By Frank Vajcner
The last stop in the schedule analysis series takes us to Ottawa Lake. Whiteford has made the playoffs each of the last nine seasons. Will the schedule allow for a tenth straight appearance for Jason Mensing and company?
Aug 27: @ Blissfield
Sept 2: Ida
Sept 10: Adrian Madison
Sept 17: @ Morenci
Sept 24: Sand Creek
Oct 1: @ Pittsford
Oct 8: Kalamazoo Loy Norrix
Oct 15: Summerfield
Oct 22: @ Erie Mason
Gut-Check Game: Sand Creek. Before Sand Creek thrashed Whiteford 50-14 in last season’s meeting, The Bobcats had beaten the Aggies in the previous eight meetings. Will the Cats be able to avenge their worst loss in TCC play since a 49-0 loss to Morenci in 2014? Special mention to Adrian Madison coming to town in Week 3 to open TCC play, as the Trojans defeated the Bobcats for the first time since 1980 with a 42-24 decision.
Trap Game: at Morenci. The Bobcats pulled out a 42-40 win in the final minutes last season at home. Now they must venture out to Morenci for a tricky game that falls between visits from Madison and Sand Creek.
Snoozer: I see no need to continue to beat a dead horse regarding Pittsford. Refer to Erie Mason and Summerfield analyses. Though it is worth noting that the Wildcats scored more than half of their season point total in a 62-18 loss to the Bobcats last season.
Non-Conference Challenge: Whiteford starts off the season with not one, but two foes from the LCAA. They will open up at Blissfield, where the last meeting with the Royals was a 33-14 defeat. Blissfield went 8-1 last season, and has made the playoffs each of the last four years. Ida will serve as the home opener. The last time the Blue Streaks faced Whiteford was 1976. In addition, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix comes to town in Week 7. While the Knights have not had a winning season since 1998, they outnumber Whiteford in size by almost sevenfold.
Notable: The season finale with Erie Mason will be the first meeting with the Eagles since 2015, as last season’s was wiped out due to COVID…Whiteford’s last win over Ida was in 1968…The rivalry showdown with Summerfield in Week 8 will serve as a rubber match, as the Bobcats prevailed in the regular season while the Bulldogs got the last laugh by winning the District Championship game.
Thoughts from Frank: Two early-season tests from LCAA schools should provide an indication of where the Bobcats are at. Loy Norrix will also be interesting, as this is a Division 1 team going against a Division 8 team. TCC games against Madison, Sand Creek, Summerfield, and Erie Mason all could have implications for winning the conference.
Thoughts from Gary: Really a tough schedule for a Division 8 team. Very interested to see how the Loy Norrix game goes. The Bobcats wont have to win many games to make the playoffs, given they are playing up divisions over half the schedule. 4-5 will get it done but we know Coach Mensing has his sights set higher.
Thoughts from Chris: The first 3 weeks really stand out to me. The Bobcats will find out where they stand and these games, win or lose, will go a long way in week 10 and beyond.