Victory was on the side of the Cougars Friday, as Dakota High School defeated L'Anse Creuse North 42-17 to continue to round three of the MHSAA football playoffs.
The final score was eerily reminiscent of the teams' 2007 meeting, when Dakota defeated LCN 42-16 in the first round of that year's playoffs.
Dakota overcame a first half deficit and ultimately defeated the Crusaders to advance in the postseason and face the Lake Orion Dragons next week in the state quarter-finals. The place and time of this game has not been announced.
Coming off of their first playoff win in school history, LCN was looking to upset the heavily favored Cougars. Dakota on the other hand, had their sights set on earning their ninth District Championship and their first since 2010.
The Crusaders took an early 7-0 lead on a touchdown run by quarterback, Sean Koski. Dakota answered quickly however, when Defensive Back, Mustafa Abdur-rahman, returned the following kickoff for a touchdown.
“I hit the hole hard on the kick return and it came up big for a score.” Abdur-rahman said after the game.
LCN kicked a field goal to regain the lead with less than a minute to go in the second quarter, making the score 10-7 Crusaders at halftime.
Dakota began to pull away in the third quarter with two unanswered touchdowns. After trading scores at the end of the quarter, the Cougars found themselves ahead by a score of 28-17.
The Cougar defense held the Crusaders scoreless in the fourth quarter where Abdur-rahman had two interceptions, one in the Red Zone and one in the final minutes to seal the victory.
“Defense was the answer tonight” said Dakota head coach Mike Giannone when asked about the keys to the game. “We played great defense against an LCN team that can score points at will.”
The Cougars capped off a 42-17 victory with two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Dakota heads to Lake Orion next weekend where they take on the Dragons in the third round of the playoffs. Lake Orion is coming off a 10-7 win over Eisenhower in their district finals match.
As for L’anse Creuse North, they look ahead to next year where they aim to improve on a successful 2012 season, as LCN head coach Anthony Kiner said after the game.
“Ahead of the season we looked at getting to the playoffs and getting a win; we’re happy with the season.”
More than 300 photos were submitted for the Dakota versus LCN spirit photo contest and are currently being tallied. Stay tuned for the winner!