By Mike Moore Photo: Ryan Kerwin, JTV Sports
Jackson — The undercards had their shot, and now, it’s the heavyweight’s turn.
Games are played over the course of a playoff tournament, because, as we’ve seen, anything can happen.
But roughly five weeks ago when the 2017 postseason began, predetermining the Division 6 final may have been a bit easier than many thought.
On Friday afternoon, two of the best will square off at 4:30 p.m. from Ford Field.
And somebody’s illustrious tradition is about to take on another glorious chapter.
“The guys understand what’s on the line,” Lumen Christi football coach Herb Brogan said about his team’s final against Ithaca. The Titans are the defending D-6 champs seeking back-to-back titles for the first time since 2003-2004. “All our preparation is for right now. The goal is to close this season out on a good note.”
Lumen enters the game 11-1, having won nine in a row.
The offense has been on cruise control, averaging 47 points in four playoff games, while the defense has allowed more than 15 just once in that span.
On the flip side, there may not be a more dangerous, and experienced team, than Ithaca.
The Yellowjackets are 13-0, enter the game averaging 47 points per game this fall and in their playoff run have two shutouts and just 30 total points allowed.
“That’s the standard of excellence over the past decade with their state titles and the time they got there and lost,” Brogan said of Ithaca. “This won’t be strange territory for them. They won’t be in awe of anything.”
To that point, 2016 was the first time since 2009 the Yellowjackets didn’t reach Ford Field, and the team was actually in the D-5 tournament last year.
Ithaca picked up state titles 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
The team lost in the 2014 final.
“Experience certainly plays a factor in a game like this,” Brogan said. “You see teams come here and almost act like tourists. The venue becomes the thing they focus on. We’re set on what we’re playing for, not where we’re playing.”
Asked about keys to the game, Brogan apologized for being cliche.
“The team that eliminates the most mistakes will have the advantage,” Brogan said. “We have to protect the ball. We can’t turn it over against a team like that. We hope to let the flow of the game dictate how we play and how we attack. If we do that, we’ll be in good shape.”
Brogan is seeking his eighth title as coach of the Titans and a third back-to-back championship.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (313) 770-6365 with any inquiries.