Football: Lakers too much in 40-7 playoff blowout

The SVSU football team traveled to Allendale, MI to play Grand Valley State for the second consecutive week. This time, the winner would advance to the second round of the Division 2 playoffs.

After battling the weather and a motivated Lakers defense, the Cardinals fell to their rival for the second consecutive week, 40-7.

Senior quarterback Jon Jennings said the game was frustrating.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | David Solce

Senior quarterback Jon Jennings (No. 11) said there were a number of seniors who did not want to finish their careers with a loss at Grand Valley State. Jennings was named the GLIAC “Player of the Year” for 2013, throwing for 3,440 yards, 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also ran for 527 yards along with 12 scores, good for 43 touchdowns overall.

“[I] hate to go out that way against Grand Valley but all things must come to an end,” he said. “They were a good football team and you have to give them credit because they played better than us.

“We didn’t execute like we wanted and it hurt us.”

After forcing GVSU to punt on its first offensive possession, the Cards’ offense tried to take the early lead on its rival. After three plays and only one yard, SVSU was forced to send on junior kicker Scott Stanford to try to grab the early lead. However, his attempt at a 51-yard field goal sailed wide left.

Once again, the Cardinals defense was stout on the next possession, forcing another three-and-out. The offense failed to capitalize on the opportunity as Jennings threw an interception on the ensuing drive.

GVSU would take the lead on the next possession. RB/WR Brandan Green got the ball on a reverse and zoomed by the Cards’ defense 53 yards for a touchdown.

After a three-and-out by Jennings and the offense, the Lakers added a field goal, extending their lead to 10-0.

Both teams exchanged punts before Stanford lined up for his second field goal try of the game. The weather once again affected the kick as it missed wide left.

Jennings said that the weather was a factor in the offensive struggles, too.

“It made things tough,” he said. “It was hard to throw it into the wind and tough for the receivers to judge the balls.”

GVSU wasted no time finding the endzone. Lakers quarterback Heath Parling found running back Chris Robinson who took it to the house from 27 yards out. A missed PAT brought the Grand Valley lead to 16-0.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | David Solce

Senior Grand Valley State transfer Norman Shuford (No. 36) made his presence felt at SVSU, rushing for 1,152 yards and five touchdowns while averaging five yards per carry.

The score would remain the same going into halftime.

After returning to the field, nothing seemed to fix the SVSU woes on offense. After driving down the field, the offense stayed on the field to attempt to convert a fourth down and one. A handoff to senior running back Norman Shuford was stopped at the line of scrimmage and Grand Valley took over.

The defense continued playing tough for the Cardinals. Both teams swapped punts before another Lakers field goal made it 19-0.

The fourth quarter saw most of the game’s scoring. Parling connected for his second touchdown of the game, finding Darryl Pitts from 17 yards out.

SVSU cut into the 26-point deficit on its next possession when Jennings found fellow senior wide receiver Michael Albrecht for a 41-yard score. However, the touchdown was too little too late for the offense.

Another Parling scoring pass and a touchdown late by the backup quarterback Isiah Grimes drew the game to an end.

For the Cardinals, the team’s record at the end of the year was 9-3. The three losses were to Northwest Missouri State and Grand Valley (twice).

The game closed out the careers of two of SVSU’s most prolific performers; Jennings and senior wide receiver Jeff Janis. Jennings finished his final game going 13-26 for 156 yards and 1:3 touchdown-INT ratio. Janis caught five passes but was held to 31 yards receiving. Other notable losses include Shuford, Albrecht, offensive lineman Christian Babini, Kaleb Forr, Tevon Conrad, Ryan Busch, Brian Johnson, Jon Bryant and DeAngelo Parris.

Going into next year, the team will look not to rebuild, but to reload.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 2nd, 2013 and is filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.