Grand Rapids Christian scores in final seconds to top Zeeland West in playoff openerFootball  |
GRAND RAPIDS -- Matt Ellis raced left and had the goal line in sight and a possible go-ahead touchdown.
But the Grand Rapids Christian senior running back was stripped of the ball, and Zeeland West senior defensive back Max Hecht fell on it at Zeeland West 17-yard line.
That appeared to be a Division 3 pre-district visiting playoff win for the Dux, because all they had to do was hold the ball for the final three minutes of the game, a feat that seemed to be attainable since Zeeland West controlled the clock to the tune of 32 minutes to just 13 minutes by Grand Rapids Christian up to the point.
But the Eagles defense forced a stop and gave the ball back to its high-powered offense with 38 seconds to play and at midfield.
That's all Eagles junior quarterback Isaac Dykema would need, as he found junior wide receiver Darius Barfield for a 41-yard catch. He then hit senior tight end Will Peterson for a 9-yard touchdown and a 35-32 thrilling victory.
"We knew it wasn't over until the clock struck zero," Dykema said. "Wee knew we had to fight until the end, that's what we said, we are going to fight until the end. And we knew we could drive the final 50 yards."
Whereas Dykema and his teammates had all the confidence in the world that they would win, Grand Rapids Christian coach Don Fellow admitted that he had doubts when his Eagles turned the ball over with just over three minutes to play and down 32-27.
"We just told our kids to get one stop," Fellows said. "Just told our defense to get us the ball back and give us one more chance. And I wanted the win in the fourth quarter because if we had to kick a field goal or what not, and that helped. And then what a great throw Isaac had into the middle of the field to Barfield. And then the pass to Will, that was only his second catch of t he year."