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Van Voorst’s return a major factor in final stage of GR S. Christian’s state-title jaunt

By: Scott Burnstein, November 29, 2014, 2:00 am

DETROIT – The road back was a painstaking journey. But oh so rewarding.

Grand Rapids South Christian all-state senior wide receiver Eric Van Voorst returned from a broken ankle with a vengeance, making it back from nearly three months on the shelf to help lead the Sailors to their second Division 4 state championship in three seasons.

In his first game back last week, the rangy and sure-handed 6-foot-3 split end racked up 112 yards and caught a pair of touchdowns in South Christian’s 50-48 clipping of Edwardsburg in the state semifinals.

The icing on the cake came Friday night when Van Voorst hauled in 5 catches for 50 yards and a 20-yard scoring grab in the Sailors 28-27 edging of a spunky Lansing Sexton team in the state finals at Ford Field.

“What an awesome feeling, this was the ultimate goal, getting back on the field and winning a state title,” he said. “This is the culmination of a lot of dreams and a lot of hard work.”

That hard work began in early September following Van Voorst going down in Week 2 of South Christian’s eventual 12-2 campaign. Within days of cracking his ankle, he went under the knife and had it surgically repaired.

“The doctors wanted to go in there quickly and fix what needed fixing so that’s what we did,” he recalled. “Everyone supported me so much through my therapy and rehab process and that meant the world to me.”

Van Voorst was a force of a nature last season as a junior, snagging 80 catches for 1,118 yards and 12 touchdowns on a Sailors’ squad that advanced into the state finals and lost.

His recovery and return provided his team a life. Especially, South Christian all-state senior quarterback and Western Michigan-commit Jon Wassink, who got his favorite target back for the pair’s last two games as prepsters.

"Getting Eric back was really big," Wassink said. "He’s got a lot of experience and I always knew I could rely on him. The comfort factor between us is huge."

Friday was Van Voorst’s second state title. He and Wassink started on South Christian’s 2012 state-championship club.

"This is the stamp on our legacy," said Van Voorst in the locker room following Friday’s victory.

It certainly does.