Huge offensive breakouts often seal victories in football, but defense made the difference for Livonia in Week 9 action against Cecilia.

Livonia defensive back Devontae Victorian sacked Cecilia quarterback Alex Soileaux on a fourth-and-1 in the last 26 seconds to hold off the visiting Bulldogs 13-7 in District 6-4A action last Friday at The Jungle.

“This was a very physical football game,” Livonia coach Marc Brown said. “Both teams were against the wall and in ‘must-win’ situations, and we played to win.”

All scoring for the evening came in the first quarter.

Soileaux connected with Ethan Howard on a 6-yard touchdown with 7:48 left in the first quarter for Cecilia (4-5, 2-2).

Livonia (6-2, 2-1) tied the game on Avery Walker’s 38-yard pass to Demetric Leonard with 5:04 remaining in the first stanza.

Walker’s 62-yard run with 2:29 left in the quarter, followed by an Alex Bond kick, gave Livonia a lead it would maintain the rest of the game.

Walker led the Wildcats in both passing and rushing. He completed 11 of 20 passes for 140 yards and carried 15 times for 70 yards.

Jordan Bailey ran 11 times for 34 yards.

Defense ruled the night for both teams in a battle marred by penalties and turnovers. Cecilia lost 91 yards off 11 penalties, while officials flagged Livonia nine times for 80 yards. Both teams were flagged twice for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Livonia lost possession on three of four fumbles, including one in the second quarter that the Wildcats lost at the Cecilia 26-yard line.  

Cecilia mounted an offensive drive it began from its own 35 in the third quarter after the Bulldogs recovered a Livonia fumble, but LHS regained the ball on a miscue at the Wildcat 40-yard line.

The Livonia defense stifled the Cecilia running game throughout the night. Danrious Journet led the Bulldog ground game with 19 carries for 39 yards, while Germonie Davis rushed twice for six yards.

“Defense really got us through the game,” Brown said. “They’re aggressive, physical and clean … everything you could want from a defense.

“You can’t give up more than 21 points, and if you do, you have problems,” he said. “It’s not just a matter of keeping points off the board, but not giving up field position.

“Without our defense, we wouldn’t have six wins this season.”

The Wildcat defenders relegated Soileau to minus-45 yards and Dillard Calalis to minus-5 yards.

Soileau completed nine of 22 passes for 92 yards. He completed five passes to Howard for 38 yards, while he tossed three times to Celestine for 53 yards.