By Frank Vajcner
Time to take a trip up I-75 for our next stop in the schedule analysis series. Carlson has made the playoffs for the last three seasons, but now must begin a new era after Jack Giarmo stepped down as head coach. Athletic Director Dan Kalbfleisch takes over on an interim basis, but brings plenty of experience with some strong seasons at New Boston Huron. Does the schedule allow for similar success?
Aug 28: @ Southgate Anderson
Sept 3: Woodhaven
Sept 11: @ Allen Park
Sept 18: Taylor
Sept 25: Dearborn Edsel Ford
October 2: Trenton
October 9: Harper Woods
October 16: @ Lincoln Park
October 23: @ Wyandotte
Gut-Check Game: Weeks 2-3. Welcome to the Downriver League, Dan Kalbfleisch. A Week 2 visit from reigning champ Woodhaven, followed by a road trip to Allen Park the week after, is arguably the toughest two week stretch for any team on the blog. The Warriors are coming off of a school-record ten-win season, while the Jaguars are coming off of back-to-back 9-3 seasons, as well as coming within a whisker of reaching the State Semifinals. Both teams appear to be the cream of the crop in the conference, and the Marauders will have to win at least one, if not both, to prove that they are still in the upper echelon.
Trap Game: at Wyandotte. The last time these two met was in Week 9 last year, where the Bears prevailed in an instant classic 29-28. The last three meetings have been decided by a combined 12 points, and if Carlson wants to avoid a late-season letdown, this is a game they have to win. Also, beware of Southgate Anderson in Week 1, as not only does it open the Kalbfleisch era, but also precedes the two week stretch of Woodhaven and Allen Park.
Snoozer: Since the merger between Taylor Kennedy and Taylor Truman, things have not gone well for Taylor. The Griffins have lost 12 consecutive games, with the only one not being by double digits was a 16-14 loss to woebegone Lincoln Park. Speaking of the Railsplitters, that win over Taylor was their lone victory last season.
Non-Conference Challenge: Harper Woods is the lone non-conference foe for the Marauders. The Pioneers went 5-5 last season, qualifying for the playoffs for a second straight year.
Notable: The Marauders are the only team on the blog that plays four consecutive home games…They are also the second of four teams that have the same schedule as last season.
Thoughts from Frank: Outside of the tough two-step in Weeks 2-3, Carlson has a manageable schedule. A conference title might be too much to ask, given where the top of the conference is, but Kalbfleisch comes in with a solid pedigree of turning New Boston Huron into a strong team.
Thoughts from Chris: For the first time in a while there is no superstar at Carlson, but there is a solid group of talented players. It looks like there are 4 wins for sure in the schedule, but the Marauders will need to find a way to win another 2 if they hope to qualify for the post season for the fourth straight season.
Thoughts from Gary: In a new era, can Carlson go into Allen Park and Wyandotte and get those tough road victories? Very good chance week 9 will be boom or bust as far as the playoffs go. Trenton and Harper Woods will be must-wins for the Marauders.