By Trevor Austin
HOWARD CITY – As the opening kickoff of Oakridge’s district final matchup with Tri-County sailed through the air at Goodin-Parker Field, the crowd roared on both sides of the bleachers as they were packed to the gills, leaving standing room only.
Oakridge was set for battle against the Tri-County for bragging rights and a Division 5 district title.
Thanks to performances by Corey Vanderputte and Trevor Jones, Oakridge snatched itself a second consecutive district title with a 58-22 win over the Vikings.
After a big game like this Coach Cary Harger knows a team can lose focus so he reminds them what’s important.
“I tell them make sure they take advantage of cherishing those memories and every minute that they have and keep building to get another one,” said Harger. “Keep up the ownership of the program. Every sprint, conditioning, lifting day, it’s all a part of it.”
Playing all out, the Eagles ground game was in full attack, rushing for a whopping 389 yards.
The Eagles opened up and set the tone early as Trevor Jones sprinted for a 43 yard score on the second play of the game and only eight seconds in.
And though Tri-County answered back just a couple minutes later, the Eagles piled on five scores in a row to shut the door.
Jones played phenomenal on both sides of the ball racking up 163 yards rushing with three touchdowns on offense. He was efficient getting to the quarterback on defense, totaling four sacks and also making eight tackles.
Coach Harger thinks highly of Jones and appreciates what he brings to the team.
“He works very hard and very unassuming, but he’s a huge competitor,” said Harger.
As usual Vanderputte went the extra mile for the Eagles, rushing for 206 yards and a pair of scores including an 80 yard haul. He also went out for a 68 yard touchdown reception.
Also finding the end zone for the Eagles, quarterback Matt Danicek and Brenden Raymond each used their legs for a touchdown.
The Eagles kept the pressure on the Viking’s offense most of the game and forced turnovers several times.
Contributing in the defense for Oakridge was Noah McFayden with eight tackles and Brody Jennings with six tackles and a forced fumble.
With the win, Oakridge moves one step closer and on to regionals to battle with the undefeated 11-0 Grand Rapids Catholic Central at Cougar Stadium.