Watervliet captures perfect regular season record after cruising past Coloma
WATERVLIET FOOTBALL REIGNS SUPREME… Watervliet’s 2017 varsity football squad was crowned Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division champions Friday night. The team finished the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record and will head into the playoffs with a game against Schoolcraft at home Friday night. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
The Friday night battle between Watervliet and Coloma showcased the epitome of football here in the Tri-City area.
Coloma was searching for their sixth win of the season to guarantee their spot in the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s football playoffs. Southwestern Athletic Conference foe Watervliet sought to maintain their perfect record and defeat their Red Arrow Highway rivals. And, what a game it was!
With temperatures in the low 70s at kickoff and clear skies, the weather lent itself more to summer than the representative fall classic.
The game marked the final regular season football game for both teams, and it got good early.
PICKENS PURSUED BY COMET CREW… Watervliet quarterback Zack Pickens was pursued by a host of Comets much of the evening Friday as the teams reestablished their final week football rivalry of the 2017 season. Pickens picked apart the Coloma defense with ease. He was 13 of 16 and passed for 181 yards. He also scored four touchdowns on the ground as he rushed 23 times for 194 yards. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
Coloma won the toss and deferred to Watervliet. The Comet kick was returned by Watervliet’s Jakob Aldrich.
On the first play of Watervliet’s first possession, quarterback Zack Pickens completed a pass to Ryan Chisek, who was drilled and dropped by Coloma’s Tevin Blazier. The sound reverberated throughout the stadium, and the rivalry football game was full on.
Pickens ran two plays himself before passing again. He picked up additional yardage after shucking off Comet defenders and traveled to the one yard line. It would be Watervliet and Pickens who scored the game’s first touchdown, six points for the Panthers coming just under three minutes into the game.
Blazier broke up the two-point conversion pass attempt, but Watervliet led 6-0.
Sincere Taylor of Coloma picked up the Watervliet kickoff. On Coloma’s first play, the squad lost a yard.
Caleb Ellis caught the pitch from Coloma quarterback Zack Goodline. Then, it was Goodline who went deep for Coloma on a rush.
After running two consecutive rushing plays that lost two and one yards, respectively, Coloma faced a third and 13 from the Watervliet 20 yard line.
Goodline threw a bomb to the end zone but the ball fell incomplete. Goodline tried again, facing fourth and 13, but Watervliet’s Bryant Kieft broke up the pass. On their first possession, Coloma turned the ball over on downs.
On Watervliet’s next possession, Pickens posted a big run into Coloma territory. But, a stout Comet defense made things difficult for Watervliet and forced a fourth and four from the 20 yard line. Following a dead ball foul, Coloma took over at their own 10 yard line.