Varsity football dominates in round one playoff game against Mattawan

Jake Heilman, Sports Editor in Chief

An electrifying defensive performance combined with five Luke Majick touchdowns led FHC to a huge 40-14 win over Mattawan Friday night. FHC showed extreme dominance in all facets of the game, forcing four turnovers and putting together numerous extensive drives to demolish an inferior Wildcat team.

FHC’s defense came out strong on the opening drive for Mattawan, forcing a three and out. After a Ranger possession that led to a 23-yard catch by junior Tate Hallock making it 6-0, the Rangers were put right back on defense. The drive was eventually stalled with a huge fourth down stop with 4:50 left in the first quarter.

Ashlyn Korpak

Mattawan waiting only 47 seconds before getting the ball back on a Ranger fumble; however, the defense again answered the call in an extremely sporadic sequencing of events that led to another fumble, this time by the Wildcat offense. Senior defensive end Michael Peliotes was in the right place at the right time, taking the fumble out of the air and returning it 32 yards all the way down to the Wildcat nine-yard line.

“Defense was great tonight,” Tate said. “We had that turnover on offense, but came right back with a turnover of our own. Our defense just really stepped up all night.”

FHC would then intercept three passes in the second quarter, with two out of the three turning into Ranger points. Senior Bryce Clay intercepted two of the passes for FHC, one coming on an attempted flat route that was undercut beautifully by Bryce as he flew across the receiver’s front side. The other pick for Bryce was an overthrown hitch route that he came over the top of, eventually laying out and making an outstanding diving interception.

Bryan Obermeyer

“Last week, I had to sit out because of my ankle stuff, so this week I just wanted to come back strong,” Bryce said. “It was big for me to get in the right mindset, and I think everyone- especially the seniors- left it all out on the field tonight.”

Ashlyn Korpak

Head coach Tim Rogers had high praise for his do-it-all captain.

“[Bryce] is the best player on the field each week,” Rogers said. “He can do it all really. He’s an outstanding defensive player, he’s an outstanding offensive player, he returns kicks, he returned punts– I mean he can do it all. Last week he was nicked up, but this week you can see when he’s on the field, he’s a force to be reckoned with.”

The last forced turnover from FHC came from junior cornerback Cam Deines on the far sideline.

As well as the defense performed Friday, FHC’s offense provided ample support throughout the entirety of the game to give both sides of the ball plenty of leeway.

Bryan Obermeyer

Late in the first quarter, Luke was able to find Bryce moving along the back of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown, making it 13-0 FHC. The Ranger backfield dominated the next possession, with Luke and senior running back Moise Guerrier making up a majority of the yardage for FHC. With 10:25 left in the second quarter, the Rangers would find the end zone for the third time after a 27-yard, Luke touchdown scrambled down the seam making it 20-0 FHC.

Bryan Obermeyer

“We knew they’d be deep on the corners,” Luke said. “We just wanted to convert in the short passing game, and hopefully open up some throws deep. Our o-line did a great job blocking as they always do, and a few key guys stepped up when people were banged up or injured.”

After senior kicker Daniel Riser put a pair of 30-yard field goals through the uprights, and Bryce’s second interception, FHC had themselves outstanding field position at just over the 50 yard line into Wildcat territory. With just under a minute left, the Ranger offense executed the two-minute drill, finding the sidelines after short passes downfield. FHC would gash the Mattawan defense on a 14-yard pass to Tate, getting out of bounds at the three.

Ashlyn Korpak

Bryce then caught his second touchdown of the night with just 17.8 seconds left in the half, putting FHC up 33-0 going into the locker room.

Luke capped off the scoring for the Rangers early in the second half via a three-yard touchdown run with 10:14 left in the third quarter.

Ashlyn Korpak

FHC has a short time to celebrate as the Muskegon Mona Shores Sailors (9-1) will come to town for next week’s District Final. Rogers is excited to see how his team can measure up against a top-tier component in the state.

“They’re a great football program,” Rogers said. “Like I said when I got here, we measure ourselves in our league through Lowell, and now we’re looking to measure ourselves in the state in division two against Mona Shores, who also happened to be in the state championship not too long ago. This is right where I want our program to be, so let’s go see what we’re made of next week.”