It was a 56-24 victory over conference rival, Lansing Eastern, but you couldn’t tell it.
It was Lansing Sexton’s fourth conference title in five years, but you couldn’t tell it.
A Grand Ledge 20-14 win over Holt combined with East Lansing and Sexton wins created a season ending log jam at the top. All four teams finished with 5-2 records in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue Division, giving them all a share of the league title.
Jubilation on the part of Sexton, instead, was replaced by regret and sorrow for the wrongful way the game ended.
On a second and six from the Eastern 34 yard line, senior Sexton quarterback Willie Dillard rolled left toward the Big Reds sideline, and then out of bounds before being ran and then slammed onto the track by a Quaker defender.
The unsportsmanlike play raised the ire of more than a few on the Big Reds sideline, so much so the referees called the game with 6:01 on the fourth quarter clock. Roughly, 30 minutes later Dillard was taken away by ambulance. The extent of his injury was not known.
“It’s terrible. It should not have happened. The poor sportsmanship was so blatant, now we’re just hoping for the best,” said Sexton football coach Dan Boggan.
Boggan’s counterpart, Quaker coach Robert McBride shared in Boggan’s disappointment. “Our kid was out of line. You don’t like to see cheap shots. That hurts our program. We don’t teach that. I pray there is nothing wrong with Dillard.”
On the field of play Dillardwas dealing, as he led his club to nearly 500 yards of offense. The senior threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns.
“He’s our leader on offense. He’s our captain. Our kids will rally around him,” Boggan explained.
Dillard’s six completions were to five different receivers. Including touchdown throws of five, 55 and 67 yards to Curt Rohrer, Justin Fuqua and David Washington respectively.
The Big Reds ground attack was fueled by the highly charged motor Anthony Goodman. The senior ran for 189 yards and three touchdowns of four (2) and 56 yards.
“i was feeling it just a little out there,” Goodman said. “I started slow this year, but once I started putting my feet together and keeping them moving, I started to break tackles and put together some long runs,” he said. “We’re playing good football going into the playoffs. We’re playing hard, staying focused and executing.”
Boggan called Goodman a special player. “He’s important to everything we do on offense and obviously has been our top back all year,” he explained.
The Big Reds defense shut down the Quaker running game. In fact, Eastern was held to a minus 12 yards rushing.
Leaving it up to Eastern’s junior quarterback Santiago Mendez to produce through the air. He did, connecting on 20-of-35 passes for 267 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions. One of those two picks was returned 22 yards for a touchdown by Sexton’s A.J. Hobbs.
Mendez threw two TD passes of 36 and 56 yards to Phoenix Washington. He connected on a 25-yard pass and catch with Travis Allen and a 24-yard scoring strike to Darryl Thompson.
“We’re been playing at a high level, although not so much tonight — in giving up 24 points,”Boggans said. “We will prepare this week for the playoff as though Willie will be back.”
Eastern’s season ends at 1-8.