Muskegon Mustangs remain unbeaten with a 56-7 whipping of the Lake Michigan Havoc

By Adam Knorr

MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Mustangs gave their fans a show in the 2015 home opener, stomping the Lake Michigan Havoc 56-7.LSJ Logo incert

Jarvis McKinley provided the spark for Muskegon –  which improved to 3-0 on the season –  scoring two touchdowns and recovering a fumble.

The Mustangs (3-0) found success both in the air and on the ground offensively throughout the contest.

No. 4 Karey Morrow-Bay looks to chase down Lake Michigan's No. 28 Jacorrian Howell. Photo/Jason Goorman

No. 4 Karey Morrow-Bay looks to chase down Lake Michigan’s No. 28 Jacorrian Howell. Photo/Jason Goorman

Muskegon’s Aaron James completed 11 passes for 180 yards and four touchdowns, while Maurice Sherrill led the rushing attack with 161 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

“Once we click it’s going to be hard to stop us,” said Mustangs Coach Brad Haney. “And we’re starting to click. McKinley didn’t have a catch or anything before this and now his number was called and he stepped up to the plate.”

For the second consecutive game, Muskegon’s defense limited the opposition to less than 14 points. The Mustangs held Lake Michigan to 49 yards of offense and forced five turnovers.

McKinley gave the Mustangs an early jolt, taking a jet sweep up the sidelines for a 54-yard touchdown. Following a missed extra point, Muskegon held a 6-0 lead.

On the following kickoff, McKinley recovered a Havoc fumble. The Mustangs were unable to capitalize offensively, but a high snap on Lake Michigan’s punt attempt led to a Muskegon safety and an 8-0 lead.

The floodgates opened in the second quarter. Jamarcus Martin capped off a 75-yard Muskegon drive with an 8-yard touchdown plunge.

Mustang running back Maurice Sherrill is pursued by Lake Michigan's Jimal Valentine. Photo/Jason Goorman

Mustang running back Maurice Sherrill is pursued by Lake Michigan’s Jimal Valentine. Photo/Jason Goorman

Lake Michigan’s Jamal Valentine intercepted an Aaron James pass deep in Havoc territory, but the Mustangs kept momentum on the home side.

Havoc quarterback Brandon Hurst took a deep shot on the first play following the turnover, but Buddy Keyes jumped the route and intercepted the pass to give Muskegon the ball back.

The Mustangs closed the half out with two more scores – a 48-yard pass from James to Demonte Collins and a 36-yard Maurice Sherrill run – to take a 29-0 lead into halftime.

Collins led all receivers, hauling in four catches for 78 yards to go with his touchdown.

“We’ve been together for five years,” Collins said about his relationship with James. “He’s been my quarterback ever since I started semipro football so that’s five years of hard work.”

The Havoc struck first in the second half as Valentine punched in an 8-yard rush for the only Lake Michigan score of the game.

With just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter, James found McKinley for a 27-yard touchdown pass as Muskegon expanded its lead to 36-7.

Key McMillian takes down Lake Michigan running back Jacorrian Howell. Photo/Jason Goorman

Key McMillian takes down Lake Michigan running back Jacorrian Howell. Photo/Jason Goorman

On Muskegon’s first defensive play following McKinley’s touchdown, Key McMillian scooped up a fumble and returned it 15 yards for another Muskegon score.

The James pipeline opened up for Muskegon’s last two scores as Aaron James found Hosley James for two touchdowns on passes of 27 and 18 yards to cap off 60 minutes of domination.

“I think today was like how it should be and what it’s going to be for the rest of the season,” Aaron James said. “We clicked and we were able to hit some deep balls. From here on forward we should be good to go.”

Despite the lopsided scoreboard, the Mustangs were plagued by penalties. Muskegon was flagged 16 times for 171 yards.

“We got to stay mentally strong for four quarters,” Haney said. “We can’t let ourselves sink down to their level competition-wise. We were the better team and we’ve got to stay the better team for four quarters.”

Lake Michigan’s quarterback tandem of Hurst and Jeremy Dybfahl completed just two passes for 33 total yards.

Keyes led the Mustangs defensively with two interceptions, while McMillian, Javon Gonsor and Derek VandenBoesch recorded three tackles apiece.

The Mustangs will host the Northern Michigan Wolves at 7 p.m. on June 27 at Oakridge High School.

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