CONSTANTINE, MI – As the son of Constantine’s 17th-year soccer head mentor Shawn Griffith, senior Owen “Juice” Griffith has been all over the Falcons system for as extended as he can remember.

So, it was fitting for the Falcons to pull off a vintage Constantine gain on Senior Night time, defeating Kalamazoo United 32-14 at Sweetland Stadium to capture a third consecutive Southwestern Athletic Meeting Lakeshore Division championship.

“As a brotherhood, we’ve all played football due to the fact Rocket – due to the fact we were minor – and there is been the create-up of sitting down in the stands viewing Constantine teams earn convention championship video games when we were being younger, so it’s good to see ourselves finally win just one at home and turn into outright champs, instead than splitting it like we did two years in the past,” Owen Griffith explained.

Right after a again-and-forth 1st quarter that noticed Constantine and United merged for 4 touchdowns, the Falcons’ Full Residence-T offense churned out 4-property obtain following 4-garden achieve to shift the chains and retain the clock ticking.

Constantine completed with 290 rushing yards on 54 carries, led by sophomore Bennett VandenBerg, who carried 16 times for 152 yards, such as a 41-property touchdown on the Falcons’ fourth enjoy from scrimmage. Junior Brayden Clark additional 18 carries for 59 yards and caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Caden Hetmansperger to make it a 16-6 game with 1:12 remaining in the initially quarter.

That methodical ground activity also held United’s potent offense just 3 possessions right after the initially quarter.

“It took a whole four-back again work, and I actually thought our offensive line type of stepped up. That’s as superior as we have performed up entrance all calendar year extensive,” Shawn Griffith reported. “Other than our very first touchdown there in which Bennett broke a long run, we were rather methodical, and I seriously believed that finished up remaining to our gain, grinding the clock out for the reason that we were being having all sorts of issue stopping them.

“With about two minutes left in the recreation, I went over to our defensive coordinator, Darrin VandenBerg, and I explained, ‘Man, can you believe they’ve only received 14 points?’ Because it guaranteed appeared like they ended up gashing us the full match for extended runs and some superior perform contacting on their conclude, but when you do not have the football, you’re likely to struggle to make far more performs than what they did.

“So, hats off to them. That is a genuinely excellent football staff Kalamazoo United has, and I’m fired up for our youngsters. We have labored rather darn hard this 12 months as a unit and have get over a large amount of factors as considerably as injuries and stuff like that, and to be able to arrive out in this article and earn a league championship, it is big for our young ones and large for the college and the neighborhood.”

Primary 16-14 with 19 seconds still left in the very first quarter, Constantine been given a Kalamazoo United kickoff and marched 76 yards in 18 performs, capped by a 3-garden touchdown operate from Clark to make it a 24-14 activity.

The marathon scoring drive left just 1:25 left on the next quarter clock, but that was pretty much sufficient time for United’s explosive offense to obtain the end zone.

A 35-yard run from United senior Michael Keckler set the Titans in scoring situation, and a 10-lawn operate from Willem de Jong set the ball at Constantine’s 10-yard line with 11 seconds still left, but the Falcons’ protection came up with its 1st and most crucial quit of the game, as Caden Hetmansperger sacked quarterback Will Zuiderveen to convey the second quarter to a close.

“(The lengthy next-quarter generate) was enormous since we held declaring we do not want to give them the ball with any time left to retaliate and rating simply because we knew they ended up likely to get the ball coming out in the second 50 {362bf5cdc35eddfb2532d3c23e83b41deb229c4410d15cb1127c60150cbd4488},” Shawn Griffith reported. “With 1:25, I imagined we’re in superior condition, and then they finish up proper again down here on the 10-yard line, and we have a massive enjoy by Caden on a sack on their ultimate engage in of the 50 percent, and I think that variety of established the tone.

“It’s demoralizing to a protection. I suggest, it wasn’t like their young children were being producing bad plays we were chunking 3 and 4 yards a engage in each and every time, and on fourth down, we were capable to make the correct call and remain away from their stress that they have been giving us and change.

“It’s kind of been Constantine football here for a although, so I was quite impressed with how these children stepped up and were being capable to execute the video game system.”

Kalamazoo United opened up the next 50 {362bf5cdc35eddfb2532d3c23e83b41deb229c4410d15cb1127c60150cbd4488} with an eight-participate in travel that moved the ball to midfield, but on third-and-9, Owen Griffith sacked and stripped United quarterback Will Zuiderveen, making it possible for teammate Heston Wiggs to get well at the Titans’ 44-yard line.

Eight performs later on, Constantine took a 32-14 guide on a 5-lawn landing operate from Hetmansperger and his two-issue conversion move to Clark with 3:54 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

United’s 2nd and closing generate of the next fifty percent ended at the Constantine 17-property line, when a Zuiderveen scramble came up a couple yards shy of the line to acquire on fourth-and-9, permitting the Falcons to acquire more than and march down to the Titans’ 2-yard line right before kneeling out the clock.

By the time the closing buzzer sounded, Constantine dominated the time of possession and ran 63 performs to United’s 34, which is a stat that will make Wiggs and the rest of the Falcons’ offensive line smile.

“We just adore it because we go in and do conditioning virtually every working day,” Wiggs mentioned. “We have CrossFit throughout the 7 days, and we know that we’re the improved-conditioned team when we phase out there on that area, so when we see them respiratory hefty, we know we acquired the game in the bag.”

Drew Finley led United with 62 hurrying yards, such as a 9-lawn landing operate that reduce the Titans’ deficit to 8-6 with 8:15 left in the initially quarter, when Keckler included 40 yards on the ground. Zuiderveen finished with 28 yards hurrying and 60 yards passing, which include a 51-garden landing go to Willem de Jong that manufactured it a 16-14 activity with 1:25 left in the next quarter.

“Offensively, I believed we ran the ball genuinely nicely tonight,” United coach Troy Ayotte reported. “We took some negative performs on some passes tonight in which they got to us, but credit score to them they performed great defense at occasions, also.

“Our offense in the second fifty percent, we just had a couple of terrible plays in this article and there. We nevertheless moved the ball, but we just could not finish drives.”

Constantine enhances to 8- for the 1st time considering the fact that 2010, when the Falcons reached the Division 6 point out semifinals and experienced Owen Griffith on the sideline as a staff manager for his father.

United falls to 5-3 immediately after seeing its five-match winning streak appear to an stop.

“We’re going to use the same message we employed at the commencing of the yr when we played some actually fantastic expertise – it is going to sharpen us,” Ayotte mentioned of what his team can take away from the reduction. “We’re heading to go back again, we’re going to consider an trustworthy glimpse at what we did and what we need to boost on, and this crew could be a seriously great playoff workforce continue to, if we can just iron some of the things out that we want to iron out, like we did after the very first two video games.”

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