The North Muskegon Norsemen and Northpointe Christian Mustangs squared off in Friday’s Division 7 Playoff opener. A strong defense helped North Muskegon win 26-0, their first playoff victory since 2006.

Neither team scored in the first quarter, and the defenses continued to control this game in the beginning of the second quarter. Finally, with four minutes to go before halftime Gabe Rahrig booted a thirty-one yard field goal to put North Muskegon on the scoreboard. In the final seventy-six seconds of the first half, the Norsemen would get two touchdown passes from the combination of Brennan Pannucci and Amarion Dickerson (thirty-five and forty-seven yards respectively) to seize complete control of this game and take a 17-0 lead into halftime.

The North Muskegon defense forced a safety midway through the third quarter when they brought pressure and disrupted the punt. On the ensuing possession, Collin Schotts plunged across the goal line for the final score for either side.

Offensive yardage was close in this game, as the Norsemen outgained the Mustangs 220-167. Five NPC turnovers, four interceptions and a fumble, in addition to the safety, turned out to be the difference in this game.

North Muskegon will advance to next week’s district semifinals, where they will travel to Pewamo-Westphalia. The Pirates are 6-1 this season, and they defeated Hesperia 46-14 on Friday. P-W is the defending Division 7 State Champions, and they have posted a 71-4 record since the start of 2015. In that time frame, the Pirates have won three Division 7 State Championships and lost a fourth title game. It will be an extremely difficult task for the Norsemen to win next week’s game, but in a year like 2020, you never know which way the ball will roll.