Grand Valley is Going to Alabama Once Again!


Yesterday I was in Allendale, Michigan to see the Grand Valley State Lakers advance once again to the Division II Championship game by beating Carson-Newman 41-27. There were many storylines yesterday. I will try and hit on a few of them here. The first storyline had to be the snow. As you can see above the stadium looked like a Christmas globe the entire game. They had a crew of workers using blowers to clean off the yard lines during every break in the action. This was my first game in the snow, and it was worth the cold to be part of this. As we were waiting for the game to start I wondered how the snow and cold would affect Grand Valley. They are more of a passing team, while Carson-Newman is a running team. You would think that the advantage would go to the Eagles of Carson-Newman with the weather. The fact that there were only 14 completions in the game might tell you how badly the weather affected the game. There were some ugly passes yesterday on both sides of the ball. The game started with a quick drive by Carson-Newman that saw a terrible pass about 15 yards out of bounds on third down. When the ball left his hands you knew that it was way out. Grand Valley got the ball on a punt and P.T. Gates took the first play from scrimmage 59 yards for the Lakers. The weather forced Grand Valley to kick a field goal to go up 3-0. The Lakers ran the same play to Ryan Bass in the corner of the end zone three times, and Bass was open all three times. The only problem though was the fact that the ball never was close to him. The weather really set the tone for this game.

The star of the game by far had to be P.T. Gates. He had 326 all purpose yards including 183 on the ground for Grand Valley. This performance was in place of the Lakers all time leading rusher Jimmy Berezik who was suspended for the rest of the season along with four other players prior to the game. Berezik was also suspended last season in the playoffs when Grand Valley lost to eventual champion Minnesota-Deluth. Gates made me wonder why he has not been playing all year though. He really took a potentially bad situation and made the most of it. As the picture shows he had some room to run as well. The lines on both sides of the ball really took control. Another hero of the game had to be Danny Richard. For some reason they don’t post defensive stats, but Danny seemed to be on the ball the entire game. The entire defense really helped slow the running attack for Carson-Newman, but he always seemed to be in on the play. Justin Victor and Jacob McGuckin also played key roles for the defense. As for the Eagles Buck Wakefield really kept his team in the game. After Grand Valley had taken a 10-0 lead he returned a kick 89 yards to bring his team to within three. He ended the game with 222 all purpose yards, and four touchdowns. He was explosive when he had his hands on the ball.

As the clock woud down we moved down to the track to storm the field with the rest of the fans. At Grand Valley most of the crowd takes the field, not just the students. This small college atmosphere is great. The players are thanking you for coming to the game as they are celebrating. We left the tearing down of the goalposts to the students, and went to celebrate with the team. Somehow we ended up in the middle of the team, and we really were involved in the postgame celebration. The snow just added to the celebration. It seemed as if confetti was falling from the sky. As they were given the banner for their win with ESPN watching we were front row center. This is something again that you do not get at a Division I school. We talked to a few players as things wound down, and then wisely decided to finally warm up. Later in the week I will post some more pics from the game and the post game celebration.
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One thought on “Grand Valley is Going to Alabama Once Again!

  1. Pingback: My Kind of Snow Globe « csd's Daily Photo

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