By John Karafa and Greg Wickstrom
Instead, a prestigious milestone was achieved.
With the Crusaders’ 53-20 win over rival Muskegon Heights, MCC secured its 500th victory in program history.
“It’s pretty cool to be a part of that,” said MCC head coach Steve Czerwon, whose squad improves to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Lakes Eight Conference. “It speaks to the consistency in the program over the years. Since 1953, there’s only been three teams with more wins than us, so it’s something to be proud of.
“We’ve been pointing to this with the kids, so they were aware,” he added. “Next week is Homecoming and we’re going to do something special to highlight it.”
MCC struck first against the Tigers, as quarterback Elliot Riegler connected on a 33-yard touchdown pass at 8 minutes, 26 seconds in the first quarter. The Tigers bounced right back, however, as JaKari Edwards blazed 63-yards down the right sidelines to knot the game at 6-6.
Riegler put the Crusaders back ahead early in the second quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run, giving MCC a 12-6 advantage.
After a turnover on downs, the Crusaders took over at its own 4-yard line and proceeded to march down field for a 96-yard drive, capped by a 19-yard run by Riegler.
Heights cut into the 20-6 deficit after a 72-yard touchdown pass from Edwards to Diamond Davis, narrowing MCC’s lead to 20-12.
But MCC pushed its lead back to 28-12 right before the half, as freshman Bryan Convertini connected on a 30-yard touchdown pass to his older brother, senior Sam Convertini.
Czerwon felt the third quarter was the turning point, as his squad blew the contest wide open.
“They’re definitely explosive. The best Heights team we’ve faced in a few years,” Czerwon said. “But I thought we really executed well in the third quarter.”
The Crusaders dominated on the ground, scoring three rushing touchdowns in the quarter — a 6- and 37-yarder by Joe Waller and a 25-yard dash by Bryan Convertini — giving MCC a 52-12 lead entering the fourth.
Edwards threw his second touchdown of the contest for the Tigers in the fourth.
Offensively, the Crusaders’ Riegler led the rushing attack with 134 yards on 11 attempts. David Hill added 85 yards and Waller tallied 82 yards.
Besides his passing exploits, the Tigers’ Edwards also led his team with 104 yards rushing on nine carries. Ashton Smith totaled 197 yards receiving.
Check out photos from the action from LSJ photog, Tim Reilly.