By John Jarvi
Local Sports Journal
GRAND HAVEN — The Grand Haven Buccaneers saved the best game of the football season for the last one for Friday night. The Buccaneers played hard again and came away with a 38-0 victory over the Grandville Bulldogs in the Bucs’ Pride Game to honor cancer survivors.
Grand Haven’s players used uniforms honoring a cancer victim of their choosing on the back. In addition, the school honored representatives of those people and other cancer survivors after the game.
About the only negative for the Buccaneers came when they ended the first quarter tied 0-0, in the final O-K Conference Red Division game for both teams. By halftime, Grand Haven built a 17-0 lead and never looked back.
The Buccaneers dominated the game with an outstanding kicking game, a productive offense and a strong defensive unit.
Grand Haven only allowed Grandville eight first downs and held the Bulldogs to 102 yards of total offense. Grandville gained 138 yards rushing in 38 tries, but lost 22 yards on pass attempts while only completing six of 18 passes. The Bulldogs also lost one fumble and had two passes intercepted.
“I’m just happy we were able to do it on Bucs’ Pride Night and for the community,” said Grand Haven coach Mike Farley. “I’m happy for the kids, too. They deserved it. We played hard every game.
“We also put together a great game plan on defense, and the kids’ executed it.”
A 42-yard field goal by Ryan McGuire started the scoring in the second quarter for Grand Haven. Less than a minute later, the Buccaneers scored again on a 12-yard run by Cody Jonas. A pass interception by Dakota Juarez on the first play from scrimmage after the field goal set up the scoring run by Jonas two plays later.
Grand Haven all but put the victory away late in the second quarter. Grand Haven had one of its drives ended on a lost fumble, but four plays later the Buccaneers had the ball back after a Bulldog punt. The 47-yard drive ended when quarterback Karl Johnson threw a pass to Jacobs Sawyer, and Sawyer ran down the right sideline for a 45-yard scoring play.
Grandville’s two best offensive series came in the first half. The Bulldogs drove to the Buccaneer 36-yard-line only to have the drive ended on a quarterback sack in the first quarter. Late in the half, Grandville drove from its 20-yard-line to the Grand Haven 15 only to turn the ball over on downs with 15.6 seconds left in the half.
Grand Haven recovered an onside kick into the wind to start the third quarter and stayed in control the rest of the way. Grandville never advanced past midfield in the final half of play.
The Buccaneers again used big plays to pull away in the fourth quarter. Grand Haven scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The first came on a faked handoff and then keeper to the left end by quarterback Karl Johnson. The second on a 45-yard punt return by Isaak Newhouse when he reversed his field on the play. The last score came on a 3-yard run by Zac Marsman.
Maguire kicked all six extra points and booted 17 of 18 for the season. He also hit on three of 11 field goals for the season. He was prepared to boot another field goal — this one of 57 yards in the second quarter, but a bobbled snap by the holder resulted in a scrambled play and a first down on a 19-yard pass completion.
Newhouse, who was making his first appearance in a game since the first half of the season’s second game, had four solo tackles and assisted on three others on defense. He also had three tackles for loss for Grand Haven, now 2-7 overall and 1-4 in the O-K standings.
Juarez had eight unassisted tackles and six assists for the Buccaneers on defense. He ended the season with a team-high 86 unassisted tackles and 46 assists.
The final O-K Red standings had Rockford winning at least a share of its 10th title in a row when the Rams downed East Kentwood 13-7. Hudsonville slipped into second place by beating Holland West Ottawa 28-21. Rockford finished 5-0, Hudsonville 4-1, East Kentwood 3-2, West Ottawa, 2-3, Grand Haven 1-4 and Grandville 0-5 in league games.
Overall, Rockford finished 8-1, Hudsonville 6-3, East Kentwood and West Ottawa 5-4 and Grand Haven and Grandville 2-7for the season.
The final night results left Grand Haven’s opponents with a 53-28 record for the season in the Buccaneers’ 118th season of high school football.