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Grosse Pointe Woods

October 31, 2012

Liggett’s defense comes up big, earns Knights first playoff win

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Liggett’s Darryl Lewis gets around a Douglass defender during an Oct. 27 pre-district home game. The Knights escaped with a 15-14 victory and now face Detroit Loyola.

There are 16 teams still practicing, still fighting for the chance to prolong the 2012 football season in Division 7.

Speaking last weekend following his team’s pre-district game against Detroit Douglass, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett coach Lou Ray wasn’t going to overlook that fact.

He and his guys entered the postseason with a 7-2 record, an explosive offense and a defense that seemed to be getting stronger as the year wore on.

Still, the Knights ran into Detroit Douglass Oct. 27 having never won a postseason contest.

This weekend, they’ll go for the first district title, ever.

“It’s the first playoff win in program history, so this is pretty huge for us,” Ray said of the 15-14 win against Douglass. “We’re one of just a few teams (in D-7) still playing, which is pretty cool. … Our guys played their hearts out and really earned this one.”

In its seven wins leading up to the playoffs, Liggett’s offense averaged 39.3 points per game, but the story in Week 10 was defense.

After a Douglass touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Liggett led 15-14.

Instead of attempting the extra point, though, Douglass went for the 2-point conversion.

“The defense made a huge play,” Ray said of the stop. “They played big all day.”

Douglass was averaging nearly 30 points per game coming into the playoffs and had scored 34 or more in four of the past five weeks.

“It’s awesome,” Ray said of the win, and particularly the defense. “The kids played with so much emotion. Douglass is a team that is bigger and probably more skilled, but our guys played gritty football. Come playoff time, that’s what you need.”

Senior quarterback Nate Gaggin powered the offense, passing for 173 yards and two scores, both to Kevaughn Jackson.

Liggett (8-2) must now prep for its toughest matchup of 2012, a 10-0 Detroit Loyola team that rolled past Royal Oak Shrine 36-14 in another pre-district game.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” Ray said. “We know Loyola can score some points, so we’re going to have to find a way to outscore them.”

The game is set for noon, Nov. 3 at the University of Detroit Jesuit.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.