By Ron Rop
WHITEHALL – When things weren’t going so well for the Whitehall Vikings, it was the defense that stepped in and saved the day on Friday night.
And in the end, the Vikings surged to a 28-7 victory over the Allendale Falcons in a Division 4 district game played on Whitehall’s home field. Whitehall will host Big Rapids, a 27-20 overtime winner over Spring Lake on Friday night. Next week’s game may be moved to a neutral site after officials access the condition of the field at Whitehall. A determination is expected in the coming days.
On Friday, it was the opening half that caused some uneasiness for the Viking followers who sat through some rain and a gutsy performance by the Falcons that saw the Vikings leading just 7-0.
Allendale had four drives in the opening half and all four stalled in the red zone. Three ended on fourth down and the fourth was a missed field goal that sailed to the left.
“That’s the great thing about playing elite defense is that it doesn’t really matter the conditions and it doesn’t really matter the circumstances, our entire football program has trust in our defensive coordinator and any kid we put out there will play defense for us,” Whitehall coach Tony Sigmon said. “It really starts from the inside and we’re able to play at a high level and we did that all night long.”
Whitehall’s lone score in the first half was on its second play from scrimmage – a 71-yard pass from Kyle Stratton to Camden Thompson, who caught the ball in stride down the left sideline.
Allendale had good field position and ran most of their plays in the opening half in the Vikings’ end of the field. The Falcon drives stalled on the 20, 10, 11 and 18.
“The thing that I was most impressed with our football team is that we didn’t waiver, we didn’t flinch,” Sigmon said.
The second half was a different story as the Vikings began to dominate. Whitehall made it 14-0 on a 26-yard touchdown pass to Thompson.
Whitehall’s next drive began with 1:54 left in the third quarter and ended eight plays later when senior Darnell Mack scored on a 34-yard run. Mack finished the game with 15 carries for 117 yards.
“I’m so happy for him,” Sigmon said of Mack’s performance. “He ended up getting injured here in practice in the second week of the season to where we really didn’t know the details there on what was going to happen to him.
“That’s what that kid is capable of doing,” he said. “Darnell did a fantastic job.”
The final score for Whitehall came with 5:05 left in the game on a 22-yard run by Malcolm Earvin, who was bound and determined to reach the end zone. En route, he not only broke a couple tackles, but ran over a Falcon defender before stepping into the end zone.
Allendale snapped the shutout with 2:33 remaining when senior quarterback Tyler Sparks, who played a good share of the game on an injured ankle, found Justin Kavorik on a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Stratton completed 7-of-12 passes for 128 yards. He also rushed 14 times for 45 yards. Thompson hauled in four passes for 111 yards and two scores.
Everett Napier led the Viking defense with 11 tackles. Thompson, Stratton, Ca’Mar Ready, Trenton TenBrock and Parker Mott had nine each.
For Allendale, Sparks completed 18-of-30 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown. Nolan Spencer rushed 12 times for 69 yards.
“We’ve just got some kids who are blue-collar tough,” Allendale coach Darren Geraghty said. “And, they come to play and I don’t think they get enough credit sometimes because of where the program has been recently, but these kids are tough as nails.”