By Craig Beilfuss
Muskegon Heights – The Muskegon Heights Tigers won their first home football playoff game in school history on Saturday afternoon with a high-scoring 66-42 victory over the Holton Red Devils.
The game was played at Phillips Field.
“I’m really excited for our kids,” an elated Tigers’ head coach Van Parker said. “I’m excited for our community and for our coaching staff. This is what happens when you work hard.”
Leading the way for Heights was senior quarterback Ja’Kari Edwards, who rushed for six touchdowns and threw for two more. Edwards led the Tigers with 160 yards rushing and racked up 178 more yards through the air on 8-of-16 passing.
“Ja’Kari was the kid that we thought he could be today,” said Parker. “He is a special kid and he had a special day on what was probably his last home game. Now we have to hit the road. I am just super proud of him. He’s been with since he was a freshman.”
Both teams started out a little sluggish until Edwards found the endzone at the 2:41 mark of the opening quarter on a 27-yard run. Anthony Floyd converted the 2-point extra conversion for an 8-0 lead.
The Red Devils countered with a touchdown of their own with 21 seconds remaining in the quarter. Kevin Erickson hauled in a 17-yard pass from Austin Fowler.
Edwards scored his second touchdown of the day in the second quarter on a long run. That made it 16-6 early in the second quarter.
Holton answered with an 8-yard pass from Fowler to Brett Hosmer at the 5:28 mark.
Each team added a touchdown in the second quarter. Edwards scored on a 3-yard run for Heights and Fowler connected with Rice Robins at a 20-yard pass play. Heights went into halftime with a 22-18 lead.
Then as they say, “the roof caved in” on the Red Devils as the Tigers found the end zone for three third-quarter touchdowns, increasing their lead to 42-26 margin entering the fourth quarter.
“The defense played well, although their quarterback made some huge plays and threw for a lot of yards,” said Parker. “Our huge plays were momentum changers. They gave our kids confidence. The front line on offense made some big plays and I thought our special teams play was great today.”
Holton turned the ball over six times.
Both teams played a sloppy, but wide-open fourth quarter.
Other offensive weapons on the day for Heights included Floyd who ran for 103 yards and Darice Totten who gained 85 yards. Hanif Guyton led the receiving core with 97 yards.
Fowler racked up 510 passing yards for Holton. He completed 33-of-50 passes.
The Red Devils finish the season with a record of 5-5.
Muskegon Heights (6-4) will travel next weekend to Carson City Crystal (9-1) overall in a rematch game from back two weeks ago when the Eagles ran past the Tigers 41-14.
The date and time of game will be announced next week.