FRUITPORT – There’s no doubt that the Fruitport boys soccer team is pretty good.

That’s been obvious all season, since the Trojans roared out of the gate with a perfect 6-0 record.

But most of Fruitport’s opponents in the O-K Blue conference are also very good – particularly Hudsonville Unity Christian, which visited the Trojans on Monday with a perfect 8-0 record and a No. 1 ranking among Division 3 teams in the state.

The impressive part is that the Trojans gave Unity Christian fits for the first 40 minutes and went into halftime with a one-goal lead and a chance at a big upset.

But Unity Christian turned on the jets in the second half, scored three times and handed the Trojans a 4-2 loss on the Fruitport football field.

Fruitport’s Elijah Aldridge (9) battles hard for the ball during the intense first half. 

The Trojans are now 6-2-1 on the season and 0-2-1 in the O-K Blue. Fruitport’s last three games – all in the league – ended up in two losses and a tie.

That’s how tough the competition is.

“Our conference is so good,” said Fruitport head coach Dan Hazekamp. “Every night you’re going to see a good team.”

Hudsonville took a 1-0 lead just 3:15 into the game on a free kick goal by Colin Nieuwenhuis.

Fruitport was not intimidated and bounced back when Isaiah Packard kicked a pass into the Unity Christian box and Brady Brown headed the ball into the net with 25:21 remaining in the first half.

The Trojans managed to take the lead with 2:31 left in the half when Brown booted a free kick into the Hudsonville box and Jorge Burgos-Yack finished off the play with a goal.

Aldridge and a Unity Christian player end up on the ground after getting tangled up. 

Fruitport outshot Hudsonville Unity Christian 6-2 in the first half.

The effort was indeed impressive, considering that Unity Christian had not given up a single goal in its previous three games.

The upset bid was short-lived, however, because the Crusaders came out for the second half in a higher gear.

Unity Christian’s Eli Broggel scored just 20 seconds into the half to tie the game at 2-2.

The Crusaders’ Scott Vredevoogd added a goal at the 7:51 mark, then Nieuwenhuis scored his second goal with just 1:31 left on the clock.

Unity Christian had an overall 11-10 advantage in shots on goal.

Fruitport’s Ryan Mitchell (5) tries to cut off a Unity Christian player with the ball. 

“They come at you in waves,” Hazekamp said about Unity Christian’s big second half. “I watched a game this weekend and it was relatively tight at halftime. Then 10 minutes into the second half they’re up 5-0. They have great athletes and great pace.”

While Hazekamp credited his team with playing a good first half, but hopes the players understand that a full 80 minutes will be necessary on the road against Coopersville on Wednesday in another important conference matchup.

“The big thing we take out of tonight is continuing to sustain and put together longer bouts of good play,” he said. “This is a build toward the end, and hopefully it helps us toward the end.”  

eddie alexander