Muskegon, MICH. – In four previous meetings, Detroit Martin Luther King had never beaten Muskegon. The Big Reds pushed their record to 5-0 all-time against King Friday night, 24-21, in an instant classic. King was driving to take the lead on the final drive with under 35 seconds to go, when senior quarterback Dequan Finn (Central Michigan) mishandled the snap, which was recovered by Muskegon’s Billie Roberts.
“We let one get away,” said King head coach Tyrone Spencer after the game. “I thought we had them on the ropes and we gave it up. That’s part of how it goes, and you just have to live with it. I don’t feel like we got our butts kicked, we just lost it.”
Muskegon (2-0) junior quarterback Cam Martinez scored his second touchdown of the game with 1:22 left in the game to give Muskegon the lead. Finn had just scored on a 2-yard run to give King a 21-17 lead with 5:03 left in the game, giving Muskegon plenty of time on the clock.
Muskegon’s punishing run game was the difference in the game and on the final drive. Martinez did not have over five pass attempts and did not attempt on the final drive.
“I thought they played a great game,” Spencer added. “They did what they do best, which is run the ball, and we knew what they were going to do. They run the veer option well and their quarterback is pretty good. They did a phenomenal job.”
King (1-1) had an opportunity to go up 21-17 late in the third quarter, but a dropped pass in the end zone on 4th down prevented that from happening. King also had multiple penalties and turnovers that contributed to the lost. Finn fumbled on the game’s first and last possession and threw an interception.
“The penalties killed us,” added Spencer. “I don’t know how many turnovers we had, but the penalties did hurt us, and the dropped touchdown, we have to have that. You have to capitalize against a team like Muskegon.”
Finn had a monster game last week and followed that up in week two going 17-30 for 271 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for 123 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. He almost led his team on a game-winning drive in a hostile environment at Hackley Stadium but could not handle the final snap of the game from his center, who was replacing King’s starting center who went out with an injury.
King faces Pershing at home next week and will use it as an opportunity to get over the heartbreak against Muskegon.
“We lost today and now we have to get that taste out of mouth,” said Spencer. “This game is over and now we have to focus on next week and the rest of the season. We have a long season ahead of us.”