Varsity football pulls out a 21-19 victory over Jenison


Senior Evan Metaj came down with a game-ending interception with just under a minute remaining in the game to end Jenison’s last-ditch drive, sealing the 21-19 victory for the Rangers in their season-opener.

“A lot of kudos to Evan; [he] hasn’t had a lot of playing time thus far, but that was a great play by him,” Head coach Tim Rogers said. “He basically won the game so that was good to see for a kid that works hard, and I was happy for him.”

Despite a few highlight reel plays, players and coaches alike were displeased with the team’s performance in a game it should have dominated.

“We were very inconsistent on both sides of the ball today,” Rogers said. “We needed a big play every now and again which we got, but we have a long way to go. We have a lot of juniors and they just need to figure out how to play varsity football and they will, it’s just going to take some time.”

The Ranger offense started hot thanks to senior captain and quarterback Luke Majick, as he marched his team down the field on the first drive before capping it off with a 7-yard touchdown run. Luke showed his dual-threat nature last night, as he passed for 106 yards and led the team in rushing with 100 yards.

Senior Luke Majick reaches for the first down during the Rangers’ opening drive.

“Our o-line did a great job tonight,” said Luke, giving his linemen credit for his rushing success. “We knew we were bigger up front than they were and that was one of the emphasis points this week.”

From there, the Ranger offense struggled to string anything together and Jenison was able to cut right through the defense. The Wildcat quarterback, Kyle Nott, was a big-time player in this game, as he rushed for 193 yards and scored all three of their touchdowns. Nott first struck early in the second quarter to tie the game at 7.

“It wasn’t a surprise that [their quarterback] was good, we just tackled poorly,” senior captain Jay Shields said.

The defense continued to struggle and Jenison was knocking on the door to take the lead late in the second quarter when senior Chris Sobieck came up with back-to-back sacks on the quarterback to turn the ball over on downs. A fake punt by senior captain Tate Hallock on the next possession was a big momentum-changer and kept the Ranger drive alive. A couple plays later, Luke would find junior Hayden Sarjeant in the endzone with 30 seconds left in the half to put FHC up 14-7.

Junior Hayden Sarjeant catches a pass from senior Luke Majick to extend FHC’s lead to 14-7 just before halftime.

In the second half, Jenison struck first as their quarterback rushed for a 40-yard touchdown. The Ranger special teams unit came up with a huge block on the extra point, however, and held the slight 14-13 lead with under 5 minutes left in the third.

After disconnect all game, the Rangers finally seemed to click in the fourth quarter. Senior Cam Deines ran for a touchdown after a quality drive to extend the lead to 21-13 early in the quarter. Jenison soon responded with another 6 to put the score at 21-19.

Senior Cam Deines reaches across the goal line to extend FHC’s lead to 21-13 early in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats decided to go for the two-point conversion and tie the game, which set the stage for a game-changing play from Jay. The quarterback had trouble with the snap and Jay was there to end the threat with a sack.

“That sack was super important,” Jay said. “That was a big play in the game because I’d say it was the turning point where things went in our favor.”

Senior Jay Shields sacks Jenison’s quarterback in the fourth quarter.

The Rangers didn’t play nearly to full potential but were able to make big plays at the right times in order to squeak out a victory.

“We escaped; we dodged a bullet,” Rogers said. “We didn’t play very well and we still won. Sometimes you just get lucky, which we did.”

FHC will have to work hard to prepare for a tough West Ottawa team that they’ll face next. For the second week in a row, the Rangers will see a very talented quarterback and look to do a better job of stopping the Panthers’ QB than they did last night with Jenison’s. A big focus in practice will be tackling, as Wildcat runners were able to break away too many times last night.

Last year, FHC barely edged by the Panthers with a 30-27 win thanks to a last-second touchdown. The Rangers will need to greatly improve upon the fundamentals and play to potential to be able to hang with West Ottawa.

“West Ottawa is going to be really good,” Luke said. “We have to learn from all of our mistakes tonight, we didn’t play perfect by any means. We have a long way to go, but if we just keep having mental toughness we can get it done.”

The Rangers defeat Jenison 21-19.