By Andrew Johnson

MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Catholic football team is young this year, with only four seniors on the roster, and on Friday night it showed in a 21-7 loss to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

Four interceptions and two turnovers on downs proved to be the downfall for MCC, which fell to 1-1 on the season.

“We’re playing five freshmen and five sophomores,” said Muskegon Catholic head coach Steve Czerwon. “You can’t make that an excuse, but that’s just what it is. Everything in life is about getting reps, and the more reps they get, the better off they’ll be.”

The game started rough for the Crusader offense, which coughed up the ball with two interceptions on its first two possessions.

The first interception, by ND’s Jacob Bendtsen, led to the game’s first score. It came two plays later when quarterback River Shea punched in a seven-yard run, and the PAT made the score 7-0 with 9:06 left in the first quarter.

Max Price gets ready to hand the ball off for MCC. Photo/Michael Banka

The Irish went up 14-0 when Shea found wide receiver Clayton Bone for a 10-yard passing touchdown with 5:54 left in the second quarter.

Muskegon Catholic responded on its next possession, going 59 yards over six plays, capped off by a 30-yard touchdown run by senior Dawson Fisher-Steigman with 2:44 left in the first half.

The score was 14-7 at halftime and at the end of the third quarter.

Shea finished off the scoring in the fourth quarter with an eight-yard touchdown run with 11:17 left in the fourth quarter.

Shea completed 11 of 18 passes for 91 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for 40 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

Connor Gaeschke added 84 rushing yards on 18 carries for Notre Dame Prep.

For the Crusaders, Max Price threw for 87 yards on 10-of-22 passing.

“We relied on Max a lot tonight,” Czerwon said about his quarterback. “We couldn’t run the ball, and hopefully as we get older, our offensive line will develop more and we can run the ball more so he isn’t put in that position.”

Tiovanni Knight had 54 yards on 15 carries for MCC while Dawson Fisher-Steigman added 52 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

Muskegon Catholic will travel to Orchard View next week to open up Lakes 8 conference play.