Trojans Face Offensive Adjustment with Starting QB Sidelined by Concussion Injury

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Thursday, October 3, 2019, 7:59 am
Mark Meyer

East Lansing junior receiver Andrel Anthony (1) looks for running room against Portage Northern. Anthony and the Trojans return home at 7 p.m. Friday to host Holt on Homecoming night at Lynn C. Adams Stadium. (Photos by Raymond Holt)

Having posted victories in four of its first five games, the East Lansing football team has hit the midpoint of the 2019 season in full stride. The Trojans will look to carry that momentum into the final four games of the season beginning with Friday’s Homecoming game against Capital Area Activities Conference Blue division rival Holt at Lynn C. Adams Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

But they’ll have to do so without senior quarterback Sam Busch, who suffered a concussion in last week’s 21-2 win at DeWitt. Busch left the game in the first half after completing four of six passes for 76 yards—including a 15-yard touchdown pass to Mason Woods in the first quarter--and was replaced by sophomore Ambrose Wilson, who scored the Trojans’ third touchdown on an eight-yard run in the third quarter.

In their two CAAC Blue wins over Grand Ledge and DeWitt, the Trojans have outscored their opponents by a combined 63-6.

Yet they enter this week’s game against Holt (3-2 overall, 1-1 CAAC Blue) as an unranked team in Division 3.

“Doesn’t make any difference to me,” said East Lansing head coach Bill Feraco, when asked prior to Wednesday’s rain-soaked workout if he felt the voters had overlooked his team. “I had not really noticed.”

East Lansing senior quarterback Sam Busch (18) suffered a concussion in last week's 21-2 victory over DeWitt, and he is unlikely to start this week against Holt.

Feraco is more concerned with Busch’s health and making sure his recovery is complete. At the same time, Feraco believes that Wilson can step in and guide the offense effectively.

“(If Sam can’t go) we’ll scale back a bit but Ambrose’s skill set is aligned with what we do,” Feraco said. “Obviously—if Sam isn’t able—the experience factor and the repetitions that he’s accumulated up to this point … would be a lot better to have, but we don’t. So you move on.”

The Trojans were in a similar situation last year when senior quarterback Joe Benbraham sat out the season opener. Busch assumed the starting role that night and led East Lansing to a 40-6 victory over St. Johns.

“When the finger points,” Feraco said, “you have to be ready.”

The Trojans have reacted positively to a number of challenging situations, including weather-related incidents in games at St. Johns and DeWitt that delayed completion until the following day.

This week they had to adjust to an unexpected cancellation of classes and events on Tuesday due to an email threat received by school administrators earlier in the day. The team practiced at its usual location (MacDonald Middle School) but without equipment.

“The kids responded very, very well … we could not get into school for equipment or be on campus,” Feraco said. “From a learning standpoint, it was a good day.”

Earlier this season:

Week 4: Busch rallies Trojans to overtime thriller over Portage Northern

Week 3: Trojans Respond (in a Big Way), Defeat Grand Ledge 42-3 in Conference Opener

Week 2: Grandville Bulldogs overpower Trojans

Week 1: Trojans Resume Their Winning Ways by Shutting Out St. Johns in Season Opener

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