Spring Game Notes and Recap

The Grand Valley State University football team wrapped up their spring practices with their annual spring game on Saturday, as the offense took on the defense using a modified scoring system. No starters took any snaps, but we did get a glimpse at GVSU's future, and it was the first time that a lot of the players GVReport has covered during recruiting got to see game action.

GVReport was on hand for the 2009 GVSU Spring Game on Saturday afternoon, as beautiful weather for mid-April in Michigan graced Lubbers Stadium so alumni and fans could get their first glimpse of the '09 Laker football squad. The offense ultimately won the game, 54-41, despite only scoring one touchdown on the game. The game used a modified scoring system which awarded the offense points for completing plays greater than 20 yards and gaining a first down, while the defense could get points for events such as forcing turnovers or punts, and collecting sacks.

This was the first season in which the majority of the squad was covered by GVReport during their recruiting process, so it was an exciting day for the staff, as they got to see all the high school accolades we raved about out there on the field for some (semi-)legitimate game action.

The player of the game for the Lakers was Myron Puryear, a guy who was a running back in high school and has been converted to defensive back for Grand Valley. He tallied five tackles and two interceptions, both of which came in the endzone, to rack up six points for the defense, which was awarded points in the game for such events as tackles for loss, sacks, forced turnovers, and forced punts. Puryear looked pretty comfortable in his "new" position, which seems like it may be a position of need this season.

The other standout at the defensive back position in the game was Chris Crawford, who we raved about for his offensive abilities. Well, he'll be seeing the field on the defensive side this year, and he looked like that's right where he belonged during this game, as he had a game-high seven tackles and also broke up a pass in the endzone.

Another great performance came from Luther Ware, a high school running back now playing linebacker, who had five tackles and picked off a pass on his own five-yard line that he nearly took back for a touchdown. Ware has some bulking up to do, but his athleticism and field awareness looked great on Saturday.

On offense, Erik Thompson and Lawrence Kimble got the bulk of the touches as they both split carries with the second- and third-team units, as Thompson had 11 carries for 55 yards and five receptions for 64 yards and Kimble gathered 11 carries for 34 yards and three catches for 19 yards. Thompson showed off some quick moves, at one point leaving two defenders in the dust on a single cut-back move, and Kimble showed some very good leg drive in the game as he pushed the pile more than once for a couple extra yards.

At the quarterback position, Marquel Neasman and Brandon Miller took all the snaps, and Marquel looked good, going 13-for-23 for 154 yards and the lone touchdown of the game on a 19-yard pass to Israel Woolfork. Miller seemed to do a better job of leading the offense on consistent drives, getting into the redzone three times, but was also picked off all three of those times. He finished the game 9-of-16 for 163 yards and three interceptions.

The biggest play of the game came from one of the new Lakers, as former Northwood commitment Johnny Benjamin hauled in a 58-yard pass down the left sideline from Miller that sealed the game up for the offense.

Jahan Jones had three catches for 30 yards, Woolfork had two catches for 37 yards and a touchdown, while Derrick Smith had three catches for 45 yards.

On defense, Ben Hoppe had two tackles and a pass break-up, Scott Kimball had a great all-around game, collecting two tackles, a sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery. Ricky Shorkey had three tackles, Justin Hudson had three tackles and one fumble recovery, and Derek Parish had two tackles and one forced fumble.

Michigan transfer Quintin Patilla, looking to win the spot on the defensive line left open by the graduation of Dan Skuta, had a good game, making a couple tackles and getting in the backfield quickly on a couple of running plays.

One of the underrated groups of the day was the offensive line, as the second- and third-team units looked very good in pass protection for both Neasman and Miller, although the game also began with about four straight runs for negative yardage. The group seemed to improve as the game wore on, however, in run blocking.

A couple notes on the spring...Jacob McGuckin has not participated due to the Division-II semester rule, but will be with the team for the season. None of the starters took any snaps at all in the game, as head coach Chuck Martin wanted to prevent any injuries. A couple of notable players who have chosen to leave the team to pursue their education are Lance Travis, who will be graduating this spring, Matt Flutur, Chad Somerville, and Courtney Partee. P.J. Beuke was also absent from the spring roster, and we can only assume that the multiple knee surgeries have taken their toll, as we wish him and all of these players the best in their future endeavors.

2009 GVSU Football Schedule
Aug. 29 - at West Texas A&M (7 PM)
Sept. 5 - at Indianapolis* (6 PM)
Sept. 12 - vs Saginaw Valley State* (7 PM)
Sept. 19 - at Ferris State* (7 PM)
Sept. 26 - at Michigan Tech* (6 PM)
Oct. 3 - vs Tiffin* (7 PM)
Oct. 10 - at Hillsdale* (2:30 PM)
Oct. 17 - vs Findlay* (7 PM)
Oct. 24 - at Ashland* (1 PM)
Oct. 31 - vs Northern Michigan* (7 PM)
Nov. 7 - vs Wayne State* (1 PM)
* - GLIAC contest

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