Orchard Lake St. Mary’s looked to start its 100th anniversary season with a big win on road, but Muskegon had other plans.
The Eaglets fell to the Big Reds, 21-14, on Friday, Aug. 24 in a game in which the St. Mary’s offense was shut down by Muskegon’s suffocating defense.
“I thought in the trenches, their defensive seven controlled our offensive line,” said St. Mary’s Head Coach George Porritt. “We couldn’t move the ball. Both of their lines looked very good on film.”
The Eaglets trailed 7-0 after Muskegon fullback John King scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to cap an 80-yard drive on the Big Reds’ first possession.
Matt Linehan responded for St. Mary’s by throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Spencer McInnis on the Eaglets’ first drive of the game to tie the score at 7-7 in the first quarter.
St. Mary’s also appeared to take the lead after Austin Johnson intercepted a Muskegon quarterback Jalen Smith pass and returned it for a touchdown, but it was called back due to a clipping penalty, keeping the score tied at 7-7 at halftime.
On the Big Reds’ first drive of the second half, King scored again on a 2-yard touchdown run to put Muskegon up 14-7.
Muskegon sealed the win late in the fourth quarter when Javontae Langston recovered an Eaglets’ fumble in the end zone for the Big Reds’ third touchdown, as he finished with 88 yards rushing on the evening.
Linehan threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Tyson Smith as time expired, making the score a little more respectable as the defending Division 3 state champions would head home after suffering their first loss since its Prep Bowl defeat at the hands of Novi Detroit Catholic Central in the 2011 regular season finale.
Linehan completed 9-of-25 passes for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns, as the Eaglets were held to 223 yards of total offense.
Marcus Smith led Muskegon with 103 yards rushing on 11 carries.
“I thought our defense played well in the second half and I thought we played a good team on the road,” Porritt said.
St. Mary’s will next head south to Toledo, Ohio on Friday, Aug. 31 to face St. John’s Jesuit before coming home to play its home opener on its new red field on Friday, Sept. 7.