By Frank Vajcner
We now head over to Herr Road for a look at Monroe. It’s a new era for the Trojans, as Dave Mifsud takes over as head coach. How does the schedule shake out for Mifsud and company?
Aug 25 Jackson
Sept 2 @ Ypsilanti Lincoln
Sept 9 @ Ann Arbor Skyline
Sept 16 Saline
Sept 23 Ann Arbor Huron
Sept 30 @ Bedford
Oct 7 Dexter
Oct 14 @ Ann Arbor Pioneer
Oct 21 @ Riverview
Gut-Check Game: Saline is the easy answer for reasons I have stated many times over the years (refer to Bedford analysis). But there isn’t much of a break after the Hornets visit, as a much-improved Ann Arbor Huron visits, followed by a trip to Bedford for a rivalry game. Follow that up with a visit from Dexter. All of the aforementioned defeated the Trojans by a combined score of 150-64, and qualified for the playoffs. The good news for Mifsud is three of the four will be at Bunkleman Field, which should be rocking if the Trojans open up 3-0.
Trap Game: The first road test for the Trojans will come on the gray turf at Ypsilanti Lincoln. Even though the Rail Splitters went 4-5 last season, the Trojans escaped with a 28-21 win in last year’s meeting.
Snoozer: The aforementioned four-game stretch has visits to Ann Arbor around it. Both Skyline and Pioneer were downright abysmal last season. Monroe put up a 50-burger in both contests, as they beat Skyline 57-14 and Pioneer 56-7.
Non-Conference Challenge: The Trojans will welcome Jackson to open the season, and travel to Riverview to end the season. The Vikings went 5-5 while qualifying for the playoffs for a fourth straight season. The Pirates went 9-1 while making the postseason for a fifth straight year, including a 28-17 win over the Trojans. And I’d be remiss to not make a mention of the smack talk in the comments in last season’s entry between both fan bases was quite entertaining.
Notable: This will be the third all-time meeting with Jackson. The teams have split the previous meetings, while winning on the road…Also, the season opener will mark the first game on a new turf field.
Thoughts from Frank: Welcome to the SEC, Dave Mifsud. The Trojans should be 3-0 by the time they open the murderous stretch in Week 4. Will there be a home-field advantage when Saline, Huron, and Dexter visit? Getting through at 2-2 or better will help the Trojans’ case for the playoffs.
Thoughts from Chris: Certainly the brutal 4 game stretch from week 4 to week 7 stands out, but this is big boy football. The Monroe program should be able to compete at this level on a yearly basis, this year included. Dave Mifsud is a veteran coach, who will give the Trojans a sideline advantage most weeks.
Thoughts from Gary: Need to start fast do the Trojans. Middle of the schedule is a meat grinder Monroe will have revenge on the mind in week 9. Will this again be to make the playoffs?