LANSING | For a team that struggled all season to finish games, T.F. South figured it out in a big way Friday night.
Leading 14-6 after the first quarter, the Rebels scored 25 unanswered points and forced five turnovers to dispatch Lemont and keep their playoff hopes alive.
After taking a 14-6 lead into the second quarter, Kendall McKaskill got things going for T.F. South (5-4, 4-2) midway through the second quarter by taking the ball around the left end for an 87-yard touchdown run to put the Rebels up 21-6 at the half.
“I was going to the three hole when I saw the outside open up and just went to the edge,” McKaskill said. “Once I got the corner, I just used my speed and was able to outrun everyone else to the end zone.”
On their opening possession of the third quarter, Daniel Stellfox capped off a long drive with a 32-yard field goal, and the rout was on.
“We talked at halftime about coming out strong in the third quarter,” coach Tom Padjen said. “It was important to get points on that drive, so that field goal was big. The guys came out and executed well.”
On their next possession, McKaskill, who has been slowed by injuries all season, found the end zone for the second time to extend the lead to 32-6.
“I’m really glad for Kendall,” Padjen said. “He’s been battling injuries all year, and he’s finally back in form. He’s worked really hard to get there.”
The Rebels closed out the scoring less than a minute later following a Lemont fumble when JeVaughn Hunter scored from the two and the defense took care of the rest, limiting the Indians (3-6, 2-4) to six first downs through three quarters.
“This feels good. We really made it happen tonight,” McKaskill said. “We persevered this season, and all the guys kept working to get here.”
Fred Taylor recovered a pair of fumbles, including one he returned 20 yards to set up the Rebels first score, and Ka’Ton Mayes had two interceptions to lead the defense.
“It all starts with the offensive and defensive lines,” Padjen said. “That was the best the defensive line has played all season. They got good penetration all night.”
With the win, the Rebels are playoff eligible and will have to wait until tonight to find out if they are in the post season.
“This would be 17 times in the last 20 years that we have qualified,” Padjen said. “I told the kids before the game that this was their chance to write their own chapter of Rebel football history, and they all bought in.”