Division 3 - East Grand Rapids 3peat, All West State Teams Are Champs

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East Grand Rapids 43 Inkster 24

EGR completed the sweep; no one further west than Traverse City won a state championship this weekend.

Inkster won the toss and decided to receive. Edjuan Penn took the kickoff and returned it eight yards to the 13. The Vikings spread out the Pioneers and ran it up the middle. Devin Gardner faced and early third down and overthrew his receiver. Alan Freeman punted from his own goal line. East Grand Rapids took over from the Inkster 47 on their first drive. They were able to push the ball closer to the end zone by executing their offense and not letting Inkster dictate what they do from the get-go. A fantastic draw play moved EGR down to the two yard line. Joe Glendening scored from two yards out and the Pioneers had the lead 7-0 just after the half-way point of the first quarter. The Vikings took over on the 22 and had most of the field to go. Freeman busted a 25 yard run on first down to get them near mid field. Gardner hit receiver Cameron Gordon for a nine yard gain pushing further, inside EGR territory. Another third down put Gardner in a tough spot but he ran the ball and picked up the first down with his legs. On fourth down, Gardner completed a pass to Gordon for a 14 yard gain. It was the last play of the first quarter.

Two runs to start the second quarter gained eight yards, but the Vikings had a third down and two from the five. On that play, Gardner passed to Gordon for the touchdown. Their two point conversion was completed to Gordon as well giving them an 8-7 lead. EGR took over after the kickoff at the 33 yard line. Joe Glendening picked up 18 yards on a first down play, but a penalty in the next set of downs put them in third and 11 situation at the Inkster 40. Andrew Thompson’s pass was picked off by Donovan Lindsay giving the ball back to Inkster at their 23. They didn’t keep the ball long though. Gardner threw an interception to defensive end Colin Voss at the 13 and he picked up 6 yards. On third and goal, Glendening got the ball and rumbled inside the three. Coach Peter Stuursma opted to go for it on fourth down and Joe Glendening pounded his way into the end zone. While it looked like the ball was going out of bounds on the Pioneer kickoff, it didn’t and Denzel Richmond grabbed it and made his way out to the 47 for a 34 yard return. The Vikings moved the ball on a nice run into Pioneer territory. Gardner ran around right end and picked up 25 yards down to the 10 yard line. Alan Freeman ran in the touchdown from five yards out and their two point attempt was completed to Gordon giving them a 16-14 lead with 2:23 left in the half. EGR began the drive from the 23 and were helped by an encroachment penalty against the Vikings. Josh Drummond, with his quick first step, picked up the first down. They needed 63 yards to get to their goal. Thompson found Chris Blair for a 25 yard pickup which put them at the Inkster 25 with 50 ticks on the clock. Luckily, Thompson again found Blair a few plays later for a touchdown in the right corner of the end zone. EGR went for a two point conversion and found Blair open again for his second catch in a row. After the EGR kick went out of bounds, Inkster’s Gardner found Freeman for a 26 yard gain. With three seconds left in the half and 39 yards to go Gardner was sacked by Robert Bell to end the half.

Inkster kicked off to East Grand Rapids and it was fielded by AJ McEwen for a gain of 21 yards. Glendening picked up 15 yards on a second and four which put the ball at midfield. The drive was almost exclusively runs to Joe Glendening as they marched inside of Inkster’s 20 yard line. EGR opted to go for it on fourth and one and to no one’s surprise Glendening ran it and picked up the first down at the Viking eight. On second and goal, Glendening scored his third touchdown of the night. Thompson completed his two point attempt to Tyler Lewis. The squib kick by the Pioneers caused some bobbling of the ball and the Vikings just had to cover it, resulting in them starting on their 15. On third and one, Gardner snuck it but was inches short. Coach Greg Carter went for it and Gardner did pick up the first down this time. Gordon caught the ball and picked up 30 yards into Pioneer territory on the next play. On third and 11 on the 32, Gardner tried to hit Gordon as he was being taken down, but the pass was broken up in the secondary. They went for it again on fourth down but the coverage was good and Gardner couldn’t pick up the first down with his legs.

The first play of the fourth quarter had Inkster passing from their 45. Gardner was hit before he threw the ball; the fumble was recovered by Robert Bell and returned to the 10 yard line. On fourth and goal from the one foot line, quarterback Andrew Thompson snuck in for a score. Carter’s Vikings were up against a wall; they trailed by 21 points and had only nine minutes to get those points. Unfortunately, they had to punt from the back of their end zone. East Grand Rapids had a large lead and needed to burn off the remaining eight minutes of the fourth quarter. On fourth and one, Glendening picked up a first down, keeping the ball in their possession and the clock moving along. Voss caught a nice pass.  Kirk Spencer ran the ball closer to another score, giving them a first and goal from the four. Chris Blair made a nice move to juke the defender and get into the end zone. Inkster’s DeSean McGhee returned the ball 81 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing play. The two point conversion pulled them to 19 points behind with 3:09 left. The onside kick attempt was no good and Alec Finzel recovered the ball. East Grand Rapids ran out the rest of the clock.

Joe Glendening tied another East Grand Rapids alum Kevin Grady Jr. with seven touchdowns in the finals…both scored them over two seasons. On his 39 attempts, Glendening picked up 175 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught a ball for five yards. Quarterback Andrew Thompson completed nine of his 12 passes for 85 yards, two scores, and one interception. Thompson also ran the ball once for one yard and a score. Chris Blair was the receiving leader for EGR, catching five footballs for 57 yards and two touchdowns.

The Inkster Vikings played a good game. They were just outmatched today by a very disciplined, very experienced East Grand Rapids team. Devin Gardner completed five of his 16 passes for 84 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. When he ran the ball, he gained 44 yards on 12 carries. Alan Freeman gained 54 yards on 12 carries and scored once. Cameron Gordon caught four footballs for 58 yards and a touchdown. Gordon looked good when he was out there and had sure hands.

Well, this wraps up another football season. The season was exciting and full of surprises. I hope you enjoyed my posts on SpartanNation and I will be back for basketball season and other miscellaneous things.

I last shaved on August 11th, the first day of football practice. One of the seniors on our team was teasing me by calling me “baby face.” Now, everyone seems to call me Grizzly Adams. My fantastic wife Haley will be happy when I shave down this monster of a beard a little bit more…less huge.