Early scare doesn't halt Grand Rapids football team
GRAND RAPIDS -- Nathan Schrupp's game against Duluth Central went from nightmare to dream in two plays. The Grand Rapids senior safety dropped an interception that he likely could've returned for a touchdown in the second quarter of a scoreless N...
GRAND RAPIDS -- Nathan Schrupp's game against Duluth Central went from nightmare to dream in two plays.
The Grand Rapids senior safety dropped an interception that he likely could've returned for a touchdown in the second quarter of a scoreless North County Conference game Friday night at Noble Hall Field.
"He saw the end zone, no doubt," Grand Rapids coach Tim Botsford said.
"I freaked out," Schrupp said. "I knew how important the play was."
The play was magnified because the Thunderhawks were held to one offensive yard in the first quarter against the large Trojan front of Stephen Voelkner (6-foot-0, 250 pounds), Garth Heikkinen (6-4, 270) and Aleks Nelson (6-2, 295).
"They are big and strong, and they exposed our inexperienced line," said Botsford, in his 11th year as head coach. "We had to do something different."
After Central punted, Schrupp had a chance to make up for his gaffe.
"We ran a screen pass, and our line did a good job of popping them and letting them through," Grand Rapids quarterback Calvin Boss said. "I found [Schrupp] and he had a nice run."
Schrupp gained redemption as he crossed the goal line after a 60-yard touchdown reception that included two broken tackles and a key block from Bill Martinetto.
Boss later ran 19 yards for another score, and the Thunderhawks won 14-8.
Duluth Central (1-1) moved the ball in the first half but failed to score as quarterback Jason Michalicek lost two fumbles.
"[Michalicek] had a tough time, and we decided to give [running back Harden Henry] a chance [at quarterback]," Central coach Chris Vold said. "He gives us some more juice and a better dynamic with his running ability."
In the third quarter, Henry had a 32-yard quarterback sweep set up his own 3-yard sneak for a touchdown.
"When he came in at quarterback, that threw us off-guard," Schrupp said. "We didn't know what to expect."
Still, Grand Rapids (1-1) held Henry and running back Quinton Witherspoon to 98 rushing yards, or 243 fewer yards than the duo had Aug. 31 against International Falls.
"They put more guys up because they knew we weren't going to air it out," Vold said.
Friday was the second straight time Grand Rapids was able to corral Central's rushing game.
In the 2006 Section 7AAAA title game, the Thunderhawks held John Hanna to 36 yards and Noah Pauley to 30 yards in a 23-20 win.
"It was a real important win for us," Schrupp said. "After last year, we knew they were going to come after us from the get-go."
GR -- Nathan Schrupp 60 pass from Calvin Boss (kick failed)
GR -- Boss 19 run (Alvin Williams to Boss)
DC --Harden Henry 3 run (Quinton Witherspoon run)