KENTWOOD (WOOD) — Grandville ran the ball time and time again on a hot night, beating East Kentwood 28-14 and handing the Falcons their first loss of the season.
It was the first time this season that East Kentwood (4-1) played on home turf, and the turf was hot. Minutes before kickoff, the sun-soaked portions of the field were still above 100 degrees.
Grandville’s (4-1) game plan was to wear down the Falcons in the heat. It clearly worked.
“They’ve got some big guys who play both ways,” coach Eric Stiegel said.
Although he felt pretty confident after the win.
“I think if we played them in Alaska the result would have been the same today,” he said.
Despite the final score not getting out of hand, Grandville dominated the undefeated Falcons on both sides of the ball.
The biggest play of the game came midway through the 2nd quarter.
Already leading 13-7 after two Noah Atwell touchdown runs, Grandville went for it on fourth-and-3 at East Kentwood’s 32-yard line. AJ Reynolds busted through the left side of the line, then dragged a defender into the end zone to give the Bulldogs a 21-7 halftime lead.
Grandville added another score on its first possession of the second half when Kyle Nyboer caught a 7-yard score from Tommy Blitchok.
East Kentwood’s Kyle Dent connected with Ryel Daye on a 37-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to make the final score look closer.
Dent finished the game 12-of-24 for 218 yards and one touchdown.
“I think we clicked tonight,” Stiegel said. “We hadn’t played as well. I think we proved that we are going to be a contender.”
“We knew they were a good team,” Nyboer said. “There’s a reason they were 4-0 coming in. We had a great practice and we executed.”
Stiegel said his team learned a lot from Friday’s game.
“We’ve got big games ahead of us,” Stiegel said. “Our kids learned that when we prepare, we can play with anyone in the state.”
Grandville returns home next week to play Rockford. East Kentwood will host West Ottawa.
“That’s a great football team,” Stiegel said of East Kentwood. “If we are fortunate enough to make the playoffs, it’s very likely we’ll be playing them again sometime in October or November.”