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

Saturday, August 31, 2019, 8:00 am
By: 
Mark Meyer

East Lansing junior Andrel Anthony (1) celebrates after catching a 27-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game at St. Johns.

ST. JOHNS — New season, new players, new challenges, new expectations.

And a few new surprises, too.

The East Lansing High School football team opened the 2019 season with a 27-0 victory Friday afternoon over St. Johns in a game that began Thursday night but was suspended when a severe thunderstorm rumbled through Clinton County around 9 p.m.

Before lightning lit up the sky, Trojans struck quickly both times they had the ball. Senior fullback Jamar Mills grabbed a 4-yard pass from senior quarterback Sam Busch to cap off a drive that started on the East Lansing 4-yard-line, but actually had covered 99 yards after an 11-yard loss on a running play brought the ball back to the 1.

One drive later, Busch (11-of-16 passing for 226 yards) connected with junior wide receiver Andrel Anthony on a 74-yard scoring pass — the first of two Busch-to-Anthony TD passes.

“The way things were going last night (Thursday), we toughened up a little bit (on Friday),” said first-year St. Johns head coach Andy Schmitt. “I thought our boys came out and played better against a very, very talented East Lansing team.”

The Friday portion of the game — which resumed with :02 left in the first quarter under sunny skies — was scoreless through the first 24 minutes thanks in part to a couple of fourth down stops by the East Lansing defense and a blocked field goal by the St. Johns defense.

Leading 14-0, East Lansing moved the ball inside the St. Johns’ 20 early in the second quarter but misfired on a 31-yeard field goal attempt by junior placekicker Emory Roberts.

Sophomore running back Asher Gregory (21) turns upfield after taking a handoff from quarterback Sam Busch (16).

The Trojan defense, however, delivered two key takeaways to preserve the 14-point lead. St. Johns had moved the ball deep into Trojan territory when junior lineman Ethan Boyd recovered a fumble on a fourth-and-one running play at the 6-yard line.

St. Johns was on the move again midway through the third quarter when senior defensive back Malakai Matthews stepped in front of a Luke Kudwa pass at the 16-yard line for the first of three Trojan interceptions. Sophomores Brevin Jackson and Ambrose Wilson recorded interceptions of their own in the fourth quarter.

“That fourth down fumble was a big play, and we can’t let the happen,” Schmitt said. “Obviously, you don’t want to get shut out at home in your first game, but our defense made some good stops and we’ll need to build on things like that.”

Senior linebacker Jamar Mills led the East Lansing defense with eight tackles. Wilson, in addition to his fourth-quarter interception, recorded seven tackles (four solos, three assists). Junior Sebastian Smith and senior Louis Booth had five tackles apiece, including a sack.

Trojan senior tailback T’Senre Gray rushed for 112 yards on 10 carries while sophomore Asher Gegory carried eight times for 41 yards. Alex Hosey, a junior, scored the game’s final touchdown on a 12-yard run in the fourth quarter.

“We’re pleased with the win, we’re pleased with the shutout,” said East Lansing head coach Bill Feraco. “Give St. Johns credit: they staggered us a bit defensively. We made plays when we had to, but it was time on the clock that was lost.”

SCORING
East Lansing 14 0 0 13-27
St. Johns 0 0 0 0-0

First Quarter
EL-Mills 4 yard pass from Busch (Roberts kick), 7-0
EL-Anthony 74 yard pass from Busch (Roberts kick), 14-0
Fourth Quarter
EL-Anthony 27 yard pass from Busch (kick blocked), 20-0
EL-Hosey 12 yard run (Roberts kick), 27-0

 

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