Photos by Craig Smith
It’s not often you’ll see the Muskegon High School football team eliminated from the playoffs by the second round.
Speaking of history, Cedar Springs had never beaten Muskegon – until Saturday.
Junior Ryan West scored on two long touchdown runs and he finished with 120 yards on just three carries in powering visiting Cedar Springs to a 21-14 victory over Muskegon in a Division 3 district final at Hackley Stadium.
It’s the earliest playoff exit in 10 years for the Big Reds, who had won nine straight district titles since losing in the second round in 2011. They had won eight regional championships during that span.
The young Muskegon team, which captured the outright OK Green Conference title with an unbeaten run through the league slate, closes the season with a 9-2 record.
Cedar Springs (9-2) advances to the regional finals, where the Red Hawks will face defending state champion DeWitt (10-1) on the road. Saturday marked Cedar Springs’ first victory over Muskegon in five tries. The Red Hawks had lost to the Big Reds in the playoffs in the each of the last three seasons.
West’s 50-yard TD run in the third quarter gave Cedar Springs a 14-7 lead, and his 66-yard score in the fourth put the Red Hawks up, 21-7. He also caught a pass for 40 yards.
Cedar Springs took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on Ryan Mitchell’s 2-yard run. Muskegon answered in a big way on sophomore Jakob Price’s 64-yard TD dash to knot the score in the quarter.
Price’s 1-yard TD in the fourth quarter pulled Muskegon within 21-14. A last-ditch effort by the Big Reds in the game’s final seconds ended around midfield.
Price finished with 111 rushing yards on 12 attempts. Sophomore Destin Piggee added 79 yards on eight carries. Senior quarterback Myles Walton was held to nine yards on nine attempts, and he was 1-of-7 passing for 13 yards.
Cedar Springs outrushed Muskegon, 284-221, and outgained the Big Reds in total offense, 324-256. Each team had one turnover.
The Red Hawks were 5-of-12 on third-down conversions, while the Big Reds were 1-of-8.
Connor Diemond paced Cedar Springs defensively with five tackles and a fumble recovery. Brian Wright led Muskegon with a game-high 11 tackles, while Meshaune Crowley notched seven stops and Walton picked off a pass.
Walton closes his career as a Big Red as one of the very few four-year varsity starters.
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