Burnett leads Muskegon to 7-0 mark

Muskegon is off to a 7-0 start after Friday's 45-21 victory against Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern and many think the Big Red just might have the state's best football team right now.

Among the reasons for that optimism is the presence of senior offensive tackle tackle-defensive end LazaJuan Burnett, a 6-foot, 245 pound prospect, who appears to be college-bound by the time the season is over. But first, Burnett is hoping to help Muskegon reign as a state champion this year.

"I'm pretty happy with the way I'm playing," Burnett said. "We especially played very well in a win we had against Holland West Ottawa."

The win against Forest Hills Northern was impressive, as far as Burnett was concerned.

"We had to stop their full-house T," he said. "It was important for us to stay with our keys."

This is Burnett's third year on the Muskegon varsity.

I've improved a lot," he said. "I've gotten stronger and a lot faster."

Burnett has especially been doing the job on the defensive side of the ball this year.

"Last year, I played outside linebacker," he said. "I like defensive end. It's basically the same assignment, except for I'm not changing back on coverage anymore. I also don't make the reads like a linebacker does.

"I'm on rush containment and I'm there to stop the sweep and make sure they don't get outside of me. We do a lot of preparation on where they're running the ball. I have a good idea of what they'll do with the ball."

That's what is making Burnett a desirable prospect for some college teams. He's received letters from Illinois and Indiana of the Big Ten, and defending NCAA Division II national champion Grand Valley.

"I'm working on that right now," Burnett said. "I know I can play Division I football. I just have to get faster. My strength is pretty good."

Defense, Burnett said, is his best position, but Muskegon has also been using him on the offensive line.

"I'm playing good but that's kind of new to me," he said. "There's a lot of new things to learn. I'm not used to playing there."

Burnet is confident the Big Red can go into the playoffs at 9-0.

A crossover game the ninth week of the season against East Kentwood, formerly ranked No. 1 in the state, is a strong possibility.

"That would be quite a game for us," Burnett said. "The playoffs will be big, too."

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