Grand Rapids Christian High after winning the state title.
Daniel J. Cooke
The title games were held at Ford Field in Detroit, home of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions.
For Grand Rapids Christian High, the championship game came down to the final seconds, when hopes of a Division 3 title rested on the leg of Joel Schipper—not once but twice.
Schipper booted a game-tying 27-yard field goal with four seconds left to send the game to overtime. He came through in the clutch again just minutes later, kicking a 29-yard field goal for the win.
“I was very nervous going for that because I had missed one earlier,” said Schipper, a member of Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. “But my coach and my teammates really encouraged me, and it really boosted my confidence.”
Over at South Christian, the team was just happy to make the playoffs. “Nobody picked us to win a single playoff game,” explained coach Mark Tamminga, a member of Hillside Community CRC in Cutlerville, Mich.
“But one thing they can’t measure is what’s inside a kid,” he continued. “I think that’s the biggest difference. This team just played with heart.”
Against the odds, the school won the Division 4 title, their first title since 2002.