Lions and Tigers heading to the postseason
At 7pm Sunday the players from Newaygo and Grant teams will both be huddled somewhere around a television set to learn when and where they will be suiting up for the second season.
Yes, the Lions and Tigers both will not only be receiving invitations to the postseason soiree’ during the Sunday show, they will also be told who their dance partners are to be.
Newaygo will be making their first playoff appearance since this year’s seniors were freshmen. Veteran Coach Scott Van Essen installed a program that has brought out the best in these players. While few knew how the season might progress for this squad it became clear that the players had no doubts going in, They weren’t derailed by a couple of tough losses in a row to good teams who were perhaps fortunate to catch the Lions early. They weathered a late letdown in a win over Big Rapids and came out the rest of the season determined to keep the defensive throttle down until game’s end.
These Lions have become a force on the field and have energized a loyal fan base.
There are a lot of really good teams out there with sterling W-L records and hefty resumes so They may not get a home game come Sunday.
But they certainly deserve one.
The Tigers clawed their way back into the playoffs getting that season finale win over Ravenna when they needed it. Like their neighbors to the north Grant lost a pair in a row to Reed City and Chip Hills after stringing together 3 straight wins to start the season. It was a tough homecoming loss to those neighbors, though, that put postseason plans in jeopardy and their Bulldog opponents in this must-win game had controlled their matchup the previous season.
As we said in our preview earlier in the week, these are not those Bulldogs.
More importantly these are not those Tigers.
This team is in it’s second year under the tutelage of Darren Geraghty and his staff and the growth of the program in year 2 is apparent. The Grant gridders get the very most out of themselves.They play within their capabilities and complement each other well on the field. Line play is a key to success and the Tiger trenchmen are grinders.There are wily defenders in the backfield and rugged runners on the offensive side.
But most of all they are focused. Mistakes are rarely repeated.
From here it looks like area fans are in for some great matchups between these two quality programs and quality coaches in the years to come.
But for now it is all about the playoffs with both teams finding out the who, where, and when
They already know the why.
They earned it.
The Selection Sunday show will air on FOX Sports Detroit-PLUS at 7 p.m