Bowie, 'Clamp Nation' Lock Down D1 Win

November 7, 2015

By Chip Mundy
Special for Second Half

BRIGHTON – Moments after the end of the MHSAA Division 1 boys soccer championship game at Brighton High School late Saturday afternoon, students and fans from Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central were chanting in unison, “MIS-TER SOC-CER.”

The object of the chant was senior Anthony Bowie, who scored the first goal of the game as Forest Hills Central captured its first MHSAA championship since winning the Division 2 title in 2004 with a 2-0 victory over defending Division 1 champion Canton.

Bowie did not seem too concerned about the chant or the upcoming announcement of the award.

“I tried not to pay attention to that,” he said. “I was just focused on the team.”

Bowie tied the school record for goals in a season with number 42 in the seventh minute of the game on an assist from Max Postlewait. Bowie was right in front of the goal when he booted it past the goalkeeper.

“Max put a ball over the top, and it was falling down and I was all by myself, and I was just looking to frame it one time, and I put it on frame,” he said.

It was a key goal. The previous four Division 1 championship games ended 1-0, so goals are sometimes at a premium.

“It was huge,” Forest Hills Central coach Blair Lincoln said. “We talked about not chasing the match and getting out in front and having them react and chase us.

“Anytime you can get a goal and go up 1-0, that just puts them on their heels and they start reacting to our game plan a little bit. To get a goal and go up 1-0 into the wind in the first half was a positive for us. We talked about being defensive in the second half, and good things happened.”

Canton coach Mark Zemanski had to look only one game back for hope facing a 1-0 deficit.

“We were down 1-0 in the semis, so I knew we could come back, or I hoped we could come back,” he said. “It didn’t happen.

“They were a very good team. Bowie was the best forward we’ve faced all year by far. He was good.”

Bowie, who is headed to Western Michigan University, also assisted on Forest Hills Central’s second goal of the game, and Lincoln said that part of his game is often overlooked.

“Anthony is a special player,” Lincoln said. “He had 42 goals this year, but what is even more impressive is his ability to generate almost 25 assists. He was a part of almost 70 goals this year.

“I really like his opportunity to be Mr. Soccer. He’s just a special player. He’s physical, he’s big, he’s explosive and he can change a match. If you focus on him, it will go to someone else. If you focus on someone else, it’s coming in to him.

“He’s very dynamic and one of the best players I’ve ever coached.”

With the 1-0 lead, the Rangers became a little more defensive-orientated and relied on sophomore goalkeeper Jared Ireland and the unit that has become known as “Clamp Nation.”

“It’s fantastic,” Ireland said. “I have to give a good round of applause to my defense. They stayed tight throughout the game. There were a couple of good chances, but we pulled through at the end and clamped it down for Clamp Nation.”

Ireland faced his greatest challenge with four minutes left in the second half. He had to dive to his right to stop the ball from hitting the back of the net and tying the game.

“It was a very high-reaction save and very difficult,” Ireland said. “I was very nervous in the last 10 minutes of the game. Those last 10 minutes seemed like they lasted as long as the whole season.”

A few minutes later, junior Mohamed Haji scored with an assist from Bowie, and the Rangers had a 2-0 lead with just a few minutes to play.

“Our goal was not to be content getting here,” Lincoln said. “You’re playing the defending state champs and a very good squad, and they fought hard all the way to the end.”

Three years ago, this probably did not seem possible for the Rangers, who won just five games in 2012, the first season under Lincoln.

“Our first year, we had a young team, and we all grew together,” Bowie said. “We had a core group of guys throughout the whole time, and we just grew up together. We just stayed together.

“There were three of us as freshman, then seven as sophomores and then 12 as juniors. It feels awesome, and hopefully these guys carry it on for the next few years and learn from the seniors.”

Zemanski was obviously disappointed that Canton did not become the first team to repeat as Division 1 champion since East Kentwood in 2007-08 but pointed out that his team lost to another good team.

“The boys knew they had their backs to the wall,” he said. “They knew this team wasn’t going to give up, and they had to work together to generate some opportunities, and we generated some but couldn’t find the back of the net. Hats off to them. That’s a very good team.”

The Rangers, who started the season with dreams of an undefeated season and an MHSAA championship, had three ties, and Bowie pointed out that one of them might have served as a springboard into the playoffs.

“The last game of the regular season (against East Grand Rapids), we were up 3-0, and in 10 minutes they scored to make it 3-3,” Bowie said. “It was a reality check, like they can beat us, and that’s when we really came together and said we have to stay focused, and we were able to do that throughout the playoffs.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, including Marshall Brummel (20), celebrate Saturday. (Middle) Rangers surround Canton’s Ryen O’Meara, including Noah Saleh (3) and Jake Ireland (9).

Record-Setting Saving, Historic Scoring Send Grosse Ile to 2018 Boys Soccer Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 17, 2024

Grosse Ile’s Division 3 runner-up season in 2018 included multiple MHSAA team records for defensive and offensive success.

The Red Devils set a record with 21 straight shutouts and 24 total over 29 games, and also finished third all-time scoring 158 goals.

Their 23-game winning streak that season remains tied for seventh-longest as Grosse Ile finished 27-2.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA boys soccer record book, and click the heading to see the record book in full.

Boys Soccer

Keeper Ethan DeJager and Grandville Calvin Christian were nearly unbeatable in 2020, finishing 19-1-2 and runner-up in Division 4. They set a record allowing only four goals for the season, while DeJager is fourth on the season shutouts list with 19 over those 22 games and tied for the second-longest shutout streak at 13. DeJager was a senior that season.

Seth Davidson capped his four-year varsity career this past fall on three records lists for shutouts – 15 over 22 games this past season, 26 for his career and nine straight as a senior. Berkley as a team also made the fewest goals allowed list, giving up only 11 in finishing 18-2-2.

Caden Saxton capped a memorable four-year Flint Kearsley varsity career in the fall with four entries in the record book. He made the assists list with 27 over 21 games as a senior and also the single-season points list with 65, and made career lists in those categories with 63 assists and 149 points, respectively, over 71 games.

Jonesville advanced in its District this past season with an 8-5 overtime win over Blissfield on Oct. 12, and Warrick Elder played a big part scoring six goals. He’s a senior.

Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep’s run to the Division 4 Semifinals saw contributions from several players, and junior James Whiting was among those leading the way. He made the assists list with 30 over 22 games, and also the total points list with 49. He also sits on the career assists list after three seasons with 66 and one more season to play.

Holland Christian made the team list for 12 straight shutouts from Sept. 8-Oct. 19, and 15 shutouts total over 20 games this past season. Junior Adam Bergman was in goal for all 15 including the 12 consecutive.

Muskegon Oakridge senior Arturo Romero-Serrano capped his career in the fall with his second season reaching 40 goals, netting 42 total to finish his four-year career with 105 and also on the MHSAA career points list with 125. He also added a second six-goal game, against Muskegon Catholic Central on Aug. 25.

Monroe Jefferson’s season came to an end Oct. 11 in a District game against Riverview, but senior Gabe Gelso finished with a state record. He made 49 saves in the 9-0 defeat as the Bears had only eight players total.

Ian Klenk added eight more shutouts in goal this past fall to finish his three-season varsity career with 25 in 60 games and make the career list in that category. He’ll continue his career at Kuyper College.

PHOTO Grosse Ile's keeper Brendan Ebler (1) gathers the ball and charts his next move during the 2018 Division 3 Final.