Sailors win 12 straight, capture second title in three years 

Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
February 13, 2015



After a rocky start to their 2014 campaign, the South Christian High School football team righted their ship last fall. Pun intended, as the Sailors rattled off 12 straight victories en route to the 2014 Michigan Class 4 State Championship.


The Sailors defeated Sexton High School in dramatic fashion, 28-27, to capture their second title in three seasons.



Starting off their season on a sour note seems to be becoming a thing of normalcy for South Christian. In the last three seasons, they have dropped one or more of their first two games. However, those losses may be catalysts to a successful season as each of the past three years, the Sailors have made it to the State Championship game at Ford Field in Detroit.


However, unlike the previous two seasons in which they lost only one of their first two games, the Sailors dropped their opening two contests, the first, a hard fought game to Grand Rapids Christian, 28-14. The second game, they were dealt an even bigger blow in a disappointing game 47-21 loss to Caledonia, in which wide receiver Eric VanVoorst went down with a broken ankle.


VanVoorst broke his ankle on a simple screen pass in the second game of his senior season. During his junior campaign, he and fellow senior, quarterback Jon Wassink created a remarkable duo, as Wassink connected on nearly 40 percent of his passes to VanVoorst.


VanVoorst caught 84 balls for 1,094 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.


The loss of VanVoorst and the consecutive losses in their first two games seemed to spark the Sailors in 2014 however.


After an exciting overtime victory over Unity Christian, 33-30, South Christian put on several impressive displays in wins against Forest Hills Eastern (34-14), Catholic Central (41-14), Ottawa Hills (51-0) and Hastings (48-24).


The Sailors fell behind early against Thornapple Kellogg after their opening kickoff was returned for a touchdown. After that, the two teams played an evenly matched back-and-forth game that wasn’t decided until running back Geff Plasman put the icing on the cake with a 42-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. South Christian won the game against the Trojans by a score of 35-23.


In one of their final two regular season games, the Sailors needed some second half help after nearly giving up a 27-point first half lead against Wayland. Despite getting within nine points, 27-18, South Christian would defeat the Wildcats 54-30. In the regular season finale’, South Christian cruised past Allendale, 35-0 and would hope to ride their momentum into the playoffs.


To start postseason play, the Sailors would again take on Unity Christian. This time, however, no extra period would be needed as Wassink and the Sailors would score 20 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarter to put the game away, 58-34.


Wassink ran for a season- and career-high 298 rushing yards against the Crusaders while scoring five touchdowns on the ground and throwing two more.  


He would continue his impressive running game in South Christian’s second round playoff game against Whitehall. Wassink ran for 176 yards and two touchdowns as the Sailors built a 35-0 lead before ultimately defeating the Vikings, 49-14.


In the state semifinals matchup against Edwardsburg, the Sailors were given a boost as VanVoorst would return from his broken ankle.


In most cases, a player returning from such a horrific incident may shy away from the ball or the head coach may shy away from giving him the ball. Not in the Sailors case however as the first play from scrimmage for South Christian was a pass to VanVoorst who caught it and gained seven yards.


Wassink would then lead the Sailors to another 35-point first half, however, unlike their easy victory a week prior, he would need to put more points than that to hold on to the victory against the Eddies.


After Edwardsburg closed the gap to 42-34, Wassink calmly led his team down field, connecting on passes to Plasman and VanVoorst before rushing the ball two times and the eventual game-winning score. That’s not to say there wasn’t some suspense in the waning moments of this game however.


Eddies running back Dante Razzano scored on a 60-yard rush to cut the deficit to 50-42 before the ensuing kickoff would be fumbled and recovered by Edwardsburg. Dustin Vires would score on a 38-yard rush just two plays later to further cut the South Christian lead to 50-48.


That is as close as Edwardsburg would get however, as the Sailor defense stopped the two-point conversion attempt and Wassink would run the clock out for South Christian on their next possession. In his return, VanVoorst recorded six receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns.


The State Championship game would prove to be nearly as exciting for the Sailors as they were pitted against the Sexton Big Reds. The two evenly matched teams traded blows in the first half and went to halftime with South Christian leading, 20-14.


Wassink would break the game open with a 68-yard touchdown run on the opening play of the third quarter to give his team a 28-14 lead, following a successful two-point conversion.


Gavin Hoskins scored in the final moments of the third quarter for Sexton and quarterback Malik Mack would toss a touchdown pass just a minute into the fourth quarter to cut the score to 28-27.


The Big Reds however would miss their extra point on Mack’s touchdown pass, giving the Sailors a 28-27 lead and the ball with 10:43 left in the game.


Wassink would chew up over five minutes on their ensuing possession before punting the ball himself and pinning the Big Reds back on their own 26 yard line. Mack would fumble just four plays later and Wassink would take another 1:30 off the clock before punting again.


This time, however, Wassink’s punt would pin Sexton at their own seven yard line with 3:48 left.


Despite driving the ball nearly to midfield over the next nine plays, time would run out on Sexton’s chances and their season, giving South Christian and their class of 21 seniors the 2014 Michigan Class 4 State Championship, 28-27.



Wassink would finally hold on to his first State Championship trophy after coming close a year prior and being injured during the Sailors title game in 2012. The Western Michigan signee finished his career with 8,072 yards and 76 touchdowns through the air while rushing for 3,241 yards and another 50 scores on the ground.


Head Coach Mark Tamminga will have to replace Wassink along with 20 other seniors on a team that has reached the state championship game in three consecutive years. But that’s next fall.


For now, the Sailors are 2014 Michigan Class 4 State Champs.


Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Jon Wassink (1347 yards)

Passing: Jon Wassink (2489 yards)

Receiving: Ryan Veenstra (701 yards)

All-Purpose: Geff Plasman (1984 yards)

Touchdowns: Geff Plasman (25)

Rush attempts: Geff Plasman (216 carries)

Receptions: Ryan Veenstra (48 catches)


Defensive stat leaders

Total tackles: Sam Heyboer (87)

Sacks: Sam Heyboer (11)

Tackles for loss: Sam Heyboer (22.5)

Interceptions: Jon Wassink (6)


Team statistics

Total scoring: 551 points

Opponent scoring: 333

Total offense: 5559 yards

Total rushing yards: 2962 yards

Total passing yards: 2597 yards

Opponent offense: 4132 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 2690 yards

Opponent passing yards: 1442 yards

Third down conversions: 44.1% (56/127)

Opponent third down conversions: 31.3% (50/160)

Turnover differential: +7 (13 interceptions, 18 fumbles)

Congratulations to HSGC users across the state of Michigan


By: Cameron Mellor
January 28, 2014


As National Signing Day nears, signifying the culmination of a number of high school careers, we see no better time than the present to reflect on a terrific football season and continue to unveil the first-annual, All-HSGC Award Lists for the 2013 football season.


Working now on a state-by-state basis, the same extensive parameters and essential criteria were considered for the coveted list. The All-HSGC Awards signify excellence on the field of key offensive positions and defensive players as a whole.


The quintessential component of the list was basic and to-the-point – your team must utilize the HSGameCenter program being delivered by Digital Scout. From there, the grading criterion included, but was not limited to, yards and touchdowns, team winning percentage, percentage of team total offense and much more.


After careful deliberation and hours of scouring over statistics from programs across Michigan, the list of the first ever All-Michigan HSGC Awards are here.


All-Michigan Player of the Year:

Jon Wassink, South Christian High School (12-2)

Quarterback No. 12

4002 total yards, 47 total touchdowns


All-Michigan First Team


Brennan Miller, H H Dow High School (8-3), No. 2

3141 total yards, 32 total touchdowns


Jondell Jones, Bangor High School (4-5), No. 7

2119 total yards, 31 total touchdowns


Running Back:

Tyler LaJoie, Negaunee High School (10-2), No. 20

2143 total yards, 28 total touchdowns


Josh Czarniowski, St. Mary Catholic Central High School (10-2), No. 5

1848 total yards, 27 total touchdowns


Wide Receiver:

Eric VanVoorst, South Christian, No. 6

1168 total yards, 11 total touchdowns


Tyler Graham, Bangor, No. 81

883 total yards, 10 total touchdowns


All-Michigan Second Team


Austin Heeres, Calvin Christian High School (7-4), No. 10

1901 total yards, 24 total touchdowns


Tyler Bellis, Lee M Thurston High School (6-4), No. 12

1506 total yards, 18 total touchdowns


Running Back:

Amari Coleman, New Lothrop High School (12-1), No. 7

1848 total yards, 27 total touchdowns


Brad Harrah, Lenawee Christian High School (8-2), No. 28

1984 total yards, 23 total touchdowns


Wide Receiver:

Travis McNally, H H Dow, No. 3

1036 total yards, 11 total touchdowns


Curtis Cobbs, Lee M Thurston, No. 5

629 total yards, 10 total touchdowns


All-Michigan Third Team


Richie Kish, Grosse Pointe South High School (6-4), No. 10

1274 total yards, 17 total touchdowns


Grant Hohlbein, Lenawee Christian, No. 10

2512 total yards, 24 total touchdowns


Running Back:

Mike Miklusicak, Wayland High School (6-6), No. 24

1880 total yards, 15 total touchdowns


Geff Plasman, South Christian, No. 3

1577 total yards, 15 total touchdowns


Wide Receiver:

Wyatt Munson, Millington High School (9-2), No. 8

528 total yards, 11 total touchdowns


Cole Franks, Laingsburg High School (4-5), No. 20

820 total yards, 7 total touchdowns


All-Michigan Honorable Mention


Ryan Watters, Williamston High School (5-4), No. 2

1660 total yards, 22 total touchdowns


Dylan Moffitt, Bath High School (7-4), No. 4

1457 total yards, 22 total touchdowns


Running Back:

Charles Turfe, Canton High School (8-2), No. 28

1344 total yards, 18 total touchdowns


Devon Kelley, Ovid-Elsie High School (7-3), No. 21

1472 total yards, 15 total touchdowns


James Kurasz, Manchester High School (7-3), No. 5

1337 total yards, 15 total touchdowns


Wide Receiver:

Sam Heyboer, South Christian, No. 2

727 total yards, 8 total touchdowns


Jordan Spratt, Grosse Pointe South, No. 81

589 total yards, 8 total touchdowns


Mike Robb, H H Dow, No. 85

645 total yards, 6 total touchdowns



All-Michigan Defensive Player of the Year

David Bayerl, Stephenson High School (4-5), No. No. 59

53 total tackle, 33 solo, 20 tackle for loss, 7 sack


All-Michigan Defensive Honorable Mention

Jacob Hager, Millington, No. 5

72.5 total tackle, 54 solo, 19.5 tackle for loss, 4.5 sack, 1 interception


Drew Zwiers, Calvin Christian, No. 82

75.5 total tackle, 42 solo, 18.5 tackle for loss, 4.5 sack, 2 interception


Damon Fuller, Lee M Thurston, No. 11

59.5 total tackle, 30 solo, 23 tackle for loss, 1 sack


Sawyer Smith, Spring Lake High School (8-2), No. 73

39 total tackle, 24 solo, 17.5 tackle for loss, 6.5 sack


Eric VanVoorst, South Christian, No. 6

35 total tackle, 29 solo, 10 interception