East English Village had won a playoff game in each year of its existence, but the Bulldogs never had a program-defining win — until Friday night.
They got one by beating defending Division 2 state champion Warren De La Salle, 25-21, at Wayne State, as Nathaniel Boleware scored on an 8-yard run with 13 seconds to play.
“I didn’t know I was going to get the ball. I thought they were going to throw the ball in, but I made the play for our team,” he said. “I believe in our team and in our line — they played real good, so I got the win for us. We’ve never beat a good team like this, period. It’s a great feeling.”
The Bulldogs (8-2) needed to erase an eight-point deficit in the final quarter and came up big by scoring twice in the final 3:36. Delvin Washington scored on a quarterback sneak to make it 23-21, and even though the Pilots stopped the two-point attempt, they couldn’t eat up enough clock on the ensuing drive and had to punt with 2:07 remaining.
East English used all but 13 ticks of that by moving 56 yards with 11 plays.
First, the Bulldogs converted a third-and-26 with Washington hitting Lindrell Mitchell upfield at the De La Salle 35, and the ball moved forward on a personal foul. Later, a pass interference call took place near the goal line.
And with Washington hitting receivers all night (22 of 35), the Pilots might not have expected Boleware to carry the ball that late in the contest.
“We tried to keep them off-balance, run on pass downs, and pass on run downs and try to confuse them,” East English coach Roderick Oden said. “Our seniors made some plays out here tonight. We’re just proud of them.”
Oden said Friday’s win was head and shoulders above any other that the Bulldogs had since the school was created out of the merger of Finney and Crockett in 2012.
“Our program has grown every year, but we needed a signature win against one of the top teams in the state,” he said.
“We’ve been playing teams close, but we needed to get over that hump, and we really needed to believe that we could win this game and beat these guys — that’s what we’re most proud of.”
The Bulldogs hadn’t won a contest at Wayne State in four tries.
De La Salle (6-4) got rushing touchdowns from Tru Wilson, Vinnie Pelione and quarterback Josh Wilk.