By Andrew Johnson

ALLENDALE – It wasn’t the kind of opening game that Fruitport hoped for.

The Trojans traveled to Allendale on Saturday to play Coopersville in the Gridiron Classic at Grand Valley State University’s Lubbers Stadium.

And things started out well, with Fruitport scoring first, late in the opening quarter.

But then the tide turned decidedly for Coopersville, which handed the Trojans a painful 36-13 non-conference defeat.

Broncos quarterback Riley Johnson did much of the damage, completing 22 of 32 passed for 266 yards and five touchdowns.

Fruitport coach Greg Vargas knows that sloppiness and poor execution are common early in the season – but he still wasn’t happy with the way his team played.

The Trojans gained only 221 yards on 63 plays while the Broncos gained 324 yards on 54 plays.

“Coopersville played a great game and executed,” Vargas said. “But I’m disappointed in our performance. You don’t want to start a season like that. We need to take care of the football and make sure we execute. I think we botched our formations a little bit and just weren’t able to execute in some big areas.”

Fruitport executed early and took a 7-0 lead on a five-yard touchdown run by Levi Six with five seconds left in the first quarter.

But momentum quickly shifted and Coopersville scored 22 straight points to close out the first half.

QB Connor Routt (5) moves back in the pocket and looks to fire a pass down field. Photo/Kevin Sielaff
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QB Connor Routt (5) moves back in the pocket and looks to fire a pass down field. Photo/Kevin Sielaff

The Broncos picked up where they left off in the third quarter, marching 74 yards in under two minutes to extend their lead to 28-7.

Fruitport stayed in the contest with a 65-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Six, making the score 28-13.

Coopersville added a touchdown with 8:17 left in the game to seal the victory.

Fruitport was led on the day by Six, who finished with 128 yards on 26 carries along with two touchdowns. Quarterback Connor Routt completed 11 of 18 passes for 60 yards.

Coopersville receiver Brandon Wright had 11 catches for 91 yards.

On the defensive end, Bailey Lynn led the Trojans with nine tackles while Coopersville had four players with more than 10 tackles (Cole Howe 14, Ryan Cumberwort 13, Tony Nikodemsi 11, Jake Domanski 11).

“I really feel like we were in the game but Coopersville made us pay for the mistakes we made and it’s tough to dig yourselves out of that hole,” Vargas said.