NorthPointe Christian scores late, defeats Montague 31-28 to take Division 6 district title
By Kelly Hill
Comstock Park – Prior to Friday’s Division 6 district championship game against visiting Montague, Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian trailed just one other time this season. The Mustangs trailed 8-7 in the opening moments of the season opener, then went on to rout Hamtramck, 55-20.
NorthPointe Christian trailed Montague in the final moments. A field goal wasn’t going to do it for the Mustangs as they trailed by four. And when they took possession of the football on the north end of the Comstock Park High School field, there were three minutes left to play and 95 yards to cover.
NorthPointe covered those 95 yards in two minutes and 10 plays. Senior quarterback Spencer Peterson completed passes to seniors Kyler Dunn, Spencer Rowland and B.J. Bufton along the way. With 44 seconds left Peterson’s 24-yard touchdown pass to junior Char Willekes gave the Mustangs a 31-28 victory over Montague.
“We practice that all the time, we are always doing our two-minute drill,” Peterson said. “Montague is a heck of a team, by far the best team we played all year, but I knew we could get it done. I had confidence in my receivers. I trusted my receivers and in my linemen too; they gave me enough time to pass it.”
NorthPointe Christian (11-0) will host Constantine (7-4) next Friday. The game is tentatively scheduled to be played at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern at 7 p.m.
“In the second half we could never get into our flow,” Mustangs coach Tim Swore said. “I knew a few things could be opened up in the passing game but when we got the ball down there late, the first thing you think about is just getting first downs.
“Both teams were full of kids out there battling their hearts out. I told them we were probably going to get behind today, but we were going to have to battle back. This game was all about heart. After we finally took it down there and scored, I said to myself, ‘Wow, we sure have a lot of gutsy kids.’”
Led by senior quarterback and defensive back Jacob Buchberger who rushed for 209 yards, threw for another 134 and had a critical interception midway through the fourth quarter, Montague took a 7-6 lead in the first quarter but then fell behind 21-7 as Peterson, who rushed for 113 yards and threw for 172, took over.
Buchberger responded, however, with a touchdown pass and a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter that gave the Wildcats a 28-24 lead.
“They did a great job on that last drive,” Montague coach Pat Collins said. “They made the plays. They were going up and beating us to the ball. (Peterson) is a different dude. He’s big and fast and he moves well. I thought of him more of a running quarterback, but what he did with his arm at the end was impressive.”