JENISON — A second straight trip to Ford Field and the state championship game wasn’t in the cards for Cadillac.

The Vikings (9-3) lost to Hudsonville Unity Christian (12-0) in the Division 4 regional championship game at Jenison High School on Friday night by a final of 53-22. Cadillac kept it close in the first two quarters, trailing just 22-15 at the break, but the Crusaders pulled away in the third quarter and built a commanding 40-15 lead.

Cadillac head coach Cody Mallory said his squad came up short on a couple of crucial fourth-down attempts, including one on the Vikings’ opening drive that stalled at the Hudsonville 2-yard line. Mallory said the game plan was to limit the Crusaders’ number of possessions, given that Hudsonville has such a prolific offense.

“We did a good job of that, but we just didn’t finish and didn’t get the stops we needed,” Mallory said.

The Vikings racked up 327 yards on the ground, spread out over eight different rushers. Collin Johnston led with 143 yards on nine carries with a 64-yard TD run. Quarterback Aden Gurden, who attempted just one pass, had 64 yards and one TD on 20 rushes. Keenan Suminski scored the Vikings’ other touchdown on a 1-yard run.

The Crusaders fell one rushing yard short of 400 and had seven scores via the run game.

Cadillac’s year ends two games earlier than last season when the Vikigns made it to and lost in the state title game.

“We wanted to get back to Ford Field and try to leave their victorious, but we came up against a pretty good, well-coached team with some very talented athletes,” Mallory said. “It’s just the way it goes, but we were happy to have the opportunity to get this far with these guys. There’s nothing to hang our heads about.”

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