The Muskegon Big Reds just might be the best team in the state. That is what most of the media has said after their impressive 3-0 start. The win on Friday however, was not as easy as most may have anticipated. Several football fans assumed that with wins against De La Salle and Detroit Martin Luther King on the road, the Hackley Stadium home opener would be an easier win for the Big Reds. Coach Casey Longo and his East Grand Rapids Pioneers were not on that same train.
East won the coin flip and chose to kick off to start the game. A quick 3 and out for the Muskegon offense would give East the ball and a little momentum. They would use that energy to march methodically down the field. Sr QB David Lime and Sr QB Robbie Stuursma would share the backfield. This combination of quarter backs proved to be the right recipe against a battle tested Big Red defense. The East play callers compliment each other, Lime can run but is better with his arm, while the opposite is true about Stuursma.
East Grand Rapids would move the ball down the field on all 3 of their first possessions. The result however were 3 consecutive turnovers. Two interceptions and then a fumble, all in or near the Red Zone. The offense for the Big Reds would turn those turnovers into points each time and would jump out to an early 20-0 lead. It seemed to most of the Big Red fans that the route was about to begin.
The Pioneers would not go away quietly. The combination of Stuursma to Sr RB John Shelton would give the Pioneers a 79 yard score. Just 4 seconds before the half East would again drive the field looking to cut into the deficit. The result would be a 27 yard FG by Sr K Henry Wassink. The Pioneers would enter the locker room having turned the ball over 3 times and yet trail by 10 (20-10) and would receive the ball to start the second half.
The third quarter was a defensive gem for both teams and the score board would continue to show the Big Reds up by 10 with only 1 quarter to play. Just a few minuets later Sr QB Cameron Martinez would run in his 3rd touchdown of the night. This one from 21 yards and the 2-point conversion would be successful as again the senior play caller would reach the end zone. East now would have to battle the clock as well as the Muskegon defense as they trailed 28-10.
Five minuets later Stuursma would connect with Jr WR Nathan Milanowski on a 15 yard score. This brought the contest to within 12 points. A successful onside kick would give the Pioneers a chance to cut into the lead. It only took 90 seconds before a Stuursma pass to the end zone would be first tipped by Big Red Jr DB Tyreese Oakes and then caught by East Sr WR Jack Mundell. The catch was an amazing display of athletic ability and concentration that was rewarded by Pioneer fans erupting with cheers. The Wassink PAT would cut the lead to just 5 28-23 with just under 5 minuets to play.
The Muskegon Offense would control the ball and eventually run out the clock. The Big Reds would finish the game with the win improving their record to 3-0. They will host Kenowa Hills next as OK Black conference play begins.
The Pioneers loss moves their record to 1-2. OK Gold Conference play will begin for the Pioneers next week as they travel to Forest Hills Eastern.
Cameron Martinez would be voted the Core Power Performance Player of the game.
The Town & Country Group Electrifying Play would be the Mundell catch in the end zone for East.