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Lowell overcomes Sailors’ fast start in 34-24 pre district win

A combined record of 31-5 made this Division 2 region arguably the toughest region in the state.

The results in week one of the playoffs, however, were not as difficult  to predict. Pick the two schools who have done it before. Pick two schools whose programs have shared much success over a sustained period of time. Pick the two schools who had already met in the district or regional finals for five straight years.

For the sixth straight year Lowell (10-0) and Muskegon (9-1) will strap it up against one another in the post season following the Big Reds 49-14 pre district win over Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (7-3) and Lowell’s 34-34 win over Muskegon Mona Shores (7-3).

For there Red arrows it marked their 15th straight playoff appearance.

Conversely, Mona Shores was appearing in its first high school football playoff game in school history, however, to start the game the Sailors played more like a club that’s been there before. The Sailors shocked the second ranked Division 2 Red Arrows by scoring two touchdowns in the opening  seven minutes to take a 12-0 lead.

“I’m proud of our kids. They played an unbelievable football team. Lowell is good year in and year out. “I’d like to think our kids gave them everything they could handle. We just made too many mistakes,” said Mona shores coach Matt Koziak.

Mona Shores first score came in its opening drive on a 12-yard run by Hunter Broersma.

After holding Lowell to three plays and a punt on its opening possession, Mona Shores was back at it as Deontay Moffett raced 38 yards for a touchdown, giving the Sailors a 12-0 lead. Mona Shores missed both of its extra points.

The 9-0 Red Arrows showed their playoff mettle as it marched 65 yards in eight plays on a 13-yard touchdown run by Trevor Shurlow.

Lowell grabbed its first lead of the game early in the second quarter when Kyle Shurlow found Gabe Snead on a 44-yard touchdown pass, giving Lowell a 13-12 advantage.

The Sailors would regain the lead minutes later when Tyree Jackson hit Marquon Sargent on a 60-yard scoring play, giving Mona Shores an 18-13 lead.

The Red Arrows answered right before the half when it was Shurlow to Snead again on a 29-yard touchdown pass giving Lowell a 20-18 halftime lead.

Lowell took the opening kick of the second half and marched 69 yards with Snead striking for a third time, this time on a 35-yard touchdown pass. The score extended Lowell’s advantage to nine at 27-18.

“He s a fun little guy to coach. Gabe is a slippery, elusive fellow,” said Lowell coach Noel Dean said. “He brings a different element to our receiving corps.”

Two plays after stopping Lowell on fourth and goal from the three, the Sailors struck on a 96-yard touchdown pass to the Western Michigan-bound Brown, pulling Mona Shores to within three at 27-24. The extra point was missed.

The offensive explosion continued as Lowell answered on its next possession with a 20-yard touchdown run by Kanon Dean. Lowell led 34-24.

“Mona Shores is a fantastic team. Hats off to Matt Koziak. He’s done at Mona Shores what no one has ever been able to do,” Dean conlcuded.