In Perspective: GVSU's Streak Ends

All good things come to an end and for Grand Valley, their 40-game win streak came to a halt in frustrating fashion. On a 4-degree night in Maryville, amidst controversy, the mighty Lakers fell and a senior class who had not seen many losses closed their careers with one that may have felt even colder than the Bearcat Stadium turf.

Conspiracy theories abound!

Was it the shoes? cleats? Home field advantage? Penalty calls?

Whatever you attribute it to, Grand Valley lost. 34-16 to Northwest Missouri State, and yes, Laker players were sliding, slipping and unable to stop on Xavier Omon's cutbacks.

Any way you slice it, the streak is over and for now, so is GVSU's reign at the top. For fans, players, coaches, anybody associated with the team, it is a tough pill to swallow. Losses don't come regularly around Allendale and the circumstances surrouding this one make it tougher than those North Dakota losses or the Northwood game.

But, let us put things back in perspective and look back fondly on what has been a great run of wins. Multiple key plays, tense moments and clutch performances contributed to this record run.

Finnerty to Fowler for the 30-24 win over Ashland, both tight victories over Northwest Missouri State (the infamous drop in the end zone springs to mind).

This streak ends and looking at our young talent, Jimmy Berezik, Brad Iciek and a host of talented players fans have barely heard about, it ends with the assurance that another will begin soon.

For those who will not be here to take part in the next one, we thank you:

Brandon Barnes, Sean Stevens and Joe Wohlschied. The protectors up front who made sure the only time Cullen got hit was when he would take off and bury his head into a linebacker for a first down and who made sure Brad Iciek had all the time he needed to ease into the starting spot.

Antoine Trent, who went from role player and possession guy to go-to threat this season. His partner in crime this year, Brandon Horn, whose stay was short but impactful nonetheless.

Preston Garris, seemingly always underappreciated, a man not great in stature, but full of determination, the toughness to run between the tackles and some of the quickest cuts Lubbers Stadium has seen.

Ryan Gaydosh, who played like a man possessed until the final whistle against NW Missouri State.

The lock down tandem of Bill Brechin and Brandon Carr. We remember them, if for nothing else, than their key plays in last year's NW Missouri State game. Billy, who always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, right in his man's hip pocket. Brandon...has a better corner played here? Size, closing speed, toughness and a you-can't-beat-me kind of attitude. We know bigger things await you.

Those linebackers. Beaty, who forced the key fumble and had 12 tackles in last year's championship game. Kirk Carruth, a high school quarterback and safety turned rover turned outside linebacker, a human missile with devastating hitting ability.

And of course...Mr.Adams. Double-A, Tony Stark. A walk-on running back who became the leader of the defense and of the team. As you slid on the ice and fell to the ground on an Omon cutback, you put your hands over his face because you always expect the best from yourself. The big man, star of the team, but at the same time, the same humble kid who walked on a few years back. The hard hitting linebacker who seemed to make tackle after tackle. An actual iron man, a steel wall behind the line of scrimmage who will be remembered as one of the best in Grand Valley history.

It is finished. Can we expect another 40 wins in a row? Probably not. But the champ has been knocked down and what champions do when that happens is get right back up and work harder to get back to the top. The next time you see these Lakers, expect a focused, revitalized team excited to prove they are still the best.

And fans excited to see wins again, because they now have the fresh taste of a loss. Admit it, you were bored at some of those regular season games. But now everyone is chomping at the bit for this team to get back on the field.

Can it just be next August already?


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