13 points in 17 seconds: EGR wins season opener

East Grand Rapids versus Farmington Hills Harrison in the high school football season opener on Aug. 24, 2017.

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It took a mere 17 seconds for the East Grand Rapids football team to turn a tightly-contested season opener into an eventual rout.

The Pioneers scored consecutive touchdowns in a short span of the third quarter and came away with a 33-8 win Thursday night over visiting Farmington HIlls Harrison.

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East Grand Rapids led 7-6 when Connor Davis scored on a 1-yard to extend the advantage to 14-6.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Pioneers recovered a Hawks’ fumble. Two plays later, East Grand Rapids found the end zone again as senior quarterback Michael Malewitz sprinted in from 17-yards out.

The back-to-back scores gave the Pioneers a 20-6 lead.

“Our defense set us up really well all game and our offensive coordinator kept the kids calm,” second-year East Grand Rapids coach Casey Longo said. “We made a slight adjustment there and the kids responded and had a really big third quarter.”

In a matchup of perennial powerhouses with storied traditions and multiple state championships, East Grand Rapids’ defense stepped up and slowed Harrison’s offense.

The Pioneers scored on its opening possession after an 8-yard run by Davis. However, the Hawks answered quickly and trimmed the deficit to 7-6 on a 13-yard burst by Roderick Heard. They were the only offensive points East Grand Rapids’ defense would surrender as it forced four turnovers and harassed Harrison quarterback Noah Hendricks.

“We’re built on speed and we flew around,” Longo said. “We talked to the kids about getting to the ball and good things will happen. They did that tonight.”

The Pioneers pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Malewitz and junior wide receiver Jalen Broussard hooked up on a 54-yard pass play to set up another score.

Broussard was wide open along the sidelines and Malewitz found him for a 3-yard score.

Malewitz added a 33-yard touchdown run in the final minute to cap the scoring.

“We had some first-game jitters offensively, but I thought Connor Davis ran the ball really well and our big guys up front got better as the game went on,” Longo said. “Any win is a big win for our program and I’m happy for the kids.

“They’ve worked their tails off these last three weeks and I’m real excited for them to start 1-0. We will enjoy it for 24 hours and then get ready for the next one.”

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