By Mike Moore
Jackson — After a season of near-perfect weather every weekend, it makes somewhat perfect sense that as teams across the state gather for some of the most important games, Mother Nature may just have some sweet revenge.
The football state semifinals are tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m., and for Lumen Christi and Millington, there’s no telling what may, or may not, fall from the sky.
“The weather really can change a lot about this game,” Titans coach Herb Brogan said of the semifinal, which is behind held at Lansing Catholic. “Millington is a mixture of power, spread and throwing. If the winds are there, they will likely go to the power running game more than passing. Whatever the case is, in games like this, you have to protect the ball. You can’t give away possessions. Field position is also key, especially with the kicking game.”
Roughly 24 hours prior to kickoff, the forecast was calling for the possibility of rain, snow and gusty winds.
“The biggest key, when you get to this point in the season, is teams are here for a reason,” Brogan added. “They are all good football teams. You’re not coming into this part of the year for a game that won’t be competitive. That makes every possession more important.”
Lumen enters the contest 10-2 on the season and playoff victors in a variety of ways.
The Titans rolled past Napoleon 49-6 in the regional round one week after needing overtime to get past Schoolcraft 37-34.
This will be the toughest test to date, though, as Millington (11-1) comes in riding a seven game win streak thanks in large part to a defense that has allowed double digits in a game just twice all season.
“Defensively, they are very aggressive,” Brogan said. “They will stunt more than anyone we’ve seen. Their defensive package is also more sophisticated than we’ve seen so far.”
The Cardinals are giving up 9.25 points per game, and that average went up slightly after allowing 20 to Detroit Central last week.
Brogan and the Titans have been able to keep their offensive attack somewhat balanced, but given the weather possibilities, there may be an increased emphasis on Bo Bell and the rest of the rushing attack.
“If we have to run, due to the weather or whatever, it won’t hurt us,” Brogan said. “It may take them out of their passing game some, but as I said, they have a strong, power-running style that’s tough to stop.”
While the weather may or may not play a factor, Brogan knows nerves can, and likely will.
For all 32 teams still alive, the reality of being one win from Ford Field and a chance at a state title makes each quarter, drive and play that much more important.
“But it still has to be a football game,” Brogan noted. “We’re going to play 48 minutes on a 100-yard field. I think once the game starts, football is football. … The bottom line is, this is great fun. There’s adrenaline and there’s stress, but anything in life that’s worth something is difficult. If it were easy, everyone would still be playing. We stress to these guys every week this is the reason they put those green and gold jerseys, to be part of this and be part of opportunities like we have Saturday.”
Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s also the author of ‘Love, Defined; A Dedication to the Love, Sacrifice, and Magic of Motherhood.’
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