There wasn’t a lot for East Lansing to be happy about at halftime.
The Trojans had minus-2 total yards of offense in the game and were scoreless in six quarters this season against Everett. But while the game seemed to be drastically one-sided, the Trojans only trailed by six points.
“I wasn’t really happy at halftime, but we defended extremely well,” said East Lansing head coach Bill Feraco. “That was the key to the game, to go in at halftime down one score.”
The Trojans flipped the script in the second half, scoring twice and racking up 147 yards to upset undefeated Everett 10-6 in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs.
“I’m very proud of the kids,” Feraco said. “We thought we knew the kind of game they wanted to get us into, and we avoided it.”
East Lansing will play the winner of today’s game between Swartz Creek and Caledonia next weekend.
Everett (10-1) and East Lansing (7-3) met on Sept. 28, a 6-0 win for the Vikings. Friday’s first half looked like a carbon copy of that game.
Just like the first matchup, the opening score came on a 1-yard run by Everett senior Alec Cambric. The touchdown gave the Vikings a 6-0 lead.
Everett’s defense did the rest, as East Lansing failed to record a first down in the half.
But the Trojans’ defense did their job, too. Everett had scored at least 21 points in every game outside of its win over East Lansing, and on Friday, its offense was struggling again.
“I can’t say enough about the defense in the first quarter,” Feraco said. “That salvaged the game for us.”
After an ugly first two quarters, the East Lansing offense came to life in the second half.
On the Trojans’ opening drive of the third quarter, a 19-yard pass from senior Jake Pendred to senior Jack Fossum gave the team its first completion
Three plays later, Pendred and Fossum connected again, this time on a slant route that went 48 yards for a touchdown. An extra point gave East Lansing the 7-6 advantage.
“The middle of the field was wide open, so he ran the route and I led him,” Pendred said.
The Trojans momentum carried into their next drive, which ended with a field goal that pushed the score to 10-6.
After the teams exchanged punts, the Vikings started their final drive of the game. They moved the ball to their own 45-yard line when trouble struck again.
Everett’s most dangerous player, senior Jaleel Canty, was ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct with 4:37 remaining.
The Vikings marched the ball down to East Lansing’s 25-yard line where they faced a fourth down. A deflected pass at the line of scrimmage ended their season.
A week ago, the Trojans needed to beat Okemos just to qualify for the postseason. Now they had notched a big upset.
“All week we preached patience, poise and discipline,” Feraco said. “Give your best effort, play hard and we’ll see where we are in the fourth quarter.”