Swami sighted in
With pen in hand, it is time for Swami to revert to his youthful years. That is when he became interested in sports. His father, realizing the All-Knowing-One was interested, went with him to every Alpena Catholic Central basketball game. Snow, below freezing temps and even broken glasses would not keep us away.
Swami was part of the St. Bernard’s grade school basketball team and practice was occasionally held on early Friday nights. Low and behold, one Friday did not go as planned. After a quick shower, Swami hastily dressed and threw everything into a duffle bag, when he heard glass break. Needless to say, that did not hold him back and surprisingly his eyesight did not let him down.
Let’s see if the dedicated one can pick winners.
ALPENA (1-6) at ESCANABA (1-6) — Friday — 7 pm. — The Wildcats take to the road with both teams in a need of a win. After Alpena experienced the joy of winning against Gaylord, homecoming was not enjoyable at all as Traverse City Central used speed to handily down the Wildcats. Alpena’s lone highlight came on a 13-play drive, with Kadyn Budnik plunging in from three yards out.
Escanaba, playing predominately against Wisconsin schools, faced Kewaunee that had the Eskymos number with a 39-21 win. The Escanaba defense allowed the Storm 424 yards of total offense, to go along with six touchdowns. Esky quarterback Casey Bray hooked up with wide receiver Scott Hiller for three touchdown receptions.
Swami is thinking the Eskymos’ bread and butter is the passing game. Likewise, Alpena’s rushing game has hit a wall, leaving the pass to carry the brunt of the offense.
Swami Sez: Escanaba 18, Alpena 14.
WHITTEMORE-PRESCOTT (2-5) at HILLMAN (4-3) — Friday — 7 pm. — Hillman is making a move with two games left in the season. With a strong finish, the Tigers would have a chance for postseason play. The Tigers were in a back-and-forth game against Posen last week, before taking a 34-14 win.
The Tigers’ RPO has defenses scratching their heads. Quarterback AJ Jones is a versatile athlete that is hard to bring down rushing the ball. When he’s flushed out of the pocket, he gets the ball to Hillman’s playmakers. Playing defense in 8-Player football is tough when trying to cover Hillman receivers Landen Timm, Caleb Hively, and Trenton Taratuta when the Tigers go to an empty backfield. Sean Henigan is also a load coming out of the backfield.
The Cardinals are still looking to add a passing game to its run-orientated offense. Sam Vyner was a bright spot for the Cardinals rushing for 116 and was the leading receiver with 53 last week in a loss to Alcona.
The Tigers cannot let their three-game win streak make them feel invincible. Otherwise, all the hard work of getting over the .500 mark will go for naught. The All-Knowing-One has a good feeling that won’t happen.
Swami Sez: Hillman 48, Whittemore-Prescott 8.
MESICK (5-2) at ALCONA (3-4) — Saturday — 3 p.m. — Alcona will not have the luxury of being heavy favorites against Mesick. The Bulldogs will be looking for a sixth win to clinch a playoff spot. The Bulldogs inched one step closer with a 46-22 win over Bear Lake. It was the explosiveness of running of Colton Eckler that wore down the Bear Lake defense, rushing for 304 yards on 26 carries and five touchdowns on the night.
Alcona had very little opposition against Whittemore-Prescott in a shutout win. The Tigers took matters into their own hands in the second quarter, scoring 42 straight points to put the game away.
Swami likes the play of the Tigers, but he feels they do not have enough to turn the tide in their favor.
Swami Sez: Mesick 40, Alcona 20.
ROGERS CITY (7-0) at MIO (6-1) – Friday — 7 pm. — Mio had the night off last Friday, the result of Hale having to forfeit. But a red-hot Rogers City team is up next.
Rogers City met some strong competition in Oakland Christian but hung on for a 44-42 win. The Hurons leadership is what has gotten them to this point of the season. The fleet-footed Hayden Hentkowski and reliable Dillon Cook are direct opposites as to running styles, which has kept defenses off stride.
Both teams have averaged roughly 32 points per game, so the offenses are pretty even. The outstanding play of Mio quarterback Austin Fox stills amazes defenses as he can run the ball and has a strong arm to get the ball to Lewis Kuffel, Brandon Whiltse, or Nathan Hurst.
Swami Sez: Rogers City 21, Mio 12.