By Frank Vajcner
It’s now time to pay a visit to my alma mater in Ida. Despite a 4-6 record, the Blue Streaks qualified for the playoffs thanks to their strength of schedule. How tough will this year’s schedule be?
Aug 24: @ Grosse Ile
Aug 31: @ Whiteford
Sept 8: Clinton
Sept 15: Hudson
Sept 22: @ Hillsdale
Sept 29: @ Onsted
Oct 6: Blissfield
Oct 13: Adrian Madison
Oct 20: @ Dundee
Gut-Check Game: The obvious answer is a trip to The Woods in Week 2 to face Whiteford. Not only are the Bobcats a reigning state champion, they have also defeated the Streaks by a combined 66-32 margin in the past two meetings. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Clinton and Hudson coming to town the following two weeks. The Red Wolves are coming off of a run to the State Semifinals (where they beat the Streaks in the first round), while the Tigers have won the last two meetings. If Jeff Potter’s bunch can get through the stretch at 2-1 or better, there will be talk of a deep postseason run.
Trap Game: You can pretty make a case for any game between Weeks 5 and 8, but one I could see being a land mine is Blissfield. The Royals stunned the Streaks with a 28-27 defeat last season. If Ida avenges that loss, a visit from LCAA newcomer Adrian Madison follows. That game precedes the Backyard Brawl at Dundee in Week 9. Potter will need to keep his team from looking ahead.
Snoozer: Again, I apologize to any readers in Onsted, but the Wildcats unfortunately fit the bill. Since a State Semifinal run in 2019, the ‘Cats have gone 3-22, with three losses to the Blue Streaks by a combined 142-55.
Non-Conference Challenge: In addition to a road trip to Whiteford, the Streaks will visit Grosse Ile. The Red Devils went 5-5 last season, and qualified for the playoffs, but have not seen success in an odd-numbered year since 2011.
Notable: Adrian Madison joins the LCAA, replacing Columbia Central. The Trojans have posted three consecutive winning seasons. It will mark the first time since 1978 that the two schools have met on the gridiron. Oddly enough, both were members of the now-defunct River Raisin Conference in 1971-72. Ida leads the all-time series 4-0…The Backyard Brawl at Dundee returns in Week 9. The last three meetings have been decided by a combined seven points.
Final Thoughts from Frank: I will keep banging this drum as long as I can. PLEASE, LCAA scheduling powers, I beseech thee. Keep the Backyard Brawl in Week 9 permanently! Back to the jeopardy of this article, strength of schedule will help the Blue Streaks. I feel that if they can get through the brutal Weeks 2-4 stretch at 2-1 or better, there will be higher expectations. Getting the big guns of the LCAA at home also helps.
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