Rangers ready to face top-ranked Mendon

Published 9:36 am Wednesday, October 31, 2007

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
NILES – There are no illusions for the Cassopolis varsity football team as it prepares for Saturday's Division 7 championship game at Mendon.
The Rangers are fully aware of what awaits them as they take on the No. 1 ranked Hornets.
But don't confuse awareness with fear as Cassopolis is by no means afraid of hitting the road to take on the state's top-ranked squad.
Cassopolis (9-1) comes into the contest with a full head of steam after having defeated Lake Michigan Catholic in the opening round 63-18.
Mendon (10-0) will be the best team that the Rangers have faced this season. The Hornets are fresh from a 27-6 win over Centreville in its first round contest.
"We're right back where we were," Cassopolis coach Andy Hubbard said. "Mendon is comparable to what Decatur was last year. They are a physical, straight ahead football team. It doesn't bother us that we have to play on the road. We have played pretty well on the road the past two years.
"It is going to be a great environment, but not a friendly environment and I think our kids will rise to the occasion," he added.
This will be the first time the Rangers have played a Saturday afternoon game under Hubbard's direction. He was not sure how his team would respond, but he feels that they are all excited to be playing in a game of this caliber.
"This is a chance for us to play the best team in the state and it's exciting," he said. "When I first took over as head coach, Mendon is one of those programs you look at and say it's the where you want to take your program. Mendon is a small town like Cassopolis and you just hope you can build the same type of program that they have and be mentioned in the same sentence with them or a Constantine."
A win by the Rangers Saturday afternoon would go a long way toward getting them mentioned in the same breath.
But to do so, Cassopolis will need to play well on both sides of the football.
"They don't mistakes," Hubbard pointed out. "We are not going to be able to make mistakes on offense because you know they aren't going to give you many chances. Special teams will always play a factor in a big game like this. For us, we have to play physical like they do. We have to come out and play physical football."
While Mendon may have the advantage of playing at home and have been numerous big games like this, Cassopolis has an advantage of its own.
"We have to utilize our speed," Hubbard said. "I don't think they have seen anyone with our speed."
Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.