HARBOR BEACH — Troy Schelke wouldn’t mind a rehash of last week’s rematch.
After beating Brown City last week for the second time this season, Schelke’s Harbor Beach squad gets another chance at another familiar foe. Reese, a 30-16 loser to the Pirates in Week 3, comes to town here Friday night for the Division 7 district championship.
“We beat them way back in the early part of the season, but they haven’t lost since then,” Schelke said. “They are a very good team. They are very athletic all over the field.”
The 8-1 Rockets (they had a bye in Week 9) come in off a hard-fought 41-27 victory over Sandusky in last week’s opening round. Reese rallied from a 21-20 second-half deficit to pull out the victory.
Reese showed off its quick-strike offense, in addition to its ability to control the line of scrimmage, against the Redskins. Quarterback Cody Peyok threw for 114 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 90 yards and a score.
“They really don’t have any glaring weaknesses,” Schelke said. “They have a very good quarterback and a couple of pretty good running backs.”
Since their loss to the Pirates, the Rockets have rattled off six wins in a row, pitching three shutouts along the way. Defensively, they are limiting opponents to just 10.5 points per game.
The 10-0 Pirates come in off an impressive 40-7 shelling of Brown City.
Junior Sloan Klaski scored five touchdowns — three rushing, one receiving and one on an interception return — for the Pirates. He rushed 14 times for 126 yards, scoring on runs of 3, 10 and 45 yards. He also hauled in a 16-yard scoring strike from quarterback Eli Kraft, and then capped his huge night with a 28-yard interception return.
“We are obviously peaking at the right time,” Schelke said. “We have really improved throughout the season, and I still think there is more room for improvement. The guys are really playing with confidence.”
There isn’t a unit around playing with more confidence than the Harbor Beach defense, which stymied the Green Devils’ potent running attack last week. The Pirates have four shutouts this season, and have yielded one touchdown or less in six of 10 games.
“Defensively, we have been playing really well,” Schelke said. “The biggest thing is they keep moving their feet. Earlier in the season, we weren’t doing that. Right now, we are moving so much better.”
The Harbor Beach secondary had three interceptions last week, and the interior line had several tackles for losses.
Schelke has used film to scout the Rockets from the Week 3 matchup, as well as recent games.
“When we played them earlier, we got down 8-0, but we just kept playing,” he said. “We eventually were able to move the ball on the ground late in the game.
“They have been playing very well lately. We know they are going to be gunning for us.”
Schelke is proud of this team for its hard work and dedication so far this season. He hopes it continues.
“This is the type of group that enjoys playing football,” he said. “Hopefully, we can keep it going for a few more weeks.”
The winner of this game will take on the winner of the Saginaw Nouvel vs. Blanchard Montabella game next week for the regional championship.
Reese (8-1) at Harbor Beach (10-0), 7 p.m.
W1: Hou. Lake 41-12
W2: Bad Axe 46-0
W3: H. Beach 16-30
W4: Vassar 28-12
W5: Cass City 33-0
W6: EPBP 36-0
W7: USA 45-14
W8: BCAS 50-0
W9: OPEN NA
W10: Sandusky 41-27
PF: 336 (37.3)
PA: 95 (10.5)
W1: Bad Axe 42-0
W2: N. Huron 48-0
W3: Reese 30-16
W4: Brown City 34-21
W5: Ubly 34-22
W6: Marlette 12-8
W7: Sandusky 26-12
W8: Mayville 47-0
W9: USA 56-0
W10: Br. City 40-7
PF: 369 (36.9)
PA: 88 (8.8)
BOGAN SAYS: The Rockets have a lot of players who have a lot of playoff experience.
PICK: Harbor Beach 28, Reese 20