Calling It Like I See It: The ultimate “Haven Rumble”

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Calling It Like I See It: The ultimate “Haven Rumble”

The Bucs break down after their home game against Reeths Puffer. Grand Haven finished the year with a 6-5 record overall and made it to the district finals.

The Bucs break down after their home game against Reeths Puffer. Grand Haven finished the year with a 6-5 record overall and made it to the district finals.

Macayla Cramer

The Bucs break down after their home game against Reeths Puffer. Grand Haven finished the year with a 6-5 record overall and made it to the district finals.

Macayla Cramer

Macayla Cramer

The Bucs break down after their home game against Reeths Puffer. Grand Haven finished the year with a 6-5 record overall and made it to the district finals.

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Sometimes you’ve had enough.

It comes at different points for everyone. There’s a point where you’ve been pushed around so much that things look hopeless. Lifeless. Void of any meaning or worth.

At this moment, you have a choice: sit there and keep getting knocked down, or stand up and fight back. Prove that David can beat Goliath. Show people you’re just as good, if not better than, the opponent. 

I can’t tell you when that realization will happen for you, not even for myself. But I can tell you it happened to Grand Haven football.

It started with the class of 2020. Their junior varsity team went undefeated and looked to surge to the playoffs. They went 3-6 and left their junior season in a sour way, yet hungry to prove the critics wrong.

This year, they beat Reeths-Puffer convincingly 24-0. The Bucs then proceeded to lose their next four games. All hope seemed lost. 

Yet, a switch was flipped in the second half of their loss to Rockford, if you ask me and people who have truly followed this team. Down 12-0 at halftime, they scored 14 points in a tough, 19-14 loss. The play was inspiring and they hung with the Rams until the end, losing only because of a fluke onside kick. 

The madness began. The Bucs upset East Kentwood, then dominated the rest of the O-K Red en route to a 5-4 record and a playoff bid.

Right there, that seemed to be enough. Grand Haven had not been to the playoffs since 2011. They had three coaches in eight years, including one season where they went 1-8. It had come to the point where we expected to fail so much that any win was extraordinary.

And low and behold, the Bucs beat Grandville 28-7 for a playoff win. Amazing. 

“To compete while being 1-4 and making the playoffs is something this team should be remembered by,” team manager Nick Twa said. 

However, all good things must come to an end. Grand Haven lost to Hudsonville in the district final, capping an improbable run in an even more unlikely season.

Yet, one moment in that game stood out to me. As a Hudsonville players scored, he turned around to taunt senior Connor Worthington. Worthington caught up to him and knocked him to the ground. He was followed by fellow senior Will McWatters, who had his back in case the situation escalated.

Call it solidarity, brotherhood, whatever you’d like. The fact of the matter is simple: Grand Haven football is not going to be pushed around anymore. They play ball with the big boys now. 

If you ask me, this year’s team is an exceptional example for future Grand Haven squads. They showed grit, they stuck together and believed in themselves and each other to reach their highest potential. 

To compete while being 1-4 and making the playoffs is something this team should be remembered by.”

— Nick Twa

That’s the true embodiment of a team. I’ll take that group of 50 players any day, any place.

The great coach Bo Schembechler once said “we’re gonna believe in each other, we’re not gonna criticize each other, we’re not gonna talk about each other, we’re going to encourage each other” and that when the season is over “those who stay will be champions.”

Well Grand Haven, truer words have never been spoken. Through thick and thin, this season was the best success possible and should be celebrated for years to come.

On behalf of the students, thank you. You’ve made us believe again. You’ve rejuvenated the program and brought a firm sense of optimism to the community.

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” they say. In the case of Buccaneers, defy the haters and punch ‘em square in the mouth. Works just as well. 

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