Time flying for Swami

When you get to be Swami’s age, time really flies. It seems like just yesterday we were in the midst of football practice and now here we are in Week 8.

There are local teams that have outdone themselves and are looking forward to the postseason while others are fighting for a playoff spot or just playing out the string.

The All-Knowing-One is surprised that time is flying again, but before he gets ahead of himself let’s see how he makes out this week.

ALPENA (3-4) at PETOSKEY (2-5)–Friday–The Wildcats got rained on last week, both by Mother Nature and by Traverse City Central.

The Wildcats still have a chance to finish above .500, but they need to win their final two games. If they do that, there is a chance they could get to the postseason. But first there’s a business trip to Petoskey to face a team that has played tough and certainly won’t roll over for Alpena.

The Northmen have relied on their running game to score and it paid off last week against Gaylord to the tune of 240 yards. Brody Woods led the way with 91 yards and a rushing touchdown and Jarrin Kelly and Mason Doe-Nimphie added 60 yards and 54 yards respectively and both of them scored.

Alpena outplayed the Trojans early, but ran into turnover troubles and allowed Central to break through. Alpena controlled the clock and ball early, but couldn’t find the end zone. Jordan Schultz’s 42 yard run set the Wildcats up with a chance to take the early lead. But the Wildcats couldn’t punch it in, turning the ball over on downs.

Swami thinks the Wildcats need to set the tone early. Alpena has difficulty playing from behind, especially in a run-orientated game. Alpena has more than enough of a rushing attack to match and surpass the Northmen. The ultimate question: can they play error free and keep Petoskey in three and out situations?

Swami Sez: Alpena 26, Petoskey 21.

BRECKENRIDGE (6-1) at OSCODA (7-0)–Friday–The Owls have had a tough schedule and it won’t get any easier tonight.

Breckenridge claimed its fourth straight Mid-States Activities Conference title and qualified for the postseason after beating Carson City-Crystal last week. 

Cam Valliere put the Huskies in line for the win with touchdown runs of 20 and 32 yards. He was also a force on defense with five tackles, three tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Ky Eastman was also instrumental in the win returning a 21 yard interception for a score.

The Owls are 7-0 for the first time since 1969 and claimed a win over Whittemore-Prescott last week behind a strong running game. Andy Dault used his legs to gain 110 yards, while Owen Franklin contributed 104. Caleb Nagel led the scoring with two touchdowns and Robert Host scored once.

Tonight’s winner will certainly have a strong argument for hosting a playoff game. The All-Knowing-One says tonight will be more about the passing game, which should favor the Owls. The Huskies’ offense is primarily suited for the ground game.

Swami Sez: Breckenridge 28, Oscoda 24.

MIO (7-0) at GAYLORD ST. MARY (2-5)–Friday–Most teams don’t get a chance to avenge a loss during the season, but Mio will have that chance tonight. Mio will try to avenge its only loss to St. Mary back in early September; a 48-32 setback. The Thunderbolts had won five straight since the loss and a lot has changed since then.

Mio pasted Au Gres 50-26 last week, locking up a playoff spot for the first time since 2013.

The Thunderbolts scored in a variety of ways including a 72-yard interception return by Brendan Deflorio and a 60-yard punt return by River Waisanen. Deflorio was 9 of 14 in the passing game for 91 yards and a score in addition to rushing for 92 yards and two more touchdowns.

The Snowbirds were rolling with a 6-1 record before having to forfeit several games due to using ineligible players. That doesn’t mean the Snowbirds won’t be ready tonight. Quarterback Brady Hunter showed his ability with two touchdown passes to go along with 90 yards rushing against Pickford last week. In the first meeting, Hunter gave the Snowbirds momentum after sprinting for a game-changing touchdown.

In the games it has played, St. Mary has proven to be very talented and tough. Despite the unpleasant week the Snowbirds have had, Swami thinks they’ll be ready to play on Friday night.

Swami Sez:  Mio 42, Gaylord St. Mary 30.

ONAWAY (4-3) at HILLMAN (6-1)–Friday–This is a game the Cardinals desperately need to have a shot at postseason. Onaway had everything going for it down the stretch against Hale until untimely turnovers put it on the short end of a 28-20 score. The Cardinals need win their final two games to firmly secure a playoff spot. A loss would not eliminate them from the postseason, but they don’t want to leave anything to chance.

Hillman’s playoff run has been extended to 14 straight seasons following a 38-14 win over Pellston last week. Caleb Sanders picked the right game to come back from an injury, rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown. Sanders also returned a kickoff 62 yards for another score. His energy cared over to Sean Henigan, Nick Zimmer and Nash Steinke as Hillman scored 22 unanswered points in the second half. Zimmer and Steinke led the Hillman rushing attack with 140 and 109 yards respectively as rain kept the ball on the ground and out of the Hornets’ hands. 

If the Cardinals can find a groove rushing the ball, Onaway may be set up to pull an upset. The Tigers have come back strong losing some key players after a physical contest against Mio three weeks ago. Hillman may be banged up, but but the Tigers are still roaring and scratching and clawing their way to wins. Don’t be surprised if the Tigers mix it up by going to the air more. 

Swami Sez: Hillman 35, Onaway 21.


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