On the road again, and again, and again…Published 10:44pm Thursday, September 6, 2012
Mike Nate knows what it’s like to be on the road.
In each of the years he has been at Brandywine, the Bobcats have played five road contests and had four home games.
Such is the case this year, with a little twist.
Starting Friday night, Brandywine will play five consecutive road games. The Bobcats have their first road test against New Buffalo before taking on Bridgman (Sept. 14), LaLumiere, Ind. (Sept. 22), Buchanan (Sept. 28) and Lake Michigan Catholic (Oct. 5).
The Bobcats are 2-0 once again, but in in order to make the state playoffs for the first time in a decade, Brandywine must find four more wins. The Bobcats have been 5-4 in each of the last two seasons.
“We tried to get LaLumiere to switch the game to here on a Friday night, but they wouldn’t do it because it’s their homecoming,” Nate said. “It’s not a big problem to go on the road. You just have to get off the busy ready to play. We’re 2-0 right now and all we want is to be 1-0 this week.”
Nate said that New Buffalo is the best team they have played so far in 2012. He pointed out that a loss to Hartford is deceiving because the Bison had 10 fumbles and the game got out of hand in the second half.
“New Buffalo is a capable team,” he said. “They were 5-4 last year and I’m sure they have similar goals to ours.
“We just want to take them one at a time. We’ve been 3-0 the last three years, but it’s a little different this time because we don’t have to play Berrien Springs, Cass, Buchanan and Edwardsburg all in a row. The schedule is a little different. Since the break up of our conference the schedule appears to be a little easier, but you still have to go out there and beat those teams. There are still challenges ahead.”
Mattawan at Niles
The Vikings are off to a 2-0 start against under new coach Antwon Jones, but Niles faces its toughest test to date when Mattawan hits town Friday night.
The Wildcats (2-0) are the defending Big 16 West Division champions. They are led by talented running back Trevor Sweney, who has already ran for 337 yards and six touchdowns on only 16 carries.
While those numbers are impressive, Jones wants to see if the Mattawan offense can go the distance against the Vikings this week.
“We can’t just focus on one guy because when you do that, you allow other players to beat you,” Jones said. “We need to take away from them what they like to do and that’s the big play. They live on the big play because they have home run hitters. We haven’t seen them have to drive down the field.”
The Niles defense has been a work in progress for Jones, who says his squad is getting better each time out.
“They are getting better,” he said of his defense. “This will be a big test for them. We have to execute. We have to tackle.”
Offensively, the Vikings are putting up large numbers. Niles is averaging 40.5 points per game. Niles has been able to be diverse on offense with quarterback Cole Clemens already having thrown for 443 yards and five touchdowns, while the running game has been handled quite nicely by the likes of Ra’Quon Glenn and Fritzel Findeisen.
Anthoney Bice has been Clemens’ favorite target as he has 13 catches for 182 yards.
“We’re continuing to improve, but we are not where we need to be,” Jones said. “The kids are trying to become better and I can see they are becoming more of a family with each practice.”