Edson: Can Kingsley Challenge St. Francis the Second Time Around?

Seven weeks ago I watched Traverse City St. Francis roll past a young Kingsley football team, 43-8, at Thirlby Field.

I never dreamed that the same two teams that met on Sept. 15 would have a rematch on Nov. 9 back at Thirlby in the third round of the playoffs.

But I watched Kingsley dismantle Beaverton last Friday night 44-14 and then saw St. Francis blitz previously unbeaten Calumet 42-6 on Saturday afternoon.

So now the big question is: Can Kingsley continue its improvement this Friday night as coach Tim Wooer makes a successful return to his hometown?

The truth is, Wooer is already more than pleased – and a little surprised – by what this team has accomplished this season. In the pre-season, he was hoping to win three or four games.

In contrast, St. Francis coach Josh Sellers knew he had the talent to make another long playoff run. The Gladiators haven’t disappointed.

So I will be an interested observer again Friday. I have to admit I feel old when I watch these two head coaches. I’ve known them both since they were youngsters. Their dads were both coaches and it’s obvious their sons learned their lessons well.

Both Sellers and Wooer were outstanding high school football players who went on to play college football.

Right now, the Stags are playing their best football of the season. St. Francis, while dealing with some injuries, got off to a flying start against Calumet and never looked back. If there is a difference in the two teams, it’s depth. A good illustration is Saturday’s game when the Gladiators started their third-string center and he looked like he never missed a beat.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Good to see both Michigan and Michigan State grab wins on Saturday. The Wolverines moved up to a No. 4 national ranking after beating Penn State. But if you watched Alabama go on the road and rout LSU 29-0 on Saturday night, you quickly realized that the Crimson Tide are playing at a different level.

If the regular season ended today, Michigan would face Alabama in the first round of the playoffs and Clemson would take on Notre Dame.

As much as I’ve enjoyed watched Michigan’s outstanding season, I’m picking Alabama to repeat as National Champions.

PRO FOOTBALL: Are the Detroit Lions better off now than they were a year ago? The answer is no.

The Lions looked inept in a 24-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Quarterback Matt Stafford was sacked 10 times and the Lions running game only gained 66 yards.

Detroit is 3-5 under new coach Matt Patricia and visit division-leading Chicago on Sunday. It’s the second of five straight games against top playoff contenders.

Somewhere, former coach Jim Caldwell is smiling. No, make that laughing.

Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Categories: Football