Trojans Travel to Dearborn for Rematch with Divine Child
Speed and experience are two qualities that often contribute to a high school football team’s success and both played a significant role a week ago in East Lansing’s season-opening 40-6 victory over St. Johns on Jeff Smith Field at Lynn C. Adams Stadium.
The Trojans dominated the line of scrimmage offensively and defensively and kept the visiting St. Johns Redwings back on their heels for most of the first half.
“We ran right at them” and around and through them, said East Lansing senior tailback Kobe Hayward, who gained the majority of his 156 rushing yards in the first 24 minutes.
“It took (St. Johns) a while before they could stand up straight, in a manner of speaking,” said East Lansing head coach Bill Feraco. “The defense played well. They got to the ball in a hurry, they played fast and they were very adept at tackling. The multiple hits we got on the running backs really served to set a tone for us.”
Amid the preparation for this season’s second game - 7 p.m. Thursday at Divine Child High School in Dearborn – Feraco was quick to point out the importance of St. Johns’ only touchdown, which came 40 seconds into the second quarter and cut the Trojans’ lead to 19-6.
“An important ingredient for any team is that when the opponent scores, you have to be able to score points in return,” Feraco said. “You have to be able to answer right away.”
East Lansing senior Justin Brown wasted little time in restoring the Trojans’ 20-point cushion when he scored less than a minute later from 70 yards out on the first play from scrimmage after the St. Johns’ kickoff.
Feraco added that “we executed really well early and were able to hit a couple of big plays,” including a 47-yard pass from junior quarterback Sam Busch to sophomore wide receiver Tyler Washington – the Trojans’ fifth touchdown in five first-half possessions. East Lansing fell two yards short of scoring all six times it had the ball when time ran out in the second quarter.
Divine Child defeated the Trojans 20-17 last year when the teams played in East Lansing. Despite losing their season opener to Harper Woods (46-7) the Falcons will present a couple of challenges to the Trojans, first and foremost in terms of size and strength.
“They have some big kids on both lines, and they move well,” Feraco said. “Our speed and quickness can be an equalizer, but we have to be able to do the basic things like block and tackle.”
As an example of that type of performance, Feraco specifically mentioned junior Jayth Joseph for his multi-dimensional role in the victory over St. Johns.
“(Jayth) played left guard, tight end, H-back in movement and inside linebacker,” Feraco said. “An exceptional effort from that young man.”
Joseph was credited with four tackles and a fourth-quarter interception in which he picked off an errant Redwings’ pass by reaching back and snaring the ball one-handed.
“Can we be consistent on the offensive and defensive fronts, and can we improve?,” Feraco wondered.
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