Holland High has done the unthinkable, winning a district championship one year after going 3-6 and after many years of missing the playoffs.
Senior linebacker Nathan Ricketts has been through two of those losing seasons, but his play on both sides of the ball this year helped the Dutch go 7-2 in the regular season, their highest win total since 1988.
On Saturday, they knocked off favored Zeeland East to set up a rematch with state power East Grand Rapids, another team Ricketts and his squad upset earlier in the year.
"It means a whole lot," he said. "To see all these people, and all the work we put in for four years of high school, it's unbelievable. I can't describe this right now."
Ricketts, while exuberant, underscored the importance of not dwelling on this victory for too long.
"We have EGR next, so we have to settle down and have a good week of practice."
Ricketts has offers from Central Michigan, Toledo and Western Michigan. He visited Toledo a few weeks back, and was supposed to visit Illinois this weekend, but his playoff game will coincide with the Illini's clash against Michigan.
He knows that moving on in the playoffs will bring about more opportunities though, and he and his team have reveled in the underdog role all season.
"That's what drives us. Everybody doubting us. No one believes in Holland football. Now they do. This is what it's all about."