Betts-Render runs wild, Reeths-Puffer puts it all together in football victory over visiting Jenison

By Mark Lewis
Local Sports Journal

Despite howling winds and torrential rains, it was a good night to be a Reeths-Puffer football fan.

Correction, it was a very good night to be a Reeths-Puffer football fan.

Following two weeks of narrow, heartbreaking losses, the Rockets final got over the hump to land their first win, 24-6 over Jenison.

Likewise, it was first-year coach Kyle Jewett’s first win of his head coaching career, in a victory that put on display the style in which he hopes future contests will resemble.

“It feels good to get that first win, no doubt,” said Jewett, whose father, longtime area coach Dean Jewett, assisted him with play-calling from the press box. “But really, it shows the quality of the kind of kid we have on this team. Now they are getting back all the effort they’ve put into this.”

Senior Rocket running back Johndries Betts-Render had the best game of his career, piling up 262 yards on the ground on 26 carries – good for a 9.7 yard-per-carry average – and also scored once.

While Jewett was quick to praise his senior back, he just as quickly turned to praise the guys lined up in front of him. The unit, which consists of four juniors, including Matt Hoover, Stephen Hanson, Jacob Balkema and Buck Tottingham, dominated the line of scrimmage, providing gaping holes Betts-Render was able to exploit.

“The group is starting to gel,” said Jewett. “The best thing is they all love it when we run the ball. Whenever you got guys who want the ball to run through them, you know you have something good.”

Oh, things were good, all right, at least for those fans sitting in the home stands.

The Rockets scored on three of their first four first-half possessions – and only failed to score on their fourth because the half ended with Reeths-Puffer threatening from the Wildcats’ 15-yard line.

Betts-Render got the hosts on the board midway through the first quarter, taking the handoff off right guard and racing 32 yards to pay dirt to cap a seven-play drive.

Rocket QB Garrett Blanshine’s two-point conversion pass was picked off, but the hosts held the 6-0 edge.

Rocket senior receiver Marquese Livers got into the act on the Rockets’ next possession, capping a six-play drive with a 13-yard TD catch – when Blanshine’s checked down to Livers, who was racing up a seam in the middle -to make it, following another failed two-point conversion pass, 12-0.

The final score of the first half came after a methodical 11 play, 81-yard drive, which started with three-straight first down plays. Blanshine took a keeper up the middle to score from seven yards away. A third-straight failed two-point conversion try provided the 18-0 halftime score.

Midway through the fourth, an 89-yard run by Betts-Render down to the 1, set up the Rockets’ final score, as Blanshine brandished a nifty three yard reverse-field touchdown keeper to make it, following yet another failed two-point attempt, 24-0.

Jenison avoided the goose egg on the ensuing possession. Two big chunk yardage passes and a Rocket penalty got the overwhelmed Wildcats down to the Rocket eight, where the visitors capped the five-play drive with a Tyler Sigler-to-Ben DeRitter TD toss to make it 24-6.

Jenison failed on its two-point attempt as well.

For Reeths-Puffer, which travels next week to East Kentwood and then hosts Muskegon the following week, Jewett believes the best is still to come.

“We’re getting better every week,” said Jewett, “but we aren’t anywhere near where we need to be. We know that. We’ve put down a solid foundation and now that’s something we have to build on every single week.”

Along with Betts-Render’s 260-plus rushing yards, Rocket Julian Munday had 74 yards on 12 carries and fullback Corey Plichta added 30 yards on three carries. Blanshine ran for 48 yards and two scores on 10 carries, helping the Rockets to over 400 rushing yards on the night, while also throwing for 29 yards on 3-for-7 passing and a score.

Livers led the Rocket receivers with his 13-yard TD grab, his only catch of the night, and Kyle Kolbe added one catch for 11 yards.

Jenison QB Tyler Sigler finished with 17-for-31 passing for 178 yards, one score and one pick. DeRitter led the receiving corps with six grabs for 48 yards and a score, while Nick Hoezee led the Wildcat rushing attack with 47 yards on six carries.

Defensively,  Rockets Tyler Stenberg and Josh Buie both finished with a game-high 10 tackles, with Mundy and Plichta adding seven stops apiece, and  Dereko Riley adding six tackles in the victory.

Jenison’s defense was led by Logan Johnson’s nine-tackle effort, with teammate Jake Peterson adding seven tackles for the Wildcats.

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