LSJ preview: Muskegon Big Reds’ ‘Brothers of Destruction’ focused on playoffs

Last month, the Local Sports Journal published a 24-page high school football preview section. Here is the preview story on the Muskegon Big Reds. If you would like to purchase a copy of the football section, send an email to sports@localsportsjournal.com
By Mike Mattson
Local Sports Journal
Quincy Crosby and Antwan Billings shook hands for the first time as freshmen football players at Muskegon High School.
It was one of those uncomfortable meetings between two proud linemen.

Muskegon’s offensive line has been dubbed “Brothers of Destruction.” The group includes, from left, Antwan Billings, Malik King, Quincy Crosby, Noah Tozer, Ontario Hampton and Chandar Ricks. Photo by Cole Myhre.

“I hated this dude,” Crosby recalled with a smile. “He came here from the Heights and I thought he was trying to take my spot. I realized later he just made me better.”
Today, Crosby and Billings share hugs, laughs, food and “pancake blocks” as senior leaders of the Big Reds. They anchor a big, talented offensive line that should pave the way for a potent offense this season.
Crosby (6-foot-3, 280) and Billings (6-foot-3, 275) are both hungry for success before they head off to college next year.
“I’m looking forward to the season because this is my last year,” said Billings, who returns at right tackle. “I’m guaranteed nine (games), but I want 14. There is no doubt in my mind we can win all of our games.”
Crosby shares Billings’ high expectations for Muskegon, the state’s winningest prep football program.
“When you choose to come to Muskegon, you choose to win a championship and have a hard work ethic,” said Crosby, who returns for his third season at center. “If you choose anything less, it’s unacceptable. My boys and I are ready to put this team on our backs and take this team to Ford Field.”
Muskegon’s offensive line is a tight-knit group. Behind the scenes, they refer to themselves as “Brothers of Destruction.”
Joining Crosby and Billings up front are senior left guard Noah Tozer (5-10, 252), senior left tackle Chandar Ricks (6-foot-4, 275) and junior right guard Malik King (6-foot-4, 265).
Seniors Dalvin Walton (6-foot-2, 240) and Ronald Jenkins also may see action up front for the Big Reds.
Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield will have plenty of quality skill players, but he gushes more about his offensive linemen.
“You can’t ask for a better five guys,” Fairfield said. “Not only are they big, physical and athletic, they are intelligent and they like each other.
“I think we have a bigger Tonka truck than anybody else. We will put the plow down and plow the road ahead. People will get a glimpse of old-time Muskegon football. We will force people to guard the whole field because of the work (the linemen) have done.”
Offensively, Muskegon will have a new quarterback. Junior Deshaun Thrower and senior Jalen Smith have been engaged in a heated preseason battle for the starting job. Thrower, a Heights transfer, has the stronger arm, but Smith has been a better decision maker in the veer rushing attack.
Seniors John King and Javontae Langston will be the primary threats at running back to fill the void left by all-stater Juwan Lewis. Both are physical hard-nosed runners.
Muskegon is loaded at the slot position with four explosive players – Marcus Smith, Demetrius Brown, John Hall and E’monte Briggs all expected to contribute.
The wide receiver corps is headed by returning starter Sherman Hodges (6-foot, 179). Keondre Craig (6-foot-3, 200), a tight end last season, and Heights transfer D’Vonte Dockery (6-foot-2, 180) are two other big targets on the perimeter.
Defensively, the Big Reds will have good size and quickness. The defensive line should be a strength, led by junior defensive tackle Ken Finley.
“He has a motor and can move sideline to sideline,” Fairfield said.
Junior Jacob Sims (5-foot-6, 200) is a converted linebacker who will create havoc at noseguard.
Fairfield is excited about his defensive ends – Heights transfer Jenkins and Walton. They are both strong and athletic.
King returns as inside linebacker after a solid junior year. All-stater Angelo Corona’s inside linebacker spot will be filled by talented junior Will Hunt (6-foot-0, 215).
Brown is back at one outside linebacker position and is always a threat to rush the quarterback. Hall is penciled in for the other outside linebacker spot and has good size, toughness and smarts.
Briggs is back as an experienced free safety in the secondary. He battled some injuries last season and missed the Lowell playoff game.
Kijhana Lattimore, Jordan Ware, Hodges, Smith and Dockery should all see time at cornerback while Thrower also will be in the mix in the secondary if he doesn’t start at quarterback.
Muskegon will play another attractive schedule, starting with four straight nonconference games. Defending state champion Orchard Lake St. Mary’s will visit Hackley Stadium for the season opener, followed by contests against Sylvania Southview (Ohio), Rockford and Lowell.
Six of Muskegon’s nine opponents are playoff teams from last season.
“We were in search of a tough schedule because we knew we were getting out of the Red,” Fairfield said. “We wanted to be tested in the regular season. Our goals around here and our tradition are we want to be playing on Thanksgiving weekend.”
Crosby likes the attitude of the team in preseason. He believes any success will start with the “Brothers of Destruction.”
“I love these dudes,” Crosby said. “I look in their eyes and I know they want everything I want.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *