Coloma and Watervliet took the field ready to battle with their longtime rivals for the 100th anniversary game. Coloma came out charged to get a quick start out on the road, scoring on their first possession after stuffing the Panthers on a three and out. Comets QB Sam Swihart (SR) looked poised as he hit TE T.J. Scott (SR) for a touchdown only 4 minutes into the first quarter. Watervliet was quick to respond with a touchdown run only 2 minutes later, then scored again just before the first quarter ended. With a 12-6 lead into the second half, both offenses moved the ball well but could not get into the end zone with a huge goal line stand by the Comet defense. Watervliet was running their spread option attack well, setting up screens and blocking all first half. Coloma's new passing attack was on full display as I have never seen so much passing from a Comet's team. With Coloma still running out of the wishbone, the passing could easily be set up by the running. Still, this was a Michigan High School Football game, so the ground game and defense were most important.
I will say this because of the importance of the game. It was very powerful to see all the alumni players on the field at halftime and during the pregame festivities. This game means so much to so many people, and the see players who took place in this rivalry when it was still young was great for everyone in the stadium. I have never seen so many people at a Coloma or Watervliet game before.
The second half saw more of the same from the offenses, but the Comet defense tightened up and didnt give up anything the rest of the night. The Comet attack stalled once near the goal line, but on another opportunity, Swihart made an amazing play on 4th down, throwing a touchdown to Deshon Archibald in the back of the end zone. Swihart broke 3 tackles and avoided the fierce Panther pass rush to throw the touchdown pass. After a successful two point conversion, the Comets led 14-12. The Comets got the ball back after an interception and scored again quickly before the end of the third quarter. Comets 21-12. The fourth quarter saw the Panthers never able to sustain an attack and throw two interceptions late in the game. The Comets ran the ball to chew the clock but Swihart made his only mistake under throwing a receiver and the Panther picking off the pass. Watervliet gave up the ball on downs and Coloma ran out the clock sealing their 10th win in a row and 62nd in the series.
I was excited to see the new offense for Coloma and the defense step up so well. We were in the backfield all night but with the screens and draws being run, Watervliet neutralized that. The Comets looked poised under such extreme pressure to win, and I am sure most of the players are like me, more relieved then happy that this was a big win in the rivalry. This will be a good building block for the team this season into next week against Hamilton at home (Thursday September 3rd 7:00 PM) and into the Lakeland conference schedule. Looks like the Comets have a chance to be a leader in the Lakeland once again.