Trojans Tune up for Playoffs with Crosstown Clash at Okemos

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Friday, October 19, 2018, 9:43 am
By: 
Mark Meyer

Above: East Lansing coach Bill Feraco would like to see a greater sense of urgency and a bit more consistency from his team in tonight’s game against Okemos.

The calendar says mid-October and the regular season schedule concludes tonight but that won’t prevent the East Lansing football team from launching into full playoff mode a week earlier than expected.

The Trojans, winners of seven of the eight starts, travel to neighboring rival Okemos for a 7 p.m. kickoff that figures to fill the air with postseason fervor.

At least that is what Trojans head coach Bill Feraco hopes will happen.

“Okemos (6-2) is going to be up for this game, and they’re going to the playoffs as well,” Feraco said. “They’re right down the street so it figures to be one of those old-time neighborhood street games.”

East Lansing (7-1) enters the final week of the regular season having posted a 43-point shutout over Waverly in which reserve running backs T’Senre Gray and David Wachira scored three touchdowns each while the Trojans’ defense forced seven Warrior turnovers – four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a safety.

“We had contributions from many different people, and that was very encouraging,” Feraco said. “Marcus Denson, Louis Booth, Dano Ley … to name a few. Malakai Matthews and Kye Bristow came up with a couple of key interceptions, especially the one early in the game when Waverly was threatening to score.”

The Trojans will feature a slightly different lineup this game with the return of senior tailback Kobe Hayward who has yet to fully recover from an upper chest injury he suffered in the fourth game of the season against Portage Northern. Hayward played sparingly against both DeWitt and Holt and did not suit up for either the Everett or Waverly game.

Despite missing parts of five games, Hayward leads the Trojans in rushing with 535 yards on 86 carries. He’s also a key contributor to the defensive backfield as well as a kick return threat on special teams.

“We will play Kobe cautiously,” Feraco said. “I know he’s eager to get back out there. It will be good for us to be close to full strength, yet whatever continuity we had before will take a while to regain.”

Seniors Justin Brown, Kaleb Elam and Noah Iosefa have played leading roles on defense all season for the Trojans who have allowed only one touchdown in the last 10 quarters.

“We’re obviously very concerned about Okemos,” Feraco said. “The primary objective is to compete on both sides of the ball. If we play well, we like our chances.”

 

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