By Nate Thompson

MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP – Can the Reeths-Puffer football team shock the world, beat Muskegon on Friday, and clinch a postseason playoff spot?

The 8-0 Big Reds, coming off a tremendously impressive 55-35 victory over Mona Shores last week, are considered by some to be the best high school team in the state of Michigan, regardless of division.

But the Rockets, who at 5-3 are one win away from validating their ticket to the playoffs, are not intimidated, according to their coach.

“This group has played well enough to put us in a position to clinch a playoff berth,” said R-P coach Kyle Jewett. “The kids have earned that right to continue their season. Regardless of how it turns out, those kids have really competed every step of the way.”

Carter Fulton stands with the ball after making a catch for Reeths-Puffer. Photo/Jason Goorman

The Rockets are in a position to clinch their first playoff berth since 2014 because they’re currently riding a four-game winning streak, when they have averaged a stellar 47.5 points per game.

The streak includes wins over Grand Rapids Union (65-6), Greenville (52-16), Fruitport (48-8) and Kenowa Hills (28-19).

Their current team total of 311 points is the most scored during the regular season in program history.

But they could end up on the outside looking in once the Division 2 playoff field is unveiled on Sunday, because of their rough start this season. Early losses to Grand Haven, Mona Shores and Jenison had the Rockets staring at a 1-3 record, and they’ve been clawing their way back ever since.

Both Jewett and senior wide receiver Carter Fulton said things began clicking for the Rockets offensively in Week 3, when they gave Mona Shores all it could handle in a 49-35 final.

“After OV and Mona Shores, everyone started to recognize their roles and everything started clicking,” said Fulton, a 6-3, 170-pounder. “We feel we can play with anyone.”

Fulton is a unique story because he didn’t play football as a freshman, but began to realize his immense potential as a receiver beginning as a sophomore.

Jewett won’t label him as a possession or speed receiver, because he can do a little bit of everything on the field. Through eight games, Fulton has 47 catches for 892 yards and an eye-popping 14 touchdowns. He also leads the team in tackles from his safety position with 44.

Daven Fox out runs a Jenison player for a score in RP’s game against the Wildcats. Photo/Jason Goorman

“Carter is a complete wide receiver,” Jewett said. “His stats jump out, but he’s also contributed on the perimeter runs on the jet sweeps, and he’s as good as I’ve coached when it comes to stalk blocking.”

Jewett said Fulton has been able to flourish because of his outstanding route-running and the chemistry he’s developed with junior quarterback Evan Moskwa, who has thrown for over 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns.

“He’ll run slats across the middle and take on contact, and he’s excellent on the deep fades,” Jewett said of Fulton. “He’s very tough to guard because he’s so precise with his routes. He understands the craft of being a receiver. He’s really made tremendous gains.”

The Rockets’ run game has also started to rumble during the winning streak, thanks to a three-headed monster of Moskwa, Brett Buchan and Daven Fox. The trio has combined for 18 touchdowns this season, with Fox leading the way with 362 yards and eight scores. He has a total of 16 touchdowns overall, with six receiving touchdowns and two kickoff returns.

“We’ve thrown more this season than we have in the past, but a kid like Daven has shown he’s capable of being an explosive force on the edge, or taking it into traffic,” Jewett said.

Fulton also said a 5-4 finish wouldn’t necessarily mean a disappointing season for the Rockets.

“To me, it wouldn’t be a disappointment because we’ve shown people that we’re a lot better of a team than what they thought we were early on,” he said. “We’ve got a lot to be proud of.”