UBLY — Ubly is a two-time defending district champion.
In those previous meetings, the Bearcats have outscored their opponents, 98-14.
They aren’t expecting it to be that easy when they host perennial power Saginaw Nouvel (7-3) at 7 p.m. on Friday for the Division 7 district championship.
Ubly (10-0) is coming off an impressive 48-6 decision over Unionville-Sebewaing Area while the Panthers earned a hard-fought 19-12 victory over Greater Thumb West co-champion Reese.
Nouvel gained 275 total yards, all on the ground, led by Bennett Lewis’ 181 yards and two touchdowns.
“We’re kind of used to playing these types of schools,” said Ubly coach Bill Sweeney. “We know we have to be in good shape and take care of the football.
“They’re like (Traverse City) St. Francis. They can do so many different things because they have so many kids.”
Last week, Reese took it to Nouvel early, with an opening drive that lasted 17 plays and took nearly eight minutes.
It’s that type of effort Sweeney is hoping to see from his players on Friday.
“Reese did a great job controlling the football,” he said. “If you’re going to be successful against these teams, you have to control the football. Reese did a nice job of that and gave themselves a shot to win the game.
“That’s what we have to do.”
The Bearcats, and their Wing-T offense, are built to control the clock. They feature two running backs with over 1,000 yards with Tyler Peruski (1,081) and Brett Cleary (1,030).
Last week, the team rushed for 364 yards. Peruski had 178 yards on just 12 carries, scored two touchdowns on the ground, and ran the opening kick back 79 yards.
“The kids executed the offense last week,” Sweeney said. “If we can execute that well this week, it’s going to be a plus.
“It wasn’t that USA played bad defense against us, it’s just we blocked very well.”
If there is one knock against Ubly, it’s the tendency to make some early mistakes.
The Bearcats have had their moments, especially early in games with miscues, including turnovers and penalties.
“The biggest thing is to keep their offense off the field,” Sweeney said. “We just have to hit, be physical, but we can’t have mistakes. If we block as well as we did last week. I feel good about being able to move the ball.
“They have the type of kids that can break a long run at any time. If we limit those opportunities, we have a good shot.”
Nouvel’s final game of the regular season was a 41-13 loss to Edwardsburg, which runs the Wing-T, as well.
“We watched the Edwardsburg tape,” Sweeney said. “I think most teams would have a hard time with their offense, they’re good.
“We make no bones about it, we have to get off the ball, block and run the holes. Hopefully, it will give them problems. Edwardsburg executed extremely well. We’re going to have to execute like that on Friday.”
Since 2006, Ubly is 10-0 in home playoff games. Nine of those games have been night games at Herp Field.
“It’s huge to not have to jump on a bus to somebody else’s place,” Sweeney said. “It’s really big for us to be at home.
“We’ve played well here over the years. Hopefully, that will be the same Friday night.”
The winner of the this game will play the winner of the Ravenna (7-3) at Merrill (8-2) contest for the regional championship.
Week 1: USA 38-0 W
Week 1: USA 38-0 W
Week 2: Sandusky 30-28 W
Week 3: Marlette 33-8 W
Week 4: Mayville 46-6 W
Week 5: H. Beach 38-6 W
Week 6: Bad Axe 56-22 W
Week 7: Brown City 30-6 W
Week 8: D’ville 40-0 W
Week 9: N. Huron 52-21 W
Week 10: USA 48-6 W
PF: 411 (41.1): PA: 103 (10.3)
Week 1: Fl. Powers 28-0 W
Week 2: TCSF 14-21 L
Week 3: Windsor A. 44-6 W
Week 4: Chat. Kent 49-7 W
Week 5: Hazel Park 43-26 W
Week 6: Ecorse 11-18 L
Week 7: Det. W. Ch. 39-14 W
Week 8: Fl. N’W 50-8 W
Week 9: Ed’Burg 15-41 L
Week 10: Reese 19-12 W
PF: 312 (31.2): PA: 153 (15.3)