Swami sees a bright future ahead

Swami recently had the pleasure of running the clock for three Alpena Jets games and he noticed some of the rules have changed. After meeting with the officials, Swami found that the Jets program runs the same rules as high school football, with the exception of a virtual punt and kickoff.

On a virtual kickoff, a team gets the ball at the 35 with no return. On a fourth down, a team has a choice to go for it or take a virtual punt, which places the ball about 30 yards downfield.

Swami understands rules change, but for the sake of development, players need to learn to play special teams and to open field tackle. You also have to develop kickers and punters who can handle those duties at higher levels of football.

On the plus side, Swami saw good numbers on the field, which is good to see for the future of Alpena football.

PETOSKEY (4-3) at ALPENA (2-4)–Friday–There is a lot at stake in this Big North Conference matchup. The Wildcats are playing for an upset and Petoskey is still in the hunt for a playoff spot.

The Northmen earned an exciting 22-21 win over Gaylord last week to remain in the playoff hunt. Petoskey rallied from a 14-point deficit to claim a key victory. Parker Arms scored three touchdowns for the Northmen, including one with 37 seconds left and Jack Olson caught a two-point conversion Gabe Whitmore to give Petoskey the win.

The Wildcats lost to Traverse City Central last week and had to play an entire half without running back Logan Guthrie, who went off with an injury. Jordan Schultz scored Alpena’s only touchdown of the game on a two-yard run. Everything that the Wildcats attempted backfired on them as Central concentrated on the run and it worked to perfection, allowing Alpena only 96 yards of total offense.

Homecoming is usually a pick me up for the home team, but Alpena will need a little more than that, to stop the Northmen. Petoskey keeps the ball on the ground 75 percent of the time. They will only pass when the down and distance call for it. If Gutthrie’s hurt, then it’ll be up to Schultz, Bob Sheldon and other backs to carry the load.

Swami Sez: Petoskey 27, Alpena 13.

ATLANTA (1-6) at HALE (1-6)–Friday–This will be a showdown regardless of what the records say. This is the type of season that will make either one or both teams a lot stronger next season. They have taken their lumps, but there’s lessons to be learned from playing good opponents.

Au Gres was the latest team to hand the Huskies a loss, while Hale was manhandled by Onaway 48-12. The Eagles have a veteran running back core and an average defense, but they haven’t been consistent. The Huskies have not been able to get their passing game together lately and has only scored twice in the last three games.

Swami thinks both teams are scheming to outsmart one another. But the team with the better ground game will win. Swami doesn’t see a high scoring game here. The difference will be which defense shows up.

Swami Sez: Hale 16, Atlanta 8.

HILLMAN (6-1) at ONAWAY (4-3)–Friday–In its first year of eight-player football, Hillman already has a postseason berth. Onaway is hoping to get in as well, but they’ll need to finish the year strong.

Any time a single player can rack up 331 all purpose yards, you should be assured of earning a win. Hillman’s Gunner Mellingen did that last week, scoring six touchdowns, three from rushing, a kickoff return, punt return and an interception. The one-two combination of Gavin Fenstermaker and Dawson Hilliker put the Cardinals safely ahead and compounded the worries of Hale last week. Fenstermaker was not only a rushing machine, but put the ball in the air in an easy win.

Swami feels the Tigers aren’t slowing down. Finishing the season at 8-1 would give them a legitimate shot at hosting a game and would be the icing on the cake. The Tigers can not take the Cardinals for granted as Onaway has some great talent.

Swami Sez: Hillman 35, Onaway 12.

ROGERS CITY (6-1) at ST. IGNACE (4-3)–Friday–St. Ignace is another team on the outside looking in. The Hurons withstood all that Sault Ste. Marie could throw at them and still weathered the storm to earn a playoff berth. Caleb Bade sealed the deal scoring on a fourth down play. He was also 6-of-9 in the passing department for 138 yards and a touchdown in the 20-16 win.

St. Ignace kept its hopes alive thanks to more than 400 yards on the ground. Quarterback Tucker Shepard had only five completions but went for 112 yards.

Swami feels the Hurons’ luck against UP teams will continue. If they come into the game with the same focus, anything is possible. The Saints have shown that they can move the ball on subpar opposition, but the All-Knowing-One knows the Hurons aren’t like anyone else St. Ignace has played this year.

Swami Sez: Rogers City 18, St. Ignace 14.

POSEN (6-1) at AU GRES (7-0)–Friday–Posen already has a postseason spot looked up. Now they’re after conference hardware.

The combined effort of Mark Wisniewski, Sam Brunet, Chase Dubie, Jeremy Misiak and George Kroll all accounted for a touchdown, which let the Vikings to an easy 48-0 win over Charlton Heston . Brunet led the Viking rushing attack with 109 yards, Wisniewski was close behind with 106.

Au Gres kept rolling along and Atlanta proved to be little opposition. Issiah Thomas led the Wolverines in rushing with 123 yards and the Wolverines spread the scoring load around. The Wolverines have a share of the North Star League title and Midwest Central Michigan 8-man Conference Eastern Division title too. A win tonight would give them both outright.

Regardless of who wins, both teams have had a very successful season. If the Vikings push across two scores, he would call it a moral victory for them.

Au Gres quarterback Caden Zeien has been the do-it-all player for the Wolverines and Swami just feels Au Gres just has too many weapons this year for the Vikings to overcome.

Swami Sez: Au Gres 49, Posen 14.