20 YEARS OF STATE CHAMPS! 20 STATE CHAMPIONS SERIES: 2012 GRAND RAPIDS CHRISTIAN
Grand Rapids — Drake went to Ford Field and gave a historic performance. No, not that Drake.
Grand Rapids Christian all-time two-sport great Drake Harris caught 8 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown to lead his Eagles football squad to a 40-37 overtime win versus Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in the 2012 Division 3 state championship game at Ford Field in downtown Detroit. It was the program’s first and only state title and Harris’s 234 yards in grabs set a new state-finals record. He also became only the 12th player nationally to ever eclipse the 2,000-yard receiving mark in a single season.
“You can barely describe it, it’s the best feeling in the world.” said Harris in the locker room after raising the trophy. “We came together as a single unit to achieve a single purpose. And that was to put this football program on the map and win a state championship. Knowing you accomplished that goal, and everybody played as an important role as the next guy, from coach, to assistant to every man on this roster, you can’t describe it, its phenomenally satisfying.”
The entire 2012 campaign, the entire 2012 calendar year for that matter, was a Drake Harris highlight reel.
That previous winter, the sleek and slick-moving 6-foot-4 Harris took the Eagles basketball team to an appearance in the Class B final four, prompting a commitment to play hoops in college at Michigan State. After wowing the crowd on the gridiron in the state finals at Ford Field, Harris decided football would be his future, de-committed from MSU and accepted a football scholarship from the University of Michigan.
Eagles senior quarterback Alex VandDeVusse went 16-of-26 for 307 yards and 1 touchdown and rushed for 75 yards and a near 50-ysrd score in the 2012 state championship game. VanDeVusse hit Harris for a 74-yard scoring strike in the second quarter.
“I can’t put into words how fun it’s been to get to play with Drake, what he does out there is truly amazing,” said VanDeVusse in the wake of the crowning. “It’s been a pleasure to be part of it and honestly to have a front row seat to watching something that you would not believe unless you saw it with your own eyes. I have no doubt in my mind, he’s the best wide out in the country.”
GRC placekicker Joel Schipper was the definition of clutch with his golden leg in the state finals. Schipper booted the game-tying 28-yard field goal with just 4 ticks left in regulation to force the extra session and then the 27-yard game-winner on the Eagles first possession following a stop. Senior running back Seth McIntosh found the end zone three times in the contest.
Schipper and VanDeVusse both played baseball in college; Schipper at Grand Valley State and VanDeVusse at Davenport University. VanDeVusse was originally signed to play football for Ferris State. McIntosh played lacrosse at Siena Heights.
Head coach Don Fellows penned the blueprint for championship success at GRC. He left the school in 2019 after a decade on the sidelines and quickly landed at Grand Rapids Union.
Fellows’s 2012 GRC team ended the season 13-1. His reaction to Drake Harris’ state championship game dramatics sums things up quite aptly.
“Drake Harris was Drake Harris, it’s really as simple as that,” Fellows told reporters following the marathon state finals.
Harris missed his senior year due to injuries and never fully recovered. Logging three seasons with UofM in Ann Arbor, where he made two starts, Harris finished his career in the MAC at Western Michigan.