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FOOTBALL: Melvindale makes playoff grade with close victory over league foe Trenton (PHOTO)
Melvindale's Malik Boynton had an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown and then caught a game-winning 42-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jason Doyle to help the Cards edge Trenton 21-14. The victory was Melvindale's sixth of the season and assures the team a spot in the MHSAA state playoffs. Photo by Dave Chapman
When your quarterback is Jason Doyle, those nerves calm a little and you expect good things to happen. Good things did happen Friday night in Melvindale’s 21-14 win over Trenton.
Well, good things happened most of the time.
The Cardinals found themselves facing adversity for the third time in three weeks, down 14-7 in the third quarter.
Then the team went to work and with a little luck, or maybe a lot of luck, got the win.
It started in the third quarter. The teams were tied 7-7 at the half and Melvindale punted after its first possession of the second half.
Trenton ate up over half of the third quarter on a 16-play drive that saw quarterback Christian Mercure contribute 56 yards to the stat sheet. He capped the drive with a three-yard push through the middle for a 14-7 Trojan advantage.
Melvindale got the ball back and Doyle found Malik Boynton, as it always seems he does, for a 50-yard completion down the field. But an incomplete pass a few plays later, turned the ball over on downs.
Early in the fourth quarter, Trenton punted and Melvindale made its way again down the field.
Nine plays and 50 yards later, the Cards found themselves on a first-and-goal on the 1-yard line. Quincy Gibbs broke through the Trojan defense and scored.
But a bad snap and a missed extra point left the Cards down 14-13 with just over six minutes to play in the game.
The Cardinal sideline seemed shocked and a wave of relief washed over the field a minute later when the good luck started.
Trenton fumbled the ball and Rodrick Tubbs recovered. It set up a first-and-10 on the Trojan 42 and then things got tense again.
Gibbs attempted a rush but got no gain. Doyle passed twice, each time incomplete. The Cards took a timeout.
With 4:49 to go, it was fourth-and-10 on the 42 and Doyle tossed it up as everyone in Cardinal Stadium held their breath.
The throw arched its way to the end zone, where Boynton was waiting for the catch and as he caught it, stumbled and fell over, the crowd erupted and Melvindale took the lead.
The two-point conversion throw from Doyle to Albert Webster brought the 21-14 score.
Trenton got down to the Melvindale 33 but on fourth-and-12 an incomplete passes caused the Trojans to turn the ball over on downs and the game was in the books.
Earlier in the night, it was a punting game.
Trenton punted six times in the first half and Melvindale three.
With 4:39 left in the opening quarter, Melvindale fumbled and Trenton’s Brady Tanguay recovered but the Trojans went three-and-out.
Melvindale attempted a field goal with 1:36 left in the quarter but missed. Things got started when Trenton punted at the start of the second quarter.
Boynton returned the ball 81-yards for a touchdown and a good extra point put the Cards up 7-0.
Each team took turns punting and then Trenton got on board.
Nine plays and almost three minutes of the clock ended with a five-yard push through the middle from Mercure for a tied game.
The drive was highlighted by Mercure’s 32-yard break up the left to help set up the touchdown.
The teams punted again and Melvindale took a knee on the last drive of the half to send the teams into the locker rooms tied at seven.
Mercure led the way for the Trojans with 177 yards on 33 carries and added another 58 yards through the air.
Doyle added 179 yards in the air to his season total.
On the ground, Gibbs had 48 yards in 22 rushes, Boynton added 31 in three runs and Doyle had a 14-yard run.
Boynton had three catches for 98 yards, Albert Webster caught for 46 yards in two receptions and Demetrius McKinney had three catches for 35 yards.
The win was that much more special for Melvindale as it secured the team a playoff spot. Last year it was a heartbreaking end to the season when the team was knocked out of a chance at the state playoffs with a loss to Allen Park in week nine.
Assistant Coach Chris Olsen credited the win to the seniors.
“We knew it was gonna be a dogfight,” he said. “This is a well-coached Trenton team and they handed it to us last year.
“But this group really wanted it and we responded in the second half and that’s a credit to them.”
Olsen said he talked to his team about senior leadership during the break, reminding them of the time spend in the weight room and conditioning over the summer and having a chance to come back over Trenton.
“It’s nice to know that we’re a little battle tested now,” Olsen said. “We’re a little beat up, we have some injuries.
“(But) we’re developing our depth and hopefully we have an opportunity to go into the playoffs healthy.”
Although it was a tense one, Olsen said he was proud of his team for responding.
“Although it was ugly and close, they took care of business,” he said. “And that’s the difference between having a senior led team and having a young team is being able to come out and respond the way that they did and deal with the adversity the way that they ddi.
“It seemed like it meant too much and they were gonna find a way to get it done at the end of the game and he did.”
With playoffs now automatic, the Cards can focus on the remainder of their season. Next week they travel to Woodhaven before facing a tough Truman team in Taylor in the final week of the season.
The Trojans on the other hand, drop to 2-5 and will turn to host Lincoln Park next Friday.
Last Updated: 10/11/2013 11:50:29 PM EST