ZEALAND – Trevor Wallar might have had to stretch out his right arm to make sure it wasn’t too rusty.
The Zeeland West quarterback threw his first passes of the season, including one for a touchdown, as the Dux blanked rival Zeeland East 38-0 on Friday night.
“I was telling my line ‘I’ve got all day back there,’” said Wallar, whose team runs the Wing-T offense. “The line did what it had to do and the midfielders made the plays. I’m very happy that we were able to use that part of our game today.”
El Dux got two rushing touchdowns from Skyler Geurink, one from Parker Holman, and Rolando Robelin had touchdowns on the ground and in the air.
“It feels amazing,” Geurink said. “My teammates are so much fun. We go to school with those boys (Zeeland East) every day. So it’s fun to have bragging rights.”
Zeeland West improves to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the OK Green Conference. Zeeland East drops to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” said Nick Williams, a senior at Zeeland East. “I think we gave them their best game of the year. Defensively, we had them do 12 snaps a series. We drove the ball down the field several times, but some big mistakes hurt us. But it’s hard to come here and be excluded.”
El Dux had 411 yards of total offense compared to 122 for Chix. Robelin had a game-high 116 rushing yards on nine carries, including a 66-yard rush. Geurink had 14 carries for 81 yards and Holman had 12 carries for 70 yards. Quarterback Austin Keur led Chix with 40 yards on 15 carries. He was 2 of 3 for 16 yards.
Dux’s defense launches another shutout
Zeeland West have now whitewashed their opponents in consecutive games for the first time in program history.
Coach John Shilito was pleased with his defense.
“So far, we’ve played very well on defense,” he said. “All year when we’ve been backed up, defensively, we’ve outperformed him.”
Sophomore Brody Smeyers was a big reason for that. He had the team’s best 10 tackles on Friday.
“We had a very strong line,” Smeyers said. “We stopped them when we had to. We just had a really good game. It’s a great feeling to go against your neighbors. They also played well.”
Shilito loves having a high-energy player like Smeyers on his team.
“Brody is one of those guys that you just wind up and he’s gone,” Shilito said with a smile. He is just a sophomore. He is a guy who comes to football”.
Does the Dux have an aerial game?
When Wallar threw a 44-yard pass to Carter Hughes in the second quarter, there was an audible gasp from the stands. It was Dux’s first pass attempt of the season.
“We had two ball games where we didn’t have to (throw),” Shillito said. “Tonight they defended us quite well. It is the first time that someone has closed the trap against us. I thought Zeeland East played hard.”
Geurink even caught a pass on a two-point conversion.
“It felt pretty good,” he said. “I actually thought I was going to drop it because it was so open. I always get excited when we execute a passing play because I can get everyone ahead.”
Wallar completed 3 of 5 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown on a 12-yard pass to Robelin in the second quarter.
Geurink finally finds the end zone
Skyler Geurink is one of West Michigan’s fastest players, but he hadn’t found the end zone this season.
But he scored on a 9-yard run to open the game and a 4-yard run in the second quarter to give the Dux a 22-0 lead.
“He’s been running really hard the first couple of weeks,” Shillito said. “But he joined the party tonight.”
Parker Holman, who leads the team with eight touchdowns, scored on a 7-yard run with 1 minute left in the third quarter to start the clock running.
The loneliest kicker in football.
Chase Holwerda has donned his No. 11 football jersey for two years as the only kicker on Dux’s list.
But he has yet to set foot on the field and kick things off.
“That’s our philosophy,” Holwerda said of playing on a team run by Wing-T. “I knew that at the beginning. I just wanted to be part of the team.”
So why would a cross country runner join the football team?
“I joined because my friends are on the team and it’s a great culture,” he said. “Coach Shillito is an MVP coach and everyone wants to play with him. He is a great mentor and I look up to him.”
Holwerda stands on the sidelines in his electric blue soccer cleats waiting for his chance.
“They’re not soccer cleats, but hey, they work,” he said with a smile. “I used to play club football and now I run.”
What is the longest field goal you have had in practice?
“We haven’t practiced any field goals,” he said. “But I’ve done a couple of kickoffs in practice. Now I just have to see if I can get into a game.”
Student sections get noisy
The off-field action was just as exciting.
Dressed in all white, the Zeeland West student section was on their feet throughout the game and screamed at the top of their lungs for their team.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Dux senior Josh Agar, who is one of the shout leaders. “We have such a good soccer team that we need to go out there and support them.”
What is your favorite joy?
“They have camouflage, so we yelled ‘we can’t see you!’” he said with a smile.
Will Baker, a senior at Zeeland East and the top student yell leader, said there’s a reason to wear camouflage.
“Camo represents how we’re going to hunt duck,” Baker said. “So we put on our duck hunting suits.”
What makes this rivalry so great?
“There has always been a longstanding rivalry between the two schools,” Baker said. “I mean, the Bird Bowl game is always great between these two football teams.”
Unbalanced rivalry lately
These two teams have been playing each other since 2005 with the Dux leading the series 15-7. They have also won the last five meetings. The last time Zeeland East won was on November 2, 2018 in the district championship game.
El Dux has made the playoffs for the last 12 years in a row. The only time they missed the postseason was in 2008-09. The Chix have made the postseason the last seven seasons and 11 of their last 12.