Swami in crunch time
It has become the crunch time of year. The football field has seen its share of crunching plays this season on both sides of the ball. Heading into week eight, there are a handful of area teams that have reached playoff status. While other teams are hoping to deliver a blow, that will allow them to continue towards that goal, and not paying the price if they do not. Let’s see what will happen to their chances.
ALPENA (2-5) at PETOSKEY (2-5)–Both Alpena and Petoskey come in with identical Big North Conference and overall records. Swami will even take it a step further, the two teams also have similar playoff point totals. The All-Knowing-One says the team that can make the most out of every possession will be the winner.
Alpena put together a good first half against Traverse City Central last week and led briefly, but could not keep the momentum going in the second half. Central Trojans not only spoiled homecoming festivities, but crushed the Wildcats 51-26. The Wildcats got going late in the game, but it was a little too late.
Zach Suszek carried out fakes, only for the Trojans to figure out he had the ball and had his best game of the season with 151 yards to go along with two touchdowns. Eric Troy and Logan Guthrie finished the night with touchdown runs, while gaining 71 yards each.
Petoskey took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter against Gaylord, when quarterback Joel Wilson scampered in from three yards out. It was Gaylord that took control and ultimately won 24-7. The majority of the offense for Petoskey came in that first drive as the Northmen had just 73 yards for the remainder of the game.
Swami knows one thing for sure, the Northmen have had the Wildcats’ number in recent years. There is no time like the present to change the outcome. It may be little consolation, for the dreams the Wildcats had at the beginning of the season, but a win tonight would definitely be a stepping stone towards next year.
Swami Sez: Alpena 21, Petoskey 13.
ALCONA (6-1) at LAKE CITY (7-0) — In the last couple of years the contests between Alcona and Lake City have been used to prepare for the post season. Thanks to second year coach Kyle Smith, the Trojans opened the season with wins against Harrison, McBain and Beal City. Lake City has added four more wins in its run, including a Highland Conference clincher against Evart.
The Tigers did nothing to tarnish their record last week, blasting Burton-Atherton 60-16 before probably the most critical game before the playoffs. The one-two punch of Tim and Jack Hutchinson rushed for three touchdowns each and only rushed for a combined 15 times, while amassing 287 yards. Kyle Haegar also got some valuable field time, carrying the ball 11 times for 68 yards.
Lake City may be undefeated, but the Trojans had difficulty in the first quarter last week before blowing the game wide open in the second quarter thanks to a strong defense. The offense accounted for three touchdowns through the air, quarterback Matt Holt with Jacob Ball for two and finished off with a 61-yard strike to Ethan Linderman. On the ground Zach Noren not only rushed for 142 yards, but had three scores to show for it.
Swami Sez: Lake City 24, Alcona 21.
ROGERS CITY (2-5) at NEWBERRY (4-2) — There is no postseason in Rogers City’s plans, but Newberry still has a shot, thanks to an upset win over Norway.
The Indians took the wind out of the sails of Norway early, en route to a 28-14 win. Quarterback George Sevarns found a breakdown in Norway’s defense through the air, hitting Jaylen James in stride for 71 yards for the first of four touchdowns. It did set Norway back on its heels and Jeff Rahilly broke through putting the Indians up 14-0. Rahilly added two more short runs for touchdowns to cap the scoring.
It can be said the Indians are physical and fast. If the Hurons hope for upset of their own, they have to plug the holes the offensive line will attempt to make. If that doesn’t work, they will have to trade the spikes for track shoes in order to keep up.
Whittemore-Prescott took of their horses in the backfield as the Hurons could not slow down any of the Cardinals. Ridge Schutte picked his holes in the inside and then managed to get to the edge, leaving the Hurons in the dust.
Swami says all the Hurons need is a couple of turnovers to give them the momentum needed to keep their spirits up and instill hope for an upset. Finishing at 4-5 would not be all bad, but they have to get this one first.
Swami Sez: Newberry 35, Rogers City 14.
WHITTEMORE-PRESCOTT (3-4) at HILLMAN (4-3) — Hillman has handled the pressure of must-win situations the last two weeks and they can make it three this week. Judging by the records, Swami would say playing at home and with one more win, the Tigers should be considered favorites.
The Tigers neutralized Oscoda, who had a potent offense which had a balanced offensive attack. Hillman played like it had to, remaining in the hunt, playing physical and throwing caution to the win on offense. On defense Matt Hunt left it all on the field with 13 tackles, but it was Nash Steinke with two key interceptions that saved the day.
It has been cohesive offense has propelled Hillman to four straight wins. Last week, Billy Kolcan led with 151 yards on the ground and caught three passes, one of which went for a touchdown. Caine Hunt was just a step behind Kolcan with 138 yards, but reached the end zone three times. Quarterback Kyler Moir was on fire connecting on 7-of-9 passes for 118 yards, and two touchdowns. The All-Knowing-One says when playing as a team the Tigers are hard to beat.
Ridge Schutte will be a hand full for the Tigers to stop. In the game against the Hurons, he single-handedly outscored the entire Rogers City offense. Swami says this is where the difference is between these two teams; the Cardinals are basically are a one dimensional team, while Hillman can get it done on the ground and through the air.
Swami Sez: Hillman 27, Whittemore-Prescott 24.