By Melvin Lane
In football, there are three phases: Offense, defense and special teams.
Muskegon Big Reds Coach Shane Fairfield uses turnovers as another phase.
The Big Reds created seven turnovers against the Lowell Red Arrows in their district opener and walked away with a 35-7 victory.
“We use offense, defense, turnovers and special teams,” Said Fairfield. “That’s a big part of the game.”
A punt by Dominic Sugin that was muffed by Lowell and recovered by Seth Harris helped set up the Big Reds first scoring drive as Destin Piggee scampered in from 58 yards out for a touchdown.
On the ensuing Adrian Ramos-Velazquez kickoff for Muskegon, Amariyan Glover pounced on a Lowell mishap and the Big Reds would quickly cashed in.
Muskegon’s Jeremiah Dault connected on a 21-yard jump ball from QB Myles Walton to go up 14-0 in the 1st quarter.
Muskegon took the 14-0 lead into halftime. Penalties plagued Big Reds’ potent offense in the half.
But Walton also stepped up with a pair of interceptions that halted threats by Lowell in the first 24 minutes of play.
Walton also gave Muskegon a 21-0 lead with the Big Reds’ lone score in the third quarter on a 1-yard run into the end zone. Damari Foster set up the play with an interception.
Early in the fourth quarter, Jakob Price increased the Big Reds lead on a 20-yard touchdown run.
Lowell broke the Big Reds’ shutout with a 1 yard touchdown run by Tacho Gonzales.
Price put finishing touches on Lowell for Muskegon, capping off the game with a giant 74-yard touchdown break.
The Big Reds victory was a team effort as the Big Reds were down players before the game due to COVID-19. The unit taking the biggest hit was the offensive line but sophomores Chris Jones, Jaheim Mathis and Karl Brooks filled in remarkably after one day of prep.
Muskegon totaled 271 yards while Lowell finished with 172 yards.
Price led the Big Reds ground attack with 105 yard and two scores. Walton finished with 101 total yards and three scores. Ramos-Velazquez was 5-5 on PATs while his leg was a weapon on kickoffs, getting key touchbacks for Muskegon.
Glover recovered two fumbles, Brandon Wright recovered a fumble and the defensive trio of Dominic Sugin, Meshaune Crowley and Tamareon Oakes created problems for the Red Arrow offense all game which struggled to string together any positive plays.
“This win is very sweet because of the perseverance and how remarkable the young men at Muskegon High School are”, said Coach Fairfield.
Muskegon improves to 9-1 and hosts 8-2 Cedar Springs at Hackley Stadium next week.
Check out photos from the action shot by Kristine Tyler.