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Junior growing into playmaker for Sexton football

Cody Blankenburg, shown carrying the ball against Grand Ledge last week, is evolving into a playmaker for Sexton. The junior had four touchdowns in the Big Reds' 41-28 win over Jackson on Friday, which included returning an interception for a score.

Cody Blankenburg, shown carrying the ball against Grand Ledge last week, is evolving into a playmaker for Sexton. The junior had four touchdowns in the Big Reds’ 41-28 win over Jackson on Friday, which included returning an interception for a score.

Cody Blankenburg sensed his team was in need of some big plays in the second half Friday night.

And he decided he needed to make things happen for the Sexton football team.

The junior accomplished what he set out to do, helping the Big Reds end a two-game losing streak and earn a key CAAC Blue victory over Jackson.

“He told me coming out from halftime that he was going to make some plays for me,” Sexton coach Dan Boggan said. “I said ‘We need it.’ And he responded. That’s what big-time players do. They respond to the call of their team, and he did exactly that.”

Blankenburg scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to help Sexton (2-2, 1-1 CAAC Blue) gain control of a contest that was tied at 14 at the half. He returned an interception for a score and had a pair of rushing touchdowns to give the Big Reds a spark in their 41-28 victory over Jackson.

“The third quarter was very exciting,” said Blankenburg, who finished Friday with nine carries for 89 yards and three rushing touchdowns and two interceptions. “I just had to come out there with a lot of energy and do anything to win.

“I had to try to make a play, because coach always talks about being a playmaker. I just tried to show him that I’m a playmaker and he can count on me.”

Cody Blankenburg

Cody Blankenburg

Becoming a playmaker and helping the Big Reds bounce back from last year’s two-win season have been major focuses for Blankenburg this fall. And he took another step Friday toward becoming the guy Sexton can regularly count on to make plays.

Boggan said Blankenburg excited the crowd and energized teammates with his play against Jackson. And the veteran Big Reds coach wants to see Blankenburg continue to embrace the mindset of being a playmaker to help Sexton get the positive results it wants over the final five weeks of the regular season.

“I think the biggest thing (for Cody) is taking on the mindset (of being a playmaker),” Boggan said. “I tell players like Cody that you have to take on the mindset of a playmaker, and that is a person that is going to make plays every game and has the desire and the want to make plays. To be a playmaker, your mindset must be slated in to be that guy.

“That’s what he’s becoming and that’s what we expect of him. We’re excited to see that happen. We have other playmakers on the team that are evolving and taking that role also. Cody is really developing into that playmaker that he wants to be and that we want him to be.”

Contact Brian Calloway at bcalloway@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.

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