By Nate Thompson

NORTON SHORES — After every defensive stop, Mona Shores head coach Matt Koziak raises a clenched fist in the air to signify the accomplishment of the Sailors’ defense.

His players on the sidelines follow suit.

That was a common gesture for the Sailors throughout their rivalry showdown against Reeths-Puffer on Friday in front of a big crowd at Sailor Stadium.

Mona Shores’ defensive line and flowing linebackers were outstanding in bottling up Reeths-Puffer’s run game, limiting the Rockets to a mere 163 yards of total offense in a lopsided 44-6 victory in O-K Black Conference action.

Damari Roberson (10) hauls in the reception for a long gain. Photo/Eric Sturr

Mona Shores improved to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play. Reeths-Puffer fell to 3-1 and 1-1.

Mona Shores will look to extend its unbeaten start next week against visiting Jenison in the Sailors’ Homecoming contest.

Koziak said he felt his offense left some points off the board in the first half, but the defense was ferocious throughout the game.

“Puffer’s a team that has put some big points on the board, and they tried to spread us out and get the ball in space, but our defense was outstanding,” Koziak said. “It was tough to run on us. They did hit some passes, but our run defense was real stingy tonight.”

When the run failed early, Reeths-Puffer tried to beat the Sailors deep through the air. But Rockets sophomore quarterback Evan Moskwa struggled, completing just 3 of 13 passes in the first half. He finished the contest 8-for-24 for 94 yards.

The Sailors scored on their first possession – a 5-yard touchdown run by Dee Davis — and made it 14-0 late in the first quarter on a 23-yard keeper by quarterback Tristan Robbins.

Evan Moskwa (22) bounces outside looking for yardage. Photo/Eric Sturr

But the Sailors bogged down with missed opportunities in the second quarter, and managed just a 26-yard field goal by Austin Flowers to take a 17-0 lead at the half.

“Our offense came out a little flat, but our defense stepped up,” said junior Sincere Dent, who shined at outside linebacker for the Sailors. “Colt Stout and Chuckie (Anthony) both stepped up and (nose tackle) Josh Hill really made their center work.”

The Sailors’ run game began to assert itself to open the second half.  Shores made it 24-0 on its opening series of the third quarter on Davis’ second rushing touchdown.

Dent then grinded out 56 yards on three carries to set up the Sailors’ lone passing touchdown, a 16-yard fade pass from Robbins to Damari Roberson.

Reeths-Puffer’s lone score was a three-yard run by Moskwa in the middle of the third quarter. The Rockets had to punt eight times during the contest.

The Sailors added rushing touchdowns by Robbins and Charles Allen in the fourth quarter, leading to a running clock with seven minutes to play.

Despite their 4-0 start, Dent feels the Sailors haven’t yet hit their stride.

“This defense is capable of shutouts,” Dent said. “And on offense, we feel we’re capable of putting up 50 points on the board.”

Mona Shores had 416 total yards of offense, led by Dent’s 98 yards on 12 carries. Davis added 71 yards on 11 carries, while Robbins completed 8-of-16 passes for 118 yards and rushed for another 47.