by Craig Beilfuss
Muskegon Heights let a halftime lead slip away on Saturday in a 32-28 setback to the McBain Ramblers.
The game was played in cool, rainy conditions at Phillips Field at Muskegon Heights.
The Tigers, who led 20-12 at halftime, came out quickly and scored on a 2-yard run by junior running back Anthony Floyd. That score game before 2 minutes had elapsed off the first-quarter clock.
McBain tied the game at 6-all on 10-yard touchdown pass from Braylon Pace to Carsten Huitenga,
Heights found the endzone on their second possession on a 65-yard drive that culminated on a 4-yard run by Floyd, who finished the game with 17 carries for 91 yards.
For the third consecutive possession, the Tigers drove 65 yards to the end zone. Senior quarterback Jakari Edwards scored from 2 yards out and Muskegon Heights led 20-6.
McBain finished the first half scoring on a 74-yard drive and Heights took a 20-12 lead into the half.
The momentum changed in the second half as McBain’s offense got rolling and its defense stymied the Tigers.
“They came out and went from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and we didn’t adjust quick enough,” Heights coach Van Parker said. “Their offense just grinded it out in the third quarter and controlled everything and it tired us out.”
McBain’s third-quarter touchdown and 2-point conversion knotted the scoring at 20-all.
Four minutes later, the Ramblers scored again and took a 26-20 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Tigers regained the lead when Edwards scampered in from 20 yards out with 6:43 remaining in the game. Heights’ conversion failed.
McBain took the lead for good with 3:05 remaining in the game, when Bryce Akom scored on a 2-yard run.
Heights turned the ball over on downs on their final possession.
Edwards rushed 65 yards on 14 carries for the Tigers. Edwards completed 14-of-22 passes for 141 yards.
On defense, the Tigers were led by Anthony Floyd with 10 tackles. He was followed by Da Cam Moore with nine tackles and Edwards with seven.
“I am proud of the way the offense played today, especially our offensive line,” Parker said. “It’s the first time we’ve had everybody back and it feels good to have everybody well.
“I am proud of our kids and the way they have handled things, this year,” Parker said. “I am proud of the work they have put in, along with our coaching staff.”
Now games the waiting game for Sunday’s selections for the upcoming playoffs. Parker is confident his team will be preparing for an opening-round game.
“We are going someplace where we haven’t been since 2010,” Parker said. “It will be a fresh start. I am excited for the kids and our community. I want to hear the words ‘host team’…a home game. That would be exciting.
“You have to go way back to long before I was born, if even then to find out if we have ever hosted a playoff football game.”