GVSU QB racks up 6 TDs in final home game

GVL/Lauren Loria
GVSU vs. Tiffin-Heath Parling-#13-Quarterback

GVL/Lauren Loria

GVL/Lauren Loria GVSU vs. Tiffin-Heath Parling-#13-Quarterback

Jay Bushen

Grand Valley State quarterback Heath Parling stepped up in the pocket, took one look down field and saw nothing but green.

“I scrambled out left, and I thought there was a guy right behind me, so I was like ‘oh man I’ve got to run faster,’” Parling said. “So maybe that’s how I got the jets going – I greased up the knee brace a little bit before the game – and when I saw the corner I was like ‘I’m going to dive in. I’ve never done this before at Grand Valley.’”

With nothing but pride to play for, the senior gambled. He sprinted to the corner, vaulted toward the pylon – and broke the plane.

Parling’s 22-yard score was one of many memories made by GVSU’s 17-member senior class Saturday night, as the Lakers made the most of their home finale with a convincing victory over Tiffin University.

For GVSU coach Matt Mitchell, the win showcased the passion and competitive nature of his players despite their 5-5 record this fall.

“I understand our record isn’t what we thought our record was going to be, but that doesn’t matter if you’re a competitive kid,” Mitchell said. “You want to go out and play. 

“I know the type of kids we have in our program. They weren’t going to not go out and compete because of the record. The whole thing about where our season’s at, where we’re at, all that – I get that, but these kids still like to play football and they’re competitive people and they want to go out and perform well. They’re going to do that every single Saturday.”

Saturday’s contest was all GVSU from the get-go. The Laker defense kept Tiffin off the board until the 10:18 mark in the fourth quarter, while GVSU’s offense capped each of its first four drives with touchdowns.

Parling completed 17-of-32 passes for 254 yards and four touchdowns through the air, adding two scores on the ground, while a pair of GVSU running backs eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in the same game for the first time since 2012. Senior Chris Robinson had 27 carries for 126 yards to go with a receiving touchdown, while sophomore Terrell Dorsey had 17 carries for 109 yards.

The Laker offense easily outpaced Tiffin in total yards (572 to 236), first downs (34 to 11) and time of possession (39:59 to 20:01).

“We were opportunistic with our offensive drives,” Mitchell said. “I thought we put some drives together, were able to run the ball, throw the ball and, defensively, we did a good job. That quarterback’s explosive, he’s a good player.”

Tiffin quarterback Antonio Pipkin entered the game as the GLIAC’s top passer, but the Laker defense found ways to limit him all night long. Pipkin completed 15-of-28 throws for just 140 yards and one touchdown.

GVSU senior Deonté Hurst led the Laker defense with 10 total tackles, while junior defensive end Matt Judon recorded four stops, including two for loss and a sack. 

Judon said the team refused to dwell on last week’s loss to Ashland University.

“You’ve just got to get over it,” Judon said. “You’ve got to learn from the film and get better. When the clock hits 0:00 that game’s over. There’s nothing more you can do, unless somebody invented a time machine – and I haven’t heard of it – so unless they have, you’ve just got to put it past you.”

GVSU (5-5, 5-4 GLIAC) closes out the regular season on Saturday in the Battle of the Valleys at Saginaw Valley State (2-8, 2-7 GLIAC).