BELDING – The Cedar Springs Red Hawks defense gave up one big play. Unfortunately, for the Belding Redskins the Red Hawks defense made many more to help carry the team.
The Red Hawks stopped the Redskins three times inside the redzone – twice in the first half – and didn’t allow a second half score in a 28-16 victory over Belding to spoil homecoming on Friday at Rudness Field.
“We started off slow. I thought our first half we made a lot of mental mistakes,” Red Hawks coach Brian Busen said. “In the second half we played much better. I’m proud of our effort and to give Belding credit, I thought they played extremely tough.”
With the game tied 16-16 the Red Hawks defense made two of its biggest plays late in the third quarter.
With the Redskins driving the ball, Cedar Springs senior Jason Gingrich intercepted a pass by Brady Badder at the 14-yard line with 4:12 remaining.
Belding got the ball back less than two minutes later with great field position at the 47-yard line. The Redskins went for it on fourth down with five yards to go and was stopped.
“Our defense played tremendous,” Busen said. “We pitched a shutout in the second half, which was awesome. Our defense played amazingly tough and pretty much carried us in this game.”
The Redskins defense was playing well at the time, as well – forcing punts on both of Cedar Springs’ second half possessions – and that played a factor in the decision to go for the first down at midfield.
“We had made a couple of fourth down plays. If we make it and you keep going it puts pressure on them,” Belding coach Joel Wilker said. “I had confidence in the way our defense was playing and it allowed us to make that decision.”
The Red Hawks found their groove offensively after the defensive stop and scored on their next two possessions.
First, Gingrich caught an 11-yard pass from Tyler Covell with 9:19 remaining in the game. The two-point conversion failed making the score 22-16.
After Belding turned it over on downs the Red Hawks found the endzone with just 2:03 remaining on a 1-yard run by Connor Burrows making the score 28-16. The two-point conversion failed.
“We played with great effort and hard, but we missed a couple of opportunities in the first half,” Wilker said. “In the long run we just couldn’t quite overcome that.”
Cedar Springs scored on its first drive of the game and with 37 seconds left the first half.
The Redskins scored twice in the second quarter. The first on a six yard run by Mike Geister with 3:38 remaining and the second with just 16 seconds left on a halfback pass from Brendan Zuver to Sean Brandli for a 77-yard touchdown. Zuver score two conversions as well.
Geister led the Redskins with 82 yards rushing on 10 carries. Dylan Hunt and Ryan Stowell each had 12 tackles.
Belding fell to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the O-K Blue. Cedar Springs improved to 5-2 and 2-2 in the O-K Blue.
The Redskins travel to Coopersville on Friday while Cedar Springs is at GR West Catholic.