Swami’s improvement factor

Swami has lots of thoughts in his head, but sometimes draws a blank when writing a column. This week something stuck and it came while he was in Traverse City for softball, watching his granddaughters on the 14U ThunderCats. During one of the back-to-back games, he was sitting by himself, when he noticed something. During the game, two coaches were constantly offering encouragement regardless of what happened to each player. No player was excluded and there were smiles all around.

Both Jeremy and Craig Stepaniak have been around the game and have gone through the same experiences as these girls, some good and some bad. At the end of the day, it is not about how many games you won or how you finished. It’s those words of encouragement that help you improve.

Swami always tries to improve week-to-week, but he relies on the athletes in his column as his means of improvement.

CADILLAC (2-1) at ALPENA (0-3) — Friday — 7 pm. — The opening moments of last week’s game against Petoskey, appeared to have the Wildcats turning a corner. Mason Mumford snagged an interception and, four plays later, Alpena was in the end zone on a 36-yard reception by Luke Young.

But it was back to the usual after that with the Northmen scoring in a variety of ways. To add insult to injury, Alpena lost signal caller Jake Zann to an injury after he threw for 139 yards and a touchdown. The story did not end there as linebacker Reggie Rambus was lost for the second half with a concussion.

Cadillac was on the wrong end of a 21-7 game against Traverse City West in a controversial game. Cadillac lost two starters to injuries. A confrontation between Viking fans and a West coach took place. Viking head coach, Cody Mallory stated, “all you have to do is look at the film, to see what went on.”

Swami does not know which is the greater loss to the Vikings or Wildcats. Either way it will be an uphill battle.

Cadillac used a four-back system to divide up the rushing carries including Aden Gurden, Carter Harsh, Collin Johnston, and Kaleb McKinley. Swami thinks Alpena’s defense will get a break in the passing department though, as Gurden threw completions for 52 yards.

The team that can overcome personnel losses will come out on top, but Alpena appears to be more vulnerable.

Swami Sez: Cadillac 28, Alpena 14.

HILLMAN (1-2) at AU GRES (3-0) — Friday — 7 pm. — The Tigers picked up their first win of the season and now they’ll play a potent, undefeated Au Gres squad.

The Wolverines took on Mio and won 62-54. The Wolverines’ passing wild offense saw Evan Saunders on the receiving end of 13 passes for 207 yards and 34 total points.

The Tigers did not have any trouble putting points on the board as they handily downed Atlanta 50-6. Quarterback AJ Jones had his sights on Sean Henigan and Caleb Hively through the air, opening the rushing game for Jeff Klein. Defensively, Klein and Owen Moulten were the anchors for Hillman keeping Atlanta out of the end zone until late in the game.

The running game will not be a factor; instead it will be bombs away on both sides. Defensives will be well worn on both sides. If fans indeed like passing in football, they should arrive early to get a choice seat, as even the warm ups will amaze you.

Swami Sez: Au Gres 42, Hillman 30.

FRANKFORT (2-1) at OSCODA (1-1) — Friday – 7 pm. — This game is a rarity since it’s a rematch from last week.

Frankfort took care of business on its home turf, now it is the Owls turn to see if they can return the favor. This will be a real challenge to see if Oscoda can shore up the defense after being doubled up, 32-16.

Rushing was a big factor in the Panthers win as they gained 400 yards. One of the beneficiaries of some good line blocking was senior running back Adam Mills, who rushed for 153 yards on just 12 carries, while scoring two touchdowns. Running in tandem with Mills, Camryn Lewis lugged the ball 10 times for another 71 yards and a TD. When both were bottled up, quarterback Nick Stevenson took over, finishing as the leading rusher with 177 yards on 20 attempts, scampering in for two scores.

The Panthers built a 25-0 lead midway through the third quarter, before surrendering a pair of touchdowns to the Owls.

If the Owls are to stay in this game, they have to derail the Panthers’ rushing attack and establish one of their own.

Swami Sez: Frankfort 38, Oscoda 24.

INLAND LAKES (3-0) at ALCONA (2-1) — Friday — 7 pm. — It is known that Inland Lakes can score as they lit up the scoreboard against Central Lake in an 88-66 win.

The Bulldogs tied the most points scored in an 8-man game according to MHSAA history. The Bulldogs racked 620 of their 666 yards on the ground. Sophomore running back Grant Blumke took the ground game into his own hands, rushing for 227 yards and three scores. Quarterback Mason Blumke had five rushing touchdowns en route to his 165 yards. In three games, the Bulldogs are averaging 77 points per game.

Alcona had an easy win over Charlton Heston too. Quarterback Garrett Somers had only seven completions with four of them going for scores, good for 193 yards. Michael Basner did the leg work on the ground with 85 yards, in addition to a touchdown.

Swami knows this week will not be as easy, but the Bulldogs have allowed more points than they would like at this point of the season. It all comes down to which defense will dig in for 48 minutes.

Swami Sez: Inland Lakes 40, Alcona 24.


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