By Dave Hart
Local Sports Journal

FRUITPORT – The Fruitport Trojans fought hard the past few weeks to keep their playoff hopes alive, collecting impressive wins over Orchard View and Spring Lake.

But the Trojans’ chances for a third straight win to a screeching halt Friday in a 31-3 loss to St. Johns.Shoreline football instory art

The game was close until the end of the third quarter, when St. Johns scored two touchdowns in less than a second.

Fruitport only trailed by seven when St. John’s Chandler Graham caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from running back Angus Arthur, giving the Redwings a 14-point lead with a second left in the third.

On the following kickoff the Trojans fumbled the ball inside their own 10 and it rolled into the end zone. Joren Ruhf recovered the ball in the end zone to blow the game open for St. Johns.

Despite the unfortunate turn of events, Fruitport Coach Greg Vargas said the final score had more to do with his team’s offensive struggles.

“Our offense did not produce tonight,” he said. “However, I don’t think our kids gave up, they fought till the end.”

Fruitport, now 4-4, could still sneak into the playoffs with five wins. But to do so the Trojans will have to beat another tough team, DeWitt, on the road next week.

“The kids will want to get after it,” Vargas said. “There are no other outs but to go through DeWitt.”

Nick Kramer gave the Trojans a 3-0 lead on a 30-yard field goal with 5:46 left in the first quarter.

But St. Johns responded with 31 unanswered points.

Arthur scored on an 18-yard run with 7:11 left in the second quarter to give the Redwings a 7-3 halftime lead.

Oliver Cocco kicked a 37-yard field goal with 4:15 left in the third quarter, extending St. John’s lead to 10-3.

Graham followed with his 15-yard touchdown reception on fourth-and goal, then Ruhf jumped on the fumble in the Fruitport end zone, giving the Redwings a sudden 24-3 edge.

St. John’s Authen Ruhf closed out the scoring with 8:32 left in the fourth quarter on a 10- yard touchdown run.

Kramer led the Trojans with 51 yards on 10 carries. He also paced the defense with nine tackles.

Arthur ended the game with 100 yards rushing and one touchdown.