The Muskegon Oakridge defense intercepted six Mason County Central passes and returned three for touchdowns in the Eagles’ 60-14 home win on Friday.
Nate Wahr pulled down two picks, running one back for a 30-yard touchdown, while Kolin Chahorski scored on a 50-yard interception return and Alex Hutfilz added a 47-yard pick-six for Oakridge, which secured its 11th-consecutive playoff berth.
“We had a good week of practice, and we were ready for what Mason County Central was going to do,” Oakridge defensive coordinator Tim Parker said. “We have a lot trust and experience in the defensive backfield. They understand what they need to do, and they did a great job tonight.
“I’ve been coaching here 20 years, and I don’t remember having that many interceptions in a game. I think what happened tonight was that we played great run defense and forced them to go to the air. When they did, their quarterback didn’t have much time to throw.”
Oakridge outgained Mason County Central 352-197, and held its opponent under 20 points for the fourth-consecutive week.
The Eagles entered the season needing to replace six starters, including five in its front seven, and Parker singled out converted defensive back Robert Taylor as someone who has helped solidify the unit.
“Our defense has steadily improved this year after losing six guys, and with us being able to shut down the run, that’s really helped us,” he said. “Taylor is a guy who didn’t play much last year, but this summer he worked hard in the weight room and we moved him to defensive end.
“He’s a very coachable kid that’s learned the position and made us so much better up front.
“He’s one of those kids that won’t get a lot of headlines, but without him, we’d be in trouble.”
Quarterback Brady Luttrull led the Oakridge offense by completing 16 of 27 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns. James Cooper III was his top target, catching five passes for 98 yards and a touchdown, while Jaegar Beattie added four catches for 61 yards and two scores. Hunter Drummond rounded out the Oakridge receivers who found the end zone with five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Oakridge (6-1, 5-0 WMC) plays at Montague (7-0, 5-0) next week for the West Michigan Conference title. The Eagles defeated Montague 44-0 last season, and Oakridge head coach Cary Harger said he expects the Wildcats to be ready and looking for revenge.
“(Montague head coach Pat) Collins is a motivator, so he’ll have his kids thinking about last year’s game, and he’ll have them ready to go,” Harger said. “We’re motivated as well to defend our conference title from last year.”