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By Greg Wickliffe
In a game where the offense struggled in the second half, the Mustangs found other ways to put points on the board and their defense made key plays to stifle the Hurricanes down the stretch.
Muskegon took the win after the Hurricanes fumbled on back-to-back punts, the seconded resulting in a KeVonte Keyes TD. Keyes’ recovery in the end zone gave his team a 19-6 advantage early in the third quarter.
Mustang cornerback Shane Pennington recorded an interception and two blocked field goals including one he returned 90 yards, putting the game out of reach at 26-6 with 8:49 left to play.
Defensively, Muskegon forced five turnovers and allowed just six first downs throughout the contest.
“I love my defense,” said Mustangs coach Rob Brown. “They’re hungry, and they’re almost intact from last year. I rely on them when games get close and we need a big play. I call on them.”
The offense got off to a fast start when Eric James punched his way into the end zone for a 7-yard score to give the Mustangs a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter.
The Mustangs added to their lead with a 10-yard scamper by wide receiver Jamarcus Martin to take a 13-0 lead into the second quarter.
Despite several fumbled snaps and a bevy of penalties which kept the Hurricanes within reach, Mustang quarterback Aaron James said he was pleased with the way the team handle adversity.
“As sloppy as we played, we never got completely down on each other,” said James whose team hits the road next Saturday to take on the Detroit Diesels. “I’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day. It was ugly, but that’s part of the game and we still won.”
“The tale of a team is how you improve from week one to week two, so we just have to go back to the drawing board on Wednesday, and go from there,” Aaron James said.