By Matt DeYoung
The Grand Haven Tribune
GRAND HAVEN TWP. – When Logan Taylor connected with Will Cotter for a touchdown pass late in the first half, it looked as if Grand Haven finally had momentum on its side in Thursday’s showdown against Traverse City West.
But the touchdown was negated by a block-in-the-back penalty, and two plays later, TC West’s Chase Childers snatched a pass that had bounced off the hands of a Buccaneer receiver and raced 75 yards for a touchdown.
“It’s tough, because we did a lot of good things tonight, but that’s football,” said Bucs’ coach Jason Tester, whose team is now 1-1 heading into next week’s O-K Red clash against Grandville. “We made a mistake with that block in the back, and the next play they’re taking it the other way on the pick-six.”
The Buccaneers trailed nearly the entire game. Traverse City West jumped out to an 8-0 lead thanks to an 85-yard scoring drive on their first possession, then scored on a 52-yard run in the second quarter to lead 16-0.
Grand Haven looked poised to fight its way back into the game.
Brady Jonas kicked a field goal, then the Bucs recovered a flawlessly-executed onside kick.
Taylor, Grand Haven’s quarterback, marched his team down the field, but the block-in-the back penalty and ensuing pick-six put the home team behind 24-3 in the closing minutes of the half.
West then scored on the first possession of the third quarter when quarterback Carson Rosa connected with Isaac Flores on a 60-yard touchdown pass to put the game out of reach.
“That was tough because we made some great adjustments at the half, and challenged the kids like we always do,” Tester said. “They’re very disappointed.”
The Buccaneers managed a pair of second-half touchdowns, the first coming on a nice pass from Taylor to Cody Miller.
Joey Zelenka then showed off his combination of speed and strength on an impressive 50-yard touchdown run in which he burst through the hole, then shrugged off a tackler inside the 20 before crossing the goal line.
Zelenka finished with 134 yards on 14 carries, while Taylor was 7-of-15 for 101 yards.