WHITEHALL – High school football fans in Muskegon County had been anticipating the offensive fireworks that a Whitehall vs. Fruitport playoff football matchup might bring.
They may have left Whitehall’s football stadium a little soggy Friday night, but they could not have been disappointed in the 77 points scored in the Vikings’ 51-26 victory over the Trojans in a rain-soaked, standing-room-only Division 4 district finals showdown.
Of course, Whitehall fans came away happier as their unbeaten Vikings seized their first district championship since 2014 on the strength of an explosive offense, fast and physical defense, and strength at the point of attack.
Now comes the matchup that many have been pointing to the entire season: Whitehall (11-0) vs. Grand Rapids South Christian (11-0) for the regional championship, pitting teams that have held down the top two spots in the state rankings most of the way. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 11) at East Kentwood’s Falcon Stadium.
Fruitport closes its memorable season with an 8-3 record.
Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
Here are notables and more details from the Whitehall-Fruitport game:
- In one of the craziest sequences you’ll ever see in a football game, Fruitport and Whitehall combined for four touchdowns in a 49-second span of the third quarter. Fruitport senior quarterback Collin Jolman started it with a 9-yard to pull his team within 31-18 with 2:44 remaining in the quarter. On the very next play from scrimmage, Whitehall junior QB Kyle Stratton heaved a scoring pass to junior Trannon Aylor for an 80-yard TD that put the Vikings up 38-18 with 2:25 left in the frame. On the ensuing kickoff, Fruitport senior Cody Nash ripped off a 75-yard kickoff return to pull the Trojans within 38-26 with 2:09 left in the third. Not to be outdone, Whitehall senior Nate Bolley took the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to the house to make it 45-26 with 1:55 remaining in the quarter.
- Whitehall outgained Fruitport in total offense, 537-232. The Vikings outrushed the Trojans, 392-197.
- Both teams had three turnovers. Whitehall lost two fumbles and was intercepted once, while Fruitport was picked off three times.
- Stratton finished 4-of-12 passing for 145 yards with one TD and one interception. He ran 13 times for 127 yards and three TDs.
- Bolley finished with 10 carries for a game-high 163 yards. He had a 60-yard run in the first quarter. In the second quarter, with Whitehall facing fourth-and-7 from Fruitport’s 48, Bolley was back to punt but took off for a 28-yard gain that set up Jackson Cook’s 8-yard TD run four plays later for a 17-6 lead with 2:33 left in the half.
- Cook, a physical senior back for the Vikings, added 84 rushing yards and two TDs on seven carries. He also paced his team’s well-balanced defense from the linebacker spot with 6.5 tackles.
- Aylor, a big-play junior, caught two passes for 123 yards – good for a 61.5-yard average. He also picked off two passes on defense.
- Whitehall junior Everett Napier had six tackles, 2.5 for lost yardage. Senior linebacker Jaiden Altgilbers had 5.5 tackles, while junior Ca’Mar Ready finished with five tackles and an interception.
- The most dangerous of Fruitport’s big-play threats, senior Paschal Jolman, finished with 19 carries for 142 yards. His 90-yard TD two minutes into the second half pulled the Trojans within 24-12.
- Jolman’s twin brother, Collin, finished 7-of-15 passing for 35 yards and he ran 12 times for 18 yards.
- Nash ran five times for 36 yards, including an 8-yard TD that opened the game’s scoring with 7:09 left in the first quarter.
- Fruitport junior Kayden Beardsley led his team defensively with 5.5 tackles. Junior Ricky Wiggins made five stops for the Trojans.
- Fruitport shared the OK Blue Conference title with Grand Rapids West Catholic, which the Trojans beat 28-20.
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