Zeeland, Mich. (WZZM) The Zeeland East Chix’ first season in the O-K Black in 2012 went better than expected. “They picked us third last year,” says head coach Derek Pennington. “I hope they pick us third again this year.”
The Chix rolled to a 9-0 regular season that included a heart-stopping overtime win over Muskegon in the regular season finale. Zeeland East has plenty of star power to replace if it will again contend for a league crown. Gone are quarterback Michael Custer who threw 18 touchdown passes last year and running back Josh Blaukamp who rushed for more than a thousand yards. But the Chix do return a superstar at running back in senior Spencer Viening. “He’s been with us since he was a freshman,” says Pennington. “This is his fourth year on varsity. Obviously he’s a veteran. We’ve got some good guys around him, I think our offensive line is going to be pretty respectable. I’m glad he’s playing for us and not against us, that’s for sure.”
Viening hinted this team could be among the most dangerous Chix teams yet. “I think we’re going to be really physical as a team. Overall we’re stronger in the weightroom than any other team we’ve had here. I think we’re going to be able to overpower some teams.”
Zeeland East opponents may think they’re seeing double at times this year. Viening’s younger brother Caleb, a sophomore, joins the varsity and Pennington says he plans to use both brothers simultaneously at times. “There could be, there definitely is that opportunity where we put both those guys out there. We just have to see how it pans out.”
The Chix open Thursday night at home against Holland Christian. Be sure to follow the Chix and all the West Michigan teams all season on WZZM’s “13 On Your Sidelines” with Tom Clyde, Dan Harland and Brent Ashcroft Friday nights at 11:15.