Clinton Township Clintondale Dragons @ Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons

Gary Hauf @wolvereen71

Clintondale finished 2nd in the MAC-Bronze conference at 4-1. They are coming off a 13-12 week 9 loss to Hazel Park. The Dragons have qualified for the playoffs 14 of the last 21 seasons and have an overall playoff record of 8-14. The last time we saw the Falcons of SMCC was in week 8, beating Jefferson 48-10. SMCC finished 2nd in the Huron League with a 6-1 conference mark. The Falcons have qualified for the playoffs 17 of the last 20 seasons and have an overall playoff record of 46-21. This will be the 3rd meeting between these 2 schools on the gridiron, SMCC winning the previous contests.

Monroe SMCC Falcons (7-1 Huron League)

The Falcons showcase their usual punishing ground attack out of the Full House T offense. Relying heavily on their talented senior running back corp of Sam Cousino(9 yards per carry), Wyatt Bergmoser(7.1 YPC) and Alex Morgan(13 YPC). The Falcons average 8.21 yards a carry as a team.

Sam Cousino #28 Photo courtesy of Stephanie Hawkins

Of course the heart and soul of any ground attack is the Offensive Line. Up front for the Falcons are Connor Bogdanski(6’3″ 285lbs), Luke Bilan(6’1″ 230lbs), James Hawkins(5’7″ 235lbs), Brendan Sloan(5’10” 205lbs), Zach Patterson(6’3″ 235 lbs), Mason Gullen(6’3″ 235 lbs), Gus Flint(5’11” 190 lbs), Jackson Strube(6’1″ 205), Nieko Castiglione(6’0″ 200 lbs).

Falcons Offensive Line getting after it. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Hawkins

At the helm for SMCC will be Christiaan Harrington(6’4″ 195lbs). The Falcons don’t pass all that much, just 21 attempts on the year. Harrington however, does make the most of his opportunities, averaging 27.27 yards per completion, with 300 yards passing on the season and 3 TD’s

The Falcons come into the playoffs averaging 34 points per game while the defense gives up 16 per contest.

Comment from Coach Kipf: ” We have to be focused. We didn’t play week 9 so we might have a little rust. We have to be focused on our opponent and our game plan. They(Clintondale) run single wing offense, so we have to be solid defenders and not give up gaps. Offensively, we have to be physical up front and take care of the football, limit the mistakes.”

Clinton Township Clintondale Dragons (5-4 MAC Bronze)

Clintondale boasts a powerful running game behind a quartet of ball carriers out of their single wing offense. Doing the damage are Darrell Walker(6.2 yards per carry), Jerry Whitehead(7.7 YPC), Eddie Higginbotham(9 YPC) and Markell Owens-Lacey(7.1 YPC). The Dragons average 7.36 yards per carry as a team.

Jerry Whitehead #4 Photo Courtesy of Chuck Pleiness and Clintondale High School

Paving the way up front for the Dragon ground and pound are, Julian Tocco(6’1″ 215lbs), Mark Appell(5’11” 159lbs), Kun Welly(5’10” 260lbs), Christian Hamilton(6’1″ 165lbs), Kendal Cargill(6’1″ 260lbs), Henry Mitchell(6’3″ 215lbs).

Fire breathing Dragons swarm. Photo courtesy of Chuck Pleiness and Clintondale High School

The Dragons come into the playoffs averaging 30.4 points per game while giving up 19.7.

Comment from Coach Schindler: “Our biggest challenge is having our kids not to think about anything but the next play and not making the game more than it is. I want them to have fun and play fast. Defending their(SMCC) offense is a major task as well as moving the chains when we have it.”

FNV thoughts: “Run the ball” and “stop the run” will be the focus of both coaches, as Clintondale and SMCC will be bound and determined to pound the pavement. Whoever proves to stop the run better, will no doubt have the advantage. Force the other team to go away from their tendencies will be the goal. This is an interesting match-up. I am not sure Clintondale has seen the Full House T this season nor has SMCC seen the Single Wing. Who will force their will on the other? Who will execute what they do best? The team that answers these questions will find themselves on the practice field next week preparing for a District Title.

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