BRIGHTON, Mich. (WOOD) — Backup quarterback Brennan Hayes tossed two scores to give Hudsonville a chance on the road against Brighton, but the Eagles comeback effort fell short.
Led by two rushing scores from quarterback Colby Newburg, the Bulldogs took down the Eagles 35-14 at Brighton High School.
The loss ended Hudsonville’s (8-4) season after back-to-back playoff victories.
“We just have good kids at Hudsonville that battle,” said head coach Brent Sandee. “And I’m really proud of our effort to score 14 straight and have a chance at the end.”
Brighton didn’t wasn’t any time finding the end zone in the first quarter.
Newburg ran in a 29-yard score on the team’s first drive. That was followed by a running back Nicholas Nemecek 1-yard punch in to make it 14-0 with 2:34 left in the opening frame.
Then Brighton head coach Brian Lemons dug into his bag of tricks. Newburg tossed it to Mason McGuire, who then passed it as a wideout to Luke Stanton for a 72-yard score. It was all Bulldogs, ahead 21-0 with a second left in the first quarter.
Something had to change for the Eagles. In the second quarter, it did.
Starting quarterback Ike Irish went down with an injury early in the second and Hayes replaced him. It changed the game.
The junior signal caller conducted a long drive with two fourth-down conversions to a first and goal. It led to him finding senior wideout Brayden Vredeveld for a fade touchdown catch. It was 21-7 Bulldogs.
Brighton countered with a couple of big plays to get inside the Eagles 10. However, after two tackles for loss, Hudsonville stood its ground and forced a field goal attempt that was missed wide right. Momentum was shifting, the question was would it carry over to the second half for the Eagles.
It did just that.
Hayes continued to play out of his mind, rolling to his right and tossing a near 50-yard dart to Vredeveld for the score. Suddenly, the Eagles were within striking distance, down 21-14 with 7:14 left in the third.
“He is a great kid and player who has shown he can throw the ball before,” Sandee said. “We are not a one-man team, we have 70 strong right now. But yeah, we had faith in Brennan who did a great job, just came up a little bit short.”
Hudsonville got another 4th down stop on defense and on its next offensive possession reached the Bulldogs side of the 50. The Eagles were smelling a tie game.
Brighton erased any chances of that. They forced a turnover on downs themselves and proceeded to drive down the field for another short score. This time it was a Newburg on the quarterback keeper from the half-inch line. It was 28-14 midway through the final frame and Hudsonville couldn’t score again.
After fighting back and giving themselves a chance, Sandee couldn’t be more proud of his team’s valiant comeback effort.
“I told them ‘I’m proud of them and I love them,’” Sandee said. “These kids pour their soul into Hudsonville football and are good kids, I just feel bad it has to come to an end, but it does either way at one point or another.”
“I just love our kids, and they played so hard.”