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By Andrew Johnson
That’s pretty normal for the Muskegon Mustangs, who have made a habit of beating opponents with relative ease.
With a 42-12 victory over the Lake Michigan Havoc at Oakridge High School, the defending league champion Mustangs improved to 5-0 on the 2016 season.
The game plan changed a bit for the Mustangs, because standout veteran quarterback Aaron James wasn’t available at the start of the game.
He was driving back to Muskegon from a coaching assignment in Saginaw when the Mustangs game kicked off at 7 p.m. Saturday evening.
While some may have feared that the offense might falter without James starting, everything went fine.
Backup quarterback Jemar Jackson played well until James arrived in the second quarter, then they effectively shared the duties the rest of the game.
“The offense was ready,” said Mustangs Coach Rob Brown. “The staff and I put together a plan for them that they just executed well tonight.”
After receiving the ball to remain the game, the Mustangs drove 82 yards in 6:29 to take a 6-0 lead. Running back Eric James capped the drive with a 14-yard rushing touchdown.
On their second drive, the Mustangs drove 41 yards in five plays to take a 12-0 lead, with Jackson finding Dave Fox for a 24-yard touchdown pass.
In the second quarter, the Mustangs used a 55-yard punt return touchdown from Demonte Collins, who hurdled several would-be tacklers to give Muskegon a 20-0 lead.
Lake Michigan got on the board with a two-point safety after the Mustangs started a possession on their own 1-yard line.‘
Aaron James entered the game and found his groove just before halftime, hitting a streaking Fox with a 48-yard scoring strike to give Muskegon a 28-2 lead at the break.
Lake Michigan opened the second half with a field goal, but the Mustangs finished the third quarter strong.
Aaron James found a diving Collins in the end-zone to give Muskegon a 36-5 lead. Then midway through the fourth quarter he connected with Maurice Sherrill for a 70-yard touchdown pass to end the Mustangs scoring.
Lake Michigan added a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
While the Mustang defense gave up points in the game – unlike a week earlier – the unit performed well against Lake Michigan, forcing four turnovers.