What: Saline (0-1) hosts Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1-0)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Previous meeting: These teams have never met.
Last week: Chippewa Valley 31, Saline 26. GRCC 42, Muskegon Heights Academy 14.
What's at stake: Needing six wins to get in the playoffs, Saline doesn't want to fall to 0-2.
Student Section: Red, White and Blue.
Broadcast: Paid subscribers can watch at https://member.nfhsnetwork.com/users/sign_in
Twitter Updates: @thesalinepost, @salineathletics
A good as the Hornets felt about their play in their opening week loss to Chippewa Valley, the loss put some pressure on the team. After all, the Hornets are a team with designs on post-season success. While the young Hornet team is learn-ing as they go, and getting better every week, it’s important to get the six wins they need to make the playoff s and reap the benefits of all that improvement.
In past years, dropping an opening-week con-test could be balanced by facing a Canadian team in week two. Grand Rapids Catholic Central is not a Canadian football team.
The Cougars come to Saline as two-time de-fending state champs. They’ve won 28 straight football games - the longest streak in Michigan. Sure - a lot of those wins have come in the Division 4 playoff s, but Saline knows they’re in for a test.
“They may play Division 4, but they’re a Division 1 talent and a very talented, well-coached foot-ball team,” Saline football coach Joe Palka said.
The Cougars are returning a lot of talent -- especially on defense, where all the starting line-backers and defensive backs return. They’ve lost defensive linemen - but several gained import-ant experience last year.
Linebackers Ben Joppich, Ethan Lott and Kyle Tepper are also expected to help on offense, where they’ll catch balls throw by senior QB Joe Collins. Finn Perdue, Jack Passinault and Luke Harmon are returning to offensive line.
“They’ve got two good running backs and they like to pound the ball and then hit you with the big pass,” Palka said.
The Hornets don’t want to let the Cougars control the clock with a running game. One of the best ways to prevent that is have your own running game. The Hornets didn’t have much success running the ball against Chippewa Valley last week. Saline had success passing the ball for short yardage in the first half and then went completely away from the passing game in the second half when Chippewa Valley expanded its lead.
“We’re going to need to run the football this week,” Palka said.
So expect to see more of bruising RB Brendan Munday, whose biggest plays last week came in the passing game. Joel Klomega and Hayden Scott, who rushed for a touchdown, also figure to see more action if the Hornets emphasize a running game.