By Andrew Johnson

MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Big Reds sent a loud message to the rest of the O-K Black Conference on Friday night with a 68-0 thumping of Fruitport at Hackley Stadium.

The Big Reds are looking to repeat as conference champs, and clearly demonstrated they have the explosiveness to do it.

Muskegon scored five times in its first nine offensive plays.

Lonnie Clark Jr. broke loose for a 59-yard run, La’darius Jefferson threw a 40-yard score to Marvin Harwell Jr., Jeremiah Lockhart punched in a 16-yard run, Clark Jr. scored on a 60-yard run, and Jefferson found Clinton Jefferson Jr. from 64-yards out on the last play of the first quarter.

The Big Reds led 34-0 after one quarter and never looked back.

Muskegon’s Demario Robinson Jr. makes a cut in the backfield. Photo/Jason Goorman

“That’s something we wanted to challenge our guys with,” said Big Reds coach Shane Fairfield about his offense, which scored on 9 of 10 possessions Friday. “We want to put pressure on people and show that we can score.”

Muskegon didn’t take its foot off the gas pedal in the second quarter, scoring three more touchdowns. Jefferson found Deandre Carter for a 57-yard pass, Willie Shanks Jr. returned a 50-yard interception, and Jefferson punched in a five-yard keeper.

Muskegon held a 55-0 lead at halftime and punched in two more scores in the second half.

Demario Robinson Jr. ran in an eight-yard touchdown in the third quarter and Robert Carson scored on a 10-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Clark Jr. led the Big Reds with 119 yards and two scores on two carries while Jefferson threw for 229 yards and three touchdowns on 7 of 11 passing.

Fruitport’s No. 74 Jordan Norwick prepares to block Muskegon’s Anthony Brooks. Photo/Jason Goorman

Dominic Colegrove led Fruitport with 49 yards on 11 carries. Shanks Jr. led the Big Reds defense with two interceptions.

Muskegon held the Trojans to 99 total yards on the night while the Big Reds amassed 489 yards – 229 throwing and 260 rushing.

“It felt real good,” said Shanks, about playing on a defense that can contribute explosive plays and score points. “It’s exciting.”

Fairfield said he’s proud of his team after a short week of practice. The Big Reds played in Illinois last Saturday and arrived home around 3 a.m. on Sunday.

“It shows that our team is mature,” the coach said. “We had a short week after a hell of a game down in Illinois. It shows they can handle a short week and can handle their bodies.

“I challenged them before the game to play for each other, not for themselves, and it showed that they like each other a lot.”

The Big Reds are 3-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play.

“It’s big for confidence reasons,” Fairfield said about winning the first conference game. “It puts you in position to create your own destiny. We want to be in the driver seat and control the things we can.”

Muskegon will travel to Byron  Center next week while Fruitport, 1-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play, will host Kenowa Hills.