By Frank Vajcner
The dog days of summer always seem to drag on.
For some, it means traveling for vacation, but for me, it’s time to get back to work.
My summer is occupied with two things aside from my day job: announcing baseball for Blissfield American Legion Post 325, and preparing some content for all the readers here at FNV.
I normally wait until June to get things going, but with a lot of obligations with the Legion squad, I decided to take advantage of a slower week in May by getting started on my Schedule Analysis series which would be unveiled in early July.
By now, I know that most readers have read the following disclaimer from me, but I always have to include it.
This is NOT a prediction for how a team will do (as certain fanbases have liked to claim that it is). This is rather a deep dive into a team’s schedule, where I take a look at certain games, and how they could potentially impact said team’s season.
With that order of business out of the way, let’s dive in. Of course, I always go in alphabetical order, so that means Airport leads off.
The Jets flew much higher last season, as Jim Duffy and company won seven games for the first time since 2011. Will their schedule allow for a higher altitude to be reached?
Aug 24: @ Gibraltar Carlson
Aug 31: Riverview
Sept 8: @ Flat Rock
Sept 15: @ SMCC
Sept 22: Grosse Ile
Sept 30: @ New Boston Huron
Oct 7: @ Jefferson
Oct 14: Milan
Oct 21: Dearborn Heights Crestwood
Gut-Check Game: Pick your poison between Weeks 1 and 3. Carlson is a massive upgrade for a season opener (more on them later). Follow that up with a visit from Riverview to open up Huron League play, and then a road trip to battle for The Jug against Flat Rock. The Pirates have ruled the barnyard in the conference, with 23 consecutive Huron League wins, and have not lost to Airport since 2012. A visit to Flat Rock won’t be easy the following week, as the Jets held off a feisty Rams’ squad last season 21-19 in Carleton last year.
Trap Game: Did I say that the Jets had a brutal three-game stretch to open the season? I actually meant a four-game stretch, as they pay a visit to the friendly confines of Navarre Field to face SMCC in Week 4. While the Jets managed to defeat the Falcons last season, they have not been able to win at Navarre since 2011. Getting a win here will be important to ending the stretch from hell.
Snoozer: Most people would say Jefferson, but I will not venture down that road, as I’m not one to put teams covered in this category.
Non-Conference Challenge: The Jets beefed up their out-of-conference slate with a visit to Carlson in Week 1, and a visit from Dearborn Heights Crestwood in Week 9. The Marauders went 9-2 last season, and have qualified for the playoffs for the last six years. Crestwood may not bring a lot of sizzle, but the Chargers have gone 6-4 in each of the last two seasons while making the playoffs.
Notable: The meeting with Carlson will be the first since the 2005 playoffs, and first in the regular season since 1992. The latter was when both schools were a part of the Huron League…This will also mark the first time the Jets face a Downriver League school…The Jets last faced Crestwood in 1984 and 1985.
Final Thoughts from Frank: There is no question that the front half of the schedule for the Jets is daunting. The last five are much easier, aside from a trip to New Boston in Week 6. Playoff points from playing Carlson and Crestwood will help the postseason cause, and could help the Jets secure a playoff game at McCormick Field.
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