By Justin Haggerty
They did not let that opportunity slip away Friday night, defeating the Grandville Bulldogs 39-12 in their first home game of the season at a packed Hackley Stadium.
“It’s always special at Hackley, look around,” Big Reds head coach Shane Fairfield, whose team improved to 2-1 on the season. “Great atmosphere and 800 right here. I would have loved to have 801 here. I still hate that darn loss (Detroit Catholic Central in the season opener) but I’ll take it.”
Despite being only a junior, quarterback Kalil Pimpleton understands the place in history he and his teammates earned on Friday.
“It’s tradition. My family went here and they’re very proud for me to be a part of the 800, it means a lot,” Pimpleton said after finishing with 121 rushing yards, 116 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Pimpleton opened the scoring less than four minutes into the game with a 21-yard touchdown run to cap a four play drive. The extra point attempt was blocked, however, and the Big Reds led 6-0.
Grandville tied the game with less than a minute to go in the first quarter on a one-yard power run by Parker Reminga. The Bulldogs went for a two-point conversion that failed, leaving the score tied 6-6.
Pimpleton gave the Big Reds the lead for good with 5:17 to play in the second quarter with a one yard run through the tackles to put Muskegon up 13-6.
Pimpleton scored a third touchdown before halftime with a seven yard run around the right end to put Muskegon up 19-6 at the break.
“I don’t know what I would do if I had to defend him (Pimpleton),” Fairfield said. “He’s the underestimated, undersized player in the area.”
It took the Big Reds just 60 seconds and three plays to score again to start the third quarter. Pimpleton ran around the left end and cut back to the right side on a 27-yard scamper to put Muskegon up 26-6.
Junior Andrew Ward extended the lead with a one yard touchdown run of his own, making it 33-6 in favor of the Big Reds.
Nolan Meekhof got Grandville back on the board with 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter with a 33-yard sprint down the right sideline to make the score 33-12.
Muskegon’s Jared Pittman finished the scoring with just 47 seconds to play in the game with a 14-yard power run.
Terrion Hill-McKay led Muskegon with 16 tackles while also catching two passes for 14 yards.
“I’m trying to make that typical,” Hill-McKay said. “I think I can get more than that, I just have to keep working.”
“A win is a win and we’re going to celebrate this with our fans, our community,” said Fairfield. “I’m so thankful for the men that stood before me.”