SMCC finished tied for 5th in the Huron League with a 3-4 conference mark and are 6-5 on the season. The Falcons have qualified for the playoffs 18 of the last 20 seasons and have an overall playoff record of 56-23. In his 8th season leading the Green and Gold, SMCC is fronted by Coach Adam Kipf. This will be the first meeting between these two programs on the football field.
Napoleon finished 1st in the Cascades Conference with a 6-0 mark and currently sit unblemished at 11-0. The Pirates have qualified for the playoffs 7 of the last 20 seasons and have an overall playoff record of 6-12. In his 5th season leading the Green and White, at the helm for the Pirates is Coach Derek Shell.
Napoleon Pirates (6-0 Cascades, 11-0 overall)
The Pirates are a versatile football team, 38.2ppg, with over 3,200 yards on the ground over 1,200 yards through the air. Leading the way in the passing game is QB Grant Bradly(75-105 71%, 1,212 yds -12td). On the other end of those passes are Holden VanPopple, Trent Jester and Mason Roth. Make no mistake about it however, Napoleon prefers to keep things on the ground with their 200 lb bruising running back, Bart Laretz,1,835 yds with 14 scores. Bradly also gets the job done rushing with over 400 yards and 12 end zone touches. Allowing all this to happen is the excellent offensive line. LT Ben Baker, moved from WR last season. LG Joey Hamlin, moved from FB after a week of camp, 4.0 GPA. C Max Gamez, 4 year starter and has played every position on the line over the last four years. RG Dallas Smith, Baby of the offensive line. Incredibly strong for a sophomore. All-Conference. RT Mikey Humphreys, All conference, All Region, anchor of the O-line, goes by the nickname Big Mike. HM all-state last season. TE Trent Jester, Tall strong, great hands.
Defensively the Pirates, giving up 12.9 ppg, are lead by Hamlin, VanPoppel, Laretz, Sam Jennings and Kayden Fowler.
Thoughts from Coach Shell:
“I think our football team is playing great football and has really bought into what Napoleon football is all about. We have continuously gotten better each week and that showed last week when we beat Manchester 30-25 in week 3 and then won 42-13 week 11. Right now we are focused on being the best version of ourselves and getting better at what we do.
SMCC presents a great challenge for us. They have a very powerful rushing attack with a really good offensive line, and fast physical backs. If we are going to have success we need to be able to match their physicality and play with a great pad level.
Offensively we need to make sure we get our running game going and find ways to score inside the red-zone. We need to be able to run the ball and control the clock.“
Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons (3-4 Huron, 6-5 Overall)
Since seemingly the dawn of time, the Falcons boast an offense(23.8ppg) featuring the run-game out of their patented Full-House T. SMCC, with nearly 3,000 yards rushing yards on the season, are lead by Cole Jondro, 889 yds 8 td and Evan Marcon, 665 yds 10 td. The Falcons will run many backs at you, those backs include, QB Carson Kinsey, RB’s Patrick Lipford, Michael Laboe, Chase Terrasi and Drew Harris. The straws that stir the drink for this powerful running attack are of course the big boys up-front. TE’s Nolan Moore, Jacob Theisen, Mason Ivey. LT Murphy Bogdanski, LG Blake Philbeck, C Nathan Pizzo, RG JJ Hawkins and RT Jacob Borer. Lineman never get enough credit from the media, but all the coaches will tell you, the foundation for any good football team is the O-line. It starts and ends with the hogs up-front. This certainly holds true for the SMCC Falcons.
Defensively the Falcons, giving up 22.1 ppg, are led by Tyler Hartman, Riley DeSarbo, Ben Carter, Brock Cousino, Marcon, Moore.
Thoughts from Coach Kipf:
Keys to the Regional Championship game:
● Controlling the line of scrimmage ● Limit the amount of time they have the ball ● Special teams
What our opponent does well:
● They are big up front and play the game physical ● Their tailback is a great football player and can change a game in a flash ● They are athletic and make plays in all three facets of the game
What we need to do to win:
● Be physical up front and establish the line of scrimmage ● Stop their running game at the line of scrimmage and force them to throw ● Limit our mistakes ● Fake well in the backfield
This game has the makings of what looks to be a very close game. Both teams want to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball, while controlling the clock. Turnovers will be a big factor. Whoever can limit giving the other team more possessions, will most likely come out on top. SMCC and Napoleon don’t do anything fancy. They both line up and try to be the more physical team. The battle in the trenches will determine which team will eventually impose their will on the other. They say “Autumn is a Pirate” but this prognosticator believes in the hallowed grounds of Historic Navarre Field. No treasure to be had here for the Pirates, as the Falcons walk away with the Regional crown, in a close one.
Chris: Napoleon 21 SMCC 20
Gary: SMCC 28 Napoleon 21
Frank: SMCC 24 Napoleon 21