Trojan offense rolls to 50-10 victory behind Derek White’s 252 rushing yards and Mitchell Reyes’ four-TD performance

By Mark Lewis

Local Sports Journal

FRUITPORT – What better way to celebrate 50 years of Fruitport Trojan football than to beat a conference opponent on your home field at Homecoming?

Well, how about putting up 50 points in the process?

It was all Fruitport Friday night, as the Trojans wasted no time in dismantling Lakes 8 foe Ludington in all phases of the game in a 50-10 drubbing of the Orioles.

There were so many outstanding performances by Fruitport that it would be hard to nail down which was the best. From senior running back Derek White’s 252 rushing yards and two scores, to senior receiver Mitchell Reyes’ three receiving TDs along with a 100-yard TD interception return on the final play of the first half, to senior QB Luc Kostamo’s three passing touchdowns – along with another on the ground – and a contribution of 160 yards of offense

Oh, and the Trojan lineman didn’t do too shabby either, opening up gaping holes all night long on offense and splattering Ludington QB Chad Large while holding the Orioles to 279 yards of total offense on the night.

For Fruitport head coach Greg Vargas, the dominating win over what many thought was a high-quality opponent was a long time coming.

“We’ve been waiting for the breakout game,” said Vargas, as Homecoming festivities raged over his shoulder. “It all looks so good in practice, and we’ve been expecting to take what we’ve done in practice and bring it out on the field. Tonight it came together.”

That would be a mild understatement considering the Trojans scored touchdowns on five of their first seven possessions, rang up 411 total yards and went without a turnover the entire night.

The fun, at least for Fruitport fans, started on the Trojans first possession, as they marched 52 yards in just five plays (and in under a minute and a half), with the drive being capped by a 15-yard Kostamo-to-Reyes TD that made it, following Colin Cribley PAT make, 7-0.

After a punt on its next possession, Fruitport’s Colin Butler recovered a Ludington fumble on the Trojan 31. Three-plays later, White scampered 10 yards for the score to make it 14-0.

“We know the kind of speed he has,” Vargas said of White’s 250-plus yard night. “We know what he is capable. He really makes this offense go. I’m just happy as heck to see him go off like that.”

Ludington showed signs of life on the last play of the first quarter, capping a 90-play drive with a 22-yard TD pass from Large to tight end Jake Kacynski to make it 14-7.

It would perhaps be the final things Oriole fans would get excited about the rest of the night.

“They whipped us, it was embarrassing,” said Ludington head coach Charlie Gunsell. “They are bigger and stronger than us, and they absolutely whipped us every way possible. That’s why it’s 50-10.”

Fruitport went up 20-7 when White capped a 73-yard drive with a five-yard TD blast, and, following a 28-yard field goal by Ludington’s Ryan Bowen to make it 20-10, Reyes completed a three play, 66-yard drive with a 27-yard TD catch from Kostamo late in the second quarter.

But Reyes’ most outstanding play of the evening would come three minutes later. Keyed by three roughing-the-passer penalties, Ludington looked poised to make it 27-17, mounting an 80-yard drive in the waning seconds of the first half. Driving down to the Trojan 10 with just eight seconds on the clock, Large threw an ill-advised pass toward Kacynski, into the middle of the field about foot off the goal line. And Reyes picked it off and began to make the long trek back the other way. Stubbling and bumbling the final 20 yards, Reyes fell into the end zone to complete the pick-six and make it 34-10 at the break.

“Unbelievable. I almost took it away from him,” said Vargas, referring to a penalty the coach was nearly called for on Reyes’ run back, “for running down the field with him. I get excited, the coaches get excited when these kids go out and meet the expectations we lay for them.”

Fruitport erased any chance of a comeback with a five-play TD drive to open the second half, as Reyes caught another Kostamo pass, this time from five yards out, to make it 41-10. The Trojans made it a running clock late in the third when Kostamo capped another five-play drive with a three-yard TD keeper.

The defense completed the scoring, capturing a safety, when Large was crushed in his own end zone by Jager Burrous.

For the Orioles, who came into the contest with a 3-1 overall record, the defeat will have the staff and players looking for answers, although Gunsell is pretty sure he knows what was the key to the blowout loss.

“We’ll watch film, try to figure out what went wrong and go from there,” said Gunsell. “But I think I know what it was: they were bigger and faster and stronger than us. And they played hard and we didn’t. That’s got to change.”

On the other hand, Coach Vargas was clear in what would be the team’s focus going forward.

“We really continue to emphasis learning and growing each week,” said Vargas. “We talk to the kids about beating teams the way we should and having those ideas like finishing, putting the pedal to the metal, all of those coaching things we’re going to continue to preach, preach, preach.”

Kostamo added on to White’s 252 rushing yards (on 23 carries) with 66 yards on four carries and a score. Reyes led the receiving corps with three catches (all touchdowns) for 47 yards.

Large finished with 13-for-28 passing for 213 yards, one score and two picks, and finished with a team-high 84 rushing yards on 17 carries.  Kacynski was the Orioles’ leading receiver with five catches for 89 yards and a score.

Nathan Kriger and Chris Hendricks led the Trojan defense with eight stops each, with Tommy Martines chipping in seven and Austin Vandygriff and Colin Butler adding five stops apiece.

Reyes finished with two interceptions and four tackles in the win.