McGrattan: A Postseason State of Mind

At the beginning of August, northern Michigan teams set goals they’d like to achieve throughout the regular season. However, the one almost every coach and player has in common is making it to the playoffs.

On Friday, five northern Michigan high school football teams did just that, improving to 6-0 overall. Now Frankfort, Reed City, Roscommon, Traverse City Central and Traverse City St. Francis can focus on winning their conference titles.

Frankfort

The Panthers are on the verge of completing their first unbeaten regular season since 2004, when Frankfort was shutout against Beal City in the quarterfinals. Through six games, the Panthers have outscored their opponents 218-75 – success Frankfort will look to continue to win back-to-back Northern Michigan Football League titles.

Standing in Frankfort’s way the remainder of the season are conference opponents Charlevoix, Mesick and Onekama – competition that will test the Panthers, who are hoping this year’s roster will lead it to a state semifinal, after falling short against Muskegon Catholic Central in a 2015 quarterfinal.

Reed City

A gold standard in the CSAA since 2011, Reed City is eyeing its program’s fifth consecutive conference championship, an accomplishment the Coyotes can check off with a win against Big Rapids on Friday, securing them at least a share of the CSAA Gold division.

Over the last five seasons, the Coyotes have recorded only two regular season losses, and with wins their Week 7, 8 and 9 games, Reed City will head into postseason play unbeaten for the fifth time in six years.

Roscommon

Winning hasn’t always been a theme in Roscommon. In 2015, the Bucks fell short in their season finale, ending their hopes of making the playoffs with a 4-5 record – a bitter ending Roscommon held onto throughout its offseason.

This Friday, the Bucks face a tough test, hosting Jack Pine powerhouse Clare. Roscommon last earned a win over the Pioneers in 2006, resulting in the Bucks hoisting their second consecutive conference title. If Roscommon does improve to 7-0, it would be the program’s best start since 1982, when the Bucks finished regular season action unbeaten, before falling to Rogers City in the Class C regional final.

Traverse City Central

The Big North’s defending champion Traverse City Central is ranked sixth in Division 2 and trying to finish the regular season unbeaten for the second straight year. During two conference games this season, the Trojans have persevered to comeback and beat crosstown rival West, 10-8, and Gaylord, 21-20.

Remaining on Central’s conference schedule are Alpena (2-4, 0-2) and Cadillac (5-1, 3-0). The Trojans have yet to drop a contest to the Wildcats since 2009, while they are 2-2 against the Vikings over the last four seasons, making Central’s 2016 regular season finale against Cadillac a must-watch for Big North fans.

Traverse City St. Francis

Year 2 under coach Josh Sellers has proven to be just as successful as 2015. Along with being the No. 1 team in Division 7, the Gladiators are one of just seven northern Michigan football teams to still be undefeated heading into Week 7 action.

With multiple returners, and its school’s largest enrollment in decades, St. Francis is eager to put its depth to the test. Looking at the remainder of the regular season, the Gladiators take on Cheboygan, Kalkaska and Boyne City – three teams that will force St. Francis to leave it all on the field if it wants to win consecutive conference championships.

Categories: Football