This is not new territory for either Algonac or Ida.
For the second year in a row, both sides see themselves in the Division 5 regional championship with a spot to the semifinals on the line this Friday night in Algonac.
What will be new this year is Algonac hosting the regional title instead of taking the bus trip to meet their opponent.
“All the fans, they help us,” junior linebacker Steven Rose said. “It doesn’t seem like much but when you’re out there and trying to make a stop on the goal line the cheering really helps.”
Before the biggest showdown in the Blue Water Area takes place on Friday night, here’s what to expect on each side of the ball for both teams.
When Ida is on offense…
Oh, Ida will bring some offense alright. The Bluestreaks are averaging 52 points per game, with many of those scores coming on the ground.
With their wing-T offense, they don’t leave any mystery as to what their game plan is on offense.
“They’re big, strong and fast,” Algonac head coach Scott Barnhart said. “They line up and come right at you in the wing-T formation and they pound the ball well with big kids.”
Ida has prided itself on a stout offensive line that returns four out of five starters from last year’s semifinals squad. Ida head coach Tom Walentowski, who’s in his 25th season as the Bluestreaks head coach, described his offensive line as “lunch bucket kids” who work their way to wins.
“We are a running team, that’s what we do,” Walentowski said. “When you are a running team hopefully you have a good offensive line.”
When Algonac is on offense…
First and foremost, it’s impossible to talk about the Muskrats offense without mentioning the growth of quarterback Brendan Piper. After all, it was his three rushing touchdowns last week that gave Algonac the thrilling 20-16 win over Almont.
“He’s matured a lot as the season went on and got more and more reps,” Barnhart said.
Among other players that have grown immensely throughout the season are the road pavers on the offensive line in Robert Jewell, Michael Nykoriak, Donovan Huber Jacob Fiori and Trent Treppa.
The Muskrats offense appears to be really coming together at the right time against strong defenses in the postseason so far. Without a doubt, they’ll be looking to keep that rolling against a team that many think have played a weaker schedule than Algonac.
“I think they’re underestimated,” senior running back Joe McKee said. “And not by us, but maybe their community or teams around them. People have been saying ‘oh they’re finally facing a real opponent’ … but they’re a good team. I mean, they’re in the final eight.”
Algonac also sees a mirror image of itself when watching Ida’s defense on film. Just like Algonac, it’s a gang of fast players that attack the ball with a team of tenacity.
“They play very good team defense,” Barnhart said. “And we pride ourselves on that here, so it will be similar to ourselves.”
Contact Matt Sheehan at (810)-989-6267 or email@example.com.