Montague’s Brandon Moore attempts to evade a Shelby tackler during Friday night’s WMC game at Montague. The Wildcats won an overtime thriller, 22-15.
MONTAGUE — Montague and Shelby came down to the wire for the third year in a row with a shot at the West Michigan Conference title hanging in the balance. This time, though, the Wildcats got in the last shot in extra time.
Montague took advantage of a couple of Shelby miscues and came up with the big plays when it needed them to hold off the Tigers, 22-15 in overtime.
“We’re real happy to get the win against Shelby, them being 5-0 and us still trying to fight for a conference title,” Montague coach Pat Collins said. “We’re hoping we still have a shot at the conference and we’re hoping to fight for home field in the playoffs.”
Two failed snaps by Shelby proved to be the difference in the game. Early in the second quarter, Shelby snapped the ball over punter Shane Kajtazi’s head and through the end zone for a safety, cutting a 7-0 lead to five points.
The Wildcats (5-1, 4-1 WMC) capitalized on the momentum, driving down the field on their next two drives. Although the first resulted in a missed field goal attempt and the second resulted in a fourth-down stop by Shelby, the Wildcats immediately recovered a fumble, and would score on a Brandon Moore touchdown run.
Things looked like they might unravel when the Wildcats lost 29 yards on their first drive of the second half. However, Montague’s defense stiffened and got the ball back, and the Wildcats scored on their second drive of the third quarter to take a 15-7 lead. However, the previously unbeaten Tigers were quick to battle back and stopped the Wildcats from gaining any more significant yardage on offense.
“The momentum shifts were huge,” Collins said. “In a game like this, you’re up and down with the momentum.”
Montague’s offense stalled and Shelby (5-1, 4-1) was able to come back and tie the score with 6:47 left in the game when Nathan Lentz took a sweep around left end and ran it 25 yards for a touchdown. Shelby tied it up on a two-point conversion pass from quarterback Spencer Peters.
The Tigers appeared set to break the Wildcats’ hearts for a third straight year on their next drive, bulling into the Montague red zone, but their second failed snap of the night came on a field goal attempt with nine seconds left. The kick was never booted and the game went to overtime.
Moore hit Jacob Marsh in the end zone on the first play of overtime on a bootleg pass, and Shelby could get no closer than the three-yard line before Alex VanVleet grabbed the clinching interception on Shelby’s fourth-down play.
“We try to get him in space and let him make a play,” Collins said of Moore and the touchdown play. “He’s a great athlete. He got some time out there to look around and Jacob Marsh did a great job catching that ball and putting it in the end zone.”
Moore was contained by Shelby, rushing for 49 yards and throwing for just 62, but he made enough big plays to lead the Wildcats to victory. Brenden Stine had the biggest night for Montague, rushing for 118 yards in just his second game back from a dislocated elbow suffered against Hart in week two.
One more win will send Montague into the playoffs for the 12th year in a row.
Whitehall needs OT
to beat Spartans
SCOTTVILLE — Montague wasn’t the only area team that needed more than 48 minutes to decide the action Friday night, as the Whitehall Vikings kept playoff hopes alive with a thrilling 43-36 overtime road win at Mason County Central.
Whitehall scored the tying touchdown with 36 seconds to play in the game on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Steve Sika.
Contrary to most of the Vikings’ games this year, this game was marked by offense, particularly the ground attack. Both teams eclipsed 300 yards rushing in the game, the Vikings rolling up 352 to Mason County Central’s 332. As usual the Sika twins and Antwan Burks were the leading ground gainers for Whitehall.
The Spartans surged into the lead on a fake punt from Whitehall’s 38-yard line. Mason County Central quarterback David Andersen lined up to punt on fourth and 21 but instead hit Allen Barnhardt for a go-ahead touchdown strike. The Vikings were able to respond, however, and after scoring first in overtime, Whitehall’s defense, gashed all night by the Spartans’ running game, was able to hold, stopping Mason County Central on fourth down from the three-yard line.
The Vikings move to 3-3 overall, 2-3 in the WMC with the victory. The Spartans are now 1-5, 0-5 in league play.
R-P falls to Knights
GRAND RAPIDS - Reeths-Puffer scored three TDs in the third quarter, but the host Kenowa Hills Knights added three of their own after taking a 26-7 halftime lead to grab a 47-26 O-K Black win over the Rockets Friday night.
The win gives Kenowa Hills a 3-3 record while the Rockets fall to 1-5.
Johndries Betts-Render raced 80 yards for a TD early in the third quarter to bring the Rockets within two touchdowns of the Knights, but the host team scored three straight TDs to blow the game open.
But, before the quarter ended Bett-Render ran for an 81-yard TD and R-P’s Kyle Kolbe returned an interception 44 yards for the final score.
Kenowa Hills quarterback Cody Ritsema carved up the R-P defense. He scored two touchdowns on runs of one and two yards, and threw for four TDs. Hauling in his scoring tosses were Luke Van Essen for 16 yards and 18 yards, and Dylan Smith for 55 and 5 yards.
For the Rockets, Betts-Render ran 13 times for 191 yards, and Julian Monday rushed for 81 yards. Quarterback Garrett Blanshine was 3-9 passing for 48 yards. He had two picked off.
Leading R-P in tackles were Josh Buie and Kolbe with 7 each.