After the Crusader defense pitched a quick three-and-out against the Orchard View offense to open the game, the MCC offense wasted no time moving the ball down the field.
Sophomore tailback Tommy Watts broke off a 40-yard run to get the Crusaders within striking distance, before sophomore quarterback Cam Martinez juked his way into the endzone for an early 7-0 lead.
On the team’s next offensive possession, Martinez turned on the jets again — this time from 20 yards out — to give the Crusaders a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Things seemed to be clicking for Muskegon Catholic at that point, as Avery Evans-Davis capped off another quick drive from two yards out to bring the score to 19-0 with 11:15 left in the second quarter.
Then, penalties and miscues started to creep up on the Crusaders, stalling their momentum and putting the game at a standstill for most of the quarter.
After a few empty possessions by both teams, Martinez would add his third rushing touchdown of the game when he sprinted off left tackle on a quarterback sweep from six yards out to put the host Crusaders up 27-0 with 4:39 left in the half.
A fumble by MCC late in the half gave Orchard View great field possession with under a minute to play. The Cardinals would drive down to the 10-yard line of MCC, and freshman quarterback Owen Swanson would connect with wideout Jayden Day as time expired to bring the halftime score to 27-7 in favor of the host Crusaders.
It didn’t take long for Muskegon Catholic to get back on track, as Martinez took the first snap of the second half 55 yards for a score to give the Crusaders a 35-7 lead.
Senior tailback Riley St. Armour capped off the scoring with a 15-yard scamper to give MCC a 43-7 lead with 4:16 left in the third quarter.
The Crusader defense would hold strong from that point on, and the running clock would ensure another Lakes Eight Conference win for Muskegon Catholic Central.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we got the win,” said MCC head coach Steve Czerwon. “There’s a good football team somewhere in those 48 minutes that we played tonight, but we just have to find it. You can’t take anything away from a 36-point victory and the kids played very hard, too.
“We played very well on defense for the second week in a row, but we just need to get our offense flowing a little better and find some consistency on that side of the ball. That’s why you practice, though. We can’t wait to get out there and work on some things Monday and Tuesday and clean some things up.”
The Crusaders committed 10 penalties for 72 yards for the game in an otherwise dominant performance.
“We would have a couple big plays, and then we would have a penalty, or an alignment issue. We have some new people in there this year; it’s not going to be as smooth as last year with a bunch of veterans up front. Those guys just have to get better and that’s why you go to practice.”
Martinez finished with 115 yards and four touchdowns on just seven carries, and was 11-of-15 passing for 162 yards to fuel MCC (2-0, 1-0 Lakes Eight), while Tommy Watt added 90 yards on four carries and Dawson Steigman had 50 yards on four carries and three receptions for 58 yards.
“I thought Tommy ran the ball well, Cameron ran the ball well, Dawson at times ran well, too,” added Czerwon. “All of those guys are incredibly talented, and we just have to find a way to put all that together and play some more consistent football.”
The Crusader defense held Orchard View to 99 yards rushing and 10 yards passing. Avery Evans-Davis led the way with seven tackles, while Isaias Reyes added six and Riley St. Armour added five.
Since joining the league in 2014, the Crusaders have run up a 15-0 league record. They will look to add another win to that mark when they visit Ludington next Friday. The Orioles (2-1) lost to Manistee, 42-21, in Week 3.