By Frank Vajcner
Next up in the schedule analysis series is another team that returned to the postseason for the first time since 2012, and is also coming off of their 12th state championship in wrestling. Dundee, come on down!
This will also mark a new era for the Vikings as Ross Crow takes over as head coach, and the Vikings move into a brand new stadium. Will the schedule allow for a brand spanking new era to start on the right foot?
Aug 27: Summit Academy
Sept 3: Summerfield
Sept 11: @ Ida
Sept 18: @ Blissfield
Sept 25: Onsted
Oct 2: @ Columbia Central
Oct 9: Clinton
Oct 16: @ Hillsdale
Oct 23: Hudson
Gut-Check Game: at Ida. Rivalry games are never easy. Last season’s edition proved as much as the Vikings prevailed 15-14 in a goal-line stand in the final minute. Now they must venture to face an Ida team with a bad taste in their mouth not just from last season’s game, but also after going 4-5 and missing the postseason for the first time since 2012. Special mention to a road trip to Blissfield a week later, as well as a visit from LCAA-newcomer/returnee Clinton in Week 7 (more on that later).
Trap Game: at Columbia Central. Following a brutal three-week stretch in September, the Vikings head up M-50 to the banks of Lake Columbia to face the Golden Eagles. Even though the Vikings thrashed the Eagles 43-6 last season, this game falls in between visits from Onsted, who was a State Semifinalist, and Clinton.
Snoozer: No game really jumps out as a snoozer. Even Hudson, who went 2-7 last year, and is breaking in a new coach, is far from a pushover.
Non-Conference Challenge: Summit Academy opens the season in Week 1. The Dragons went 8-3 last season and reached the playoffs. They defeated the Vikings 29-7 in last season’s opener. Summerfield replaces Stockbridge on the schedule to complete the out-of-conference slate.
Notable: Clinton returns to the LCAA after the last 13 seasons in the Tri-County Conference, as they trade places with Erie Mason. The Redskins have qualified for the playoffs the last eight seasons, with two trips to the State Finals in that span. The last time the Vikings faced the Redskins was in 2006, where Clinton emerged as a 28-12 winner…Summerfield returns to the schedule for the first time since 2004. The Vikings have won the last six meetings against the Bulldogs…The Vikings will play one road game each in Monroe County, Lenawee County, Hillsdale County, and Jackson County.
Thoughts from Frank: I have to commend the Vikings for bringing back the series with Summerfield, who should be much more competitive than Stockbridge. The LCAA is going to be a LOT tougher with Clinton now back in the fold. The toughest stretch for the Vikings is Weeks 3-8, which will go a long way toward determining if the Vikings will make the playoffs or not in Year 1 of the Crow era.
Thoughts from Chris: Certainly not an easy schedule for first-year Dundee Head Coach Ross Crow. The LCAA schedule gets tougher this season with the addition of Clinton. I am happy to see Dundee playing their neighbor Summerfield this year. Now we just need to get neighbors, Dundee and Milan to play each other someday.
Thoughts from Gary: what jumps out to me is that there are just no easy wins. Summit has improved as a program and Summerfield is never easy to beat. Then when you jump into the LCAA, you have 2 road games with Ida and Blissfield. Coach Crow will need to start hot, out of the blocks, if a winning season is in store for the Vikings.