The Macomb Daily
READY FOR BATTLE
Competition: Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central will ‘play hungry’ against Pilots
De La Salle Collegiate coach Dan Rohn didn’t need to watch film to know what to expect from Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central in Friday’s state Division 2 championship football game.
The Rangers’ Tim Rogers coached against Rohn when he was on the sideline for Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Rohn led Grand Rapids West Catholic.
“I’ve known Tim for a long time,” Rohn said. “Coached against him in Grand Rapids. He does a tremendous job of getting his kids ready to play.
“They’re going to play hard, and they are going to play hungry.”
Forest Hills Central takes a 13-0 record into the 1 p.m. title game at Ford Field against the Pilots, who are 12-1 and seeking a second consecutive championship.
The Rangers are among nine undefeated state finalists.
Rogers’ team defeated Dexter, which was No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll of the season, in double overtime in the state semifinals.
The Rangers also defeated No. 6 Muskegon Mona Shores during their playoff march.
“They’ve played some tough games,” Rohn said. “They’re battle tested.”
Mason McDonald passed for one touchdown and ran for another in the Rangers’ 20-17 victory over Dexter.
JT Hartman, a junior who rushed 35 times for 222 yards, ran 10 yards for the other touchdown for a team that relies on its ground game.
“They run a similar offense to (De La Salle semifinal opponent Birmingham) Groves,” De La Salle defensive end Mason Muragin said. “They do a lot of shifting.
“We’ve got to make sure we’ve got a good game plan, go out there
and have each of us do our one-eleventh on defense and take care of business.”
Forest Hills Central is in the championship game for the first time since 1994.
Rogers is in his 11th season as coach.
“They’re going to be schematically really sound,” Rohn said. “They’re going to line up, know what they’re doing, and they’re going to be physical.
“We better match that early.”
De La Salle has made
a habit of building leads early during its four playoff games. Putting the Rangers in a hole might be a key as the Pilots look for their fifth championship, Rohn said.
“It takes a lot of teams out of what they want to do,” Rohn said in reference to having the lead.
“If it’s a dogfight, it’s going to be a dogfight all day long,” Rohn continued. “If we can get on top of them and force them to do things they don’t like, throw the ball around, it could be good for us.”
De La Salle has scored 175 points and allowed 29 in the post