***Article by Josh Longstreth
Rich in football tradition, the Muskegon Big Reds have made another run through the state playoffs. They would be looking to make another trip back to Ford Field after their 42-14 regional win over Saginaw Heritage last week. They would head into this one facing no easy take in the East Lansing Trojans. East Lansing has cruised through the playoffs and didn’t appear to slow down any time soon. It would be up to Muskegon to see if they could change that.
Muskegon would break through for the first score of the game late in the first quarter. Jakob Price would find his way into the endzone from 20-yards out. After a botched extra point attempt, the Big Reds would hold a 6-0 lead. With just seconds remaining in the opening quarter it was then the Muskegon defense getting into the scoring act. Dacarion Taylor would grab an interception and take it all the way to the house. Muskegon was feeling it early as they held a 13-0 lead after one.
The East Lansing defense would get the Trojans right back in the game midway through the second quarter. Dontaveus Royals would scoop up a fumble and take it all the way back from 27-yards away to put his team on the board. This cut the Big Reds lead to 13-7. Just a few minutes later, Muskegon would respond. Price would find the endzone again, this time from 16-yards away. The extra point attempt would be blocked but it gave Muskegon a 19-7 lead to that point. They weren’t done yet. Late in the quarter Muskegon would top off a nearly perfect half as Price reached the endzone for the third time on a 61-yard scamper. It was all Big Reds heading into the half, 27-7.
The Big Reds defense would lead them for much of the third quarter until they broke through on offense again. They would take complete control of the game on a Adrian Rankin 11-yard run. Going for the two-points, they would pay it off to up the lead to 35-7. That’s where things would stand as Muskegon could taste it heading to the final quarter.
It was much of the same for the Big Reds to round out the game. Their defense would limit East Lansing for much of the night and that continued late. Price would reach the endzone again midway through the fourth on a 7-yard burst. That would just about do it in this one. Muskegon heads back to Ford Field on a completely dominate day on both sides of the ball. They defeat East Lansing, 42-7.
The season comes to an end for East Lansing. They would never really get much going on the day as they were limited on offense and couldn’t get much done on the defensive side. After starting the season at 0-2 the Trojans would then go on a 10-game winning streak. They would go on to win their most games ever for their program since the 2001 season.It’s a team that should be tough again in 2024 as they return a ton of key players.
It was a big day for Muskegon as they made it known they wanted to head back to Ford Field. The defense limited a Trojans offense that had been rolling for much of the season. Offensively, Jakob Price was the man of the hour in this one. The senior running back would run for 305 yards on the day to go with 4 rushing touchdowns. Quarterback M’Khi Guy finished with 81 yards rushing.
Muskegon rolls into the Division 2 Final where they will meet a familiar foe. They’ll face a Warren De La Salle team that knocked them off, 28-40, earlier in the season. The Pilots come into that one at 11-2 on the year. Their only losses coming in the first game of the year against a Davison that lost their first game today and a Toledo Central Catholic team that finished their regular season undefeated. De La Salle has been tested all season but has done nothing but dominate in the playoffs. The two teams that were atop the Division 2 rankings for much of the season will square off for round two this Saturday at 7:30.