By Frank Vajcner
We now head to Eagle Drive for our next stop in the schedule analysis series. Erie Mason is coming off of their first playoff appearance and conference title since 2003, but will have a new man in charge, as Steve Bowers takes over as head coach. How does the schedule shape up for a new era?
Aug 27: @ Saranac
Sept 2: @ Hudson
Sept 10: Summerfield
Sept 17: @ Adrian Madison
Sept 24: Morenci
Oct 1: @ Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
Oct 8: Sand Creek
Oct 15: @ Pittsford
Oct 22: Whiteford
Gut-Check Game: Summerfield. There have been plenty of fireworks when these two teams have met the last couple of seasons. While it was the Eagles who won last season’s meeting, as well as the Tri-County Conference, it was the Bulldogs who brought home some hardware after winning a District Championship. This will likely determine who will be a contender for the conference crown. Special mention to a road trip to Hudson in Week 2.
Trap Game: at Adrian Madison. Despite a 46-6 loss to the Eagles last season, the Trojans appear to have turned a corner, as they went 6-2 last season, and won their first playoff game in school history. Much like Summerfield, Madison will look to build off of the previous season. Honorable mention here is Sand Creek, which pays a visit a week following a road trip to Pontiac.
Snoozer: Pittsford’s first season in the TCC was downright abysmal. Not only did the Wildcats go 0-7, they also were shut out four times in addition to being outscored 335-31. Need I say more?
Non-Conference Challenge: Pontiac Notre Dame Prep will host the Eagles in Week 6. The Fighting Irish went 6-2 last season, with both losses coming to eventual Division 4 champ Detroit Country Day. The Eagles will also travel to Saranac in Week 1, and to Hudson in Week 2. The Redskins were 2-6 last season, while the Tigers were 4-4.
Notable: This will mark the first-ever meetings with Saranac and Notre Dame Prep, while Hudson is still a familiar foe from the LCAA days. The last time the Eagles beat the Tigers was in 2005…The Eagles have lost 30 consecutive games against LCAA opponents. Their last victory over an LCAA opponent was on October 16, 2015…All three non-conference foes will be played on the road.
Frank’s Thoughts: Bowers and company will have their work cut out for them if they want to return to the postseason. The Week 6 trip to Notre Dame Prep will be the biggest opportunity to garner playoff points. Steal a win there, in addition to taking care of business in other games, and this will definitely be a reload season, rather than a rebuild
Thoughts from Gary: A lot of time on the bus in Bowers first year with trips to Saranac and Pontiac. Add in the conference foes and Mason’s schedule has to be most travel miles of any of our teams.
Thoughts from Chris: This schedule looks pretty tough in general, but certainly not to the level of years past in the LCAA. A week 6 trip to NDP could determine whether the Eagles make a return trip to the playoffs.