Wray's five touchdowns leads SextonFootball  |
Lansing – Ja’Von Wray ran off tackle right, off tackle left. He ran up the middle, around the corner and with would-be tacklers draped all over him.
No matter which direction he ran Friday night, Lansing Sexton’s senior running back found his way through the Saginaw Swan Valley defense.
Wray rushed for 235 yards and five touchdowns on 24 carries and Sexton had little trouble defeating Swan Valley, 41-20, in a Division 4 district final on Friday at Sexton.
Wray would have had a sixth touchdown but his 67-yard punt return in the first half was called back because of an illegal block.
And it wasn’t until he limped off the field after scoring his fifth TD in the fourth quarter that Swan Valley had found a way to slow him down.
“Ja'Von had a phenomenal week in practice, so I expected something great,” Sexton coach Dan Boggan said. “He talked about wanting to make a statement as being one of the best backs in the state. I definitely believe he made that statement.”
Sexton’s defense was matched up against one of the premier running backs in the state in senior tailback Alex Grace, who fell six yards short of what would have been a state record ninth straight game with at least 200 yards rushing. Grace carried 23 times for 194 yards – the 23rd straight game in which he rushed for 100 or more yards -- and scored three touchdowns.
“Swan Valley is a great football team, we knew our work was going to be cut out,” Boggan said. “I’m proud of my young men for answering the call. The final score was not indicative of how the game was played.”
Sexton (11-0) advances to a region final and will host Richmond (10-1), which defeated Marysville 48-6.
Sexton scored on three of its first four possessions in first half and outgained Swan Valley in total yards, 299-88. Sexton put together scoring drives of 64, 89 and 65 yards and held Swan Valley (10-1) without a first down for the first 18 minutes of the game.
Grace scored on a 12-yard run to cap the first drive of the second half to cut the Sexton lead to 18-14. After an exchange of possessions, Sexton took over at the Swan Valley 45 and would eventually take a 26-14 lead on Wray’s 20-yard run, followed by a 2-point conversion pass from quarterback Malik Mack to Kahari Foy-Walton.
Wray insisted he wasn’t tired afterwards, and said being matched against an unbeaten team and its heralded running back was all the motivation he needed.
“It made me want to run harder,” said Wray. “And, I didn’t play against these guys last year (a 26-21 Sexton playoff victory), so it just made this game that much bigger and better.”