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  • Jim Townsend

Week Eight High School Football Preview

The St. Patrick Shamrocks (6-1) will host the Eagles of Marion High School (6-1) Saturday at Portland High at 7:00 PM.

The Shamrocks are coming off a forfeit last week when their schedule opponent Covert was unable to field a team for the game.

Marion beat Catholic Central (Manistee) last week 62-54. Marion and St. Patrick have no mutual opponents on their schedules this year. Marion comes into the contest on a six-game win streak, and has outscored their opponents 336 to 106.

Shamrock Junior QB Tanner Lawson is approaching the thousand-yard passing mark as he sits with 904 passing yards on 39 completions. Senior Will Simon leads the team in receiving with 267 yards, followed closely by senior Colin Cook with 249 yards. Sophomore Ned Smith leads the team in rushing with 515 yards and three TDs, followed by junior Paul Cook with 435 yards and six TDs. Paul Cook also leads the defense with 78 total tackles, followed by sophomore Alex Kissane who has 68 tackles.

When asked for his prediction on this game, Buck Geno from “ESPN 96.1’s Game of the Week” said, “Last week, the Shamrocks were inactive due to a forfeit by the host Covert Bulldogs. They will knock the rust off against a very difficult opponent in Marion. After losing their first game of the season, the Eagles have ripped off 6 wins in a row with most of them coming in convincing fashion. This game will take place on Saturday night so as not to run concurrent with the PHS home game on Friday as well as allow the Marion squad to travel on a non-school day. The weather for Saturday is predicted to be considerably worse than Friday with thunderstorms possible, so this game time might get bounced around a little bit to ensure the contest is played in full.

With rain comes unsure footing and offensive strategies concentrating on maintaining possession of the football rather than bold attacks into the defensive backfield. Mistakes can be augmented by poor conditions; field position and special teams will come into play in this game as well.

If the forecast holds, this game promises to take on a cautious tone. In the game of 8-man football, it can be a little more difficult to keep things under wraps but heavy rain threatens to dampen any offensive innovation the coaches may have planned.

Portland St. Patrick’s 18, Marion 14”

The Portland Raiders (7-1, 3-0) will host Notre Dame Prep (6-1) from Pontiac, MI, Friday night at 7:00 PM.

The Fighting Irish come in following a 17-0 win over Waterford Kettering last week. They are on a four-game win streak and have outscored their opponents 259 to 26 this year.

The Raiders clinched the CAAC White title last week with their 38-0 shutout of league foe Eaton Rapids.

When asked about this week’s match-up, PHS Coach Novara said, “Notre Dame Prep is a very good football team and are well coached. The play very good defense, allowing only 26 points on the entire season, and pitching 6 shutouts. Offensively the run multiple formations and spread the entire field. This will be a challenging game, and one that will help us prepare for the playoffs.”

When asked for his prediction on this game, Buck Geno from “ESPN 96.1’s Game of the Week” said, “The Red Raiders completed their undefeated conference season with a convincing win over Eaton Rapids last Friday. Alas, there are only 5 conference games each season and no CAAC crossover matchups, so Portland’s AD Kevin Veale has to search high and low to find quality opponents to fill the non-conference portion of the schedule.

Mr. Veale has unearthed a difficult opponent from the east side of the state in Pontiac Notre Dame Prep. The independent Fighting Irish will make the long trek over to Mid-Michigan for a clash between two schools headed to the playoffs.

Portland will face stiff opposition from the Irish defense, who comes into the contest having posted 3 consecutive shutouts. No slouch themselves, the Red Raiders have given up a miserly 19 points in that span. This game has the feel of an impending defensive struggle, with field position being a prized commodity.

I predict a low-scoring affair with mistakes being magnified due to the tense atmosphere. Watch the turnover battle and special teams play; those can turn the tide in any close match-up.

Portland 14, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 13.”

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