The only person who worked harder than the players Saturday at Phillips Field was the scoreboard operator.
Muskegon Heights Academy won a wild Division 8 first-round playoff football game against visiting Holton, 66-42. That’s 108 total points in a game that featured more than 1,000 yards between the teams, highlighted by huge numbers from Heights’ Ja’Kari Edwards and Holton’s Austin Fowler.
It’s the first playoff win since 2010 for Muskegon Heights (6-4), which advances to the district finals at 7 p.m. next Friday at Carson City-Crystal (9-1).
Carson City-Crystal beat White Cloud 40-3 on Friday. Heights lost in Week 8 at Carson City-Crystal, 41-14.
Muskegon Heights’ season last fall was canceled out of the district’s concerns about COVID-19. Prior to that, the Tigers went 1-8 in 2019 and 0-9 in 2018.
“I’m very proud of our players, my staff. We have been through a lot and we continue to prosper through it,” Muskegon Heights coach Van Parker said in a text message to CatchMark SportsNet.
“I couldn’t ask for a better, funnier group of young men. They have set a standard, I’m praying we can build off.”
Holton closes the season with a 5-5 record.
The game was tight in the first half, as Muskegon Heights went into the break with a 22-18 lead. The Tigers pulled away in the third quarter and led 42-26 entering the fourth.
Muskegon Heights outrushed Holton, 373-31. The Tigers also passed for 191 yards.
Edwards had a monster game. The Heights quarterback rushed for six TDs and passed for two more. He rushed for a game-high 162 yards on 10 carries. Teammate Anthony Floyd added 105 yards on 17 attempts.
“The game was fun and scary,” Parker said. “Holton’s offense is very explosive. Their QB made throws, but our QB continued to answer. It was a shootout to remember.”
Fowler, the Red Devils’ signal-caller, capped a huge senior season by putting up big numbers against Muskegon Heights: 32-of-46 passing for 463 yards with five TDs and four interceptions.
Bret Hosmer and Kevin Erickson had two receiving TDs each for Holton.
“Just grateful to have been a small part of this group of seniors’ careers,” Holton coach Alex Smith said in a text to CatchMark SportsNet. “They won two total games as JV players and continued to battle. We’ll miss them greatly.”
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