OKEMOS - Grand Ledge (2-2, 1-1) spoiled Okemos’ (2-2, 1-1) homecoming with a 20-7 victory Friday night, despite being outgained for the game.
A week after failing to complete a pass, the Comets got their passing game going. Quarterback J.T. Houghton finished with nine completions for 136 yards, including a 62-yard pass to receiver Cameron Collins in stride.
“They made some plays and we didn’t in that aspect,” said Okemos coach Jack Wallace.Grand Ledge recorded five sacks on Okemos quarterback Grant Klaver and made him look uncomfortable for most of the night. He finished 17 for 38 with 177 yards and touchdown, but struggled to find open receivers.
Coach Wallace called the performance of the passing game “uncharacteristic.”
“We’ve thrown the ball pretty well all year,” Wallace said. “But we just didn’t seem to be in sync at all.”
Okemos missed by inches on a couple of big passing plays. A fake punt in the first quarter and a deep throw to start the second half were both just out of the reach of receiver Kyle Krumm. He finished with 124 yards on seven catches, but his night certainly could have been much bigger.
Down 17-0 and looking sloppy on offense to start the third quarter, Coach Wallace gathered his players and, with them circled around him, yelled in an effort to get them going.“We weren’t playing very well,” Wallace said. “And I wanted to let them know that we needed to pick up the pace.”
The players did just that and minutes later, forced a fumble by Grand Ledge star running back, Ba Blamo.
They capped off the following drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Klaver to Krumm, after a 37-yard completion by Krumm earlier in the drive. They were now down 17-7 with a quarter and a half to go.
Okemos forced a three and out on the Comets’ next drive, but the Chiefs next drive faltered as they punted to end the third quarter.
Grand Ledge took control to start the fourth quarter and went on a six-minute drive that killed any momentum the Chiefs had left. It ended in a 25-yard field goal by Brendan Baker that put the Comets up 20-7, which would be the final score.
Though Coach Wallace didn’t like the Chiefs’ execution for most of the night, he was encouraged by his front seven.
“Our rush defense was really good,” Wallace said.
The Okemos defense held Blamo to 15 yards on seven carries a week after he ran for 233 yards and three touchdowns in a defeat to Sexton.
Overall, Wallace said his team needs to get better, work harder in practice and work on correcting their mistakes, and he is confident his players have the work ethic and mindset to do it.
“They’re outstanding young men,” Wallace said. “They’re better people than they are players. They’re going to be great.”
Okemos looks to go to 2-1 in CAAC Blue play when they face off against conference leader Sexton (4-0, 2-0) in Okemos on Saturday, September 27.