When Constantine’s football team arrives in Hillsdale Friday night, what the Hornets will try to do won’t surprise anyone. Hillsdale (7-3) is going to try to pound the ball on the ground to open up the passing game just enough to take some shots.
The Division 6 district championship should be a good one considering these two teams clashed in the regional title game last year, with Constantine (6-4) winning, 49-35, en route to a trip to Ford Field.
The Falcons, with a fine effort from the offensive line, are coming off a 41-26 victory over Michigan Center last Saturday. Hillsdale knocked off Jonesville 29-15 in the pre-district round.
“It’s a little bit different for us having played Saturday and having to turn around and play Friday,” Constantine coach Shawn Griffith said. “Our kids came in Sunday night like we normally would and that has kind of helped us stay ahead of the curve.”
Though last year’s meeting is fresh in both coaches’ minds, their respective squads hardly resemble those from 2012. Youth is the common thread, however.
“[Hillsdale coach Marc Lemerand] runs a spread offense — spread option,” Griffith said. “Just like us they’re awful young. He’s probably got a little bit more coming back on defense than we do. We’re both really young on offense. He starts a sophomore at quarterback and a junior at his tailback. They’ll run pistol. He’s got quite a few new kids up front. That’s no different than us. He’s usually a 4-3 guy [on defense], but normally when he plays a ‘T’ offense he moves into a fifty [5-2].”
Beyond the fight that’s about to take place this evening, the Falcons have had to battle some degree of mutinous behavior.
“It was just nice to see our seniors have some success [last week] because it has been a tough year,” Griffith said. “When you’re used to winning the kind of games that we have — we’ve won at least seven games the past 22 years — and then to go 5-4, my seniors have taken a lot of grief from people in the community. If 5-4 is considered a down year, that kind of describes the kind of success these kids have had all the way through school.
“To me, it was not as much [about] the confidence we have going into this week as much as it was nice to see our kids be able to beat a quality team [Michigan Center] and a team that had a winning record. Up until Saturday, the teams we had beat were all 4-5 or worse.”