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Wolvin keeping even keel as conference title hangs in the balance

By Mike Moore

Staff Writer

Jackson – It’s been the same approach all season long, and one that has certainly

worked.  No one game has been any bigger than any other, no opponent given more attention than

the next.


So would that change this week, as the Vandercook Lake football team took its

undefeated record to Manchester for a winner-take-all conference finale?

“No, we’re really not making a big deal about any game. Our focus is on whatever game

is up next, and this happens to be next,” coach Steve Wolvin said simply. “It’s going to

be exciting, and if we find a way to win, that’ll be a great thing for these kids.”

His tone never changed, almost a stubborn boringness to it.


But again, if it ain’t broke…

The Jayhawks enter Friday’s tilt in Manchester 7-0 overall and 5-0 in conference play.

Last week’s wild 30-27 victory at Michigan Center — thanks to a blocked field goal as

time expired — set up the impromptu Cascades Conference championship game with a

Manchester team that started the season with a one-point loss, but hasn’t looked back

since, rolling to a 6-1 overall mark and identical 5-0 record in conference play.

“They’ve had continuity for so long out there,” Wolvin said of Manchester. “For almost

30 years, it’s like they’ve had the same coaching staff with (head coach Wes Gall). They

have some very good coaches who get the best out of their players.”


So, in regards to this team, what makes the Flying Dutchmen so good?

“They play to their strengths,” Wolvin added. “They have a great tailback. But the main

thing is their defense. It’s as solid as any.”

The tailback Wolvin referenced is Trevor Humphrey, a senior who’s rushed for more

than 1,300 yards and 19 touchdowns so far.

He’s part of an offense averaging more than 34 points per game during the win streak.

But there’s also the defense for Manchester, a group that hasn’t allowed more than 21

points in a single game since Week 3.

And if that wasn’t challenge enough, the Jayhawks will be without stud running

back/linebacker Malik Wilks, who is likely out the rest of the regular season after having

surgery on his thumb.


Zaithon Allen will be the featured back, while Wolvin said receiver Noah Cooper will

also likely see some carries while not serving as the main target for Nolan Hancock.

“We’ve got some other guys some experience, especially last week,” Wolvin said. Wilks

didn’t play an offensive snap in the first half of last week’s win. “Other guys understand

they have to step up.”


So the Jayhawks are battling a solid team, health issues, and a bit of history that’s

teetered slightly against them when it comes to this series.

“I know we’ve won once since 1950,” Wolvin said.

And he’s right.

The year was 1996, and Vandercook upset Manchester 27-12.

In 31 other games against the Jayhawks, Manchester is a staggering 31-0.

The Flying Dutchmen are also looking for their fourth consecutive conference title.

Vandercook hasn’t won one since a four-way tie 1978.


“We’d be very proud of that, there’s no doubt about it,” Wolvin said about the

opportunity his guys have to dethrone the champs and assume the spot themselves.

“Truthfully, it wasn’t one of our goals at the start of the year, but the kids would be very

excited about that. When you have a great season, and things go well, you get to be the

heroes in the community. But there is so much unknown, and that’s what I’m looking

forward to. To see what their reaction would be if we won it all is pretty exciting to think


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