Ida @ Blissfield Game Preview

By Frank Vajcner

The last time we saw Ida and Blissfield meet up on the gridiron, it was the Royals who prevailed in an instant classic 42-40. Now the two LCAA schools will meet up for the 45th time in program history, and first time in the postseason

Ida Blue Streaks (4-3, 10-10 playoff record, 11th playoff appearance)

Ida comes in after defeating Dearborn Advanced Tech 56-12 in the first round. Jeff Potter’s bunch has found their groove after a 1-2 start with two double digit losses. The Blue Streaks will operate out of full house T attack that averages 38,4 points per game. Senior RB Jacob Lewis comes in with 989 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 10.1 yards per carry. Junior Owen Sampson (538 rushing yards, 8 TDs) and Sophomore Luke Levicki (278 rushing yards, 4 TDs) have also came on strong as of late. Sampson rushed for 132 yards and two scores in the first meeting.

The strong rushing attack helps take the pressure off of sophomore QB Nate Miller, but Miller has been efficient when throwing the ball (19-38, 445 passing yards, 6 TDs). His favorite target is another sophomore in 6’5” TE Kirby Carsten (10 catches, 270 yards, 5 TDs). Miller threw for a season-high 187 yards, and two touchdowns in the first meeting, but it was Levicki who led in the receiving department with 124 yards and a score.

Defensively, the Streaks are allowing 27 points per contest. Senior LB Park Henry (49 tackles), Junior LB Austin Schafer (38 tackles) and Junior DE Nick Hovest (35 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries) are the names to watch. DL Ty Hathaway and Tyler Satkowski have also been strong late in the season.

On special teams, Henry has been strong at punter and kicking off, and Sampson is a dangerous kick returner

Blissfield Royals (7-0, 14-11 playoff record, 12th playoff appearance)

Ron Estes has Blissfield 7-0 for the first time since 2007 after shutting out Lutheran Westland 63-0 in the first round. Offensively, the Royals average 41.3 points per game. Most of the damage is done through the air, thanks to senior QB Gavin Ganun (104-165, 1808 yards, 27 TDs). Ganun is a four-year starter who has over 5000 passing yards for his career. The Royals have plenty of receivers in senior WR Zack Horky (41 catches, 856 yards, 17 TDs), senior WR Ty Wyman (30 catches, 465 yards, 5 TDs), as well as junior TE Nick Ostas and junior WR Owen Smith. All four are matchup nightmares with their size, with Wyman at 6’6”, Ostas at 6’5”, Smith at 6’3”, and Horky at 6’3”.

When the Royals run the ball, junior RB Josh Weasel is the go-to option. Ganun also can run, as shown by 213 rushing yards and 6 TDs on the ground.

On defense, the Royals allow 15.4 points per contest with a unit headlined by senior DE Ricky Eisenmann, junior DL Henry Smith, LB Weasel, and senior DB Nolan Savich.

Special teams are also a strength for the Royals with junior Aaron Stalker at placekicker (33-34 PAT) and Wyman at punter. Kevin Ybarra handles the return duties.

Outlook: For Ida to win this game, it ultimately comes down to whether they can generate a pass rush, as they have only nine sacks as a team all season. None of which came in the first meeting. It also comes down to how well Blissfield can tackle in space. The last time the Blue Streaks had a rematch from the regular season in the playoffs was in 2008 when they lost to Onsted. The last time the Royals had a rematch from the regular season in the playoffs was in 2019 when, oddly enough, they lost to Onsted. Get your popcorn ready if you will be attending (or streaming) this game.

  • Chris: Ida
  • Gary: Ida

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