By Dave Hart
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON – The Fruitport Trojans are obviously not afraid to play with their backs against the wall.
They met the challenge with flying colors, romping to a 44-22 victory on Orchard View’s homecoming night.
“Every week is a playoff week baby!” said a jubilant Fruitport coach Greg Vargas, whose team improved to 3-3 overall and 3-1 in the Lakes 8 Conference. “I was really proud of all phases of the game tonight.”
The second quarter was the difference in the game as the Trojans scored 24 unanswered points.
Brice Wahr started the scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run with 7:42 left to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead.
Kicker Nick Kramer added a 32-yard field goal to give Fruitport a 10-0 lead, following an Orchard View fumble at its own 20.
The passing game opened up for the Trojans late in the first half as wide receiver Andrew Slocum caught two touchdown passes – covering 26 and 10 yards, respectively – from quarterback Jarod Wierengo.
Slocum had three catches for 46 yards and two touchdowns on the night.
Wierengo went 5-for-9 passing with 91 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Trojans in the first half.
“The linemen did a great job allowing the play to open up, giving me time to see the play develop,” Wierengo said.
The second half was controlled by the Trojan running game. Halfback Nathan Kriger had touchdown runs of six and 25 yards in the third quarter to give the Trojans a 37-0 lead.
Kriger finished with 143 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cardinals, now 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the conference, showed life in the fourth quarter, scoring three of the final four touchdowns.
Bobby Clanton scored from three yards out to cut the Fruitport lead to 37-8 with 7:38 left in the game. Clanton led the Cardinals in rushing with 91 yards and two touchdowns.
O-V sophomore Treyshawn Kelly cut the deficit to 37-14 with a 44-yard touchdown run 25 seconds after the Clanton score.
Fruitport answered with a seven-yard touchdown run by Kramer to take a 44-14 lead with four minutes left in the game.
Clanton scored from four yards out for Orchard View as the clock wound down.
The Cardinals will have their biggest challenge of the season next week when they face Lakes 8 leader Muskegon Catholic. Fruitport will square off against Spring Lake.