Grayling Preps for First Semifinal Appearance
GRAYLING – The Grayling football program enters uncharted territory Saturday as it makes its first appearance in a state semifinal.
The Vikings (7-3) will face Montague (10-0) on the road in Division 6 semifinal.
“Every week I’ve told them to enjoy it,” Grayling coach Eric Tunney said. “I knew we could get a call at any moment to shutdown or quarantine situation or whatever, but just enjoy it, know that the whole community is behind them. I’m proud of them. You know go out and have fun and play hard.”
After a .500 regular season that saw Grayling start 2020 with a 1-3 mark, the Vikings have turned it on in the playoffs and showed no signs of rust following a two-month layoff in last week’s 56-26 regional final win over Negaunee. Grayling’s other playoff wins came over Benzie Central (47-12), avenging a regular season loss to the Huskies, Manistee (49-14) and Boyne City (28-20).
“To be a part of this team and to be with the same boys through all of middle school football and growing up we won a championship when we were younger, the same group,” Grayling senior Hunter Ventline said. “It’s definitely something that’s carried on with us and we’ve been waiting for this and we finally did it.”
Grayling will face a Montague program making its third straight appearance in the Division 6 semifinals after falling to eventual state runner-up Glen Lake in 2019. Montague has missed the postseason just once since 2001 and made three state championship game appearances in that time, claiming the 2008 and 2009 Division 6 titles.
The Wildcats have for the most past this season stifled opposing offenses, allowing just 8.6 points per contest while averaging 48.5 points on the offensive end. Montague hasn’t faced much of a challenge this postseason, picking up wins over Hart (75-0), Clare (50-7), Muskegon Catholic Central (36-7) and Montrose (41-16) along the way.
The winner of Saturday’s semifinal will face either Constantine (9-1) or Clinton (9-1) for the state championship next week.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 1 p.m.