The Battle Creek Central Bearcats won five games and made a trip to the playoffs in 2008. That was six years ago.
Michael Pettis of Battle Creek Central celebrates his sack late in the 2nd quarter against Portage Northern.
During a soggy Friday night at C.W. Post Field against the Portage Northern Huskies (5-3), with a playoff spot on the line, BCC fell just short of its fifth win to the Huskies, 7-0, in a Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference non-division contest.
“Well, my heart aches for these kids,” said Bearcats’ head coach Lorin Granger, whose team moves to 4-4 overall after the loss. “They’ve done so much hard work. They deserved that win tonight. We played a great defensive game, but penalties and dropped footballs cost us tonight. We had the game in hand, but we have to make plays when it is our time to make plays.”
Six wins earns a spot in the playoffs in high school football, so now BCC can’t reach that mark. However, in 2008, BCC did make the playoffs with a 5-4 record on computer points.
The Bearcats’ defense only allowed six first downs and no points while forcing four Portage Northern punts in the first half. In a battle for yards and points, BCC’s defense stood strong Friday night.
“We still have that opportunity,” said Granger about his team’s chances of picking up its fifth victory. “We’ll keep fighting; we’ll keep our heads up. They (the defense) played awesome. That’s a Portage Northern team that beat Lakeview and beat us previously by 30 points, and we held them to a single score.”
The lone score of the game came late. On a fourth-and-goal from the two-yard-line with 5:18 left to play in the game, Portage Northern QB Thomas Scheffert took the snap and rolled to his right. No receivers were open. But Scheffert managed to allude BCC tacklers to score and give the Huskies their first score of the game.
Offensively for the Bearcats, Julieon Cooper led the team in rushing with 34 yards on three carries, while also adding 36 yards through the air on 2-of-9 passing.
Defensively, BCC forced four punts and two missed field goals. Leading the team in tackles was defensive back D.J. Watson with nine tackles – five for loss. Michael Pettis contributed with eight tackles.