By Justin Haggerty
Local Sports Journal
RAVENNA – The Ravenna Bulldogs bounced back from their first loss of the year to Oakridge last week with a convincing 49-6 win Friday against West Michigan Conference foe North Muskegon.
Ravenna dominated the game from start to finish, a point that wasn’t lost on North Muskegon head coach Mike Belmonte.
“They just played more physical football than us, they were more motivated than us,” Belmonte said. “We beat them the last two years, but we just came out flat. But all the credit goes to Ravenna.”
The Bulldog lineup has been ravaged by injuries lately, forcing the hosts to play Friday with a backup quarterback and a several other substitute starters. But that didn’t stop the home team from dominating the action.
“We played well as a team,” said Ravenna head coach David Smith, whose team improved to 5=1 overall and 4-1 in the league. “We’re very happy with the effort. When we do execute and play as a team, we’re going to be OK, we’re pretty good.”
On a rain soaked night, a strong running game was bound to be a key factor.
Ravenna provided that, rushing 41 times for 290 yards. North Muskegon rushed 30 times for 56 yards, but with high snaps resulting in losses, the Norsemen only had a net gain of five rushing yards.
Ravenna running back Justin Jones started off the scoring with a six yard touchdown run with 8:05 left in the first quarter.
Quarterback Dakota Hudson, who was filling in for the injured Nick Castenholz, completed the first quarter scoring with a 14-yard touchdown run.
Ravenna running back Gabe Zimmer put his team up by three touchdowns with a one-yard scoring plunge in the second quarter.
Alexander White blocked a North Muskegon punt on the next possession, and Bronson Leutzinger scooped up the ball and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick put Ravenna up 28-0.
Ravenna extended its lead to 35-0 in the second quarter with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Hudson to White.
North Muskegon got on the board with :23 left in the half on a Logan Waller one yard touchdown run. The point after attempt was blocked and the halftime score was 35-6 Ravenna.
The second half brought more of the same for the Bulldogs, with Zimmer scoring a one-yard touchdown and sophomore David Thompson scampering for a 36-yard.
Ravenna’s Jones led all rushers with an even 100 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown while Hudson chipped in 74 yards on nine carries and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs outgained the Norsemen 321-104 in total yards. Ravenna completed seven of nine third down conversions while North Muskegon succeeded on just 2 of 10.
David Denning led the ‘Dog defense with 12 tackles while Blake Hammond contributed 10. Thomas Montgomery paced the Norsemen with seven tackles.