Late touchdowns from Pimpleton, Sullivan lead Muskegon past Mona Shores in D-2 District FinalFootball  |
Norton Shores – At halftime of its game against Muskegon Mona Shores, Muskegon juniors Kalil Pimpleton and Jacorey Sullivan both had discussions with the coaching staff about doing what was needed in order to earn a win over its rival.
And in the final four minutes in the district final on Saturday night, Pimpleton and Sullivan stepped up for the Big Reds in a big way to lead Muskegon to a 21-10 win, snapping a two game losing streak against Mona Shores.
“They just got to believe in themselves and we told them that we’re here because of you, KP showed up against Grand Rapids Christian and EGR (East Grand Rapids),” Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield said. “Jacorey made that great catch over the middle, he made a few bad ones and he gave up the touchdown on a play we had totally covered, but it’s perseverance. At halftime we just told them to just play, have fun and to make the plays that you’re supposed to make and that’s what big time players do.”
With the win, Muskegon now advances to the Division 2 Regional Final where the Big Reds will face Lowell, next Friday at Lowell high school
After Muskegon had a pair of drives stall out deep in the Mona Shores end of the field in the second half, the Big Reds once again drove down inside the 20-yard line with less than five minutes left to play, trailing 10-7.
After a 13-yard run by PP Copeland to take the ball down to the 5-yard line, Pimpleton would power his way into the end zone to give Muskegon a 14-10 lead with just 3:44 left to play.
Pimpleton said that the key to his team’s scoring drive was the offensive line’s play, opening holes for the Muskegon rushing attack.
“The key was the O-line,” he said. “We had to trust that they would get their blocks and they did, they got their assignment and then it’s the blocking on the ends and trusting the reads. We just had to trust ourselves going through the drive.”
Fairfield noted that after coming up short on drives earlier in the half, he felt it was only a matter of time before his team would retake the lead.
“Sooner or later, we felt it was going to happen, we thought KP (Pimpleton) was going to go, or PP (Copeland) was going to go or Jacorey was going to get us one over the top,” he said. “But the biggest thing that I was excited about was watching that clock tick and watching that thing go down.”
On the very next play from scrimmage for Mona Shores, Sullivan would intercept a pass over the middle and return the ball for a 43-yard touchdown to push the Muskegon lead to 21-10 with just 3:31 left to play.
“We had to make a big play,” Sullivan said of his interception. “We just listened to what the coaches were saying to us and we believed in the calls that they made and that was the outcome.
“I saw the ball in the air and I knew I had to go get the ball and when I caught it, all I saw was green and my blockers in front of me.”
Pimpleton said that after speaking with coaches at halftime, he and Sullivan knew they needed to step up in the second half.
“In the first half, we were pretty much just putting it on ourselves,” he said. “Our coach came specifically to me and Jacorey and we ended up making the big plays at the end of the game.”
In the first half, Muskegon took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Pimpleton with 3:09 left in the opening quarter, but Mona Shores responded less than three minutes later when Tyler Trovinger connected with Darece Roberson for a 36-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 heading into the second quarter.
Mona Shores would take a 10-7 lead into halftime after a field goal late in the second quarter from Kevin Quigg.