Heartbreaking Ending for Dexter in D2 Semifinals


The greatest season in Dexter football history came to a heartbreaking end in a 20-17 double overtime loss to Forest Hills Central in the Division 2 state semifinals Saturday.

The game was played in a snowstorm in the second half and overtime and saw FHC tie the game on the final play of regulation and pull out the win in the second overtime to ruin the Dreads hopes of a trip to Ford Field.

The Dexter defense came up with huge stops throughout the game but could not come up with the much-needed stop in the end as Forest Hills Central advances to the state championship game next week against Warren De Lasalle.

"This one is going to sting, but you will grow from this," Coach Phil Jacobs said to his team shortly after the teams shook hands. "We will always remember this, and I love you guys."

This is a Dexter team that in just four seasons went from a 42-game losing streak to being just seconds away from playing for a state championship. 

They won the first league title in in 60 years and its first ever district and regional titles.

They won a school record 12 games this season. Between 2009 and the start of 2018 Dexter won just 13 games.

This group of Dreadnaughts made Dexter known statewide and now has the roots to carry on to bigger and better things.

The state semifinal game was a slugfest throughout.

After forcing a punt Dexter drove down the field and took a 7-0 lead on a two-yard run by Cole Cabana in the first quarter. 

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Forest Hills answered with a strong drive to the Dexter 25 when Gerzon Herter stepped in front of a pass inside the five for an interception to stop the drive.

Dexter was forced to punt and FHC again drove deep into Dexter territory driving to the one-yard line, but Owen Wondrash shot through and stopped the Rangers runner at the goal line and the Dreadnaughts took over on downs and ended the half at 7-0.

The snow started falling hard in the second half and the teams played on a snow-covered field for the remained of the game. 

After a three-and-out by Dexter to start the second half FHC moved into Dreads territory once again and again the Dreads defense stiffened forcing a field goal attempt. The Rangers tried a fake and Brennan Parachek tipped the pass away in the endzone to keep the Dreadnaughts up 7-0.

Dexter drove to midfield, but FHC came up with a defensive stand of its own and stopped the Dreads on fourth and inches to take over on downs.

The Dexter defense celebrates a 4th down stop

The Rangers ground game moved them deep into Dexter territory one more time and on 4th and one at the ten, Davis Taylor and Micah Davis stepped up and tackled the Rangers back for another Dexter stop to give the Dreads the ball once again.

Dexter would be forced to punt in the fourth and Taylor swatted the ball back at the goal line and the Dreadnaughts pinned FHC at the three-yard line.

FHC drove to the Dexter 37 and tried running up the middle and Nathan Gersh filled the hole and stopped the Rangers short with 4:23 left.

Dexter fumbled on the first play following the stop and FHC took over. A big stop by Dexter for a loss set up 4th down and FHC gambled with a punt with 2:55 left and it paid off.

The Dreadnaughts went three and out and punted to the Rangers 40. A 41-yard screen pass moved the ball deep into Dexter territory with just over a minute left.

FHC drove inside the 10 with no timeouts left and on the final play of regulation they completed a pass for a touchdown, but a flag was thrown. Dexter fans held their breaths because a penalty on FHC would have ended the game. The receiver was called for being out of bounds, but after a discussion by the referees, it was decided he was forced out and reestablished himself back in bounds before the catch, so the touchdown stood. The extra point tied the game and sent the game into overtime.

The Rangers scored on the first play from scrimmage and the kick gave them a 14-7 lead.

Dexter got a chance with the ball and on third down Reeves Taylor connected with Parachek for a touchdown and the Herter extra point sent the game to a second overtime.

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The Dreads could not do much with the ball and Herter kicked a 24-yard field goal to give Dexter a 17-14 lead, but FHC had a chance and on third down, they busted through from four yards out to win the game 20-17. 

Dexter players walked off the field with the Rangers players rushing the snow-covered field celebrating. 

Aside from the opening drive of the game, the Dexter offense struggled against the vaunted Forest Hills Central defense which was one of the tops in D2.

Cabana rushed for 85 yards on 26 carries and a score and caught four passes for 16 yards.

Reeves Taylor finished 14-22 for 125 yards and a TD.

Parachek caught five passes for 52 yards and a TD, Joey Tessmer three for 28, and Davis two for 29.

The Dreadnaughts finish their record-breaking season at 12-1 and while tears were shed as they walked to the locker room, they have no reason to hang their heads as they brought the Dexter community and its fans together for their amazing run in a season that will be talked about for years to come. 

Photos by Mike Williamson