DECKERVILLE — On one side will be Deckerville.
Champion of the North Central Thumb League. Big. Strong. Playoff proved. Ready to defend its home field.
On the other side will be Bay City All Saints.
Tested in the Greater Thumb West. Speedy. Quick. Eager for recognition. Led by perhaps the best quarterback in the area.
That’s the scenario set for here Friday night when the 8-2 Eagles host the 7-3 Cougars for the Division 8 district championship.
Two different styles playing for one ultimate prize.
“Every round you go it’s going to get tougher and tougher,” said Deckerville coach Bill Brown. “This week, we face a whole different challenge. We know that. But for us, it’s go time. We know what we have to do.”
Knowing — and doing — are two different things this week for the Eagles, who cruised to a 46-6 victory last week in the opening round against Sterling Heights Parkway Christian.
This week, the Eagles have to contend with BCAS quarterback Drew Janer, an all-state candidate who has basically carried his team this far this season.
“He does a lot for them, no question. He can create a lot of things. But they are not just a one-man team,” Brown said. “They are a very quick team. Their team speed is impressive. We’re going to have to try to slow them down.”
Janer comes in with nearly 1,500 yards on the ground and 19 touchdowns. He averages over 10 yards per carry. Last week, Janer rushed for 120 yards in the Cougars’ 21-13 victory over Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary.
Janer gets plenty of help from Kevin Swiercz, who had 93 yards last week. Overall, he’s rushed for nearly 500 yards and six scores.
“(Swiercz) is very tough on both sides of the ball for them,” Brown said. “He’s a very important part of their team.”
Janer has completed 12 of his 21 passes this season to receiver Garrett Bowker, who has a 36-yard per catch average and three touchdowns.
Defensively, Quincy Brissette leads the team in tackles while Nate Sobczak has four sacks and Bowker a pair of interceptions.
The Eagles’ offense has been rolling the past few weeks. After scoring just 20 points in a pair of losses in Weeks 7 and 8, Deckerville has exploded for 84 points the last two games.
Andrew Estrada has been the catalyst in the backfield. The junior bruiser rushed for 128 yards and scored five times last week. Joining him has been senior Rick Wilfong, who had 168 yards and two scores against Parkway Christian.
Overall last week, the Eagles outgained Parkway Christian, 431-63.
“As far as all facets of the game, yes, last week was one of our better showings,” Brown said. “And we have to keep playing that way. We have to be physical, control the clock and don’t turn it over.”
Brown said he expects to get quarterback Tyler Pattullo more involved in the passing game this week, too.
“We’re going to have to loosen up the defense,” he said. “We’re going to take what they give us.”
Brown won’t dismiss the fact the Cougars played stiffer competition in the GTC, and he also knows the Eagles won’t use it as an excuse, either.
“I don’t know, really,” he explained. “Do I think it’s a bit of an advantage that they played in the GTW? Probably. But as far as being battle tested, I think we’ve been there, too.”
Brown goes back to the losses to Marlette and Ubly in Weeks 7 and 8 as motivators for this season’s team.
“We’ve used those games as learning experiences for sure,” he said.
“Inevitably, it comes down to matchups. We have to contain Janer for sure. If we can do that, we’ll be right there.”
The winner of this game will play the winner of the Fulton-New Lothrop matchup next week for the regional championship.
Week 1: Oscoda 54-0 W
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
Week 10: SHPC 46-6 W
PF: 388 (38.8): PA: 135 (13.5)
Week 1: Val. Luth. 42-18 W
Week 2: USA 12-27 L
Week 3: Vassar 14-52 L
Week 4: Bad Axe 51-8 W
Week 5: EPBP 37-20 W
Week 6: Cass City 26-18 W
Week 7: Mayville 54-13 W
Week 8: Reese 21-14 W
Week 9: Sag. MLS 18-21 L
Week 10: Sag. MLS 21-13 W
PF: 296 (29.6): PA: 204 (20.4)