Wildcats face must-win scenario against Ypsilanti tonight

It has been 22 years since an Alpena football team traveled to Ypsilanti, but the Wildcats (2-3) are headed back to take on a different opponent.

Alpena will play Ypsilanti Community, a program in just its fifth year of existence, at 7 p.m. tonight.

The last time Alpena traveled to Ypsilanti was in 1995 and the Wildcats were on the receiving end of a 14-6 defeat. Alpena will be looking for a different outcome during this trip downstate as the Wildcats face a must-win scenario to keep their playoff hopes alive.

“This a huge game for us. It’s definitely the most important game of the year and it would be huge for us to come away from this week back to .500 and still be in line for a spot in the postseason,” Alpena coach Aaron Sims said. “We just have to keep taking it one play at a time and one game at a time. If we can do that and execute, play with fanatical effort and be violent, the scores will take care of themselves.”

The Wildcats are hoping to rebound after a difficult loss last week, but Alpena will have its hands full with a Grizzlies team that has no shortage of speed and talent.

Ypsilanti features a spread offense and loves to air it out. The Grizzlies have playmakers in the backfield and at receiver and they rely on speed and quickness on the defensive side of the ball, which should make for an intriguing matchup between Ypsilanti’s finesse style against the Wildcats Wing-T ground and pound offense.

“Ypsilanti has some good size and good athletes. They like to throw the ball around and run on defense, so it’s definitely a new team and new look for us. It looks like it could be a tough matchup for us, but we have to go down there and execute,” Sims said. “I think we a good game plan and we’re going to go out and put our best pieces in place. They’re used to seeing spread offenses, so we will have a different look for them as well and because of that we’re expecting to see multiple defensive fronts and getting our kids prepared and handle any front we see.”

The Wildcats may catch Ypsilanti at the most opportune time as the Grizzlies have dropped their last three games and have allowed 69 points over their three game losing skid.

“People have wondered why we are going down here and I think it’s great exposure for our guys in a different area. We’re going to see different types of programs so that’s important and the other piece was that they are a school our size rather than some of the other offers we had on the table,” Sims said. “We’re going to see different types of athletes and we want to show that we can go down there, compete and if we can come away with a win that’s going to be huge for us.”

Jonny Zawacki can be reached via email at jzawacki@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690.