BELDING — For three quarters Belding’s football team was playing well against an undefeated Hopkins Viking team.
But the fourth quarter was the undoing of the Redskins in a 42-11 loss Friday night at Rudness Field during homecoming.
The loss was difficult to swallow, noted Belding coach Joe Schwander.
“Any time you prepare well, the kids play hard and compete, it’s hard,” Schwander said. “You have to remind the kids to focus on the next game, stay the course and work hard. That’s how it goes.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Belding (2-5) got the first score of the game on a Todd Haller 21-yard field goal. Hopkins (7-0) answered that with a Nick Holshoe two-yard run, and that made the score 7-3 at the half.
“It was like the last three games we played,” Schwander said. “The previous two we were up at half. We drove the ball very well in the first half. The kids were excited at halftime. It was just like any other halftime. The kids were ready to go.”
Zach Joostberns ran in from three yards out for a 14-3 lead for the Vikings, but the Redskins got a 12-yard run from left guard Levi Eldred on a play where the quarterback gives the ball to the guard, he waits for the quarterback to fake one way and the guard runs the other.
At that point Schwander was ecstatic with the way the defense played.
“The kids on defense were very prepared,” he said. “We had a great week of practice. They (Belding) played real well. They did their responsibilities. Our defense played very well.”
However the bottom dropped out on the defense. Hopkins scored 27 points in the final eight minutes, led by two touchdowns from Jimmy Renberg.
“We made a couple of bad plays at the end,” Schwander said.
The first touchdown in the fourth quarter by Holshoe was after a trick throwback-to-the-quarterback play backfired on Belding.
“We forced them into a punt and they (Hopkins) punted,” Schwander said. “We got the ball at the 50 in the fourth quarter. We ran a trick play and we fumbled it and they ran it back. I wish I wouldn’t have called it.”
The Redskins didn’t help themselves by turning the ball over six times. Four of those came from quarterback Kole Hart, which marred an otherwise good passing game. Hart was 21-of-31 for 191 yards.
Belding struggled running the ball, as they had 94 yards rushing by their two running backs, Brendan Zuver and Neil McCully.
“Their (Hopkins’) defense did a nice job against us,” Schwander said.
Renberg led the Vikings with 132 yards on 12 carries.
Belding will host Sparta in the final home game of the season next Friday.