Dundee @ Grosse Ile Game Preview

By Frank Vajcner

Playoff football is back on The Island, as the Grosse Ile Red Devils host the Dundee Vikings for the ninth meeting all time. The Devils lead the series 7-1, with the bulk of those meetings coming from when both schools were in the Huron League until 1963 when the Vikings joined the SEC.

Dundee Vikings (2-5, 8th playoff appearance, 2-7 playoff record)

The Vikings come in rejuvenated after knocking off Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 14-3 in the first round to make head coach Ross Crow the only Viking football coach to win a playoff game in his first year.

Offensively, the Vikings operate out of the spread, led by junior QB Carson Irwin, who is effective passing (668 yards, 3 TD) and running (257 yards, 3 TD). Senior WR Ty Schroder has been Irwin’s favorite target, but has played more at running back lately. Junior WR Elek LaPalme, senior RB/WR Isaac Wylie, and junior RB Jimmy Dusa all contribute catching or running the ball.

On defense, while not necessarily posting the monster numbers he did last season, Schroder is still a force at LB with 68.5 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. Senior LB Nic Bellaire (68 tackles), along with junior DL Kaiden Hubbell (62 tackles) and Zack Salenbien (45 tackles), and DB Wylie (54 tackles) are other names that bear watching.

Sophomore placekicker Brayden Ratliff has also been steady kicking PATs and handling kickoffs.

Grosse Ile Red Devils (4-3, 13th playoff appearance, 10-12 playoff record)

Jon Bodner and company defeated Jefferson 45-28 in the first round for their first postseason win since 2012. The Red Devils will utilize multiple looks on offense. Senior QB Nate Brown (98-185, 1340 yards, 18 TDs) has been efficient at QB, while utilizing plenty of weapons. Senior RB Joe Pizzo is the most dangerous of those weapons with 878 rushing yards and 12 TDs to go with a team-leading 26 catches for 269 yards and a score. Sophomore WR Tyler Swick (25 catches, 497 yards, 8 TDs) and senior WR Keegan Mott (25 catches, 319 yards, 4 TDs) give the Devils a strong tandem at wideout.

On defense, look for senior LBs Luke Taulbee (57 tackles) and Trey Swick (61 tackles, 2 interceptions, fumble recovery) to lead the way. Tyler Swick has done well at DB with two interceptions.

Pizzo has also been a special teams ace, going 28-30 on PATs. He also handles punting and kickoff duty.

Outlook: This is a case of where Grosse Ile just has too much, and Dundee has too little, at least in terms of stats. The question is whether Schroder can be the counterpunch to Pizzo. 

  • Frank: Grosse Ile
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