The best is still to come

Published 6:13 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It has been a great fall sports season so far, but I have a feeling the best is yet to come.

Our area sports teams have enjoyed a lot of success this past August through October, but with the postseason for football, cross country and volleyball about to start, things could get even more interesting.

Before I look ahead to football, cross country and volleyball, let me take a minute to look back at a couple of teams that stood out this fall.

The Niles and Cassopolis soccer teams built momentum throughout the season and culminated it with runs at district championships.

While both teams were defeated in the finals last Saturday, they have plenty to be proud of this season.

In the case of the Niles soccer team, the Vikings defeated both Lakeshore and St. Joseph in SMAC West Division matches and then edged the rival Lancers 1-0 in the Division 2 District opener.

Niles would lose an exciting 1-0 match to Mattawan in the district championship match Saturday night, but proved that they could play with one of the top teams in the state.

The Cassopolis Rangers traveled a similar path in reaching Division 4 District finals Saturday.

After a slow start, the Rangers squared their record at 9-9 heading into the postseason.

Cassopolis then blanked Schoolcraft 1-0 and beat Bloomingdale 5-1 to advance to the title match.

A loss to Howardsville Christian does not diminish what the Rangers accomplished over the last month and a half of the season.

Now on to this weekend.

Two of our local teams were able to get through the football season unscathed and finished with 9-0 records.

That allows Buchanan and Edwardsburg to host first round games Friday night and Cassopolis on Saturday afternoon.

Dowagiac will take on Benton Harbor at Filstrup Field Friday night.

All four of our playoff teams have one thing in common.

They all play the game with great heart and desire.

While the talent levels may differ from team to team, the Bucks, Eddies, Rangers and Chieftains all have one thing in common — tough kids who like to hit people.

I am hopeful that all four of our teams make it to district finals next week and beyond.

I have a hunch that some of them could make quite a long playoff run.

I would also like to wish good luck to our area cross country runners this weekend as they compete at regionals.

Most of our teams will be at RedBud Saturday in Buchanan.


Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at