The Blue Water Area Conference has a great way of preparing teams for the postseason.
Throughout the grueling conference schedule, most playoff bound teams will develop an identity that can carry them on a long postseason run.
This season, conference champion Richmond (8-1), runner up Algonac (8-1) and Croswell-Lexington (8-1) all survived the conference gauntlet to qualify for postseason play. On Friday, two of the three teams will begin the postseason on the road, while Richmond stays at home to face a familiar opponent.
Richmond riding momentum
Richmond carries plenty of momentum heading into the playoffs. They have won eight consecutive games since losing to Marysville in Week 1. After winning the conference championship two weeks ago in Algonac, their attention turned to the postseason and making a run at a Division 5 district championship.
That road will begin with a home game against Almont (6-3) Friday in Richmond (7 p.m.). Richmond previously defeated Almont, 34-21, during the regular season.
“We’re just going to try to set up the same game plan against them like we had the first time,” Richmond quarterback Chase Churchill said. “We beat them on big plays last time so we know they’re going to work on the little things.
“I think the overall intensity is a must for us to beat them again. Home field advantage is huge for us because we have our town behind us and we want to show out for them. I’ve been waiting all year for playoff season. There’s something about it that makes you speechless and that much more pumped up to play under those Friday night lights knowing it might just be your last time this season doing it.”
Algonac focused on Denby
The Algonac football team has always had a chip on its shoulder. Entering it’s 5 p.m., Division 5 match-up at Detroit Denby (8-1), the Muskrats are composed and confident.
After being down for years, the Muskrats and their community have been delighted by their recent resurgence. But over the past couple of weeks, the team has gotten a reminder of how the little things loom large in the postseason.
Turnovers and miscues in part, led to the team falling short of its goal to win the BWAC. But after a tough loss to Richmond and a narrow victory over Armada, Algonac is focused on refining itself in time for the postseason.
“It feels familiar in a good way to be back in the playoffs,” Algonac coach Scott Barnhart said. “We were here last year and we weren’t overwhelmed. We are going to work. We have to do all of the things we need to do right and eliminate mistakes on both sides of the ball.
“I don’t feel like our kids feel they are going into the unknown. We just have to do everything right all of the time. There is no leeway.”
Pioneers prepare for Corunna
The Croswell-Lexington football team will also be on the road for the first week of the playoffs. In a Division 4 match-up (7 p.m.), the Pioneers will head to Corunna (7-2). The Pioneers will be considered the underdog in the matchup, but has a legitimate chance to escape with a victory.
“This is the time of the year where you put it all together,” Cros-Lex coach Garrett Grundman said. “We have been watching a ton of film and as coaches we have to put them in the best position to win. They are an extremely physical team. They are very athletic. We have to keep their quarterback contained and keep them in front of us. Then offensively, we have to run the ball and throw it well.”
The Pioneers won three of their final four regular season games and hope to carry over their momentum into the playoffs.
“We have been blessed with a lot of athletes,” Grundman said. “We just have to put them in the right position. We had some tough losses this year but we have learned from it. We have to go out there now and execute.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.