By Dave Hart
Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON – The Oakridge Eagles and Orchard View Cardinals look forward to meeting up every season in the “Battle of Apple Avenue.”

Pride is always at stake in this neighborhood rivalry, and this year there were playoff implications, too.Shoreline football instory art

The visiting Cardinals needed a win to qualify for the postseason, while the host Eagles looked to lock up a home game in next week’s playoff opener.

The Eagles managed to get past Orchard View 22-19 despite a second half surge by the Cardinals.

“It is good to walk away with a victory,” said Oakridge coach Cary Harger. “OV had a lot of plays to gain momentum on us.”

The West Michigan Conference champion Eagles closed out their regular season on an eight-game win streak to finish 8-1 overall.

Orchard View dropped to 5-4 and still has slim hopes of snagging one of the last playoff spots.

The postseason is now the main focus for the Eagles, who will wait for Sunday night to see who and where they will play next week.

“We are moving on to the second season and our intensity level has to go way up,” Harger said.

Oakridge dominated the first half and looked like it was headed for another blowout victory.

The Eagles’ James Cooper III opened the scoring on the first drive, snagging a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brady Luttrull.

The Eagles converted on the two point conversion on a halfback pass from Nate Wahr to Jaegar Beattie to take an 8-0 lead with 10:49 left in the first.

Oakridge added a score with twelve seconds left in the first quarter on a seven yard run by Brandon Ferguson. Luttrull connected on a pass to Wahr on the two point conversion for a 16-0 lead.

Cooper closed out the Eagles’ scoring run with 11:24 to play in the second quarter, catching a 24-yard touchdown pass from Luttrull to give Oakridge a 22-0 lead.

Luttrull was 7-for-14 passing with 129 yards and two touchdowns on the night, while Cooper caught four passes for 104 yards and two scores.

“We were clicking pretty well on offense in the first half,” Luttrull said.

The Cardinals closed out the scoring in the second quarter on an eight yard run by Mike Parker with 8:53 left, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 22-7.

But the Cardinals made a game of it in the second half.

They had the lone score of the third quarter on an 18 yard run by freshman quarterback Jayden Day with 8:53 left.

Day was 10-for-25 passing with 86 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 51 yards on seven carries and one touchdown.

“His time is going to come,” said OV coach Joe Tanis about Day. “I think he is going to be the most special quarterback in the state.”

The Cardinals pulled within three points with 1:32 left in regulation when Day found Bobby Clanton for a nine-yard touchdown pass.

Clanton rushed for 73 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown.

The Cardinals had the ball on their own 17 yard line with 28 seconds left to play, but couldn’t complete the comeback.

“It is hard to look at those seniors’ eyes,” said Tanis of the Cardinals who played their final regular season game. “They did not take the easy way out. They fought.”