A look back on varsity football’s incredible 2017 season


A blowout win over Jenison in week one set the tone. Bryce Clay put on a show on offense, defense, and through special teams all night. Any fan who had an early doubt about this team was quieted right from the beginning. All the ones who thought this team could be special had an early glimpse of the bright light that was FHC football this season.

What then followed was one of the best high school football games I’d ever seen or been a part of. After battling to keep the score close throughout the first three and a half quarters, the dynamic offense led by a first-year junior quarterback was called upon to make the game FHC’s. Like so many times this season, Luke Majick found junior wideout Tate Hallock down the sideline to put us up by three.

When senior defensive ends Elijah Gurley and Michael Peliotes made the final play and sacked West Ottawa’s high motored quarterback, I felt a feeling of relief that we’d won quickly followed by a sense of how good this team really was.

Week three was utter dominance over the Ottawa Hills Bengals as Tate and senior Jace Thornton both came up with interceptions and long returns during the game. The tenacious pass rush of seniors Sam Marthens, Trace Shirmers, Christian Balanda and Will Kuiper made it impossible for the Bengals quarterback to work.

Week four opened up with a 78-yard touchdown from senior captain Isaac Torrey. A 42 point victory over Greenville, who beat FHC the year before, was nothing but satisfying to watch from the stands. After watching Luke start to show flashes of achieving excellence, I was officially excited about this team.

Week five was dominated by senior running back Moise Guerrier, who had his best game to that point. That missing piece of the puzzle seemed solved for the night. Now, not only did we have a dynamic air threat but a runner who could complement.

Week six was the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth against the cross-district rivals from FHN. Not only did we do that, but we throttled them throughout the night. It was the last showing before people started to look on in awe at this Ranger defense. It was a unit you didn’t want to face.

Week seven. Lowell week. Homecoming week. Senior night. 18 years. The fall of the juggernaut.

You find me a better storyline then our seniors beating the Red Arrows for the first time, at home, on senior night, in front of a packed house, and in a blowout. It was an unbelievable experience for all the fans and players involved. The excuse of “not battle testeda�� had now withered away.

Week eight brought the challenges of the wing-T and a genuine scare throughout the first half at Cedar Springs. As they did every week, however, the Rangers came out of the locker room and put on yet another incredible second half. Senior linebacker Andy Trapp came up with a pick early in the third that changed the momentum for the rest of the game.

A huge win against Wayland clinched FHC’s first undefeated season since 1991. Senior Nate Doolittle came up with a big-time interception early in the first half, and the Ranger offense led by the junior tandem of Luke and Cam Deines put up major points on the board to give a 35 point win to FHC.

Playoff time.

It seems like a different season when you start the playoffs. The community had already rallied around this team and the atmosphere around the halls of FHC was different. Instead of everyone moving into their winter sports, people became more invested than ever before. Bring on Mattawan.

After more star-studded defense, FHC blew past Mattawan into the district finals. The happy-go-lucky quickly faded as news of Mona Shores’ victory came into the locker room.

I found it to be a split atmosphere in the classrooms at school that week. People had only talked off of the one thing they’d heard from one unreliable source. So some had unwavering faith, while others prepared for the season’s demise.

Like the ten weeks before and the season’s motto, FHC just simply proved it. Kade Shomin came up huge with a pick six and changed the game entirely. They beat the state champion favorites while outscoring them in the second half 21-7. In my head, Ford Field was no longer a comedic dream, but a not so foggy finish line.

Traverse City Central rolled into Ranger Stadium and provided FHC no match, as the Rangers won their first Regional Title since 1994. The team had now won the OK White, the District title, and a Regional Title.

This past week against Livonia Franklin to some was a disappointment. I just look back and say wow. Who would’ve guessed two years ago that we would have seven all-conference players, five honorable mentions, a conference title, two trophies, and one of the best records ever posted by FHC?

Who would’ve thought that FHC would’ve not only revived the program but made it a west-side powerhouse in just two years?

So if you want to look back on this year’s football team, don’t you dare look back on a team that fell just short.

Look back on one of the best teams in FHC history.