By Mike Moore Photo by Ryan Kerwin, JTV Sports
The obvious first concern is the travel, a high school team stuck on a bus for hours while simultaneously trying to prepare for what will be the biggest game of the season.
Good luck, right?
Lumen Christi football coach Herb Brogan downplayed that concern Wednesday night while speaking of his team’s pending trip to Watervliet in a Division 6 regional final Saturday afternoon.
“It has to be a business trip,” Brogan said simply. “I think these guys are used to it. We started the year in Grand Rapids and in Hastings. We’ve gone to Traverse City before. Really, we just have to stay focused and do what we do.”
The trip is roughly 100 miles, and Brogan estimates his guys will spend about two hours on the bus.
His main focus, however, centers on slowing the Panthers’ offense.
And good luck with that.
Watervliet (11-0) has scored 572 points this year, a whopping 52 points per contest.
The Panthers lowest output of the season was achieved three times, scoring just 36 points in three consecutive weeks.
In the district final they allowed 50 points, and still won by eight over Delton Kellogg.
“They are great offensively,” Brogan said. “They have a quarterback who’s one of the best players in the state, so that’s something we have to concern ourselves with.”
Zachery Pickens has spent the year putting up video game numbers.
In 11 starts he’s completed 72.5-percent of his passes for 3,451 yards, 37 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
He’s averaging 314 yards per game.
In last week’s win, he completed 16-of-17 passes for 399 yards and six touchdowns.
“We have to be able to stop them once in a while,” Brogan said of his team, which enters the game 9-1 averaging 37.1 points per game, “We can’t panic if they score or make a play. We just have to be ready to bounce back.”
While Watervliet may be the best offensive team Lumen has seen all year, it’s safe to say the Panthers haven’t faced a team as deep, balanced or talented as Lumen.
“I think they’d admit our schedule is more difficult,” Brogan said.
Keep in mind it was in last year’s playoff opener Lumen hosted a 7-2 Watervliet team — and rolled to a 55-28 victory.
“Our kids are going to go their expecting to win,” Brogan said. “At the same time we expect a great football game. We expect a dog fight. In Division 6, you’ve got seven-of-eight teams that are legitimate contenders to win it all. I think this could be a very good game.”
Get your pencils ready.
The game will air on JTV on Sunday at 1:00pm and 7:00pm.
Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports.
He’s also a Realtor with Real Estate One, specializing with buyers and sellers throughout Michigan, from the Jackson area to metro Detroit. You can reach him at email@example.com or by calling (313) 770-6365 with any inquiries.