his electric senior campaign by returning two punt returns for 52 and 53-yard touchdowns in the span of five minutes. FHC was already up 14-0 with five minutes left in the first quarter. 

JT dug Greenville an even deeper hole on a nine-yard carry near the end of the first quarter.

Lined up in pistol formation and behind senior quarterback Hunter Robinson, JT bent his knees and got into his stance. At the snap of the ball, he turned his hips towards the “B” gap and received the handoff from Hunter. Thanks to an excellent double team from junior Crandall Quinn and Sam Sneider, JT was able to get to the next level without any resistance. However, he was quickly met by three tacklers in the secondary. JT quickly found some room to the outside; he made a powerful hesitation juke to the outside, causing two of the Greenville defenders to miss their tackles. Right after he changed his course, he made another cut back to evade the last defender in front of him. That nine-yard run was a demoralizing blow to Greenville; they were down 21-0 by the end of quarter number one.

JT Hartman powers through a tackle.

JT’s elusiveness in the red zone didn’t stop there, as he ran in a five-yard carry for six points a drive after senior Luke Gustafson made a 34-yard field goal. 

At the two-minute mark of the second quarter, FHC led 31-0. All Greenville needed to do was hold onto the ball for the next two minutes and go into halftime down 31-0. After three faulty plays to start out their last drive before halftime, the Yellow Jacket offense faced a third down and eight situation on their own 13-yard line. On the snap of the ball, senior outside linebacker Rhosias Arius gave a slight hesitation move and then rounded around to pursue Greenville’s starting quarterback, Aj Fox. Meanwhile, junior Reece Roskam was in the midst of breaking through Greenville’s right offense line. As both collapsed on Aj Fox, Aj tried to scamper away from a sack. He turned around and tried to escape, only to be met by all 185 pounds of Rhosias. An opportunity to hang onto the ball until halftime turned into a quick three and out. 

Rhosias Arius drags down Greenville starting quarterback Aj Fox to force a fourth down.

An already defeated Greenville team not only struggled to stay in the game but also struggled to get to halftime in one piece. Senior Tyler Weaver, who primarily plays defense, was given an opportunity to carry the ball. Up to that point in the game, he had already racked up 6 tackles on defense. But, on offense, he hadn’t taken the field yet. 

Tyler hadn’t gotten any snaps at running back before the second quarter of the game last Friday, so he was more than excited to finally get a shot at carrying the rock.

“It was awesome to finally get a snap at running back,” Tyler said. “I’ve always had good speed and good vision. We have an awesome O-line, and running behind them makes it look and seem easy.”

Tyler showed off his speed and vision when he was substituted in for his first and last carry of the game following a botched Greenville punt that left FHC with amazing field position on Greenville’s 21-yard line. Once the ball was snapped, Tyler used all of that excitement and adrenaline to break two tackles and dive in for a 21-yard touchdown. FHC led 38-0 going into halftime.

Tyler Weaver dives in for his first rushing touchdown of the year.

From there on out, coach Rogers played mostly the JV team—a team he said was filled with “very talented players.”

“We tried to get as many sophomore JV players into the game as possible,” Rogers said. “That entire group is very talented; they have bright futures as varsity players.”

Although the first half was fast-paced, the second half was much more sloppy. Junior quarterback Justin Osterhouse did a nice job of controlling the pace of the game, but Greenville’s defense held FHC to only seven points in the second half. Except for a one-yard touchdown run by Tyler Hudkins, the depleted Yellow Jackets’ defense played stalwart red-zone defense in the second half. The Rangers avoided a homecoming game let down, beating Greenville 45-6.

Up next for the 4-1 Rangers is a Grand Rapids Christian team that started out the season 0-2. The Eagles have recently won three straight games and are coming off of a statement comeback win against Lowell in which they made up a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter. One of the players at the forefront of this winning streak is senior running back and free safety Ace Thomas. Ace will be gone in a year, yet his performances and character now will have a long-lasting effect on the program’s future. His versatility itself is dangerous, especially on offense.

“We will need to have great pursuit and gang tackling,” coach Rogers said. “The running back is very explosive and can break away for a touchdown on any play.”