Larry Jacobson, JTV Sports
Heading into the 2014 high school football season, everyone knew the Lumen Christi Titans would rely heavily on senior running back Khari Willis.
And for good reason…
One of the most accomplished players ever to wear the green and gold, Willis – who’ll suit up for Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartans next year – is indeed a main offensive cog for this year’s Titans. But it’s what has happened around him that has pleased Lumen Christi Coach Herb Brogan the most.
“Coming into this season we knew defenses would be geared up to stop Willis,” Brogan said. “What I like about our offense is we’ve been able to achieve a level of balance that’s allowed us to keep moving the ball. We’ve had good line play and other weapons that have stepped up for us.”
The threat of Willis running the ball has allowed the Titans’ speedy receivers, Devin Edwards and Wyatt Plate, to draw single coverage and burn defenses this year for big plays.
“Both Plate and Edwards are so explosive,” Brogan said. “And they’ve helped us achieve that balance that’s so important if you’re going to be a good football team. And don’t underestimate what Josh Iocca has done for us in the backfield, either and what he means to us. Khari Willis can attest to how valuable Josh is.”
With the playoffs approaching, however, the veteran coach knows what’s needed for the Titans to keep rolling.
“We need to be more physical on defense,” Brogan said. “That’s what we’ve been working on in practice. We have to keep hitting people and keep after it. The game has changed so much over the years and we, as coaches, have had to adjust to it. Not so long ago a good defense gave up six to eight points a game, but things are different now with the way offenses have evolved. You can give up more points than that now and still have a pretty good defense.”
Lumen Christi has already secured a spot in the state playoffs – their 17th straight postseason berth – although their landing spot remains up in the air.
“We’ve scouted both Division 5 and Division 6,” Coach Brogan said. “Both divisions offer tremendous challenges and they’re similar in many ways. No matter where we end up, we’ll be going up against some very, very good football teams.”
Balance on offense, speed and a hard-hitting defense are all parts of the on-going process that is the 2014 Titans, the last of the area’s unbeaten teams.