Constantine shifted gears in the postseason the previous two football seasons all the way to Ford Field. Tonight the Falcons hope this fall doesn’t end at their own Sweetland Stadium against Battle Creek Pennfield.
At 5-3, head coach Shawn Griffith’s crew could desperately use a victory to earn a spot in the playoffs, though his assistants have crunched the numbers and it’s likely the Falcons play on even with a loss.
“We’ve got it figured as real close if we lose,” Griffith said. “I think we’d just as soon win and not have to worry about it. If the state has to bring in 20 [5-4] teams or more, we would probably be in. Every year the state has done this 256 [total teams], they’ve taken at least 20 5-4 teams. The people that do the figuring have it somewhere around 25-34 5-4 teams are going to have to make it in. We have it figured where we’re the fourth-highest point-getting team in Class C in terms of 5-4 teams and we’d make it in.”
Constantine hasn’t lost four games in a season since 2000. The program has outscored opponents 363-207 this year, though turnovers have undercut what Griffith had hoped to do this season offensively. Inconsistency on defense has put even more pressure on the offense to carry the load.
Five lost fumbles foiled Constantine’s attempt to upset Olivet, which is tied at 7-1 with Pennfield and Schoolcraft, on the road last Friday.
“For starters, our leading rusher, Justin Hull is out and awaiting MRI results on his knee,” Griffith said. “He injured his knee the last play of the first half at Olivet. He is out for sure this week, most likely for the season if we do make the playoffs.
Click here for our story on Hull that was published on Oct. 22.
“Pennfield is another huge, physical opponent,” Griffith said. “Seems we see this every week in the KVA. This will be the last time we face the panthers as they are leaving the KVA and joining a new league with the Battle Creek/Jackson area schools.”
If you’re into air shows, this isn’t going to be up your alley. Like Constantine, Pennfield’s M.O. is pounding it on the ground. But quarterback Jake Grimes has a live arm when called upon to use it. But it’s a bevy of running backs that carry the load for the Panthers.
“Our practices have been very upbeat and up-tempo the last five weeks,” Griffith said. “Our kids have improved and have been very attentive to everything our coaching staff has added.”