GREENVILLE — There was rain. There were miscues. It’s probably too close to call as to which happened more.
In the end, Middleville Thornapple Kellogg earned its first victory of the season with a slim 18-15 victory over the host Greenville Yellow Jackets on Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets (1-2 overall) turned the ball over five times — three in the second half — and allowed two special teams plays to decide the game.
“We moved the ball up and down the field and didn’t score,” Greenville coach Dave Moore said. “They scored on two special team plays. They didn’t move the ball that well on us, but they had big plays on special teams.”
With just over one minute remaining, Middleville (1-2) struck with its first special teams score.
On fourth down, punter Aaron Ordway took off running after the snap and didn’t stop until 61 yards later with the Trojans’ first touchdown. Ordway finished the series off with an extra point to make the score 9-7 going into the half.
“Giving up the touchdown right at the end of the first half was a killer,” Moore said. “We had a nice lead going in.”
The fake punt wasn’t the call by the Trojans coaching staff, but it was an option for Ordway.
“We knew it wasn’t going good from the punt standpoint. We knew he (Ordway) had some wheels,” Middleville coach Chad Ruger said. “They were coming off the edge because we weren’t doing a great job with the snap. It was up to him and he knew what he was looking for.”
The first half was played in a steady rain and stiff wind coming from the north.
“The field was fine, but it was very wet in the first half,” Moore said. “That led to both teams dropping the ball a bunch. I think both schools struggled offensively in the first half.”
The second special teams play took place in the third quarter with three minutes remaining.
Greenville was punting, the snap skipped and got past punter Caleb Wolfe. Wolfe tried to kick the ball through the end zone, but the ball came to rest still inbounds in the end zone. Ordway was the first to pounce on the loose ball for the score. A two-point conversion gave Middleville a 15-9 lead.
“We were 0-2 and we know all about how tough Greenville is. That is a good football team,” Ruger said. “We just called on our guys to play their best football game. Offensively, we sputtered and struggled. But our defense won the game with some of the turnovers they created.That inspired the team and we got rolling a little bit.”
Another bad snap by Greenville set up a late 30-yard field goal by Ordway to make the score 18-9.
Greenville scored with 1:13 remaining in the game on a touchdown run by Corey Zimmerman. A bad snap led to a missed extra point as the Yellow Jackets trailed 18-15.
A last chance onside kick failed for Greenville.
Overall, the Yellow Jackets outgained the Trojans 279 yards to 213.
Ordway finished with three carries for 79 yards and a score. Addison Schipper had 39 yards rushing.
Curtis Heppe passed for 142 yards on 7-of-14 passing. Miguel Nieto finished with 97 yards and a touchdown, but left in the second half with an injury. Brennan Ramirez caught a 70-yard pass to set up Greenville’s final touchdown.
The Yellow Jackets travel to Byron Center on Friday, while the Trojans host South Christian.