Hopkins cruises to win over Newaygo
After struggling to a 2-7 showing last season, Hopkins resembled some of its powerful football teams from the past in its season opener on Friday, Aug. 26.
The Vikings pounded Newaygo 36-12 in the first game of the Gridiron Classic at Davenport College’s new Meyering Field.
“We’ve been working hard and this is how we expected to play,” said Mason Schaendorf, one of the many Viking defensive standouts.
The 6-foot, 185-pound Schaendorf was all over the field like many of his teammates in the Vikings’ impressive victory, finishing with 10 tackles including one sack.
Hopkins coach Cody Francis couldn’t have been happier with how his team tamed the Lions for the majority of the non-league contest.
“This was a good start for us,” Francis said. “It’s only one game but should give us some added confidence as we move on.”
Schaendorf believes the Newaygo game was just the beginning for the Vikings.
“Our goal is to improve as much as we can, to win conference and try to make it to the playoffs,” said the hard-hitter Vikings junior.
Hopkins appeared to wear down the Lions.
“The (humid conditions) weather wasn’t a factor,” Francis said. “A lot of that was because the guys were running and lifting all summer.”
The win was an early wedding gift for Hopkins special teams coach Trent Brenner, a former Viking player.
“I’m getting married Saturday,” Brenner said.
The fans turned up the volume several times when Hopkins sophomore quarterback Nolan Smith passed the ball or handed it off to Brock Eller or Ryan Haveman for good results.
“Our backs ran hard and our line blocked very well,” Francis said. “This was definitely a team victory.”
Eller ran for three touchdowns, including a Barry Sanders-like 86-yard kickoff return. Haveman added two TDs on runs of 6 and 76 yards.
Smith meanwhile, was 3-of-3 through the air and also connected twice for two-point conversions to Logan Blank.
Jake Cleypool used his height (6-2) and his weight (280), along with Haveman, Schaendorf and others to stop the Newaygo backs in their tracks time after time. Cleypool and Haveman, one of three sophomores on Hopkins young roster made up with mostly juniors, each mustered nine tackles.
Jason Battjes went over a Newaygo receiver’s back to pick off a pass.
“It was obviously a good night for followers of Hopkins football,” Francis said.