Second-quarter explosion carries Montague past North Muskegon in WMC football

By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

MONTAGUE – There was no arguing what decided Friday night’s game between the Montague Wildcats and the North Muskegon Norsemen.

It was the second quarter.

The host Wildcats rolled up 37 points, yes 37 points, in the second quarter and defeated the Norsemen 44-14.

“We lost it for about 10 minutes there and the wheels just came off,” said North Muskegon coach Mike Belmonte, whose team had played the Wildcats to a scoreless tie after one quarter.

Then came the fateful second quarter if you were a faithful follower of the Norsemen.

Brandon Moore scored the first of his four touchdowns with 10:13 left after a 10-play drive.

A Norseman mistake on the ensuing kickoff led to another Wildcat score 47 seconds later. A high kickoff wasn’t fielded by the NM return team so Dylan Lohman pounced on the ball and the Wildcats went back on offense from the Norse 25.

A 17-yard pass from Moore to Tim Blackmer gave the hosts a first-and-goal from the 6. Two plays later, Brandon Stine scored from 2 yards out.

That was a welcome site to Wildcat coach Pat Collins.

“Weird things were happening in our first series,” Collins said. “We were just out of synch. So we went with our other stuff and it just took off.”

North Muskegon moved the ball on its next drive, led by two long pass plays between quarterback Adrian Anderson and Chase Cooke. That duo hooked up on a pair of 26-yard passes. With 5:23 left in the half, Holden Vanderweele scored from 1 yard out.

Any momentum that came from that 80-yard drive melted away on the kickoff.

Freshman Zarren Aylor field the kickoff, turned and threw a lateral across the field to Moore, who ran 90 yards for a touchdown.

The misfortune didn’t end there for NM. Montague’s kickoff appeared to break the plane of the goalline, which signifies an automatic touchback. Instead, the play continued and the return man was tackled on the 4.

Three plays later, Montague’s Camre Hope tackled NM running back Adam Edick in the end zone for a safety. That made it 23-6.

The Wildcats got the ball back after the safety and promptly drove 45 yards into the end zone. Aylor rushed the final 25 yards into the end zone with 4:09 remaining in the half to make it 30-6.

A three-and-out by North Muskegon gave Montague the ball back yet again. And, yet again, the Wildcats put the ball into the end zone. Moore weaved his way in and out of the defense and into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown run.

That gave the Wildcats a 37-point barrage in the span of about nine minutes.

“We’ve been trying for that consistency,” Collins said. “Our offense showed that with 37 points, but it wasn’t all due to the offense. Our defense was phenomenal.

Each team scored a touchdown in the second half. Keenon Aylor had a 13-yard run and a 38-yard pass reception on a drive that ended with Moore scoring from 2 yards out.

Vanderweele scored from 3 yards out for NM with 1:22 remaining.

Stine and Moore each rushed for 81 yards for Montague. Moore rushed 11 times and Stine rushed 14 times.

Moore completed 7-of-17 passes for 95 yards.

Defensively, Jacob Marsh had 13 tackles.

For North Muskegon, Anderson completed 7-of-17 passes for 94 yards.

Wildcat team honored

About 20 former Wildcat players from the 1992 state finalist team were honored at halftime of Friday’s game. That group included former head coach Ken Diamond and Collins, who was the quarterback.

The Wildcats were undefeated until a 12-7 loss to Detroit DePorres in the state finals.

Along the way, the Wildcats defeated high-scoring Battle Creek Pennfield 6-0. Pennfield came into the game averaging more than 50 points per game.

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