By DOUG DONNELLY
OTTAWA LAKE – There is a lot on the line Friday night when the Whiteford Bobcats travel to Petersburg to take on perhaps its biggest rival, the Summerfield Bulldogs.
The Bobcats are 3-2. With a victory, the Bobcats wrap up another winning season and ensure themselves of playing in front of its home fans for Week 1 of the prep football playoffs.
“Summerfield is a sound football team,” Whiteford coach Jason Mensing said. “They have a great quarterback and they have a pretty strong defensive unit. We are going to have to play well.”
The Bobcats have won back-to-back games and two of its last three games to climb above .500 for the first time this season. They beat Pittsford three weeks ago on the strength of one of the best offensive performances in school history then followed that up last week with an impressive defensive performance to beat Britton Deerfield 22-20.
Senior defensive end Nick Freeman had the biggest game of his career against BD, leading the team in tackles.
“That was a good game for Nick,” Mensing said. “I’m excited that he played so well and helped us a lot defensively.”
Freeman is one of just four seniors on the team who will be playing in their final regular season game, along with Luke Masserant, Jacob Kahn and Devon Shaw. Beating BD was a big win for Whiteford, Mensing said.
“It was a huge win for us,” he said. “We were playing our backup quarterback and we had so many young kids playing.”
Cole Giesige stepped in at quarterback last week, replacing the injured Shea Ruddy. He completed seven of his nine passes and rushed for a touchdown. Shaw caught a TD pass from Giesige and rushed for one as well.
Whiteford enters tonight’s game solidly in the No. 3 spot among the eight teams in the Division 8, Region 4, District 1 ineup. Summerfield sits in the No. 6 spot. If the playoffs began this week, Whiteford and Summerfield would be facing off as the No. 3 seed hosts the No. 6 seed in the first round.
The official playoff pairings will be announced on Sunday by the Michigan High Schoo Athletics Association.