By Andrew Johnson
EGELSTON TOWNSHIP – The Oakridge football team has the capability to explode at any moment, and on Friday night it displayed that firepower in a 42-0 West Michigan Conference home victory over North Muskegon.
The Eagles had three touchdown drives that lasted only two plays, and one that lasted only five.
That means the team that struggled to score against Montague two weeks ago is starting to really click on offense
“We’re making improvements,” said Oakridge head coach Cary Harger about the potential of the Eagles’ offense. “We’re coming together. We have some new faces and we’re making sure to improve and make strides. We got guys willing to fight for each other, and we know we can be explosive.”
On the opening drive of the game, Gage Lamadline punched in an eight-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
On the next Oakridge possession, running back Corey Vanderputte used one hand to catch a pass from quarterback Ethen Dailey before breaking loose for a 73-yard touchdown.
The Eagles led 14-0 after one quarter, and had plenty of gas left in the tank.
Vanderputte dashed 66 yards for an Eagle touchdown with 4:16 left in the second quarter, making the score 21-0.
The final score of the first half came when Lamadline caught a pass from Dailey and cruised 60 yards for a score, and the score was 28-0 at halftime.
Dailey scored on a 28-yard run to give the Eagles a 36-0 lead with 4:37 left in the third quarter.
The final score of the game came on a 38-yard interception return by Jacob Danicek.
The victory was the third shutout win of the season for Oakridge, which who is now 3-1 overall and in conference play, with its lone loss coming to Montague.
Hayden Gillette led the Oakridge defenders on Friday with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. Danicek and Braedyn Beattie each had an interception for the Eagles.
“We’re very proud,” said Harger about the dominance his defense has displayed this season. “We were worried about North Muskegon and how they move around or shift. We wanted to keep everything in front of us, and I told the guys to not panic. We made sure to finish plays and move on to the next one.”
Vanderputte led the Eagles with 115 yards rushing and a touchdown on nine carries while also adding 73 yards and a touchdown on one catch.
“My line made big holes,” said Vanderputte about his performance. “You come out and see those holes, you have to hit it.”
Dailey ran for 113 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries while also throwing for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 6-for-12 passing.
“It’s great,” said Dailey about being a threat with both his legs and his arm. “I have to thank my line for what they do. I can’t do either of those things without them.”
Colin Schotts led the Norse with 73 rushing yards on 15 carries.
The Eagles will travel to Ravenna for a rivalry matchup next Friday.
North Muskegon is now 2-2 overall and in West Michigan Conference play. The Norse will host Mason County Central next Friday.