DECKERVILLE — After consecutive losses in Weeks 7 and 8, Deckerville needed a pick-me-up kind of game in the regular season finale at Lincoln Alcona.
A four-hour bus ride later, the Eagles found themselves energized after a 38-0 victory over the Tigers.
“It was a good experience for the kids — you don’t want to go on a four-hour bus ride and come home losers,” said Deckerville coach Bill Brown. “We went up there and played hard. That was nice to see.”
Brown hopes that kind of boost carries over to Friday night at 7 when the 7-2 Eagles host 7-2 Sterling Heights Parkway Christian in a Division 8 opening round playoff game.
Not only did last Friday’s win provide a much-needed spark, it secured a No. 1 seed for the Eagles, who are as tough as any team in the Thumb on their home turf.
“I don’t know if they believed me, but I kept telling the kids that we had a chance at getting at least two home (playoff) games,” Brown said. “We have a great opportunity. But they know that if we don’t do what we’re supposed to do, they will be packing in their gear come Monday.”
Last Friday, the Eagles led 16-0 after one quarter, extending it to 38-0 at the half on a late second-quarter drive. Deckerville rushed for 320 yards while limiting the Tigers to just 70 total yards.
Not all the news was good from the game, though.
The Eagles lost senior Cody Ross, their leading rusher with over 1,000 yards, for the season with a broken leg.
“Losing Cody is tough, no doubt,” Brown said. “But our backups have played a lot this season. We have some things we can do...”
Deckerville’s backfield certainly isn’t bare, though.
Rick Wilfong, Dillon Lundgren and Andrew Estrada have had fine seasons, and quarterback Tyler Pattullo has big-play capabilities.
Also, sophomore Chris Wolfe came on last week and rushed for 102 yards and one score.
Parkway Christian’s season has mirrored Deckerville’s. Parkway Christian won its first six games before losing to Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest and Riverview Gabriel Richard in Weeks 7 and 8. The Eagles rallied in Week 9, rolling to a 49-8 win over Plymouth Christian.
The Eagles’ option/spread offense is led by quarterback Vinny Delicata, who didn’t play in last week’s game because of an injured ankle but is expected to give it a shot Friday. Tim Weber, Spencer Frazier and Kenny Dalen are Delicata’s favorite targets while Ryan Regener handles duties in the backfield.
“They’re a little bit like Marlette,” Brown said. “Their quarterback is their playmaker. He wants to make things happen. They’re going to spread us out.”
Parkway Christian also has a huge weapon in senior kicker Aaron Mick, who is being recruited by several Big Ten and Mid-American Conference schools. He has a 52-yard field goal this year against Grosse Pointe Woods University-Liggett, and usually booms kickoffs into the end zone.
Coincidentally, Deckerville and Parkway Christian played in the opening game of the regular season in 2008 and 2009. Last year, Deckerville earned a 41-14 win at home. In 2008, Deckerville traveled south and picked up a 54-47 victory.
“We’re pretty familiar with them, and they know what we’re about,” Brown said.
The Eagles are making their sixth consecutive playoff appearance, and 14th in the last 15 seasons.
“We’re not getting too excited,” Brown said. “We have been here before. We have to go out and be physical, execute, and don’t turn the ball over. If we do that, we have a chance.”
The winner of this game will play the winner of the Bay City All Saints/Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary contest for the district championship.
Deckerville Season Review
Week 1: Oscoda 54-0 W
Week 2: Kingston 48-7 W
Week 3: Peck 38-6 W
Week 4: N. Huron 44-23 W
Week 5: Sag. BV 52-32 W
Week 6: Memphis 48-0 W
Week 7: Marlette 20-21 L
Week 8 Ubly 0-40 L
Week 9: L. Alcona 38-0 W
PF: 342 (38.0): PA: 129 (14.3)
Opponents winning %: 47.5
Parkway Christian Season Review
Week 1: MABT 42-24 W
Week 2: DH St. Int. 44-0 W
Week 3: L. West. 42-21 W
Week 4: So. Chr. 36-26 W
Week 5: Liggett 27-19 W
Week 6: AH OC 56-27 W
Week 7: RHLN 21-28 L
Week 8: River. GR 27-28 L
Week 9: Ply. Chr. 49-8 W
PF: 344 (38.2): PA: 181 (20.1)
Opponents winning %: 29.1