The Forest Hills Eastern Hawks looked to put their season back on track after back-to-back losses to Grand Rapids Christian and East Grand Rapids weeks prior. A victory against the Wayland Union Wildcats was just what the Hawks needed for their morale.
Wayland won the toss and deferred to the second half, meaning the Hawks were set to receive the opening kickoff. The Hawks’ first possession left much to be desired, resulting in a turnover on downs on the Wildcats’ 30 yardline. For the first few drives, it seemed that we would see a continuation of the Hawks team that suffered the last two weeks. The Hawks’ defense quickly showed that they bounced back from the losses and forced a Wildcats fumble, which was quickly recovered by the offense.
Austyn Adams took the Hawks’ next drive all the way down to score their first touchdown of the game, and looked to make a statement. With 3:46 left in the first quarter, on only their second possession, the Hawks converted a 2-point conversion attempt and took an early 8 – 0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, where usually the other team would receive the ball, the Hawks’ kicker, Grant Coash, kicked the ball onside for a second straight Hawks possession. The Hawks took advantage of their excellent field position and passed for their second touchdown in just mere minutes. The Hawks caught the ball in the endzone to bring the score to 15 – 0 with just under a minute left in the first quarter.
The first quarter ended with the Wildcats knocking on the Hawks’ door, threatening to score. The Wildcats snuck into the endzone for their first and only touchdown of the game in the early second quarter. In an effort to stay in the game, the Wildcats attempted a 2-point conversion and failed, resulting in a 15 – 6 game. On the ensuing kickoff, the Hawks set number 25, Justin Johnson, to return and he took it almost 60 yards to the Wildcats 13 yardline. The Wildcats stopped the Hawks’ attempt to score and forced a turnover on downs with 10:13 left in the half.
On the next Wildcats drive, the Hawks defense held them to a three and out, where they punted to midfield. The Hawks threw to Joe Hokes for their next touchdown and converted a 2-point attempt, strengthening their lead to 23 – 6. The Hawks held Wayland to yet another three and out, giving the Hawks another possession before the half. The Hawks brought themselves to a first and goal with just thirty seconds left in the half. Quarterback Gage Kruger, connected with Caden Vandenberge for a touchdown. Another 2-point conversion attempt was good and the score became 31 – 6. The ensuing kickoff was returned to midfield and the Wildcats had a chance to score before the half came and they got the ball again. On the Wildcats’ final drive of the half, the Hawks forced them to go for it on fourth down and the Wildcats could not convert. The half ended with the Hawks leading 31 – 6. Wayland received the kick to start the second half. On their first drive, they were not able to score and ended up punting. On the Hawks’ second drive they fumbled the ball near midfield and the Wildcats recovered it for a second chance. On their subsequent possession, the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs, negating the last few drives.
On the Hawks’ next possession, the Wildcats held the Hawks to a field goal attempt. The snap was bad and the Hawks could not even kick for the attempt. The Wildcats took advantage and started with above average field position at their own 35. With a Hawks sack, the Wildcats could not manage a first down and turned the ball over on the Wildcats own 35. The Hawks capitalized on this opportunity and handed off to Jacob Armbrester to run in for a touchdown with nearly two minutes left in the third quarter. The point after was blocked and the third quarter ended with a 37 – 6 score.
The Wildcats turned over the ball for a third straight time on this next drive on their own 45 yard line. The Hawks fumbled the ball on their next drive and lost the ball. The Wildcats, again, turned over the ball on downs, eating up over two minutes of clock. The Hawks broke the slump they were in and passed to Ethan Castillo for their last touchdown of the night and the Point After Touchdown (P.A.T.) was good, bringing the score to 44 – 6. The subsequent kickoff came too late and the game ended with a Hawks victory of 44 – 6.
Next week is Homecoming against Sparta, starting at 5pm.