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GR S. Christian’s Wassink a rare gem of a QB, fueling Sailors to third consecutive state finals

By: Scott Burnstein, November 27, 2014, 12:00 am

Grand Rapids – Jonny is better than good on the football field at Grand Rapids South Christian.

He’s great.

South Christian all-state senior quarterback and Western Michigan-commit Jonny Wassink is going to end his high school career starting his second straight state championship game Friday when the Sailors meet undefeated Lansing Sexton in the Division 4 state finals.

It would be No. 3 in a row, but he got injured in the 2012 state semifinals as a standout sophomore signal-caller and missed the team’s victory in the state-title tilt the following week.

Wassink does it all under center for South Christian. So far this fall he has thrown for 2,320 yards and 25 touchdowns and ran for another 1,200 yards and rushed in 18 scores.

“I just sit back there and try to make plays, try to make things happen for my team,” he said. “I’ve played the quarterback position for a long time and I think I understand it real well. The game has slowed down more and more for me as I’ve gotten older and I take advantage of that. This is the last go-around for me and all my classmates and we want to go out on top.”

South Christian (11-2) lost to Marine City in last year’s state finals.

“Losing in the finals last season has been such a motivation for Jonny and the entire senior class,” Sailors coach Mark Tamminga said. “I’ve never seen him this determined.”

Tamminga is a huge fan of his third-year starting field general and everything he does on the gridiron.

“In terms of a coach, a type of player like Johnny comes around once in a lifetime," Tamminga said. " I’ll be fortunate if I have another quarterback in the future that’s even close to his talent level. As a team, we go as he goes. He’s our leader and I know he’ll be up for the challenge this weekend.”

Ryan Veenstra and Eric Van Voorst are Wassink’s prime targets in the Sailors’ up-tempo passing attack. Veenstra has over 700 yards receiving. Van Voorst, a star on last year’s club, is finally back in the lineup after missing most of the 2014 season with an injury. He returned in last week’s state-semifinal shootout, a 50-48 victory over a gutty Edwardsburg squad, and grabbed eight balls for 121 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

South Christian led 35-14 at the half in the game held at Tony Dungy Field in Jackson and had to stave off a furious second-half rally by the Eddies to survive. After Edwardsburg climbed to within two points behind late, Wassink ran out the clock with his legs, rushing for a number of spirit-crushing first downs to conclude the contest. Wassink finished the affair with 150 yards passing and 212 yards on the ground, posting four total touchdowns.

The Sailors are seeking their third overall state crown this weekend at Ford Field versus Sexton and will be making their seventh appearance in the finals.