A touchdown midway through the third quarter could have pulled DeWitt to within eight points of Lansing Everett.
Instead, Cha’Quan Love intercepted DeWitt’s pass in the end zone. After doubling back away from the intended receiver, Love decided to run the ball out of the end zone.
Love sprinted toward the sideline, picked up some key blocks and returned the ball 105 yards for a touchdown that put the Vikings up by 22 in what turned out to be a 38-10 nonleague victory at Everett’s Archie Ross Stadium.
“I was like ‘man, would you just stay in the end zone,'” Vikings coach Marcelle Carruthers said. “All of a sudden he’s bringing it out and I said ‘No.’ Then I saw the blocks and said ‘Yeah.’ So I’m happy now, but I’ll talk to him when we watch it on film.
“We tell the guys to stay poised, stay patient and feed off the good things that happen.”
An earlier “good thing” put Everett up 13-0 with 2:45 left in the first quarter. University of Cincinnati-bound senior wide receiver Jaleel Canty got the ball on a reverse from junior quarterback Lucas Barner and rushed 47 yards for a TD.
“I wasn’t surprised, ” Barner said. “I came in the huddle and told him ‘take this to the house for us.'”
Canty also caught a 24-yard TD pass from Barner to make the score 19-0 early in the second quarter.
“People are going to double-team him, so we’re going to try to get him in motion and do different things to get him the ball,” Carruthers said. “We weren’t expecting him to break it on the reverse, but when you’re 4.38 (in the 40-yard dash), he got around the corner.”
Senior Alec Cambric rushed for 149 yards on 17 carries and scored the opening touchdown.
“People think that Everett throws the ball a lot,” Carruthers said. “When we’re able to run the ball, that gives the pass a chance to open up the offense.”
Barner, again, wasn’t surprised.
“We have very talented runners and receivers, and our line is blocking better than ever,” he said. “We came in thinking we had a good chance, and we just wanted to prove to everybody that we can play with teams. It feels a lot better, because they destroyed us (48-7) last year.”
DeWitt nearly scored on a pass to the end zone one play after an early interception. But Love tipped Jordan Johnson’s pass away from DeWitt’s Ryan Anderson just as he got his hands on it.
A week after an impressive debut in a 38-14 win over Mount Pleasant, Johnson was hurried while completing 6 of 13 passes for 57 yards.
“We wanted to make things happen by blitzing the quarterback,” Carruthers said.
“James Mills has always been a leader for us, and a defensive lineman Marquan Howard made a lot of big plays for us rushing the quarterback.
“We knew (Johnson was) good, and we wanted to see what he could do with the pressure.”
Johnson left the game late in the first half with a hand injury and did not return.
“I threw the ball, and my thumb went right on top of a kid’s helmet,” Johnson said. “The trainer said I most likely broke or fractured my thumb.”