By Melvin Lane
LocaSportsJournal.comZEELAND — Defensive opportunities and timely fourth quarter scores.That was the winning formula the Muskegon Big Reds needed in earning a tough 28-20 O-K Green victory over Zeeland West on Friday night. Muskegon thankfully bounced back from last week’s opportunity against Detroit Cass Tech.
A running clock put on the Big Reds by Cass Tech left thoughts running through fans’ minds if Muskegon has what it takes to beat hungry teams, squads like Zeeland West.
The Dux had considerable motivation left over from last year’s 15-14 heart-stinging loss at Hackley Stadium.
Muskegon felt that pressure in Zeeland on Friday night, but once again found a way to push the Dux down.
The Big Reds raced out to a 6-0 lead on a 54-yard Demari Foster explosion on Muskegon’s first play from scrimmage.
But Zeeland West wasted no time to tie the score 6-6, finding the end zone on a Parker Holman 25-yard rush. Trevor Wallar set up the attack with an interception.
The Big Reds defense held strong through the first half as the Dux offensive struggled to get drives rolling.
But a Zeeland drive late in the second quarter had Muskegon with its back against the wall. The Dux drove all the way to the Muskeon 10-yard line.
Thankfully for the Big Reds, Dominic Sugin forced a fumble and Muskegon walked into halftime with a tied score.
With a scoreless third quarter, both schools knew something dramatic was about to take place.
The fourth quarter was full of momentum swings by the Big Reds.
Holman helped the Dux regain the lead on a three-yard TD run and the Dux added on a two point conversion to lead 14-6.
Muskegon, searching for momentum of its own, found it in four-year starter and star quarterback Myles Walton.
Walton connected with Jeremiah Dault on a 52-yard pass, setting up a Jakob Price one-yard touchdown run. Price then successfully converted the 2 point conversion, tying the score at 14 apiece.
Muskegon then opened the flood gates with impressive back-to-back scores and taking a 28-14 lead.
First was a 32-yard touchdown run by Destin Piggee. Then a nifty 77-yard touchdown jaunt by Price and the Big Reds were in control.
Price finished with a team-high 112 rushing.
“You come off a loss last week and you’re playing a team that’s had two weeks to prepare for you, both offensively and defensively, I think we grew a lot,” said Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield referring to the adversity the Big Reds went through during the game.
Zeeland West still showed some fight, Skylar Geurink found the end zone on a 15-yard pass from Wallar with 0:26 left in the game.
After an onside kick recovery by the Big Reds, Muskegon was able to breathe with a secured win.
“Resiliency is a great word to describe this team,” said Fairfield. “These young men are faced with so many obstacles and how they continue to show up day in and day out for their family and team. There’s not a word for that.”
Zeeland West outrushed Muskegon 338-292, but the Big Reds defense stopped Zeeland West on several crucial fourth down plays throughout the game until the Big Reds offense found their rhythm.
LSJ photographer Craig Smith was on hand in Zeeland to catch the action. Check out a few photos from the game.