By Mitchell Boatman

NORTH MUSKEGON – It’s an old saying in football that offense wins games and defense wins championships.

So what do special teams win?

For North Muskegon, in a big 28-7 West Michigan Conference victory over Ravenna on Friday, it won the momentum.

With both offenses stagnating in a scoreless game with just under two minutes remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs were set to punt. The snap was just a touch too high. That’s all it took.

Norseman Chandler Edwards slipped through the line and blocked the punt. Christian Brooks recovered the ball and jogged into the end zone to put North Muskegon ahead going into the half.

Christian Brooks rushes the ball after receiving the handoff from QB No. 5 Jesse Cooke. Photo/Leo Valdez

“We got going a little bit with the blocked punt,” said Norsemen head coach Larry Witham. “Then web got things going in the second half and ran the ball well.”

The Norse exposed some holes in the Ravenna defense to blow the game open in the third quarter.

Brooks busted free for a 55-yard touchdown run on North Muskegon’s first drive of the second half.

After a Bulldog turnover on downs, Edwards ripped off a 62-yard score on the first play of the ensuing drive. Edwards added another long score in the fourth quarter with a 53-yard run to stretch the lead to 28-0.

“We didn’t want to be a finesse team,” Witham said. “We wanted to pound the ball. They have some big guys up front, some ground movers, and our guys stood toe-to-toe with them.”

For Ravenna coach David Smith, the game came down to mental mistakes.

“When we were in the right spots, they didn’t move the ball,” Smith said. “When we were out of position, there were big plays.”

North Muskegon quarterback Jesse Cook drops back for the pass with No. 6 Chandler Edwards looking to block. Photo/Leo Valdez

Penalties also proved costly for Ravenna. The Bulldogs had over 50 yards in penalties, compared to 15 for North Muskegon.

“When you have a lot of penalties and they don’t have any … you’re going to lose,” Smith said. “We’re young and we get exposed sometimes. That’s the growing pains you have with young teams.”

Ravenna avoided a shutout with a late touchdown when Gary Johnson ran for an 11-yard score with three minutes to go.

Edwards dominated with 164 yards on 15 carries for North Muskegon. Brooks carried 10 times for 89 yards.

“It’s a pretty nice commodity to have,” said Witham. “We have a kid that runs a 4.4 in Chandler Edwards. Christian Brooks, at 6-2,and 215 pounds, when he gets running, he’s hard to bring down.”

Johnson led Ravenna with 83 yards on 16 carries. Bulldogs uarterback Cam Passenier was 4-for-9 through the air for 36 yards and ran for an additional 34 yards.

North Muskegon improved to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Ravenna fell to 1-2 and 1-1 in the league.