It was a close, back and forth game for most of the contest, but a late explosion by Holland stretched the score out to 42-21, as the Dutch came into Zeeland Stadium and upset the Chix to move on in the MHSAA playoffs.
Holland junior Corey Willis accounted for all six of his team's touchdowns, running for four and throwing two. The Chix really keyed on him, so he didn't break as many long runs as he is accustomed to, but he grinded out yardage and showed a lot of toughness in addition to the quickness and elusiveness he has in the past. He has great change of direction and a sixth sense for eluding defenders and also finding small creases and sliding his way through. What stood out most to me was how he took punishment though. For a guy who is not real big, he's a tough, strong kid. On defense, he has the tools to be a great cover guy, but most improve his technique as a tackler. I think, right now, his best college position is slot receiver, but he could develop into a collegiate cornerback prospect as well.
I was very impressed with senior linebacker Nathan Ricketts as well. He's always been a bigger kid who hits and finds the ball, but what stood out to me was the athleticism he showed, being able to split out and catch passes on offense. He definitely hits. He's definitely strong, and as the son of a coach, he's a great leader who finds the football, but what stood out here was that he was more athletic than previously advertised.
For Zeeland East, their senior class has several kids that will play college football, even if it's on lower level. They have three wide receivers that will play on Saturdays. Jordan Hill is a big, physical possession type wideout with good ball skills. Brandon Jackson and Josh Snyder are smaller, but are play makers. Jackson is a speedy kid that can return kicks. Snyder, who caught two touchdowns, has a knack for making big plays. Defensive lineman T.J. Beelen was hampered some by an ankle injury, but he's a good sized kid that is receiving college attention. Sophomore Spencer Viening is a good all around athlete at running back and defensive back that is one to watch for the future. I also liked what I saw from defensive linemen Paul Baker and Patrick Banks.