Mona Shores @ MuskegonThese are two of the top three teams in the O-K Black, along with Zeeland East. For the host school, a 5-0 mark and No. 1 state ranking is a return to historical form of the 21st century’s first decade. For Mona Shores a brave new world, the Sailors’ 4-1 start their best since their O-K Red days in 1989. Hackley Stadiuim, however, is not unknown territory to Mona Shores coach Matt Koziak. He was the head man on the Big Reds’ sideline in 2009, when they went 7-4, and was an assistant on state championship teams in 2006 and 2008.
At the skill positions it’s a wash. If GR South Christian’s Jon Wassink isn’t the Lake Michigan area’s top 2015 quarterback prospect, then it’s 6-1, 170 soph Tyree Jackson. As good as he has been as Jackson’s favorite target, 6-1, 175 junior Asantay Brown has been incredible on defense with two three-interception games, against Grand Haven and Grand Rapids Union. An intriguing possible matchup could come with Brown at receiver against Muskegon junior DB 5-11, 175 DaSean Thrower. They were teammates last season at Muskegon Heights. Jackson has another talented junior receiver to work with, 6-1, 160 Marquon Sargent. Mona Shores will have no choice but to pass. Led up front by 6-4, 255 senior Ronald Jenkins and 6-4, 265 junior Kenneth Finley, and 5-11, 215 junior linebacker Will Hunt, Muskegon has wiped out the typically potent running games of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Rockford and Lowell. It will be the toughest test yet for Mona’s battle-tested senior line of tackles 6-2, 265 Brandon Gue and 6-1, 230 Jake Bordeaux, guards 6-0, 230 Alek Jend and 5-9, 225 Brandon Stafford, and center 5-9, 225 Collin Sullivan.
For its part, Muskegon’s offensive line may be the state’s strongest, and make the Big Reds’ ground game so formidable. 6-3, 275 senior tackle Antwan Billings and 6-3, 280 senior Quincy Crosby lead a unit that includes 6-4, 275 senior Chandar Ricks, 6-4, 265 junior Malik King and 5-10, 252 senior guard Noah Tozer. Behind them, senior Jalen Smith does the ball-handling at quarterback in Muskegon’s veer triple option, and senior backs Marcus Smith and John Hall are both capable of big games on the ground.
Muskegon is just too big, strong and talented where it matters most, and will win the game on the line, barring some miracle play-making by Jackson.