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Once young core group of players looking to lead Sexton to big year in 2014

Football   | Jeff Dullack

State Champs! Sports Network

LANSING – As Lansing Sexton goes through final preparations before it gets the season underway on Saturday, the Big Reds go into the 2014 season, hoping that the once young core they had in place two years ago will lead them to big things this fall.

Two years ago, Sexton finished with a 4-5 record led by that young core, but a season ago, the Big Reds finished with an impressive 12-1 record, with their only loss coming in the Division 4 state semifinals at the hands of eventual state champion Marine City.

Sexton head coach Dan Boggan said that to have 18 starters returning from a season ago is a coach’s dream and added that the expectation for his team is to win a state title this fall.

“It really is,” he said. “We have 18 returning starters and a lot of them are three year starters and we even have some four year starters, and I’ve never had that happen and I’ve been here since ’96. We’re not blind to the fact that where we want to be at the end of the season is winning a state championship and it’s not about being cocky, it’s about believing that we have the ability and we’re capable of that.”

Among the returning starters on defense for Sexton will be receiver and Central Michigan commit, Rayshawn Wilborn, quarterback Malik Mack, tailbacks Avante Bell and Javon Ray and linemen Shane Shannon, Marshawn Blake and Lapriest Blocker. Several of those players will see time on both sides of the ball this fall.

For Wilborn, he said that having that many starters returning this fall keeps the confidence level high for he and his teammates and echoed his coach’s sentiments, that the ultimate goal for the Big Reds is to win a state title in 2014.

“We’re pretty confident, because we had a good year last year and hopefully that leads to another good year this season,” he said. “We want to win a state championship, that’s been the goal since we got to high school.”

Wilborn will also help anchor the defense as he recorded a school record 18 sacks for Sexton last year and will be joined by linebackers C.J. Brown and Johnny Norton as well as defensive backs Kisten Branson and Devin Taylor.

Boggan said that with his team having that much experience from last year’s deep playoff run to the semifinals will be a big benefit to his team this fall and the Big Reds now know exactly what it takes to get one step further as they try to bring back a state championship this fall.

“That is where you get to see your kids be battle tested,” he said. “We had to come from behind in the last couple of minutes to win that game, and we played in a tightly contested game with Lake Fenton and our kids responded every time in the playoffs. We played a really good team in Marine City and we had the opportunity to beat them, but they beat us 12-7, but we led most of that game, so we know what it’s like to be in the fight and how hard you have to play to win those games.”

Sexton opens its season on Saturday as it faces Detroit East English Village Prep in the Prep Kickoff Classic.