The end result wasn’t what Battle Creek Central, but there was certainly a lot of pride at C.W. Post Field on Friday.
The Bearcats came up short against St. Johns in a non-conference contest, 28-24. But more important was the cause the team played for, as over $3,000 was raised to be donated to the family of Michael Miller, a 14-year-old freshman with the Battle Creek Central football program who is battling brain cancer.
“The game is bigger than just us,” said Battle Creek Central head coach Lorin Granger. “Sometimes we just have to recognize that. Your success in what you put into your community isn’t always measured in the win column. That’s what we’ve got to remember going forward and hopefully we can be proud of what we’ve done tonight.”
The Bearcats wore special pink and gray jerseys for the contest, and following the game donated them to individuals who sponsored each player. Additionally, it was announced at halftime that the officiating crew had donated their game check to the Miller family.
“What an amazing thing,” Granger said. “I’m very proud of this community and I’m proud of the people who are a part of this game, including (the officials). That’s just a huge gesture.”
Battle Creek Central came out firing, as quarterback Jahmiel Wade found receiver Kevin Adams for an 82-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage.
Wade would get an interception to end the first offensive series for St. Johns (4-4). Wade would later cash in when he scored on an 18-yard touchdown run to give Battle Creek Central an early 12-0 lead.
The Redwings got on the scoreboard when Kade Heibeck caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Ross Feldpausch. St. Johns took its first lead on its next possession, when Heibeck punched in a 2-yard touchdown run.
Battle Creek Central answered right back, when Denzel Banks caught a pass over the middle and fought through six Red Wings defenders before stretching over the goal line for an impressive 34-yard touchdown reception.
St. Johns would take a 21-18 halftime lead after Feldpausch threw a short pass to Jack Bouck, who broke several tackles on his way to a 63-yard touchdown reception.
After a scoreless third quarter, Wade found a Juan Warren streaking past his defender, finishing the 20-yard touchdown reception by hurdling a sign located behind the endzone.
With 6:22 left in regulation, the Red Wings’ Cole Weber scored on a 6-yard touchdown run for what held up to be the game-winning score.
“Our kids played with a lot of heart,” Granger said. “In situations like this, you hope they do. I’m very proud of the effort they gave tonight. Wish we would’ve gotten the win, but we’ve got nothing to hold our heads about.”
Nick Buckley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley