Mona Shores must win out in playoff quest after falling to Kenowa Hills 35-26 [VIDEO]

By Mike Mattson
Local Sports Journal

Mona Shores’ senior lineman Jacob Bordeaux insists the Sailors didn’t take Kenowa Hills lightly.

So he and his teammates were quite disappointed after the Knights defeated the host Sailors 35-26 Friday on Parents Night.

“We took them like any other opponent,” said Bordeaux, a two-way lineman, said after the physical OK Black contest. “I’m not sure our focus was where it needed to be. We knew it was an important game. We worked so hard to get here and let it slip through our fingers.”

Kenowa Hills (4-3, 2-1) kept its playoff hopes alive and dealt the Sailors (4-3, 1-2) a big setback in their quest to make the playoffs for the first time in school history. Shores must win at unbeaten Zeeland East and at Reeths-Puffer to clinch a playoff spot.

“Our playoffs start now,” said dejected Shores coach Matt Koziak. “It comes down to these last two games and neither one will be easy.”

Senior running back Rene Salazar – filling in for injured Casey Carruthers (knee) – sparked the Knights by rushing for 130 yards and three touchdowns.

Shores quarterback Tyree Jackson led the Sailors by completing 11-of-28 passes for 215 yards and three TDs.

The night did not start well for Shores, which fell behind quickly 14-0. Salazar scored on a 6-yard run and Dylan Smith scooped up a blocked field goal and raced 67 yards to shock the hosts.

“We started out too flat,” Koziak said. “They are 3-3, but they are a good 3-3 team. Our kids thought they had the better record and we’re at home and they thought it would be easy. We spotted them a 14-0 lead and that team is too good.”

Shores cut the deficit to 14-7 when Jackson lofted a 13-yard TD pass to Logan Smith with 39 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Sailors kept the momentum in the third quarter when Asantay Brown made a nifty catch to complete a 28-yard scoring pass from Jackson to tie the game at 14-14.

But the Knights had an answer for the Sailors the rest of the way.

Salazar busted loose for a 43-yard run to set up his 3-yard TD run to put the Knights back on top 21-14.

Chris Bradford stepped up on defense for Shores and returned an interception 15 yards to pull the Sailors within 21-20 with 2:17 left in the third quarter.

Again, the Knights answered when quarterback Cody Ritsema tossed a perfect 55-yard TD pass to Smith to stretch the lead to 28-20 at the 1:27 mark.

Salazar’s last rushing TD from 6 yards gave the Knights a 35-20 advantage with 8:45 left in the fourth quarter.

Marquon Sargent raced 75 yards on a TD pass from Jackson with 5:53 remaining, but the Sailors could get no closer.

Bradford also had an interception and rushed for 98 yards on 10 carries.

Koziak, whose team had a prime first-half scoring drive end at the 3-yard line, hopes the Sailors can clean up their game for four quarters at Zeeland East.

“Kenowa Hills is very well coached and a good team, but we really made a lot of mistakes,” Koziak said. “We had dropped balls and bad passes.”

David Bloom led the Shores defense with 10.5 tackles, followed by Alek Jend with six.


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