By Kameron Willer

MUSKEGON – Crosstown rivals North Muskegon and Muskegon Catholic did battle on Friday afternoon at Muskegon’s Hackley Stadium and the teams did not disappoint.

In a nailbiter, the Crusaders earned a come-from-behind 24-22 victory over the Norsemen.

Crusader quarterback Brian Convertini scored from a yard out to complete a comeback that saw MCC trailing 22-12 in the latter stages of the game. That game-winning drive began after Convertini intercepted a pass to give MCC possession.

North Muskegon took the early lead on a 57-yard touchdown pass from sophomore James Young to Carson Moat. Young finished the game with 25 completions on 35 attempts for 278 yards and two touchdowns.

“We can throw it,” NM coach Larry Witham said. “We have to be able to run it a little bit better and control the ball a little bit better and run some time off the clock. 

Muskegon Catholic came right back when David Hill returned a kickoff 55 yards and into Norsemen territory. Hill scored on a 3-yard run, but a blocked PAT made it 7-6.

Young’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Ben Meyers put NM up by eight points.

However, the Crusaders had a late answer when Sam Kartes scored on a 12-yard run. NM led 14-12 at the half.

To start the second half the Norseman returned the kickoff to midfield. Several plays later,  Young connected with Meyers for 23 yards into the Crusader 10-yard line. Young capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Then the Crusader comeback began.

Hill, who rushed six times for 87 yards, took a handoff and darted 68 yards into the red zone. Convertini capped it off with a 2 yard score. 

After the final TD that gave the Crusaders the narrow lead, the defense stood tall. A sack by Finn Maschino on third down and an incomplete pass on fourth down finished it off for MCC.

Moat finished the game with three catches for 72 yards and Alec Newville hauled in nine receptions for 61 yards. Sam Gallo led the defense with 9 tackles and a sack.

For MCC, Chase Willer had two catches for 56 yards with five tackles on defense. Zach Michaels led the defense with 4 tackles and 2 sacks.

“It was an exciting game,” Crusader coach Steve Czerwon said. “They’re a really good team and very well coached. They have a really good quarterback and they have some really good pieces around him. I was really proud of the way our kids battled today.”

Erasing the 10-point deficit was especially pleasing for Czerwon.

“We’re pretty good and our kids didn’t give up when they were down 10,” he said. “The kids came back and got things done. We’re going to face another great team and quarterback next week in Oakridge, so we have to clean up some things.”

Muskegon Catholic will host Oakridge next Thursday, while North Muskegon will travel across town to take on Orchard View.