Trojans Light Up the Scoreboard En Route to 40-6 Victory Over St. Johns

Friday, August 24, 2018, 7:51 am
Mark Meyer

Twenty-four minutes of near flawless football gave East Lansing senior standout Kobe Hayward plenty to smile about Thursday night at Lynn C. Adams Stadium.

Hayward scored first quarter touchdowns on runs of 44 and 4 yards and gained 106 yards on his first five carries as the Trojans sped to leads of 19-0 (1st quarter) and 33-6 (halftime) before eventually posting a 40-6 decision over visiting St. Johns.

And it was Hayward’s longest run from scrimmage – 68 yards – that helped set up East Lansing’s third score, a 2-yard plunge by junior fullback Jamar Mills.

All in all, a spectacular way to open the 2018 high school football season.

“I like the way we moved the ball offensively,” said Hayward, who also had a fumble recovery on defense late in the third quarter. “We came out quick and never really gave them a chance to get set.”

The Redwings scored their only touchdown early in the second quarter when senior quarterback Colton Powell connected with senior receiver Luke Purtill on a 27-yard pass in the left corner of the end zone.

East Lansing countered on the very next possession with a 70-yard touchdown run by senior running back Justin Brown. The Trojans completed their first half scoring when junior quarterback Sam Busch (9 of 15 passing, 210 yards) found a wide open sophomore receiver Tyler Washington for a 47-yard touchdown with 1:55 to play.

“We must have been doing some things very well up front offensively, and I think the film will bear that out,” said East Lansing coach Bill Feraco. “And Kobe is quite a player. He has set a high bar for himself and I know he will work harder to improve.”

Hayward carried the ball 12 times and gained 156 of the Trojans’ total of 204 rushing yards for the game.

St. Johns suffered a setback when all-state running back Konnor Near injured his wrist in the first half, but the East Lansing defense – led by linebackers Mills (9 tackles), Brown (10 tackles) and senior Noah Iosefa (11 tackles) – made sure the rest of the Redwings had little room to maneuver when they touched the ball.

“We came out of the gate too slow. I think we were taken back by their speed, and they’re also a very physical team,” said St. Johns coach Dave Mariage. “Obviously they’re a very talented team with a lot of players back from last year."

“For us, we played better in the second half and hopefully we can take some positives from that.”

East Lansing returns to action at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, with a nonleague game at Divine Child High School in Dearborn. The Trojans’ first game in the CAAC Blue is at home Sept. 7 against Grand Ledge.

Honors for recently retired athletic director: Tom Hunt, who served for 16 years as athletic director at East Lansing High School, was honored at halftime of Thursday’s game. Hunt was presented with the Allen W. Bush Award, which is bestowed annually to an administrator, coach, official, trainer, doctor, or member of the media who has at least 15 years of experience in Michigan interscholastic athletics with unusually frequent and significant contributions to the MHSAA.

East Lansing won six state titles during Hunt’s term as athletic director, and the school hosted numerous postseason district and regional competitions.

Allen W. Bush was assistant director of the MHSAA from 1960 to 1963, associate director from 1963 to 1968 and executive director from 1968 to 1978.

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