Playoff Preview 2023: White Pigeon @ Whiteford

By Frank Vajcner

It was one year ago in the Regional Round when we saw Whiteford and White Pigeon meet in The Woods. The Bobcats prevailed 38-26 over an upset-minded Chiefs squad. This time around, both teams come in undefeated at 11-0.

White Pigeon

Coach: Shawn Strawser

Playoff Record: 13-11. This is the Chiefs’ 12th playoff appearance in school history, and sixth in a row.

Regular Season Record vs. Playoff Teams: 1-0 (W 24-8 vs Centreville)

How They Got Here: W 40-12 vs Centreville, W 30-0 vs Saugatuck

Team Leaders: 

Passing: Josh Davidson (5-12, 96 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT)

Rushing: Taylor Stewart (139 carries, 979 yards, 19 TD); Caleb Lane (85 carries, 843 yards, 13 TD); Jon Bontrager (60 carries, 568 yards, 7 TD)

Receiving: Jordan Pisco (2 catches, 36 yards)

Tackles: Seth Miller (75 tackles); Bontrager (65 tackles)

TFL: Miller (6 TFL)

Sacks: Lane (6 sacks)

Interceptions: Pisco and Mekhi Singleton (4 INT each)

Notable: The Chiefs have only attempted 14 passes all season, but averaging 8.4 yards per rush doesn’t really require passing the ball…The 11-0 mark is the best since 1980, when the Chiefs reached the Finals.

Whiteford Bobcats:

Head Coach: Todd Thieken

Playoff Record: 33-21. This is the Bobcats’ 12th consecutive playoff appearance, and 24th in school history.

Regular season record vs. 2023 playoff teams: 4-0 (W 28-21 vs. Blissfield, W 22-7 vs. Ida, W 48-8 vs. Sand Creek, W 45-7 vs. Union City)

How They Got Here: W 59-0 vs Sand Creek, W 24-14 vs Hudson

Team Leaders: 

Passing: Tre Eitniear (38-76, 880 yards, 13 TD, 3 INTs); Ryin Ruddy (20-33, 353 yards, 4 TD)

Rushing: Jake Iott (108 attempts, 725 yards, 5 TD); Hunter DeBarr (99 attempts, 769 yards 10 TD); Drew Knaggs (107 attempts, 597 yards, 11 TD); Ryin Ruddy (36 attempts, 394 yards, 5 TD)

Receiving: Kolby Masserant (35 receptions, 778 yards, 11 TD); Hunter DeBarr (13 receptions, 254 yards, 4 TD); Ryin Ruddy (4 receptions, 136 yards, 2 TD)

Tackles: Jake Iott (129 tackles); Ryin Ruddy (107 tackles)

TFL: Three players with 10 TFL each

Sacks: Jake Iott and Drew Knaggs (5 sacks each)

Interceptions: Kolby Masserant (5 interceptions)

Notable: Last week’s win over Hudson was the 25th in a row for the Bobcats, which set both a school record and Monroe County record…Ryin Ruddy has become a Swiss army knife for the Bobcats, as he can play QB, TE, and RB on offense, and is the second-leading tackler on the team…Hunter DeBarr has become a solid kicker for the Bobcats, as he has hit three field goals on the season.

Overview: Last week was a revenge game for the Bobcats, as Hudson handed them their last loss back in 2021. This time around, it will be the Chiefs looking to avenge their last loss. I believe that facing some adversity last week will only help the Bobcats in a game like this. The Chiefs’ rushing attack will be a chore to stop, but having played a tougher schedule, along with home-field advantage, will be the difference for the Bobcats

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