Swami ready to begin a new season

The older you get, the quicker it passes. Swami had an eventful summer, but it seems it went by too fast. He spent plenty of time with family and friends at the lake. He also had a chance to do some coaching for the 9/10 girls house league softball team. The team didn’t win many games, but at that age it’s about gaining experience; fielding your position, making a play, offensively taking advantage of a base hit and sliding home.

Now it’s back to work predicting football games. Local teams have put hard work into summer conditioning efforts and weeks of practice in preparation for the season. Even though high school football and 10U softball are on different ends of the sports spectrum, they share some common lessons; enjoy what you are doing, learn and carry over those experiences into daily life.

ESCANABA at ALPENA–Friday–Last year was a cut and dried season for both the Wildcats and Eskymos. Escanaba went to the semifinals in Division 4, while Alpena missed the postseason. A lot can change in a year and Alpena returns a lot of players while Escanaba graduated a lot.

Escanaba has owned the rivalry for four years and last season’s game was a tale of two halves. Alpena owned the first half and the Eskymos controlled the second half.

The Eskymos’ are a run orientated squad, but will have the element of surprise in the passing game. The Wildcats are all about the run and Swami feels the team that executes offensively will win. Defensively, the All-Knowing-One has a good feeling that defense will show its strengths early, but will not be the difference maker in the game.

This is a new season and it’s time for the Wildcats to make their mark on the field. With it being the first game of the season, no one should have a distinct advantage. The Wildcats are hoping to improve after two seasons under Aaron Sims. A win tonight would go a long way for Alpena.

Swami Sez: Escanaba 24, Alpena 17.

WHITTEMORE-PRESCOTT at ROGERS CITY–Friday–It’s a new beginning for these two schools, who both have new coaches. Tommy Atkinson takes over the reigns of Whittemore-Prescott and Jesse Fenstermaker will lead the Hurons. The All-Knowing-One has butterflies still on opening night and he has been doing this for 42 years, so it should not be any different for these two young coaches. He is sure once the pregame is done, they will disappear with the kickoff and it will be business as usual.

The Cardinals have been upgrading their basic offense with a new playbook and adapting to a new coaching staff. With a nucleus of nine seniors, it gives the Hurons a good deal of talent and Fenstermaker will mold his offense and defense around them. Sprinkle in a nice compliment of juniors and Rogers City could be a force in the revamped North Star League.

Swami sees that both teams have a big desire to win and a change of coaching styles could do a lot to make that happen. It should be interesting to see whether the uptempo team or molded team wins out. The All-Knowing-One says the team that puts up an early lead will likely win the game.

Swami Sez: Whittemore-Prescott 35, Rogers City 21.

MOUNT PLEASANT SACRED HEART at HILLMAN–Friday–This game will be completely new to both Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart and Hillman. Football is a numbers game and when you do not have enough players, eight-player football becomes a viable option. Swami knows there is definitely more action, higher scores, faster pace and more emphasis will be placed on defense.

Despite the change, the goals remain the same for Hillman under new coach Cody Allen: win and keep its postseason streak alive. It had been rumored in recent years that the Irish would be moving to eight-player football and now they have. It gives everyone a chance to play and that is the reason why we play the game, it’s not the wins or losses.

Swami looks for a wide open game, with the field only being 40 yards wide, instead of the traditional 53 yards. Swami says with three less players on both sides of the ball, it only makes sense to cut down the coverage area. The All-Knowing-One says it will take the defense time to get accustomed to the new surroundings.

The advantage will go to the offense, but which team will prevail?

Swami Sez: Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 55, Hillman 45.

ALCONA at TAWAS–Thursday–This game will get a jump on the season, with a lot of other teams opening on Friday. Alcona had little trouble facing the Braves in last season’s opener, jumping on Tawas and walking away with an easy win. The Tigers had little trouble advancing last season with a 9-3 record, whereas Tawas struggled to a 2-7 finish.

It is true that the Tigers have lost a wealth of talent through graduation, but three year starter Damion Stewart is ready to be the workhorse for Alcona. He has embraced being a leader as well.

Before practices started, the coaching staff had interviews with all the seniors, challenging them and as a result of those meetings, they feel each senior will lead in their own way. Swami feels the Tigers might play a variety of players in different positions, which could work in their favor with some of the tough games they have on their schedule this season.

Tawas is still in the rebuilding stages following a 2-7 season. It is not because of the lack of numbers, but it is a mystery to Swami as to why they can’t win. The Braves do the things that are needed to win, but they have more then their share of miscues that result in losses. The Braves have their best returning lettermen class in years. The All-Knowing-One says if the execution comes together and they cut down on the turnovers, it could be a drastic change from years past for the Braves.

Swami Sez: Alcona 35, Tawas 30.