Wildcats aiming to end season with big win at Chelsea
A season filled with high hopes and expectations has nearly come and gone for the Alpena football team. The program’s 13th straight season of missing out on the playoffs and third consecutive year where they haven’t recorded more than three victories.
Second year head coach Aaron Sims understands the culture of the program needs to change and that may be the hardest part of all. The Wildcats put in the time and work during the offseason, but failed to execute on the field at times and will look back at a Gaylord game when they forced five turnovers, yet lost 13-7. Alpena will also remember a road game at Ypsilanti where it felt as if they were the better team, but committed eight turnovers. Just last week, the Wildcats surrendered a 20-6 lead at Petoskey for their fourth consecutive defeat after starting the year 2-2.
With all of that behind them, Alpena could ease the pain of another difficult season if they could pull of what would be a huge upset on the road against a high school football powerhouse in Chelsea.
“Chelsea is a solid team that comes from a program with a very good tradition. For us it’s just a matter of identifying what they like to do and try to line up and take that away from them. Offensively, we need to go out there and execute doing what we do,” Sims said. “We talk a lot about our recent record being 7-36 and on the opposite side they haven’t had a losing season in almost two decades. It would be a huge win for us, especially to send our seniors off and leaving a great taste for our underclassmen coming back. It would be huge, but we’re not making it any bigger than what it is.”
The Bulldogs are 7-1 and headed back to the playoffs for the 18th time in 19 seasons. Chelsea is also just two years removed from a state championship appearance.
This years team has continued the winning tradition and is led by several playmakers and a handful of two-way starters. Quarterback Thomas Steele and running back Kyle Night are two of the offensive studs that the Wildcat defense will have their hands full stopping.
Alpena is hoping for a much better game defensively than it has seen during their four game losing streak. The Wildcats have given up 188 points over their last four and will need its best effort of the season on both offense and defense against a Bulldogs team that is outscoring their opponents 190-85 this season.
One positive that Alpena has going for them heading into tonights matchup is that they are coming off of their best offensive showings of the season.
The Wildcats made some adjustments last week and one that paid off big time was moving Logan Guthrie to the quarterback position where he spent much of his time working out of the gun which led to some of the best run blocking of the season and the blocking Alpena has hoped for all season long.
Guthrie ran for 226 yards and scored three touchdowns and Alex Arch also had a big game rushing for 176 yards.
“I thought about doing it for a while and finally we worked on it during practice and put it in and the results were good. It wasn’t a magic change that we made, we just worked on it and it happened,” Sims said. “It was just single wing stuff and we didn’t add anything or really change much, we’re just running out of a single wing set. We came out ran well and blocked well. That’s what needs to happen every single play if we’re going to be successful tonight.”