The mid-Michigan area will get a better look at Drake Harris when the Grand Rapids Christian junior receiver and two-sport standout eventually signs with Michigan State and is on the football field or basketball court in East Lansing.
DeWitt got its glimpse of the young standout in a Division 3 semifinal on Saturday.
Harris had seven catches for 216 yards and three touchdowns in the first half and had most of the second half off as the Panthers fell 52-28 to Grand Rapids Christian, one game short of Ford Field and the state finals.
“They’re obviously a very good football team,” DeWitt coach Rob Zimmerman said. “Everybody at this level is good. We were going to have to play our best game to have a shot at them and we weren’t able to do that, but I’m extremely proud of these guys. We’re a small community with just DeWitt kids and they played their hearts out, and I couldn’t be more proud of the season we’ve had with those guys.”
The Eagles entered the game with just one loss on the season — 42-34 to nationally-renowned Cincinnati Moeller.
Grand Rapids Christian quarterback Alex VanDeVusse, who accounted for six touchdowns on the day, spearheaded an explosive attack with three touchdowns in the first 11 minutes of the game.
VanDeVusse found Zach Crouch for a 20-yard touchdown pass, then hit Harris for touchdown passes of 66 and 6 yards for a 21-0 lead.
DeWitt (10-3) responded with a 52-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Jacob Johnson to junior receiver Justice Shankel, but Grand Rapids Christian went on another run in the second quarter.
VanDeVusse accounted for two more touchdowns and Harris caught a 52-yarder from Davaris Collier on a double pass as the Eagles outscored DeWitt 21-0 in the second quarter and led 42-7 at half, earning a running clock for most of the second half due to MHSAA rules.
After three playoff games went DeWitt’s way in overtime or the final seconds of regulation, Saturday’s semifinal was never in doubt after halftime.
“We came out and played,” Harris said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game.”
Harris got behind DeWitt twice for long scores and used his 6-foot-4 frame to out jump smaller defensive backs.
“That kid is fast and he just ran by us and we weren’t able to make plays,” Zimmerman said of Harris.
Johnson threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Senior receiver Ryan Anderson led the Panthers with 12 catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns while senior receiver Andrew Clements added nine catches for 105 yards and a score.