Dahmir Farnum takes his role as a captain on the Muskegon Mona Shores football team VERY seriously.
“As a captain, my teammates are following my energy, so every time I touch the ball I’m trying to score a touchdown,” said Dahmir, who is averaging 120 rushing yards per game, despite playing less than a half in three this fall.
He nearly achieved his goal Sept. 23 against visiting Grand Rapids Union, scoring four touchdowns on his first five carries (all in the first quarter) in a 64-14 victory.
While Dahmir was running wild in that game, his brother – fellow senior Ke’Waun Farnum – was equally dominant in that same first quarter on defense with two interceptions, the second one going for a pick-six.
“It’s a blessing to have two kids who are not only great athletes, but unselfish teammates and hard-workers,” said 12th-year Mona Shores coach Matt Koziak. “Their roles have been elevated on both sides of the ball this year. They almost never come off the field.”
The Farnums have brought stability and leadership to the young Sailors, who are breaking in new sophomore quarterback Jonathan Pittman as well as many new faces on the offensive and defensive lines.
Mona Shores, 5-1 and ranked No. 3 in Division 2, has been dominant in every game this fall – except for the final 16 minutes against undefeated Rockford, when the host Rams rallied from a 27-7 deficit for 24 straight points in a 31-27 win.
“We have to keep that high level of play for four quarters and not take our foot off of the pedal,” explained Ke’Waun.
The Sailors appear to have learned their lesson, impressively defeating quality opponents the past two weeks. Against Union, the offense took center stage, scoring 43 points in the first quarter. Last week at Zeeland West, Shores allowed a long touchdown drive on the opening possession, then completely shut down the Dux’ wing-T the rest of the night in a 34-6 win.
The Farnum brothers showed their versatility and strength in that win at Zeeland West, which was undefeated and ranked No. 4 in Division 3 at the time. Dahmir, who plays outside linebacker, was moved inside due to an injury, and Ke’Waun was shifted from cornerback to his brother’s outside backer spot.
“They both played lights-out,” explained Koziak, who works primarily with the offense along with offensive coordinator Aaron James, while Dave Check is the defensive coordinator. “People talk about their speed all the time, but they are both big-time weight room kids who are very strong. They proved against Zeeland West that they are both willing to do anything that we ask them to help our team win.”
Dahmir (5-foot-9, 200 pounds), who Koziak calls the best running back he has coached in 12 years at Shores, has carried 66 times for 715 yards, an average of 10.8 yards per carry, with 12 touchdowns. He also has 21 tackles and one sack.
Ke’Waun (5-9, 175), who Koziak ranks as one of the best cover cornerbacks he’s had at Shores, has 10 receptions for 177 yards and three TDs from his slot receiver position. He also has two rushing touchdowns and returns punts and kickoffs. On defense, he has 11 tackles and two interceptions.
“They are two totally different players,” explained Koziak. “It is unbelievable, as a coach, to have two brothers like these two who give you so much. They do whatever we ask them to do.”
The Farnums are both three-year starters who played key roles as sophomores during the Sailors’ undefeated 2020 season, which culminated with a 25-19 win over Warren De La Salle Collegiate for their second-consecutive Division 2 championship. That season was particularly special, as Dahmir and Ke’Waun played on the same team with their older brother, Elijah.
Last season was disappointing, at least by Mona Shores’ current lofty standards, as the defense allowed too many big plays and 40-plus points in losses to Detroit Martin Luther King, Muskegon and Caledonia. The Sailors’ season ended with that defeat against Caledonia in a Division 2 District Final.
“I was out for that (Caledonia) game with COVID, and it was a helpless feeling watching them take it to us,” said Ke’Waun. “We started getting ready for this year as soon as that game was over.”
Shores hosts Zeeland East this week, then closes the regular season on the road with crosstown rivalry games against resurgent Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (5-1) and Muskegon (4-2).
Dahmir is the more vocal of the two brothers, while Ke’Waun keeps to himself and leads more by example.
Both are considered Division II college football prospects – Dahmir as a running back and Ke’Waun as a cornerback. They know it is a possibility that they could end up at the same college, but chances are their many years of playing on the same team – going all the way back to elementary youth football – will likely be coming to an end next month.
“I love everything about high school football, including being able to play with my brother,” said Dahmir, who goes to Buffalo Wild Wings with his brother and their father, Willie Farnum, after every game. “We are very close and we are very competitive. We are going to enjoy every minute that we get playing together.”
Tom Kendra worked 23 years at The Muskegon Chronicle, including five as assistant sports editor and the final six as sports editor through 2011. E-mail him at email@example.com with story ideas for Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake, Oceola, Mecosta and Newaygo counties.
PHOTO Mona Shores senior Ke'Waun Farnum, left, celebrates his first-quarter interception against Grand Rapids Union on Sept. 23, along with his brother, Dahmir Farnum. (Photo by Eric Sturr, courtesy of the Local Sports Journal.)
DETROIT – Dante Moore had no tears left to cry Saturday night, even happy tears, after he played his final high school football game for Detroit Martin Luther King at Ford Field.
“Everybody sees I’m not crying – I really cried before I got here to the game. Before I walked to the gate, I was crying and I cried last night,” Moore said.
King’s four-year starting quarterback cemented his legacy, leading the Crusaders to their second-straight MHSAA Division 3 championship with a 56-27 victory over Muskegon.
The Oregon commit finished 21-of-26 passing for 275 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions to power King (10-3) to its sixth Finals title overall and fifth in eight years.
Before Moore even took the field for his first offensive series against Muskegon (11-3), junior Jameel Croft Jr. staked King to an immediate lead with an electrifying 96-yard return of the game’s opening kickoff.
The Crusaders never looked back.
“I wasn’t expecting that. I just followed my blocks. Guys were blocking for me and the coaches set it up perfectly for me, for real,” Croft said. “It gave us a lot of momentum in the beginning of the game. It helped us out a lot.”
Muskegon pulled within 14-7 midway through the first quarter and 21-14 three minutes into the second, but Moore & Co. always seemed to have an answer.
Croft scored the game’s first two TDs, as he added a 13-yard scoring catch from Moore to make it 14-0 with 6:28 left in the first quarter.
“We started out chasing. We gave up that opening kickoff for a touchdown and we just got ourselves chasing and kind of things went from there,” said Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield, whose team trailed 35-14 at halftime and pulled within 14 with five minutes left in the third but got no closer.
Croft was Moore’s top pass-catcher, finishing with six receptions for 64 yards and two TDs. Senior Sterling Anderson Jr. was a blur as King’s top rusher, totaling 207 yards on only 13 carries, highlighted by his 80-yard scoring sprint that gave the Crusaders a 49-27 lead with 10:55 remaining.
Seniors Samuel Washington and Tim Ruffin paced King defensively with nine and eight tackles, respectively. For Muskegon, senior Julian Neely registered a team-high seven stops, while junior Stanley Cunningham recorded two sacks among his six tackles.
Muskegon junior quarterback M’Khi Guy ran 20 times for 135 yards with two TDs, including a 60-yard breakaway to pull the Big Reds within 14-7 midway through the first quarter. He also completed 2-of-4 passes for 97 yards, including a 71-yard scoring strike to junior Destin Piggee.
Muskegon junior Jakob Price added 93 rushing yards and a TD on 17 carries, but the night belonged to King and Moore.
“There’s no excuse: That kid is amazing. He threw balls that we haven’t seen probably in my career,” said Fairfield, whose program was seeking its first Finals title since 2017. His Big Reds teams have been to the Finals to finish eight of his 13 seasons at the helm.
“Only one other guy threw touchdown passes like (Moore) and passes and balls like that in my career here, and that was (Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice’s) Alex Malzone – went to Michigan. Seems like we always see the (Dequan) Finns and the Dantes and Malzones and stuff when we get here, but you know, we’re here,” added Fairfield, whose 2018 squad lost to Finn and King, 41-25, in the Division 3 championship game.
King coach Tyrone Spencer said that his team overcame a lot of adversity this season. The Crusaders could not practice on their field because it’s undergoing a makeover, so they bussed to practice. They lost their season opener to Warren Central (Ind.), 44-26, and dropped the final two games of the regular season to Detroit Cass Tech (28-14) and Cincinnati Moeller (30-14).
The Crusaders got it going in the playoffs, however. They threatened the Finals record for points by one team, established Friday night by Grand Rapids West Catholic with 59.
“(The season) was up and down, but the kids, I mean, they trust us and we got it back going,” Spencer said. “They’re a resilient group of kids. It speaks to their character.”
Moore mentioned the “championship culture” at King, how one expects to be a champion once he puts on that jersey.
It’s also about giving back and respecting the game, too, which has been a custom of Moore’s since his freshman year when King lost to Muskegon Mona Shores in the Division 2 Final, 35-26.
“My freshman year, me playing against Brady Rose and Muskegon Mona Shores, I remember Brady Rose pulled me to the side and that’s where I really got it from – him taking me to the side, telling me things I can work on, and me congratulating him for what he’s done and being one of the best players to come through Michigan to be honest and leading his team on his back,” Moore recalled.
“I just knew that I had to carry that on through this past year and really pull the (opposing) quarterbacks to the side, especially (those) younger than me. Me being a senior, I’ve been through a lot. I just want to give them the keys and terms to help them be the best they can be in high school.”
Croft called the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Moore a “great leader,” who is “so poised” and one who will leave “a great legacy right here for sure.”
“Special, man,” is how Spencer reflected on Moore’s four-year run.
“You know, he’ll be the one that they’ll talk about maybe the greatest we’ve ever had here,” Spencer said. “Just really proud of him and the person that he is. He deserves it. He works hard for it, and I just couldn’t be more pleased. It couldn’t happen to a better person.”
Meanwhile, Muskegon got off to a bit of a slow start this season by Big Reds standards. They lost two of their first five games, including a 49-16 road defeat to eventual Division 2 champion Warren De La Salle Collegiate, but got healthy and played their best football at the right time leading up to Saturday night.
Fairfield said the Big Reds battled and left it all on the field.
“They played 14 and when you play 14 games, of course this is going to hurt more because it’s the very last one and now you’ve got 364 days to get back,” he said.
PHOTOS (Top) Detroit King’s Samuel Washington (10) wraps up Muskegon’s M’Khi Guy during Saturday’s night’s Division 3 Final. (Middle) Crusaders quarterback Dante Moore rolls out looking for a receiver. (Below) King’s Sterling Anderson Jr. (3) follows his blockers through a sizable opening.