TC Central Looks to Extend Historic Postseason Run

TRAVERSE CITY – Fresh off its first district title in program history, Traverse City Central turns its attention to reaching the state semifinals for the first time in nearly 30 years.

The Trojans (8-3) will travel to Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central on Friday in a Division 2 regional final.

Central used a come-from-behind, 17-14, win over rival Traverse City West last Friday to move one step closer to getting back to the semifinals for the first time since winning the 1988 Class A state championship.

“Don’t be satisfied with that district championship,” Central coach Eric Schugars said. “I think our players and our coaches and our staff, we expected to win that game, and we went out and executed and did just enough to win that game, and now it’s playing for a regional championship. It’s something we haven’t done, and we want our players to kind of be hungry for that.”

As for Friday’s opponent, Forest Hills Central (11-0) has won back-to-back district titles and is eyeing its first state semifinal berth since reaching the 1995 Class A semifinals. The O-K White champion Rangers handed losses to Mattawan (40-14) and Muskegon Mona Shores (28-21).

Forest Hills Central leads the all-time series at 3-1. The two teams met each season from 2007-10, with the Trojans winning 22-20 in 2009.

“We’re taking it one week at a time,” Central senior Walker Chung said. “We’re studying opponents, and we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing because it keeps working. This team is pretty tough. We have a lot of intestinal fortitude.”

Kickoff for Friday’s game is slated for 7 p.m.