Eleven seniors on the Dexter football team have been playing together since their middle-school days.
They’re hoping to cap off their high school careers in grand style this fall and got off to a good start Saturday afternoon with a 37-10 victory over Madison-Carrabec in a Class D clash at Tiger Field.
“We have so many returning starters and so much talent, we just need to bring it together and play as a team and not as individuals,” Dexter senior running back and linebacker Gage Stone said.
Dexter used strong line play to amass all 343 of its yards on the ground while limiting a Madison-Carrabec squad with only five seniors on the roster to 14 rushing yards on 29 attempts and 91 yards of total offense.
“They played a lot more physical than we saw them play last week when they played John Bapst,” Madison-Carrabec coach Paul Withee said. “We couldn’t handle them up front, that was pretty obvious on both sides of the ball.”
Dexter accomplished its control of the line of scrimmage despite being without senior guard and defensive end Haedyn Guenthner, who is sidelined with a dislocated elbow.
But with seniors Parker Richardson and Colton Tibbetts and junior Robbie Dorman leading the way, the Tigers’ front negated Madison-Carrabec’s ground game while generating holes for a cast of Dexter running backs led by senior Cameron Paige, who rushed for 126 yards on 19 carries.
“The line really stepped up,” Dexter coach Andrew Shorey said. “We had some young guys in there and some guys with not a lot of experience and they just played really well. They played awesome.”
Parker Ponte added 70 yards and a touchdown on nine carries for Dexter while quarterback Logan Perkins scrambled for 68 yards and a score on eight attempts. Stone and Matt Schobel each contributed a rushing touchdown.
“We have a lot of options,” Shorey said. “We have a lot of athletes, and the great thing about it is, nobody’s complaining. Everybody shares the ball and we’re all excited for each other.”
Madison-Carrabec’s offense suffered a blow when senior halfback Reid Campbell was injured early in the contest and managed just three carries before being sidelined for the rest of the day.
Bulldogs junior quarterback Bryce Willette completed 6 of 15 passes for 77 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown strike to 6-foot-3 sophomore Thomas Dean with 53.8 seconds left in the game.
Class D North Dexter scored on its first two possessions to take a 14-0 first-quarter lead as Stone sped around left end for a 9-yard touchdown run and Perkins ran 2 yards behind a Dorman block to the end zone.
Madison’s defense held on Dexter’s next possession, but Richardson recovered a fumble by the Bulldogs two plays later and Ponte soon capped off a 39-yard drive by taking a lateral from Perkins and running the final 20 yards to build the Tigers’ lead to 21-0 with 8:58 left in the first half.
Stone kicked a 26-yard field goal to make it 24-0 midway through the third quarter.
An exchange of turnovers then left Dexter pinned near its own goal line, and Perkins soon was tackled in the end zone for a safety that got Madison-Carrabec on the scoreboard.
Dexter added two fourth-quarter touchdowns as Schobel scored from 8 yards out and Tyler Chapman followed Madison-Carrabec’s lone score by returning the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to the end zone.
“Our offense did exactly what we needed to do,” Stone said. “We had a struggling week of practice but we definitely brought it together today.”