Schedule Analysis: Whiteford Bobcats
We saved the best for last, as the reigning Division 8 state champion Whiteford Bobcats are the final team in the Schedule Analysis series.
Aug 24: Blissfield
Aug 31: Stryker, OH
Sept 7: @ Summerfield
Sept 14: Whitmore Lake
Sept. 21: @ Adrian Madison
Sept. 28: Morenci
Oct. 5 @ Sand Creek
Oct. 12 Clinton
Oct. 19 @ Britton-Deerfield
Gut-check game: at Summerfield. Besides the fact that this is a rivalry game, this is the first time the Bobcats will hit the road on the season. Throw in the fact that the Bulldogs were the lone team to hold the Bobcats under 40 points (Whiteford defeated Summerfield 36-20 in the second round of the playoffs last season), and it all adds up to the toughest game on the schedule for Jason Mensing and company.
Trap game: at Sand Creek. One could argue that Clinton is the trap game, since they were a team Whiteford has struggled to beat with the exception of the last two seasons. But the road trip to Sand Creek is sandwiched between two home games against formidable TCC foes, Morenci and the aforementioned Clinton. The Bobcats can’t afford to look ahead late in the season, despite being the favorite to win the conference again.
Snoozer: at Adrian Madison. The bottom of the TCC, to put it politely, is awful. Madison went 0-9 last year, got outscored 424-58 (including a 67-0 thrashing by Whiteford), and was shut out four times. Maybe Garden City or Ann Arbor Huron should call up Madison.
Non-con Challenge: Blissfield. Blissfield was a pleasant surprise last season, as they made the playoffs, and reached the regional championship in Division 6. The Royals return a ton of talent, and are considered to be a favorite in the LCAA.
Notable: Stryker High School from Ohio replaces Detroit Community on the schedule. This will be the first year since 1931 that the Panthers will have football as a varsity sport.
The Bobcats will have their work cut out for them from a schedule standpoint if they want to repeat as state champs. They should be the overwhelming favorite in the TCC, but we should have a clearer picture of that after the week 3 game at Summerfield. The out-of-conference slate is no gimme, as Blissfield is expected to have their best team since 2007, and despite being in their first season of varsity action, Stryker could be a wild card. Reaching the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season is definitely doable for the Bobcats.
Thoughts from Chris: The Bobcats take a 14 game winning streak into 2018 and should get a solid test from Blissfield in the opener. Although Whiteford opens Tri-County Conference play on the road at rival Summerfield, the league schedule is favorable until week 6 when the Bobcats host Morenci.
Thoughts from Gary: Another newcomer to the blog opens up 2018, in defense of their state crown, with a very interesting foe in Blissfield. @Summerfield should turn out to be the backyard brawl that it is. Morenci and Clinton will look to regain their place atop the conference and that will mean, beating the Bobcats. 2018 might not be as dominant a year for Whiteford but until beaten, they are the champs.