Local Sports Journal

The Grand Haven Bucs got off to a great start this season, meeting and defeating three non-conference opponents in a row.

But Friday’s conference opener was a little harder on the Bucs, who dropped an 18-7 decision to Holland West Ottawa in an O-K Red Conference battle.

The Panthers opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Caleb McNitt to David Rich. The extra point failed.

West Ottawa extended its lead to 12-0 midway through the second quarter, driving 82 yards on 14 plays, capped by a four-yard touchdown run by McNitt.

Grand Haven got on the board on its next play from scrimmage when Schaefer Thelen broke loose for a 72-yard touchdown run. The extra point by Jason Kurstner¬†pulled the Bucs within 12-7, but that’s as close¬†as they would get.

McNitt scored on a 13-yard run with 3:47 left in the game, sealing the victory for West Ottawa (3-1, 1-0).

McNitt finished with 121 yards passing and 80 yards rushing for the winners.

Thelen racked up 143 yards on 11 carries for Grand Haven (3-1, 0-1). Quarterback Levi Overway completed 8 of 17 passes for 114 yards.