LANSING, Mich. -- The East Lansing Trojans and nail-biting victories go together like peanut butter and jelly. It was two weeks ago that the Trojans sealed their win over Holt with a last-minute interception. Then, on Friday night, with a playoff berth on the line, East Lansing stopped Lansing Sexton on the final play of the game to secure a 9-7 victory.
Sexton opened the scoring early in the first quarter when junior quarterback Jackson Barnes hit wide-out Neal Prince in stride and the senior took the ball down to the Trojan 1-yard line. On the very next play, Barnes scampered into the end zone to put Sexton on top 7-0. That would be all the scoring the Big Reds would do all game long.
The rest of the first half saw both defenses step up and do all they could to keep their opponent out of the end zone. This was made most apparent when the lone score for the rest of the half and into the fourth quarter was an East Lansing field goal.
The Trojans were finally able to break through the stout Sexton defense with just under 10 minutes left in the game. Senior quarterback Connor Charamella threw a deep ball from about midfield that safely found the arms of Jack Morse, who backed into the end zone to give East Lansing the lead.
But Sexton was not ready to go away just yet. As the Trojans were attempting to run out the clock, they made a crucial mistake by throwing the ball on third down instead of running up the gut and killing some clock. On the ensuing punt, Charamella had trouble with the snap and the ball was recovered by Sexton inside the Trojan 10-yard line with under one minute to play. After three unsuccessful shots at the end zone, coach Dan Boggan elected to go for the win with a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal.
On the final play of the game, Barnes' pass sailed out of the back of the end zone, locking down the 9-7 win for East Lansing. With the win, the Trojans clinch a playoff berth for the second straight year while Sexton will be playing for their playoff lives next week against Lansing Eastern, a team in which the Big Reds beat 39-6 last season.