After a series of rough defeats, the Alpena football team is finally on winning track with its 36-21 victory over Gaylord last Friday.
"It felt good to win," Alpena head coach Jason Dubey said, "The kids had a big smile on their face afterward."
The Wildcats will look to keep their momentum going during homecoming tonight as they host Cheboygan at 7 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.
News File Photo
Alpena receiver Kaleb Smith (21) attempts to catch a pass as he is tackled by Traverse City West defender Tyler Johnson during a football game at Wildcat Stadium earlier this year.
Dubey has noticed his team playing a lot harder and stronger during this week's practices.
"We've had a good week of practices," he said. "The kids are out there working hard every day. They're definitely pumped up after last week's win."
With the return of senior running back Ashton Dever last week, the Wildcats where able to open up their offense and gained 402 total yards. Dever gained 89 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown and Chandler Bloom caught six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. Brady Marwede was sharp, completing over 50 percent of his passes for 183 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Chiefs are 3-2 this season and, like the Wildcats, have scored a victory over Gaylord. In spite of the fact that Cheboygan has won four of its last five meetings with Alpena, Dubey isn't worried.
"I think the win (from last week) will carry over to the next game and give us the momentum to play more successfully," he said.
Alpena changed its normal style of play up against Gaylord last week and Dubey discussed a few different strategies they will use to counteract certain Cheboygan tendencies tonight.
"We're going to work on running the ball and work on stopping Cheboygan's inside trap," he said. "If we can stop that, we can mess up their game significantly."
Alpena junior receiver Tim Atkinson said getting the first win of the season took off a lot of pressure the Wildcats had been feeling.
"Winning helped take a lot of pressure off of us and has made us more relaxed." Atkinson said. "We had to win to make a point and we understood that. Last week was our time to win and we did it."
Atkinson described how the win has helped reinforce a more positive mindset in the team.
"We've had a great mindset all week. We have this mindset to win. We hope to win the rest of the games this season," Atkinson said. "But realistically, we expect to win a few more."
Before tonight's game, the Alpena High School Hall of Fame will welcome several new members.