Holland outlasted by Grand Rapids Union — 3 takeaways

HOLLAND – After the first win on the field in a few years, excitement about the Holland High School football team had returned.

The homecoming at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium at Hope College was even more so since Friday evening.

An exhilarating and energetic start resulted in an exhilarating game, but it ended in Grand Rapids Union’s 41:28 win over hosts Dutch.

The offensive the Dutch have shown over the past few weeks has continued and increased excitement from the start when Holland marched across the field on their first possession and scored a goal in a 15-yard run by Zach Hop to order to bring the Dutch 6-0 lead.

That excitement quickly changed when Unions met Jeremiah Bridgeman on Union’s first play in a 55-yard run and the Redhawks led 7-6 with 8:43 to go. Four minutes later, Bridgeman scored in a 7-yard run to make it 14-6 with 4:14 to go in the first quarter.

The Dutch defense then almost ensured a safety and forced a punt from the Union’s end zone. The punt only made it to the 10-yard line.

After a penalty, Holland made big when Hop ran 12 yards and jumped over the pylon into the end zone. Hop then threw a two-point conversion on Justin Torres to tie the game 14-14 with 4-14 at halftime.

But Bridgeman scored at the next Union game with a 65-yard run to 21:14 with 4:01 at halftime.

Hop took the momentum back with a 74 yard TD pass on Andon Grigg. Grigg then grabbed an interception and Hop had a big run to score a first-and-goal on the 7-yard line. But the drive stalled and the Dutch went into halftime with 22:21.

In the second half, Keaunt’e Swarn scored a 50-yard run to put Union 28:22 ahead on the first drive of the third quarter.

After a Holland punt, Unions Keondre Anderson scored in a 27-yard run to put the Redhawks in the lead with 6:20 in the third run with 35:22.

Holland's Zach Hop plans to throw at his open receiver on Friday September 24th 2021 at the Ray and Sue Smith Stadium of Hope College in Holland.

The next hit came in the fourth quarter when Holland scored a 5-yard pass from Hop to Grigg with 6:56 to go and pulled the Dutch within 35:28.

“During the whole week of training, we’ve been told you have to go out and punch them in the mouth right away. You can’t think that you are so great because you got a victory. This was one of our best training weeks. We played really well after our first win in almost two years, we just played against a really good Union team, ”said Hop. “It was great to have the (packed, homecoming atmosphere). If you score a touchdown and only hear the white noise of everyone cheering, I couldn’t ask for a better group of students. “

Rapid swing shifts

Holland played with a lot of energy and had some big moves throughout the game, but it was what happened after those big moves that determined the outcome on Friday night.

After Holland scored on his first drive to catch the early swing, Union scored on the very first game of Scrimmage, a 55-yard scamper from quarterback Jeremiah Bridgeman.

It quickly calmed the noisy home crowd and changed momentum within 10 seconds.

The same thing happened again in the second quarter. After a defensive stop. Holland scored a goal on a touchdown run by Hop that tied the game and returned the momentum to the Dutch.

But Union took back the momentum immediately – and scored another goal in the next game – a 65-yard run by Bridgeman.

This time, however, the Dutch managed to quickly reverse the momentum when Hop found Andon Grigg for a 74-yard touchdown strike on the next move. Hop ran in the two-point conversion and Holland took the lead with 22:21 with 3:46 to go.

Leadership – and momentum – changed three times within 27 seconds.

“The kids believed we could come back,” said McManus. “You never stopped believing. You can’t ask for more as a coach. “

Holland's Zach Hop and his team will celebrate a touchdown against Grand Rapids Union on Friday 24 September 2021 at Hope College's Ray and Sue Smith Stadium in Holland.

Defense starts slowly but recovers – constancy in the next step

The offensive firepower of the Dutch is beyond question. They have accumulated massive points in the last three games, including a performance by quarterback Zach Hop with five touchdown passes last week when Holland beat Wyoming for their first win of the season. That was a 52-49 win. Holland also has 68-44 and 50-30 losses this season. The problem isn’t getting points.

But the key to every game and season for the Dutch is how their defense will fare.

It didn’t get off to a good start on Friday when Grand Rapids Union’s Jeremiah Bridgeman scored on the Redhawks’ first play in a 55-yard run. After Holland took the momentum with an early result, it was so quickly erased when Union took a 7-6 lead in the game – a game that left Bridgeman 55 yards untouched.

On Union’s second drive, the Dutch gave up three major running plays despite one being recalled by a penalty, and the Redhawks scored relatively easily. The Dutch just couldn’t clean up the Redhawks.

It wasn’t difficult either. The biggest runs came on a snap for the quarterback who was just hit and ran out.

But then the defense began the turning point in the second quarter. The Dutch made a big stop in fourth place in midfield at the start of the second quarter after Union committed several penalties.

The Dutch defense then almost ensured a safety and forced a punt from the Union’s end zone. The punt only made it to the 10-yard line.

Later at half time, Grigg grabbed an interception on a deep pass near the end zone and let him run past midfield.

Holland allowed two quick touchdowns in the third quarter. But then there is a huge fourth down stop within the red zone.

In the fourth quarter the Dutch allowed a few big runs, but forced a fumble and took over.

Towards the end of the fourth quarter, which needed a stop, Holland forced a fourth down but then jumped offside and gave the Redhawks a first down.

“We have definitely taken steps in the right direction defensively,” said McManus. “A lot of our problems were our own mental exertion instead of exertion or physical things that were problems in the past. The children played their hearts out. We were really exhausted in the second half, but we gave everything we had. We have 18 guys who play their hearts out. That’s true, but I appreciate everything you are giving us right now. “

Holland High School's student division watches their soccer team play for the first half on Friday 24 September 2021 at the Ray and Sue Smith Stadium at Hope College, Holland.

The defensive comes for the Dutch. The next step is consistency.

“I’m really proud of my defense. This is the best they have played all year. We played a really athletic Union team that could run all over the field, ”said Hop. “Offensive we were a bit more spotty than before, but we have to come back next week and get the points we thought we’d have tonight.”

Missed opportunity

The Dutch led by 22:21 towards the end of half time and had a great chance to extend this lead before half time.

Andon Grigg grabbed an interception near the Union goal line and then shot the ball back just behind midfield. It animated the players and the crowd, which got louder when Zach Hop had a big run to the 7-yard line.

But the Dutch had a penalty, then two incompleteness and a dropped pass and didn’t score. A touchdown would have brought them seven and nine with a possible two-point conversion. Instead, the Dutch led at halftime with a point 22:21.

“We would have liked to get that in, but a couple of small mistakes,” said McManus. “We will look back on it and regret it – it will haunt you a little.”

– Contact the sports editor Dan D’Addona at Dan.D’[email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanDAddona and Facebook @Holland Sentinel Sports.

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