How Zeeland East won thriller with epic comeback, ‘cave man’ defense

ZEELAND – As the Zeeland East players rushed of the field, they headed straight for the student section, leaping up into the stands to celebrate.

Last year, it took until the final home game to be able to have that celebration.

This year, it came after the season opener as the Chix came back to defeat Williamston 35-28 on Friday at Zeeland Stadium, a game that was part of the Zeeland Community Kickoff Classic that was postponed Thursday because of severe weather.

Zeeland East’s Austin Keur (3) and Gabe Amid (7) celebrate their 35-28 comeback win over Williamston Friday, Aug. 25, 2023, at Zeeland Stadium.

“That was awesome. I didn’t even know how to react. It has been so long since we have had something like this (to start the season). It was so rewarding,” Zeeland East senior Parker Williams said. “We really appreciate this.”

It was matter of pride and preparation after a disappointing season last year.

“The biggest deal about it is last year we were not ready to play. That was on us as coaches and we made sure that wasn’t going to happen again,” Woodruff said. “This was fantastic.”

The final drive

Trailing 28-27 with 4 minutes remaining, Tyler Loeb returned the ensuing kickoff to near midfield.

Zeeland East quarterback Austin Keur had a huge run to get in the red zone, then a couple of plays later, Loeb was into the end zone with a 1-yard run with 1:40 to go in the game to lead the Chix to the win.

Zeeland East’s Ethan Rosenberg dives in for the score Friday, Aug. 25, 2023, at Zeeland Stadium.

It was the fifth drive of the second half for the Chix, and they scored on all five.

“We ran it, our lineman blocked really well and it was pretty easy for me to run it, bounce off a defender and get in there,” Loeb said. “I was so excited. I was thinking we had this game.”

Defensive line dominance

Williamston has some fast players on…


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