Four years, 11 months, and 11 days. That is how long it had been since the Dexter varsity football team won a game. The players on the team were 11 to 13 years old at the time, maybe even younger.
The Dexter Dreadnaught football team finally got to celebrate a win, not only just for them, but for previous players and fans that had not seen one as they snapped a 42-game losing streak Friday night with a 36-22 win over Ypsilanti.
After trading punts to open the game, the Dreadnaughts when on top 7-0 when Mason Loudermilk punched it across from two-yards out, but Ypsilanti answered with an 85-yard touchdown and two-point conversion for an 8-7 lead after one.
The Dreads answered when Antwan Ficklen scored from five-yards out. A Karl Kerska PAT made it 14-8.
The defense forced a punt and Ficklen found the endzone again with a 15-yard punt return for a score to make it 20-8.
Colin Parachek hit Andy Durand with a five-yard scoring pass to make it 27-8. The Grizzlies struck just before the half with a 45-yard scoring pass to cut the halftime lead.
The Dreadnaughts have had leads at the half during the losing streak but have lost the lead in the end. But tonight, it was different.
“We have kept telling the kids, they are not the same old Dreadnaughts,” Coach Phil Jacobs said. “We knew the streak was there, but we have told them that they are not part of the streak, that is previous teams.”
The Dexter defense held Ypsilanti in check and a Kerska 22-yard field goal gave the Dreads a 30-16 lead. They were driving at the end of the third, reaching the Grizzlies 10-yard line, but on the first play of the fourth quarter Ypsilanti stripped the ball from Loudermilk and ran it back to midfield.
There was a rumble in the stadium, wondering if in fact that this was the same old Dreadnaughts.
The defense forced a turnover on downs and on second down Parachek hit Ficklen in stride for a 69-yard scoring pass extending the lead to 36-16 with 8:29 left in the game.
Another forced punt and a Ficklen punt return to the Grizzlies 16-yard line, it looked as if Dexter would put the game away but missed a field goal wide right.
The Grizzlies did not quit scoring on a 30-yard TD run to cut the lead to 36-22.
Ypsilanti then recovered the onside kick, but Sean Callahan intercepted a deep pass on the first play sealing the win and sending Al Ritt Stadium into a frenzy.
Dexter went into victory formation and took a knee twice to run out the clock.
The players celebrated, the crowd erupted, the band played, and the loudest horn that you will hear at a high school football game blew for a Dreadnaught victory.
After shaking hands with the Grizzlies, the Dreads were mobbed by the amazing Dexter student section.
Amazing is about the only way to describe the Dexter student section. All through the losing streak the student section was packed every Friday night. It was the place to be. They supported their Dreadnaughts through it all and they got to celebrate as well with the football team.
Parachek finished 15-26 passing for 221 yards and two scores.
Ficklen, one of those players that the crowd gets excited whenever he touches the ball, finished with eight catches for 121 yards, a receiving touchdown, and a punt return touchdown.
Andy Durand finished with three catches for 28 yards and a score, while Loudermilk ran for 56 yards and a score. Jordan Watson led the defense with five tackles and five assists, while Marcus Young had four tackles, three assists, and a sack.
The Dreadnaughts will face Ann Arbor Huron Friday, September 7 at 7pm. Huron has a 32-game losing streak of its own. Dexter will be looking for its first two-game winning streak since 2011.
“We are just going to enjoy this and take it one game at a time,” Jacobs said as he went back to receiving hugs, high fives, and congratulations from fans and alumni.