Local Sports Journal
Grand Haven’s Buccaneers came away with another tough O-K Conference Red Division football loss on Friday by falling to Rockford 17-7.
Rockford clinched at least a share of its 10th O-K Red title in a row after going into halftime tied 7-7, against a 1-6 Grand Haven team. The Rams are now 4-0 in O-K Red games for the season and can clinch an outright title by beating East Kentwood next Friday.
The Rams unleashed sophomore defensive back Tyler Bradfield as its game-breaker in the second half.
After a 7-7 halftime tie, Bradfield returned a punt 45 yards for a touchdown only to have it wiped out by a Rockford penalty. Still, it put Rockford on offense at the Grand Haven 36-yard-line, and the Rams ended the drive on a 26-yard field goal by Quinn Nordin with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.
Rockford stopped Grand Haven on the Buccaneers’ next offensive series and forced another punt.
With Grand Haven forced to punt from its own 9-yard-line as the line of scrimmage, Bradfield gathered the punt in at the Buccaneer 49 and returned it to the 13-yard-line. Rockford scored in one play on a run by Nate Staley early in the final quarter.
Extra point kicks by Nordin after the touchdowns by Trevor Coughlin and Staley completed the Rockford scoring.
Coughlin had given Rockford its first lead when he intercepted a first-quarter pass and returned the ball 38 yards for a touchdown with2:31 left in the first quarter.
Grand Haven had a pass interception return of its own for the game-tying touchdown in the first half.
Ryan Maguire intercepted a Ram pass in the flat and ran 60-yards for the touchdown with 25 seconds left before halftime. Maguire also kicked the extra point for the 7-7 halftime tie.
The Buccaneers never overcame poor field position in the second half.
Grand Haven had field position once early in the third quarter when Dakota Juarez tackled Nordin on a punt fake short of a first down at the Buccaneer 41.
However, Grand Haven had to punt the ball away in three plays and never got the ball in good scoring position again until the Buccaneer defense came up with a fumble recovery at the Ram 44-yard-line midway through the final quarter.
Grand Haven dropped to 0-4 in the O-K Red on a night when the results boosted the opposition’s won-loss record for the season to 46-18.
During the season, the Buccaneers have lost to unbeaten Lowell; once-beaten Muskegon and Rockford; twice-beaten Mona Shores; and five-victory teams in East Kentwood, Hudsonville and West Ottawa. Grand Haven’s only victory came against an East Lansing team which lost a 3-0 game at Grand Ledge Friday night and dropped to 3-5 for the season.
The Buccaneers will end their 118th season of high school football Oct. 25 when they host the Grandville Bulldogs.
Both teams are 0-4 in the O-K Red going into the game, and Grandville is 2-6 for the season.