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Varsity football loses heartbreaker to West Ottawa 42-41

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A well-played, back-and-forth game all came down to one trick play in double overtime. The Rangers came up just short on a fake field goal two-point conversion attempt, and they lost a heartbreaker 42-41 to West Ottawa.

“I think our kids played their butts off and we were deserving of the win, we just came up a little short,” Head coach Tim Rogers said.

A thrilling game started out just as exciting, as senior Tate Hallock returned the opening kickoff 85 yards into the endzone to take an early Ranger lead 7-0. Tate then had another 80 yard touchdown run to tie the game up in the fourth quarter.

Senior Tate Hallock returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown.

“Tate was the best guy on the football field, he made a lot of things happen for us,” Rogers said. “He’s a really good football player and we have to get him the ball as often as we can.”

After the opening touchdown, the Panthers were held to a field goal on their first possession before the Rangers marched right back down the field. Senior quarterback Luke Majick then found junior Jimmy Scholler in the endzone to extend FHC’s lead to 14-3 at the end of the first quarter. Luke played another exceptional game, as he had 3 rushing touchdowns in addition to the pass to Jimmy.

The Panther offense turned it on in the second quarter, scoring 2 touchdowns and a field goal to lead 20-14 at the half. West Ottawa’s senior quarterback ran the show, as was expected. He threw for 173 yards and 1 touchdown, as well as rushing 134 yards and 4 touchdowns.  

“I think the problem is that [they have a] really good quarterback over there and he can run it as well as throw it, so you’re going to have a hard time stopping that kid,” Rogers said. “All we tried to do was contain him and I thought we did that in the second half.”

After the half, the Ranger defense became the spark that the team needed. Senior Kyle Wojczynski was a key presence on the line and was able to stuff the West Ottawa running game. Senior Jay Shields also had some big hits and key tackles, including a key sack to start the fourth quarter and give the Rangers momentum.

After the sack from Jay, the Rangers took over the ball and Luke was able to run in a touchdown, then find Tate on the next possession for the game-tying touchdown.

Two-way starting senior Cam Deines played exceptionally well in this game by being consistent with tackling, blocking, and running the ball all game. Another reliable player for FHC has been junior kicker Will Gustafson, who has had a perfect season so far. 

The special teams unit gets set for the kickoff behind junior kicker Will Gustafson.

“We executed at a really high level today and most importantly we played really really hard,” said Rogers, who was pleased with the effort despite the outcome.

Next week, the Rangers will be tested again with a tough Grandville team. While this loss is tough to swallow, the coaching staff is confident it will only bring the team closer and be a learning experience.

“I’m extremely confident we can bounce back,” Rogers said. “I think we have great leadership and we have good football players beneath them. I think today there was a change in our program; we came together, we played hard, and I know we’ll bounce back.”

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