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BIG win at the BIG house: Trip to Michigan stadium ends with 41-23 win

Megan Swanker and Carlie McNiff

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August 26, 2017, is a day that no one in the football program will ever forget as the Shores varsity football team had the opportunity to play at Michigan Stadium on the campus of the University of Michigan.

The Sailors participated in the second Battle at the Big House in a game against Canton High School, which Shores defeated 41-23 to kick off the 2017 season.

“(Head football coach Matt) Koziak is responsible for lining up the event at the Big House,” athletic director Ryan Portenga said. “Due to West Ottawa and Shores pulling out of the contract of playing each other, it allowed Shores a lot more of opportunities to play at places like Wayne State, U of M and Grand Valley.”

Senior Charles Allen said the long trip to Ann Arbor was worth it because of a childhood dream.

“The coolest thing about playing at the Big House was getting to run out of the tunnel just like Michigan does and see all our fans who made the three-hour trip,” Allen said. “It was pretty cool to play there, being a Michigan fan myself, and having a dream to play there when I was little.”

The game itself saw Canton take a 7-0 lead on the opening drive. Shores then answered when senior D’Anthony Davis scored on a nine-yard run to make it 7-6.

The Sailors took the lead for good midway through the second quarter when senior QB Tristan Robbins scored from seven yards out. After the two-point conversion, Shores had a 14-7 lead.

With three minutes left before halftime, Anthony added a two-yard TD, and senior Austin Flowers’ kick was good for a 21-7 lead.

After Canton scored a kick TD, junior Damari Roberson took the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for the touchdown, and Flowers added the extra point.

Canton added a field goal before halftime, but the Sailors went into the locker room with a 28-17 lead.

After halftime, the Chiefs scored first to close the gap to 28-23, but the rest would be all Shores.

Junior Sincere Dent’s seven-yard TD and Flowers’ kick made it 35-23 at the end of three quarters. Dent added another TD in the fourth quarter, this time a four-yard run, for the final score of 41-23.

However, senior Chuckie Anthony said this win is just the beginning.

“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” Anthony said, “and prepare for each game like we do every game. We’re not going to look too far ahead. We’re going to get ready for one heck of a ride because it’s going to be a long one.”

Robbins completed 7 of 13 passes for 129 yards and rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Davis rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Dent finished with 65 yards, including two touchdowns, on eight carries.

Senior Keyshawn Summerville caught four passes for 78 yards. Roberson caught two passes for 42 yards.
Senior Braden Twining said winning the game made the experience more special.

“While the best experience was running onto the field with my teammates, beating Canton was a whole team effort, from the scout team to the starters,” he said.

For Allen, this win is going to help the team bounce back and go all the way to Ford Field.

“I think the win will give us confidence beating a team who is ranked higher than us,” he said. “For the program, I think it will show that Mona Shores is going to bounce back from last year and be like team 52, the team that went to Ford Field.”

Although the length of the field is the same, the size of the D1 college stadium can be intimidating, Allen said.

“At first, it felt different playing at a huge Division I college stadium, but 20 minutes into warm-ups, it felt like a regular game,” Allen said. “The field is still 120 yards end zone to end zone, and we didn’t change the way we played just because we were at the Big House. We played our game, and we would have played the same anywhere else.”

Being able to see the Shores football team play at the Big House gave people a lot to look forward to this season.

“Everything exceeded my expectations,” Portenga said. Being able to see all of the community members tailgating made it really special.”
Senior Ke’Sean Sandifer echoed the sentiments of all players involved.

“The coolest things was the whole atmosphere,” he said. “From walking out of the tunnel to hearing and seeing our fans to playing on that big field, it was just an unforgettable experience as a whole.”

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BIG win at the BIG house: Trip to Michigan stadium ends with 41-23 win