HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Jack Richardson weaved back and forth across the field, eluding would-be tacklers.
The Rockford senior captain made one last move and darted into the end zone as his teammates mobbed him. Richardson’s 47-yard score off a short pass from quarterback Chris Corey helped the Rams win a 24-21 thriller over Hudsonville in a Division 1 district final.
Rockford overcame a 21-14 fourth-quarter deficit for the victory and advances to next week’s regional final against the winner of Saturday’s district final between O-K Red Conference champion East Kentwood and Saline.
Hudsonville ends the season at 7-4 with two of its losses coming at home against Rockford.
The Rams (7-4), making their 24th straight playoff appearance, claimed their first district title since 2015 after falling in the district finals the past two seasons to Grandville and West Ottawa, respectively.
Rockford scored on its first possession of game after a long drive culminated in a 2-yard touchdown run by Jaiden Friesen.
Hudsonville countered in the second quarter as freshman Dylan Ham made a spectacular grab in the corner of the end zone to knot the game at 7-7.
The Rams reclaimed the lead in the waning seconds of the first half when wide receiver Nate Bareno took a backwards pass and fired a strike to Eli Haddad from 27-yards out to give Rockford a 14-7 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, quarter Drew Martinie’s 1-yard plunge trimmed the lead to 14-13.
A 78-yard touchdown run from senior Jordan Wenzel in the fourth quarter gave Hudsonville its first lead at 21-14. However, the Rams would score the final 10 points of the game.
A blocked punt resulted in a safety and made it 21-16 before Richardson’s heroics.