Yellow Jackets ready for upstart Holland

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 4:21 pm on Thursday, September 08, 2011

Zach Hoover of Greenville tackles Darnell Longmire of Muskegon Mona Shores during last week’s 59-14 victory.

GREENVILLE — State ranked opponents are nothing new to the Greenville Yellow Jackets football schedule.
Typically, East Grand Rapids and Lowell lead the list. Occasionally, Grand Rapids Christian, and in the past, Caledonia are among the best. This year there is a surprise, Holland.
No not Holland Christian. No not Holland West Ottawa. But Holland, as in the Dutch.
In stunning fashion, Holland handed five-time defending Division 3 state champion East Grand Rapids a 30-22 loss last Friday. It was the first loss for the Pioneers since a 35-12 loss to Lowell on October 24, 2008 in the regular season finale.
How impressive was the win?
In the past 10 years, East Grand Rapids has lost just seven times to only three different teams. Lowell (2004 twice, 06, 08) has four wins, Caledonia (2005, 07) two wins and Fruitport (2001) one win. All but two of the losses occurred in the postseason.
“They got tremendously better than a year ago,” Greenville coach Dave Moore said. “I don’t think anyone expected them to beat East.”
The Yellow Jackets defeated Holland 44-18 last year on the road. Holland finished 2010 with a 3-6 record and has just three winning seasons (2009, 08, 94) the past 20 years.
The biggest difference for the Dutch comes under center. Moore compares quarterback Corey Willis to a local college quarterback.
“They have a great quarterback. He is really the difference maker out there,” Moore said. “He’s kind of like a high school Denard Robinson (University of Michigan). He does a little of everything and can really run.”
Last week against East, Willis ran for 242 yards on 31 carries and scored two touchdowns. He ran for 127 yards on 23 carries in a week one victory over Holland Christian.
“A lot of our game will be containing him,” Moore said. “We can’t let him run wild because he’s done that in the first two games.”
Willis isn’t the only positive thing about Holland. Size is another.
“They are a big physical team. They have some huge kids,” Moore said. “They were physical a year ago and that made us a little nervous going in. On top of that they have speed now and that is a good combination to have.”
Like Holland, the Yellow Jackets are 2-0 on the season. Last week, the Greenville defense rebounded for a 59-14 win over Muskegon Mona Shores.
“We played real well and got off to a fast start,” Moore said. “I think we really dominated the line of scrimmage and that was the key for us. That’s something we will have to continue to build on and get better at each week.”
Greenville will have to be better to stay undefeated in 2011. To do so they will have to stop Willis.
“We’ve been emphasizing all week long how do we make sure to contain him (Willis) all night,” Moore said. “We have to cut back on the mistakes and we need to be able to run the ball.”

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