Both of these teams enter this quarter-final game with 10-1 records. The Flying Dutchmen's only set back was at the hands of traditional Division V power Hillsdale the last week of the regular season. The Falcons lone loss was a week 1 thriller to Detroit Crockett who is still alive in Division III. These two teams have met twice in the playoffs over the last four years with SMCC coming out on top both times. Last year SMCC made an amazing comeback as they trailed 14-6 with less than six minutes to play in the 4th quarter. The Falcons forced 3 straight Dutchman turnovers as they stole an 18-14 decision. In that game the ball seem to take some strange bounces that went the way of the Catholics.
Manchester is led by a dominant defense that has only given up 99 points in eleven games including 3 shutouts. Last week the Dutchmen shutout Clinton who came in to the game averaging 28 points per game. Defensively, Manchester is led by their athletic linebackers Brent Schriber and Kevin Mulcare. The Dutchmen are also strong on the defensive line with Dylan Neff and Ben Stachnik. Offensively, Logan Zigila leads the way at quarterback for Manchester. Zigila is known for his throwing ability but will run the ball when called upon. DJ Hone leads the running game for the Dutchmen.
SMCC will once again rely on their running game for success. The Falcons did not throw a pass last week against Blissfield but did display a little trickery within their vanilla offense and it proved to be effective as they blew open a close game with 21 unanswered points in the 2nd half. Defensively, the Falcons will need to be sharp against a team that likes to throw the ball as much as it runs. At times this season the Falcon defense has been suspect and this could be a potential problem for the hosts.
This years game like last years looks like it could be another great match up. It will be a battle of Manchester's defense and SMCC's offense. Normally I would go with the defense but the Falcon's have too much fire power offensively for the Dutchmen and a pretty darn good defense themselves. I would save a spot in the State semi-finals for the Falcons and hopefully another date with Constantine with whom the Falcons owe some revenge. SMCC wins 28-19.