By Mike Moore
Napoleon — Everything earned, nothing given.
That’s the genesis of the confidence Scott Ashe said his Napoleon football team has going right now.
And why not?
Saturday afternoon, the Pirates will look to extend their record-breaking season by another week.
Saturday afternoon, in a road trip to Lumen Christi, Napoleon will search for a 10th win in a row and a spot in the state semifinals for the first time ever.
“And these guys believe in themselves,” Ashe said. “They know nothing has been given to us at all. They’ve earned the right to be in this game and have this opportunity.”
Napoleon comes into the third round of the Division 6 playoffs at 9-2, riding a win streak that began in Week 3 after opening the season with consecutive losses.
Having gone without playoff win since 2000, the Pirates snuck past Michigan Center 25-24 in an opener and then went to Grass Lake and pulled a 42-21 upset last week.
Is there any more magic aboard this ship?
“We feel we’ve prepared as well as we can,” Ashe said simply. “We’re excited for the opportunity we have. To be the best, you have to beat the best. This is the next team up for us. They are skilled. They are well coached.”
Lumen enters the game 9-2 as well, and winners of eight in a row.
The Titans survived last week in overtime, getting past Schoolcraft 37-34.
“You have to find ways to slow their run game,” Ashe said when asked about the key to victory. “But they are so disciplined in what they do. They are methodical. Nobody has really been able to stop them running the ball. At the same time, we have a pretty relentless defense that is ready for the challenge.”
It’s also a defense that’s generated some big plays in the playoffs, and well before.
Last week for example, the defense returned a fumble for a touchdown and Ashe said recorded nine sacks.
“Things like that have to continue,” he added.
While Lumen is set to play in a regional final for the third year in a row — a non-advantage, according to coach Herb Borgan — Ashe said the fact his team has gone farther than any to come before it hasn’t been lost on his guys.
“The kids understand what we’re a part of, and they also know how dire the circumstances are,” he said. “We want to keep playing a few more weeks. This is all reality for us right now.”
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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