By Lucas Rains
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON – The main concern for the Muskegon Big Reds Friday may have been looking past Reeths-Puffer in anticipation of next week’s league championship showdown with Mona Shores.
Caleb Washington rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Shawn Pfenning threw for 158 yards and ran for a score, leading Muskegon to a 37-6 win over host Reeths-Puffer in O-K Black football action.
“We’re not going to put any more emphasis on (the Mona Shores game) than we did tonight’s game, or the week before,” said Muskegon Coach Shane Fairfield. “We understand that we need to get better as a team. Our goal is to go 9-0 and yeah, we want to be OK-Black champions, but if that’s what happens after Friday night then so be it.”
Fairfield said his squad was wary of Reeths-Puffer, a team they played in a similar showdown for the league title last year.
“It’s always a tough challenge when you play someone a few miles away from you,” he said. “I knew they were going to give us a fight, and we jumped out on them. This week our motto in practice was to start fast.”
The Big Red lived up to that motto, scoring less than two minutes into the game. Washington intercepted a Rocket pass at the R-P 27, setting up a six-yard scoring run by Pfenning.
Miguel Flores booted a 37-yard field goal with 6:19 left in the first quarter to give Muskegon a 10-0 edge.
Alquon Evans got the ball on a sweep and ran 73 yards for a touchdown with 8:33 left in the second quarter to put the Big Reds up 16-0.
Washington capped off a 53-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown run up the middle later in the second quarter, giving Muskegon a 23-0 halftime lead.
The Rockets scored their only points with three minutes left in the third quarter when quarterback Jalen Cooley rolled to his right and found DeAndre Oakes-Owens streaking down the sideline for a 37-yard touchdown strike. The conversion attempt failed, leaving Muskegon up 23-6.
The Big Reds applied the knockout punches in the fourth quarter.
Washington scampered 20 yards up the middle for a third quarter touchdown, then Jared Pittman tacked on the Big Reds’ final score with a seven-yard scoring run in the fourth.
Cooley led Reeths-Puffer with 64 yards passing and 46 rushing. Oakes-Owens hauled in four passes for 51 yards and a score.
“I’m proud of the way our seniors led us in their last home game,”said Reeths-Puffer Coach Kyle Jewett. “I think we made it difficult for (Muskegon) at times. I’m proud of the team for fighting until the end.”