By Mitchell Boatman

NORTON SHORES – There were questions about how the Mona Shores football team would respond early in the season without injured All-State quarterback Caden Broersma.

The Sailors answered those questions with a pair of wins, but were more than happy to have their senior signal-caller back on Friday night.

Broersma returned for the first time since last year’s Division 2 state title game and totaled three touchdowns as the Sailors beat Reeths-Puffer 33-13 in O-K Black Conference action.

“It was unreal,” Broersma said of getting back on the field. “You kind of take for granted actually playing football. To have it taken away from you and coming back to it…it was just electric out there, at least for me.”

Sailors head coach Matt Koziak said having his starting QB back allows his offense to be more dynamic. Brady Rose, who filled in well for Broersma in the first two games, moved to slot receiver in addition to playing safety and returning punts.

Jaylen Hopson takes the pass in the flat in for a Mona Shores touchdown. Photo/Eric Sturr

“It was huge to have (Broersma) back,” Koziak said. “We can get (Rose) in space. He’s just dangerous in space, so I think it made us a bit more dynamic.”

Broersma found his groove right away on the first Sailor possession. He carried four times for 20 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run to put Shores up 7-0 with 4:02 to play in the first.

Reeths-Puffer responded with a long drive, spanning 12 plays and stretching into the second quarter.

The Rockets got on the board on a 16-yard pass from quarterback Evan Moskwa to Gary Humphrey III. The extra point was blocked by Mona Shores’ Kolbe Trovinger to keep the Sailors up 7-6 with 9:57 left before halftime.

The Sailors bounced back just four plays later, when Tre Hatcher spun off a would-be tackler and scored on a 20-yard run with 8:04 remaining in the second.

“He’s lightning in a bottle,” Koziak said about Hatcher. “He hits the hole so quick. There was a play where the free safety was unblocked and Tre put a spin move on him. Most kids get tackled on that play, but he turned it into a touchdown.”

After a turnover on downs by Reeths-Puffer, Shores drove 75 yards for another score, capped by an 11-yard TD from Hatcher with 1:06 to play before halftime. The Sailors led 21-6 at the break.

Mona Shores got the ball first in the second half, but set up to punt after three plays. The Rockets busted through the line and Marco Fields blocked the kick. The Rockets recovered at the Mona Shores 14-yard-line and appeared to have a chance to get back in the game.

However, the Sailor defense stood its ground and forced a turnover on downs after four plays.

Reeths Puffer quarterback Evan Moskwa is caught from behind by Cam Sobish. (Photo/Eric Sturr)

“All of a sudden, if they score it’s 21-14 or 21-13,” Koziak said. “That was a huge stop for our defense. For the most part, I thought our defense was lights out.”

On the ensuing possession, Broersma tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Hopson to extend the lead. R-P’s Colby Stephenson blocked the extra point to keep it 27-6 heading into the fourth.

The Rockets were set to punt early in the fourth, but the ball struck a Sailor player on its way down and Reeths-Puffer bounced on the ball to keep possession. The Rockets took advantage, with Moskwa throwing a touchdown pass to Wyatt Kevern. The 21-yard score pulled Puffer within 27-13 with 10:17 to play.

That would be the closest the Rockets would get. Broersma ran for his second touchdown on the next drive, a 13-yard scamper. The extra point went off the upright, leaving the score at 33-13.

Broersma ran for 150 yards on 23 carries, while completing all six of his passes for 78 yards. Hatcher continued the strong start to his season, rushing for 125 yards.

Moskwa completed 19 of 29 passes for 190 yards and two scores. He also ran for 41 yards. Humphrey had four catches for 38 yards and Brett Buchan had seven grabs for 43 yards.