Petoskey football ready for 4-hour trip to Kingsford, playoff hopes still alive
KINGSFORD – They haven’t gotten out of it yet.
Petoskey’s football team may be on a four-game slippage right now, but playoff hopes are still alive thanks to changes to playoff qualifying.
However, the next two weeks hold the key. Whichever switch turns the engine on for Petoskey players, it has to be now.
Have the desire to be a playoff team? The next few weeks will test that and Week 8 of the regular season will offer a trip across the Mackinac Bridge and plenty of time to focus on the goal at hand.
Petoskey will make the more than four-hour trip north of Kingsford, meeting a Flivvers side who will start the week at 4-3, with more than half of their games to come against teams from Wisconsin.
After the loss at Cadillac, Petoskey head coach Rick Winbigler wants his team to fight the way they want when the regular season ends in a few weeks.
âI think we are reacting,â Winbigler said. âI say this every week, but I think we are learning the expectations it takes to be successful. We had a nice and decent schedule and I think that might be an understatement. In terms of eliminating points, we still only have two outs. We had a cute little gauntlet that we walked through there and now we end with a gauntlet.
âThe message to the guys is ‘We lost, this is what we need to do better.’ We’re disappointed with the losses, but we’re two places in the playoffs so our fate is still in our hands, which is a nice place after losing four times in a row. We can still win and be a playoff team. So it’s about finding those positive points and that we still have control.
Petoskey will try to come back from an offensive stall a week ago at Cadillac, when they struggled to get much of the action with just 102 rushing yards and 89 more assists.
Defensively, the Northmen will need to change drastically from week to week, moving from the slow, methodical approach of Cadillac options to a more balanced Flivvers look.
âThey are very balanced,â Winbigler said. âThey can throw it if they need to, but I think they prefer to run football like most teams do, but they have great athletes on the perimeter. We are preparing for both bases. Whatever they decide to be this week is who they will be. So we have to stop the race, but we also know that they have a very competent passing game.
6-foot-2, 200-pound senior quarterback Mike Meneguzzo is running the show for the Flivvers and has had some good games this season, including a 316-yard, five-touchdown performance against Marquette.
His favorite target is Zach Person, a football player from Toledo, who is 6ft 5in and 220lb. The person also holds Division I offerings from New Mexico and Middle Tennessee.
Athletes Nic Nora, Diego Przeslakowski, Toby Wilcox and Cole Myllyla will also be involved, while Przeslakowski is also an All-UP Dream Team kicker.
âThey’re tough, they can throw it and they’ve got the kid going to Toledo,â Winbigler said. âThey are big boys and they play hard. It is not a piece of cake. It will be another battle.
Kingsford may have nearly 400 fewer students as a Division 5 program, although this is something that can be pretty much overlooked given who they’ve played, a rich history on the pitch, and success against programs. similar to Petoskey, including a 44-7 Escanaba win.
Winbigler wants his guys to believe in them on Friday, knowing that the schedule they’ve been following over the past few weeks is different from most teams, which is a big reason they’re still fighting for that playoff shot. .
âI like to say that we are pretty hardened with some of these battles that we have been through,â he added. “We just have to run and have this belief.”
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