By John Jarvi
Local Sports Journal
GRAND HAVEN — The state-ranked Lowell Red Arrows came, pounded away on offense and left with a 41-7 non-league football victory over Grand Haven’s Buccaneers Friday night.
Lowell never trailed in running its record to 3-0 going into next week’s showdown at Lowell against also unbeaten Muskegon’s Big Reds, now 3-0. The Big Reds beat the Red Arrows twice last season, 36-21 and 15-13.
Meanwhile, Grand Haven will try to regroup.
Mike Farley, the Buccaneer coach, said his team played the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the state high school ratings in the first three weeks and rebounded in between for a 10-6 victory over East Lansing a week ago. “Those are two pretty good football programs,” he said in looking at the start of possibly Grand Haven’s toughest non-league openers in the school’s 118-year history.
“The Red Arrows are a good football team,” Farley said. “They’re really diverse. They run the veer offense which coach Noel Dean has done there for a long time. They’re in a different formation on every play and put your defense on its heels.”
Lowell rolled up 579 yards in total offense on 70 plays. The Red Arrows rushed 45 times for 332 yards and completed 15 of 25 passes for 247 more yards.
“We knew it was a big challenge for us, and we’re going to have to bounce back this week like we did against East Lansing,” said Farley. Grand Haven will play its last non-league game next Friday at Mona Shores.
Lowell balanced quarterback Kyler Shurlow’s play with some other big offensive plays. Shurlow scored three touchdowns on runs of 9, 1 and 39 yards and tossed a pass-run play covering 59 yards to receiver Benjamin Bigham for Lowell’s second touchdown in the second quarter. He added another scoring pass covering 30 yards to Jeff Houston in the fourth quarter.
For the game, Shurlow rushed for a net 136 yards on 23 carries and completed the 15 passes for two touchdowns and the afore-mentioned 247 yards.
Grand Haven’s highlights were few and scattered. The Buccaneers recovered a fumble at their own 2-yard-line to stop Lowell’s opening drive. After falling behind 14-0, Grand Haven stopped another drive with a pass interception at the goalline and the Buccaneers started a scoring drive from their own 19-yard line.
Grand Haven, down 14-0, moved the 81 yards in seven plays with quarterback Karl Johnson completing passes of 29 and 24 yards in the drive. Abe Westerman scored the touchdown on a two-yard run with 4:30 left in the first half.
An exchange of punts eventually led to a key Lowell touchdown. The Red Devils drove from their own 29-yard-line with 1:57 left and scored on a play started with .8 of a second left on the clock. A pass to the half-yard-line set up the touchdown with Shurlow scoring the six points on a 1-yard-line run as the first half ended.
There was some confusion as to whether the receiver came down in-bounds and whether the clock should have continued running to halftime.
Back-to-back scoring drives in the third quarter put Lowell up 34-7 with the only blemish being a missed extra-point pass after a breakdown on an attempted extra-point kick.
For Grand Haven, the Buccaneers had their first series of the third quarter stopped on a fourth-down running play at their own 44 starting the second half. Grand Haven crossed midfield three times in the fourth quarter, but the Buccaneers never advanced deeper than the Red Arrow 32
Grand Haven had 204 yards in offense with 91 yards rushing on 27 carries and 113 yards with eight completions in 24 attempts. The Buccaneers recovered one fumble and picked off one pass while the Red Arrows intercepted two passes.
Westerman had a net 42 yards rushing in eight carries for Grand Haven, now 1-2 for the season. Jacob Kostner caught four passes for 55 yards for the Buccaneers.
On defense, Dakota Juarez had 10 unassisted tackles and five assists on stops for Grand Haven.
Kanon Dean rushed for 101 yards in carries for Lowell. Derek Massey led the Red Arrows’ defense with seven unassisted tackles.