DETROIT (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids South Christian football team picked the perfect time to put its best defensive performance on display.
The Sailors recorded their first shutout of the season in Friday’s Division 4 state championship game.
A 28-0 win over Goodrich at Ford Field in Detroit gave South Christian its first state crown since 2014 and a perfect 14-0 record.
“Our defensive coordinator looked at me with about five minutes to go and said, ‘Man, I really want this shutout,’ and the kids sealed the deal,” Sailors coach Danny Brown said. “It’s great because we pride ourselves on defense and the fact that we were able to play so well in the final game when it matters most is amazing.”
The Sailors won despite a few miscues on offense, which included two fumbles and an interception. However, their defense held the Martians out of the end zone by forcing six punts and intercepting quarterback Gavin Hart twice.
“Defense won us this game,” South Christian senior Cam Post said. “We had a pick-six and we stopped them every time they had the ball so defense was the main factor in this game and I think we knew what we had to do.”
After a scoreless first quarter, South Christian struck first when senior quarterback Jacob DeHaan connected with Nate Brinks on a 3-yard touchdown pass. The Sailors tacked on another score four minutes later as DeHaan tossed another touchdown pass, this one to Carson Vis from 23 yards out to make it 14-0.
Goodrich threatened to score a couple times, but were unable to break through against South Christian’s stifling defense.
Senior Jacob DeHaan and junior Jake Vermaas helped put Goodrich away in the fourth quarter. In less than a minute, the Sailors doubled their lead with a 54-yard touchdown run from DeHaan and an interception return for a touchdown by Vermaas.
DeHaan rushed for 99 yards on 12 carries and also completed 14 of 21 passes for 266 yards.
“I just wanted to get in the end zone so badly on that run,” DeHaan said. “We’ve been making plays when we need to make plays and that’s what we’ve been doing all year. We just competed really well on offense and defense and it’s a great feeling to celebrate this with my teammates and the community.”
Vermaas shined on offense as well and had his best game of the season. He broke his collarbone in Week 3, but returned for the postseason. Vermaas recorded a game-high 152 yards on seven catches.
“We’ve been talking about this since third grade and there’s 10 guys that hang out every night and we are so close,” Vermaas said.”I think that was a special part of the team. That’s what made us so good.”