MONROE — Jack Maison bowled through a cluster of defenders and continued to churn. He wasn’t going to stop until a whistle blew, because that’s likely what his teammate and his best friend would have wanted.
Maison, a linebacker for the Bedford football team, scored the Kicking Mules’ final touchdown in a 49-0 rout of Monroe Jefferson on Friday at Marc L. Cisco Alumni field. Maison scored his first touchdown a day after the death of teammate Colton Durbin, who was taken off life support following a car accident.
Maison left the field sobbing and fell into the arms of his teammates, who were on the verge of completing a 9-0 regular season. Bedford coach Jeff Wood went over to Maison and held him in a bear hug, then gave him an affectionate smack on the top of his helmet.
“Through the grieving process of this whole situation, the kids need something to fall back on,” Wood said. “Colton would want us to be playing this game, and the kids know that, and they played so great together. It’s very therapeutic. It’s something to get their minds off it.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to see more photos from the game
Brad Boss, who scored two touchdowns for the Mules, agreed.
“The whole situation these last days have been rough, and just to get out on the football field has been therapy,” Boss said. “To get our minds off things, it’s been nice.”
Wood said his team was at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center while Durbin was hospitalized there and said the Kicking Mules made the decision Thursday to play its regular-season finale at Monroe Jefferson.
“There was a possibility [of postponement], of playing [Saturday], but the kids made the decision yesterday, and they stuck by that one, even though it was one of the toughest ones they’ve had to make,” Wood said. “I made them make the decision, and it was totally up to them. They all said yes.”
Emblazoned on the side of each of Bedford’s helmets on Friday night were two decals — one of the number 3, Durbin’s uniform number, and the other that read “CD3.”
The Mules took a 35-0 lead at halftime on Jefferson, and scored each of their touchdowns by design, as the team decided that each of Durbin’s friends would score. In addition to Boss’ two touchdowns and Maison’s late-game tally, Alec Hullibarger, Nick Amos, Derrick Shepherd, and Devon Woolford also scored for the Mules.
“All he ever wanted was an undefeated season, so we had to come out here and play this last game for him,” Boss said. “We planned tonight that all of the kids that were very close to him deserved to score touchdowns for him.”
The Kicking Mules will find out their playoff opponent at 7 p.m. Sunday, when Fox Sports Detroit airs the Selection Sunday Show for the MHSAA playoffs.
“If we try to rush ahead, think about who we’re playing and things like that, we’re going to be out of sight and out of [mind],” Wood said.
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.