Flipping the script: Posen back in playoffs, looking to make noise
POSEN — After finishing 2-7 a year ago, the Posen football team put the past behind them, saying they would surprise a lot of people.
That’s exactly what Posen did as the Vikings reversed their fortunes, going 7-2 to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
“We played in some tough ball games throughout the year and our kids answered the call. It’s a tribute to very solid senior leadership and I think that plays a huge role in a football team and it’s definitely been a plus for us this year,” Posen coach Greg Pietsch said. “We are resilient and there’s just no quit. The kids are out to win and about giving their best effort and that’s what we get out of them day in and day out. They just put it all together on game day.”
The Vikings won their first five games of the season and lost its only two games to teams that went a combined 17-1 and are in the playoffs.
Posen’s work during the regular season earned the Vikings a first round home playoff game as the Vikings will host Kinde-North Huron at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Warriors finished the season 5-4 and are coming off of a season where they reached the 8-Player Division 2 state semifinals.
“It feels great to host a playoff game. I think it’s really brought some life into our team. Our kids are really excited to be able to play at least one more time at home. We’re really happy about that,” Pietsch said.
Despite its 5-4 record, Posen understands it cannot take North Huron lightly.
The Vikings will need to keep close tabs on North Huron’s dual threat quarterback Ty Knoblock who has been the Warriors’ answer on offense. Knoblock has thrown for 643 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also rushing for 467 yards and seven touchdowns.
Along with Knoblock, Brad Hoody is North Huron’s leading rusher with 518 yards and three scores on the ground. Hoody also had a pair of receiving touchdowns. Brayden Schipinski and De’Andre Morris have a combined five receiving touchdowns for the Warriors.
Two of North Huron’s victories this season came via forfeit, so the offensive numbers don’t tell the entire picture for what is a talented Warriors squad.
As talented as North Huron is, the Vikings are just as dangerous.
Posen has the top two leading 8-Player running backs in the area in seniors Sam Brunet and Mark Wisniewski.
The duo has run for more than 2,000 yards and nearly 30 scores this year. Brunet leads the area with 1,201 yards and 13 touchdowns, while Wisniewski has recorded 1,072 yards on the ground and 16 trips to the end zone.
The Vikings rely heavily on their physical ground attack, but can get creative and go to the air with quarterback George Kroll who has 722 yards passing and eight touchdowns.
Brunet was also a weapon in the Vikings’ aerial attack as he finished the regular season with 317 yards and four touchdowns. Jeremy Misiak also had four touchdowns through the air and 202 yards.
“North Huron is very well coached. They have a solid football team that plays tough defense and solid offense with a good quarterback,” Pietsch said. “They look like a really good team and we know they were a semifinalist last year and it’s going to be a tough ball game that will be another challenge for us.”
The Vikings are hoping their potent ground attack can create plenty of offense and their defense can continue to play strong, physical football.
Posen’s defense has a host of players that set the tone. Ben Delekta and Gage Kaszubowski are the team’s leading tacklers. The Vikings got a nice addition to its defense as Kyle Kensa returned from injury in the regular season finale and Posen seems to be at full strength heading in Saturday’s game.
“Our intensity level is is high with us being able to host a playoff game. It’s crazy to think that it’s been four years since some of us were on that team that went undefeated in the regular season and won a playoff game,” Wisniewski said. “We’ve learned a lot from that experience and we’re hoping to do even better this time around.”