GV Football shuts out Davenport, finishes season 9-1


GVL / Tyler Morris

Brian Bloom, Staff Writer

The no. 5 ranked Grand Valley State University (9-1) football team closed out their regular season slate with a shutout against Davenport University (3-8) 42-0. The team finished their season 6-1 in GLIAC play and continued their 4-game win streak. This game was the first time GVSU shutout since 2017, when they shut out both Davenport and Northwood University.

“At the end of the day, we still have to come in and do the small things like come in and watch tape, practice hard on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and execute the walkthrough,” said senior running back Bryce Young-Walls. “It’s obviously a good thing to go into next week playing like this.” 

The team came out of the gates with Young-Walls run down the right sideline for a 45-yard gain. The drive ended just three plays later, as sophomore quarterback Cade Peterson found Young-Walls for a 12-yard touchdown to give them an early 7-0 lead. The momentum persisted after sophomore defensive end Colton Hyble recovered a fumble, leading to an 8-yard touchdown run by Peterson, putting the team up 14-0 just a few minutes later. The team concluded their first quarter barrage with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Peterson to junior Jacob Miller to put them up 21-0 after a quarter of play.

“We had a lot of energy and pop going into the game; we were excited,” Peterson said. “The seniors on offense led us, not just this year, but years prior, and we wanted to do this for them. So having that energy and emotion going into a game where there’s not going to be as many people, we had it ourselves. Getting off to that hot start was a really big key in the game.”

The team took the 21-0 lead into the intermission; however, the offense wasn’t done scoring. After forcing a Davenport punt with 12:40 left in the third quarter, Young-Walls erupted for a 57-yard touchdown run, and after an extra point by true freshman kicker Kollin Kralapp, the lead was up to 28. 

The fourth quarter held much of the same, as Peterson led the offense 70 yards down the field in just over three minutes, connecting with Miller once again, this time for a 21-yard score. Eight minutes later, the team crossed the pylon once again. Sophomore running back Johnt’e Crawford caught a pass from sophomore quarterback Cal Endicott and took it 10 yards to the endzone, increasing the lead to 42.

Throughout the game, the offense was firing on all cylinders, gaining 449 yards, with 305 of those coming on the ground. Young-Walls had a standout performance, finishing with 119 rushing yards on six carries and a touchdown, while also hauling in two receptions for 39 yards and another score. Peterson also played well, accruing 134 passing yards, 36 rushing yards, while accounting for four touchdowns, three through the air, and one on the ground.

“Offensively, we did not turn the ball over, we stayed aggressive, and we were able to win the first quarter,” said coach Matt Mitchell. “We stayed aggressive even with our second unit, we wanted to stay aggressive and give them some experience.”

Defensively, the unit suffocated the Davenport offense, holding them to 102 yards of offense. The team lived in the backfield, making seven tackles for loss and sacking Davenport quarterback Luke Niepoth twice. The stout defense was led by sophomore linebacker Abe Swanson, who finished the game with eight total tackles, including a strip-sack in the first quarter. Junior linebacker Denzel Williams led the team in tackles with ten, including a tackle for loss. 

“The best thing for an offense is having a great defense,” Peterson said. “When we get the ball back and we keep seeing a zero on that board, and keep seeing them shut them down, it allows us to have full go into everything that we do.”

The team will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 20 as they host TEAM in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoff tournament. 

“Today was a good win; a convincing win,” Mitchell said. “I’m proud of our team. There’s 163 Division II schools and we’ll be one of 28 (in the playoffs). I’m excited for this team to be able to extend their season, they’ve worked really hard to get to this point. There’s a lot of belief by the coaches and the players and I’m excited to have another week to be able to work with them.”