Wassink, Sailors Take Back Championship

November 28, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

DETROIT – The first time Jon Wassink led Grand Rapids South Christian to Ford Field, he spent the 2012 MHSAA Division 4 Final on the sideline with a broken collarbone as his back-up took the team the rest of the way to a title.

Wassink brought the Sailors back to Detroit in 2013 – but they couldn’t keep pace with Marine City despite his three touchdown passes and two scoring runs.

Friday night against Lansing Sexton was Wassink’s last chance to be part of an MHSAA football champion – and play a physical part in a championship game win. 

And he didn’t let it slip by. The Sailors' senior quarterback threw for 179 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 122 and another score as South Christian edged Sexton 28-27 for its second Division 4 title in three seasons.

Oh, and Wassink also had four tackles and an interception from his defensive back spot and averaged 39.8 yards on six punts. 

“Two years ago when we won it, I was just happy for the team and the community. Part of me obviously wanted to play too, so that was really disappointing but (I was) really happy at the same time,” said Wassink, who was injured in the Semifinal win that season.

“(Last year) was the driving force behind our whole season. We just didn’t want to end our season like we did last year.” 

But Sexton came so close to sending Wassink to Western Michigan University with another runner-up finish instead.

The Big Reds (13-1), undefeated on the way to their first MHSAA Final appearance, scored on the game’s opening drive, 2 minutes and 22 seconds into the first quarter. 

South Christian (12-2) scored the next two touchdowns, and Sexton then answered. The Sailors took a 21-13 lead into halftime after a Wassink touchdown pass with seven seconds to go before the break and extended the advantage on his 68-yard touchdown run 13 seconds into the third quarter. But the Big Reds battled back with two more scores to pull within a point of the lead with 10:43 to play.

“They’re a scary team. They have all of those great athletes and big bodies,” South Christian coach Mark Tamminga said. “We knew going in they scored a lot of points during the second half and wear you down with all of those big bodies. Our kids just stepped up and made plays when they had to.” 

The first set of offensive plays didn’t result in a score – but burned 5:16 off the clock to give the Big Reds only 5:25 to work with as it drove to take the lead.

The second set of difference-making maneuvers actually came on the same play – and on defense. Sexton had a new set of downs at its 38-yard line when senior linebacker Sam Heyboer burst into the Big Reds' backfield for a 12-year sack. In the process he helped cause a fumble that was recovered by another senior linebacker, Nick Bosch. 

But again, South Christian didn’t score – yet took an additional 2:13 off the clock before Wassink was stopped short on a fourth down run by Big Reds senior lineman Isaiah Brown. Only 1:35 remained, and Sexton could advance only 32 yards to its 39-yard-line before the clock ran out.

“Our defense had a heck of a goalline stand down there, and I’m proud of my kids. They fought hard against a really good football team,” Sexton coach Dan Boggan said. “We’re an outstanding football team ourselves, and it could’ve gone either way. I’m disappointed, but I’m not broken.” 

Sexton allowed only 63 more second-half yards after Wassink’s long scoring run during the first half-minute of the third quarter. But Sexton also had three turnovers total, while the Sailors never turned over the ball, and missed an extra point after its final touchdown that would’ve tied the score. The Sailors also held a Sexton rushing attack featuring two 1,000-yard rushers to only 101.

Big Reds quarterback Malik Mack finished an outstanding varsity career with 224 yards and two touchdowns passing and another score on the ground. Both of his touchdown passes went to sophomore tight end Kahari Foy-Walton, and senior Rayshawn Wilborn added eight catches for 84 yards and eight tackles at linebacker. 

Junior lineman Marshaun Blake had a game-high nine tackles and his teammates combined for six tackles for losses and three sacks. “They were one of the best, if not the best we played all year,” Wassink said. “Fast, physical, just really tough.” 

Heyboer finished with two of his team’s three sacks and also caught one of Wassink’s three touchdown passes. Seniors Ryan Veenstra and Eric VanVoorst caught the others, and senior Geff Plasman finished his career with 80 more rushing yards to end up with 1,300 for this fall. 

Wassink’s final numbers for his final season set the bar high for those who follow. Adding in his Ford Field heroics, Wassink finished with 1,426 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing and 2,494 yards and 28 touchdowns passing.

And he'll graduate as a two-time MHSAA champion – this time having had something to say about the final result. 

“He’s been driven all year. This is what he wanted,” Tamminga said. “He felt he didn’t play the best here last year, and he wanted to go out with a state championship.

“What a tremendous athlete.” 

Click for full statistics.

PHOTOS: (Top) Lansing Sexton’s Malik Mack (4) and Ardis Davis (9) work to wrap up a South Christian ball carrier Friday night. (Middle) Mack prepares to unload a pass with the Sailors’ Jake Wierenga applying pressure. (Click for action photos and team photos from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)


WASSINK'S OFF TO THE RACES - Grand Rapids South Christian scored touchdowns on its last possession of the first half and its first of the second half against Lansing Sexton. Here's the second TD, a 68-yard run by quarterback Jon Wassink. The TD and extra point that followed turned out to be the winning scoring sequence in a 28-27 Sailors win.
SEXTON TIGHTENS IT UP - Early in the fourth period, Lansing Sexton pulled within a point of Grand Rapids South Christian on a 29-yard pitch/catch/run play from Malik Mack to Kahari Foy-Walton. It was the second time the duo connected for a score in the game.

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Ubly Offense, Kicker Pile Up Record Book Listings During Championship Run

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

April 12, 2024

Ubly finished a combined 27-1 over the last two seasons, following up a Division 8 runner-up run in 2022 with its first MHSAA Finals championship this past November. And the Bearcats stacked plenty of record book performances along the way.

Individually, senior Brett Mueller made the single-season extra point list again this past season with 76 in 81 tries, and he set the MHSAA career record with 220 extra points over 232 attempts, 40 games and three seasons. He has signed with Saginaw Valley State.

As a team, Ubly was added to the record book 13 times for achievements over the last two years, most notably in the rushing game. The Bearcats topped 5,200 total yards both seasons, and also made the rush yardage list twice including with a sixth-best 5,148 in 2022. Their 90 touchdowns in 2022 rank seventh all-time, and their 85 this past fall tied for 13th, and they tied the record with 10 rushing touchdowns in a 2022 win over Reese and set another record with 84 rushing touchdowns total that season.

See below for more recent record book additions in 11-player football, and click the heading to see the record book in full:

11-Player Football

Dundee’s Ben Miller has a pair of basketball record book entries, and he’s also been added in football for scoring seven touchdowns in his team’s 72-36 win over Erie Mason on Oct. 20, 2017. A senior that season, he ran for five scores and caught two touchdowns passes.

Nearly four decades later, Howard City Tri County’s Mike Wagoner has reached the record book for his work on defense in 1985. A junior that season, Wagoner returned three interceptions for touchdowns – 65, 55 and 35 yards – which would have been second on the list at the time and remains tied for third-most for one season.

Jaxon Lippert tops the list of 21 who have returned kickoffs 99 yards. Lippert, now a senior at Walled Lake Western, joined the list against Davison during his junior season.

A handful of records from Warren De La Salle Collegiate’s recent run of Ford Field teams and also one from decades ago were added. Jake Badalamenti was added three times for kickoff returns between 96-99 yards, one as a junior in 2016 and two as a senior the following fall, and Marty Wyzlic was added for his 95-yarder in 1976. Mason Muragin is the new leader for tackles for loss in a career with 71 over three seasons, and he also was added to the single-season list with 31 as a junior in 2021, as was Will Beasley for 38 as a junior in 2020. Wayne Wright was added for his 16 sacks over nine games as a senior in 1984, and Josh Cox was added for his 100-yard interception return as a senior in 2012. Muragin plays at Illinois, Beesley plays at Princeton, Cox played at Central Michigan, and Badalamenti played baseball at Wayne State.

Pinckney junior Nolan Carruthers caught 16 passes during a 13-7 loss to Jackson on Sept. 15, good to tie for ninth-most in one game and breaking the Livingston County record of 14 by Hartland’s Greg Matthyssen in 2007 – a listing that also was added.

Ethan Wissner did some major lifting, or rather carrying, during Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s 28-14 District Final win over Montrose in 2022. The then-senior ran 42 times to make the record book, for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He’s continuing at Siena Heights.

Senior quarterback Andrew Schuster and junior receiver DeShaun Lanier formed a game-changing pass-catch combo this past season for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, with Schuster finishing his career with nine record book listings and Lanier totaling six with a season to play. Schuster most notably was added for 212 completions on 301 attempts for 2,766 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, and 321 completions and 4,199 career yards over two years and 22 games. Lanier was added in part for 73 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs this fall. Junior kicker Juliano Haddad also earned impressive mentions with 10 field goals and 50 extra points – and he’ll carry a streak of 35 straight extra points into next fall. Schuster has committed to Grand Valley State.

Fulton’s Evan Barton has been added to the single-game touchdowns list after catching four scoring passes Sept. 8, 2017, against Potterville. He was a senior that season.

Saginaw Heritage’s Braylon Isom completed his career this past fall as arguably the most accomplished receiver in MHSAA history. His name is listed in the record book eight times, with career records of 3,837 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns over 34 games and four seasons, and with a single-season record 26 touchdowns this past fall over 12 games. His 91 career receptions rank fifth, and he’s also listed for 82 catches and 1,617 yards (seventh-most) as a senior and 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He will continue at Miami (Ohio).

Evart’s 24-8 run over the last three seasons has been its most successful of the MHSAA playoff era, and senior quarterback Preston Wallace has played an enormous part. He finished his 33-game career in the fall – he came up for one game as a freshman – on record book lists twice for single-season passing yards and touchdowns and on career lists for 662 attempts, 421 completions, 6,955 yards and 88 passing touchdowns over those 32 games and three seasons. The yardage ranks 15th all-time, and the touchdowns are tied for sixth-most for one career.  

The 2005 Midland Bullock Creek team was added for scoring 547 points over 12 games. The Lancers finished 11-1, their only loss in a Division 5 Regional Final.

PHOTO Ubly's Seth Maurer (30) carries the ball during the Division 8 championship win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in November.