Brock’s Random Thoughts: GLHS Winning State Title In 2000
As a Grand Ledge HS alum (Class of 1993), I have many great memories of watching the high school I attended win big in football through the years.
The first time I (and my classmates) ever stormed the field was after we (I was a student then, I can say WE in this case) defeated Sexton in football in 1991 (my junior year) in a driving rainstorm.
Then there's the legendary 1992 game where the Comets defeated Randy Kinder and East Lansing 22-21 at Lynn C. Adams Stadium in East Lansing.
But this article is to pay tribute to a special team. That's because this year is the 20th anniversary of the Comets run to the Class AA (now Division 1) state championship in football. Which was capped off by the 19-14 victory in the Pontiac Silverdome over Utica Eisenhower.
They were led by quarterback Matt Bohnet (who later played at Iowa and Eastern Michigan). And he WAS their leader. Lots of other good players dotted the roster: Joe Wohlschied, Tim George, Chad Esper, Derick Hall, Collin O'Keefe, etc. And they were coached by Collin's dad, the legendary Pat O'Keefe (my government teacher in my senior year).
I was working in Port Huron, MI at the time. But I followed their run to the title from afar. I watched the title tilt from my apartment (I couldn't make it to the Dome that day).
And the championship game was a tight affair throughout. It was 7-0 Eisenhower at the half, then the Comets tied it at 7 on a TD pass from Bohnet to Tim George in the 3rd quarter. Utica took a 14-7 lead into the 4th quarter, but that's when the heroics began. Bohnet scrambled for the TD that brought GL to within 14-13 with less than a minute to go.
I was screaming in my apartment "Kick the extra point!!! You've got momentum, you can win in overtime!!" (I believe that better than 90% of the time in that situation you kick the extra point, don't take a chance on losing the game on a failed 2-point conversion)
Coach O'Keefe was going to kick but was talked out of it by his players. Bohnet was then stopped short of the goal line on the 2 point try and I figured the game was over.
But it wasn't, the ensuing onside kick was recovered by Collin O'Keefe at the 50-yard line (there's still controversy as to if he recovered past the 10-yard mark). It was admittedly very close, but the refs gave it to the Comets. A couple of plays later, Bohnet threw a bomb to Tim George in the final 20 seconds that he BARELY got in the end zone for the winning touchdown. I was just screaming with euphoria when George crossed the goal line!!!
It is the only state title GL has ever won in football. They have won other team state titles in baseball and gymnastics. But this title was extra special. I had to drive back to GL that night to celebrate with the team and my fellow classmates (many were at the game). It is a memory I will never forget.
I think about that as the 2020 season starts this Friday on The Game 730 AM WVFN with Portland at DeWitt. Erik "Doc" Love will join me from DeWitt starting with the pregame at 6pm.