by Craig Beilfuss
LocalSportsJournal.comNorth Muskegon scored three unanswered first-quarter touchdowns en route to a 37-0 win over Hart on Friday night.

The loss marked two consecutive weeks where Hart (2-2, 0-2 West Michigan Conference) didn’t reach the end zone after starting the season 2-0, including a shutout by Montague.

The Norseman (2-2, 1-1 West Michigan Conference) added another touchdown in the second quarter and rolled into halftime with a commanding 28-0 lead.

“We knew that they were a much improved club and we prepared as such,” said North Muskegon Coach Larry Witham. “Our coaching staff did a great job of preparing for what Hart does in all phases of the game; offense, defense, and special teams.”

North Muskegon added a third-quarter touchdown and a fourth-quarter safety to wrap up scoring.

“Nick Dana (1 TD reception) and Denny Belmonte (1 rushing TD) took advantage of some outstanding blocking by our offensive line,” Witham said. “James Young had time to find open receivers (Matt Colbert had 2 TD receptions), and our defense, led by Kyle Huff, pitched a second consecutive shutout.

“Our special teams got into the mix as well with a blocked punt by Bo Nedeau, which resulted in a recovery for a TD, and we also converted a fake punt into a first down as well.”

Hart had 125 yards in total offense, led by running back Chance Alvesteffer, who gained 72 yards on 17 carries, and Chris Clark-Smith, who had 21 yards on three carries.

“I think we faced a North Muskegon team that probably felt disrespected and we were on the wrong end of that tonight,” said first-year Hart coach Joe Tanis. “We are learning how to deal with some success and tonight was a great lesson for us. Credit goes to North Muskegon as they came out and played much better than us tonight.”

The Hart defense was led by Zane Thomas with six tackles and Parker Hovey with a fumble recovery.

“I thought our defense played better than the score showed as we had two punts result in 10 points for them,” Tanis said. “Prior to tonight, we had only one punt returned for any yardage versus us. So all those small things compounded tonight. We look forward to getting back to work as we get to head to Oakridge to play an angry Eagles team after tonight, I’m sure. We have a lot of room to grow as the season progresses, as we are a very young team still. But tonight, we were clearly in two different places in our programs with the Norse.”

Hart will travel to Oakridge next Friday evening, while North Muskegon will play host to Whitehall.