Plymouth Football Team Ready to Face Fourth-Straight Powerhouse Saturday
Lake Orion is strong and fast on both sides of the ball.
When you knock off three former No. 1-ranked teams in consecutive weeks like Plymouth's football team has done, it's time to trade in the "Underdog" label for something more fitting.
Something blue with a red "S" on the front would fit the Wildcats, whose recent run has been nothing short of super, man!
The only potential kryptonite standing between 11-2 Plymouth and the school's first-ever state title in any sport is 12-1 Lake Orion, which held off a last-minute Detroit Cass Tech rally to advance to Saturday's 1 p.m. MHSAA Division 1 final at Ford Field.
The Dragons, who lost to Rockford, 26-14, in the 2008 title game, are as dangerous as the Wildcats' three previous powerhouse foes -- Canton, Novi Detroit Catholic Central and Rockford – according to Plymouth head coach Mike Sawchuk.
"They're a very athletic team," said Sawchuk. "Their running back (Marques Stevenson) is really good and their two wingbacks can break it, too. They run a lot of jet traps and counters. We're going to have to play assignment football because they can outrun you and take it to the house on any given play."
Does Lake Orion remind Sawchuk of any teams the Wildcats have faced this season?
"They're a lot like Livonia Franklin, only faster," he said. "They run out of a spread, a lot like us."
The Dragons lost three-year starting quarterback Sean Charette to an ankle injury three weeks ago, but they haven't missed a beat with back-up Cole Schaezner running the show.
"We're practicing as if (Charette) is going to be in there," said Sawchuk. "They ran a lot of option with him, so we're preparing for that. The back-up that has come in has done a great job."
The Wildcats advanced to Ford Field in near-miraculous fashion Saturday, scoring on a 25-yard TD pass from Shaun Austin to Brennen Beyer with just 4.5 seconds left to edge Rockford, 20-17.
Sawchuk said the team and coaching staff hasn't had a lot of time to bask in the glow of the amazing victory.
"There's been no time to rest," he said. "We got the Lake Orion film on Saturday night and we got right to work on Sunday. It's been go-go-go, but I'd have it no other way. It beats the alternative."
After practicing outdoors on Tuesday, the Wildcats moved inside to High Velocity Sports on Wednesday. Thursday, they worked out at Eastern Michigan University indoor facility before returning to High Velocity on Friday.
The team will depart Plymouth High School for Ford Field between 10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. on Saturday morning for those fans who may want to wish them well.
"This whole experience has been so rewarding because of all the hard work we've had to go through being a new school and everything," said Sawchuk. "We've had to battle every step of the way, and we've done things the right way.
"Now, we have to finish. It's going to hurt even more if we don't."
Ed Wright is the owner/operator of PlymouthCantonSports.com, a local website that covers every level of athletics in Plymouth and Canton.