By Adam Knorr
The Zeeland East Chix came in to Hackley Stadium with notions of pulling off an OK-Black conference upset against the Muskegon Big Reds on Friday evening.
But then reality set it, and like other Muskegon opponents, their hopes were quickly dashed.
Five different players scored for the Big Reds as Muskegon (5-1) blew away the Chix 47-6 in O-K Black Conference football action.
The Big Reds improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in league play.
“Muskegon’s got a really good football team,” said Zeeland East head coach Derek Pennington. “We just didn’t match up outside with them. Just too much speed for us tonight and they’re going do that to a lot of folks.”
Zeeland East (3-3) had a chance to spring ahead in the first quarter after it recovered a Jared Pittman fumble on the Muskegon 25-yard line, but Big Red Jacorey Sullivan picked off a CJ Otteman pass and took it 90 yards into the end zone to put the Big Reds up early.
From there, it was a stroll in the park for the Big Reds.
Muskegon showcased its speed and athleticism, blending an effective mix of throwing and rushing to keep the Chix defense off balance. The Big Reds’ offense was electric, scoring on plays of 80, 59, 53, 47 and, 44 yards.
The notoriously hard-hitting Big Red defense created issues for Zeeland East all night. Receivers pulled up short on over-the-middle passes, and rushers couldn’t get far as Muskegon defenders swarmed hard, fast and often.
“We play a lot more zone. In the past, we’ve always been a man-to-man team and when we play man-to-man you either break it up or you make a tackle,” said Big Red Coach Shane Fairfield. “When you play more zone, you’re able to make a break on a ball, come up and play very physical and hit people.”
Four minutes after Sullivan’s first touchdown, he struck again. Quarterback Kalil Pimpleton hit Sullivan for a 49-yard touchdown bomb as the Big Reds took a 14-0 lead.
Minutes later, Pimpleton kept the ball and broke free for a 47-yard touchdown rush. Muskegon was up 21-0 in the first quarter, and the rout was on.
Senior PP Copeland took a 53-yard rush to the end zone in the second quarter, and minutes later, Pittman busted through with an 80-yard touchdown run. A missed extra point left the score at 34-0 Muskegon.
Demetrio Lopez banged in a 33-yard field goal near the end of the half and Muskegon went into the break up 37-0.
The second half featured a running clock as Muskegon mopped up what was left of the Chix.
Lopez hit a 31-yard field goal to put Muskegon up 40-0, then the Chix got on the scoreboard with a five-yard touchdown pass from Otteman to Landon Bell. A missed PAT kept the score 40-6.
Pimpleton struck once again on a 44-yard touchdown rush in the fourth quarter to put the Big Reds up 47-6.
Pimpleton finished 6-for-9 for 123 yards and a touchdown through the air while rushing for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
Pittman rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Copeland added 151 yards receiving and rushing with a touchdown.
The Big Reds limited Zeeland East to just 148 total yards. Otteman completed 10 of 25 passes for 131 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
“I knew they were going to throw it 40 or 50 times and we haven’t been challenged there yet in the secondary,” Fairfield said. “I was very happy with the way our secondary responded.”