Football: Defense helps carry Dexter to the brink of first playoff appearance

History took one big step on Friday night as the Dexter football team now stands on the goal line of ending the school’s longtime playoff drought. The Dreadnaughts knocked off visiting Pinckney 17-14 to improve to 5-2 on the season, just one victory away from locking up their first trip to the state playoffs.

The Dreadnaughts now host a Lincoln team that is all of sudden struggling. The Railsplitters started off 4-1, including a win over Chelsea, but have now lost two straight. Lincoln lost to Jackson 39-14 on Sept. 28 and fell Friday to Ypsilanti 25-7.

Friday’s matchup featured Dexter’s homecoming festivities and a buzz in the air over the school’s impressive football team. Pinckney came into the game just 2-4 on the year but had knocked off Adrian 43-28 the previous Friday.

Scoring 43 points can certainly give an offense confidence. But the Dexter defense was more than up to the challenge of removing the swagger from the Pirates. One of the touchdowns the defense allowed on Friday night came after they stopped Pinckney on fourth and goal at the 1-yard line. But a turnover on the next play gave the Pirates the ball right back. So, in other words, that’s not on the defense.

Tossing that one aside, the Dexter defense allowed just one TD to a team that scored 43 points the week before.

So let’s start there.

David Kreske had a monster game for Dexter. The senior linebacker had five tackles and seven assists to lead the Dreadnaughts. Senior linebacker Evan Chapell had three tackles and four assists and junior linebacker Matt Gaechter had two tackles and eight assists.

Dexter senior running back Mason Loudermilk gave the home team a 7-0 first-quarter lead on a 16-yard TD run on the team’s first drive of the game.

After the Dexter defense stopped the Pirates at the 1-yard line on fourth down, the offense gave the ball right back to Pinckney on a bad exchange between the center and QB. This time, the Pirates took it in for a score and a 7-7 tie with 11:16 left in the second quarter.

Dexter QB Colin Parachek completed a 14-yard TD pass to Andy Durand to give Dexter a 14-7 lead.

The Dreads finished the first half with a nice drive but no points to show for it. A field-goal attempt by Karl Kerska was blocked to send the game into halftime at 14-7.

A field goal by Kerska made it 17-7 before Pinckney rushed a score in to cut the lead to 17-14 early in the fourth quarter.

An interception late in the game by Kreske helped seal the deal.

The Dreadnaughts had several guys on offense step up in the big game. While Pinckney tried to take Dexter’s passing game away, Loudermilk made the Pirates pay. The senior RB had 139 rushing yards on just 13 carries and the TD. Joe Luallen had a carry for 15 yards.

On the receiving end, Durand finished with five catches for 126 yards. Antwan Ficklen had four catches for 45 yards and Loudermilk had two grabs for 19 yards.

Parachek had another very consistent and productive outing. He was 13-23 passing for 199 yards, one TD pass and no interceptions. His longest pass was for 54 yards.

Dexter went 5-4 in both 2010 and 2005 – there only two winning seasons since 1989. They have never been in the current high school playoff system that began in 1990.

The Dreadnaughts finish the season on Oct. 19 at home against Whitehall (5-2).


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