Stevenson falls to Muskegon 28-7

Adam Rosen, Staff Reporter

Exactly 364 days after a thrilling 38-35 Stevenson win on the road against the Muskegon Big Reds, the two met for another highly anticipated game, this time in Lincolnshire, IL. The Big Reds not only brought their highly touted roster to Stevenson, but plenty of energetic fans who intensified the atmosphere surrounding both teams.

The Patriots offense, led by quarterback Cole Okmin ’19, rocketed past the Big Red defense on their first drive. Okmin connected on all four of his throws, twice to Alex Capstick ’18 who grabbed 34 yards and the touchdown. But the opening drive for the Big Reds was also incredible. Muskegon quarterback La’Darius Jefferson, a University of Central Florida commit, sprinted 80 yards in just four plays, resulting in a touchdown to tie it up.

The Stevenson offense, determined to quickly drive down the field again and regain the lead, continued to dominate through the passing game, despite Muskegon’s defensive line getting through to Okmin several times. With rain beginning to come down, a missed field goal ended the Patriots second drive, and was the last time they were anywhere close to scoring.

The Patriots defense dominated the Big Red aerial assault, which ended up with only 34 yards on a 4/7 night by Jefferson. Despite this, the Patriots surrendered 28 points in a 28-7 loss.

Though the loss stings, there were some bright spots other than great pass defense by the Patriots. The attack from Okmin was great, as he led the team’s offense with 272 passing yards and a touchdown on a 23/35 night. Capstick was the star of the game, lighting up the stat sheet on the receiving end with 153 yards on nine receptions, including the Patriots only touchdown.

But while the passing game was firing on all cylinders, the Patriots ground game was unable to properly function, finishing with a lowly total of -23 yards rushing on 16 attempts. JeanMarc Etienne ’20 was unable to get through the big Muskegon defensive line, only getting seven yards on his eight carries. Struggling to get the drenched football off the snap, Okmin had a couple of fumbles and was downed often, losing 30 rush yards in the game.

The Patriots also never seemed to stop the Muskegon rushing attack, led by Jefferson’s 197 yards and two touchdowns, and Davion McCall with 129 rushing yards on just six carries and one touchdown. In total, the Muskegon ground force totaled 409 yards and four touchdowns.

A common mistake by both Muskegon and Stevenson was their struggle to manage the play clock throughout the first half. The Patriots wasted two early timeouts while the Big Reds had seven false starts during the first 2 quarters.

The next game is on Friday, September 8, when the 1-1 Patriots will visit the 2-0 Lake Forest Scouts, who won 20-14 in overtime against Saint Viator. The Patriots will look to improve upon their pre-snap mistakes, as well as enhance their rushing game and return it to the form they had in the first game of the season. If the Patriots can improve upon those factors next week, the Stevenson faithful will have plenty to look forward later this season when the playoffs roll around.