In a blink we are at week six in the 2022 prep football schedule and there are three teams still alive for a possible playoff spot in the MHSAA postseason.
The Union City Chargers and the Tekonsha Indians both sit at 4-1 after each rattled off a four game winning streak, while Bronson enters week six at 2-3 overall after dropping three straight games. Two of our local teams, Coldwater and Quincy, are still looking for their first win on the season and there are all sorts of possibilities heading into week six of the season. With that in mind lets take a look at our Branch County Prep Football Week 6 Previews and Predictions.
Game 1- Pennfield Panthers (0-5) at Coldwater Cardinals (0-5) at Coldwater’s Cardinal Field for Homecoming, kick off scheduled at 7 p.m.
Coldwater will be celebrating their annual Homecoming festivities on Friday as they welcome the Pennfield Panthers to town for a battle between two winless teams. In addition to it being Homecoming, Coldwater will be donning their Purple Week jerseys after a shipping snafu keep them in a warehouse in Florida during the Purple Week game last week.
Both teams have no doubt struggled throughout the 2022 season, both entering the week at 0-5 overall. The teams only have one common opponent so far on the season, with both having played the Marshall Redhawks. Coldwater dropped their contest with Marshall by the score of 35-14 after going to halftime tied at 14-14 while Pennfield saw Marshall put up 56 points in a 56-22 loss.
On the season the Panthers have scored a total of 92 points, averaging 18.4 points a contest, while also giving up an astounding 227 points through six games, an average of 37.83 points a contest.
Coldwater on the other hand has only scored 21 points all season long, with 14 of those coming versus Marshall. Coldwater has been held scoreless in three of their five games on the year, including two straight. The Cardinals currently average 5.25 points a contest while allowing a total of 205 points through six games for an average of 34.17 points a contest.
Looking at these stats only one thing is for certain heading into their clash, something has got to give. Pennfield has been able to score a little, however they have struggled to stop anyone as well with their closest contest coming in the season opener, a 33-28 loss to Lakewood. Since then the Panthers have fallen to Olivet by the score of 40-20; Parma Western by the score of 64-0; Jackson Northwest by the score of 34-22; and Marshall in their last loss by the score of 56-22.
Pennfield likes to mix the pass and the run but has seen their most recent success using a wildcat type offense, with running back Kaiden Guthrie or Brian Tomilson taking the snaps. Guthrie had a big game last week versus Marshall, rushing the ball 30 times for 167 yards and two scores while Tomilson added 11 carries for 79 yards.
Coldwater will counter with an offense still looking for its identity but one that is not short on grit and heart. The Cardinals, who have played a monster schedule, having already faced the top three teams in the Interstate 8 not to mention non-conference games versus perennial playoff teams in Plainwell and Grand Ledge, will counter with a mix of pass and run themselves, with the offense running through the capable hands of first year starter Zach Coffing. Coffing is joined in the backfield by running backs Jayden Kegler and Tyson Roby. When Coffing goes to the air he looks towards big Donte Work who stands 6’7’ and can move like a running back. The offense is dangerous, they just need to find their rhythm which could happen against his Pennfield team.
In the end, both teams are struggling coming into week six, both are looking for a big win to at least change the trajectory of the season if only a little bit.
Only one team is playing at home though, and only one team is playing on Homecoming. Look for Coldwater to be fired up and look for the Victory Bell to ring in favor of the Cardinals when the game ends. Coldwater gets win number one.
Prediction: Coldwater 14, Pennfield 6.
Game 2- Union City Chargers (4-1) at Addison Panthers (4-1) at Addison High School, Friday night beginning at 7 p.m.
Both the Union City Chargers and the Addison Panthers are having phenomenal seasons, as both enter week 6 at 4-1 on the season.
Union City is rolling after a week one loss to Centreville, having won four straight games, with wins over Quincy, Jonesville, Reading and Homer.
Addison has wins over Leroy Pine River (44-0), Hanover Horton (48-39), Michigan Center (42-40) and East Jackson (40-22), with their lone loss coming in week two when they fell to Manchester 29-26.
Addison can score the football, averaging 40 points a contest on the season after putting up 158 points in six games while allowing 90 points in those 6 games, an average of 15 points per game.
Union City has relied on defense all season long and that has served them well. Union City held a very good Jonesville team scoreless, kept an exceptional Reading team to just two scores, and stopped a dynamic Homer squad, only allowing 14 points scored.
Addison is a run first team, having traditionally employed a potent version of the Wing T. In their 40-22 win over East Jackson last Friday Addison rushed for a total of 338 yards, bringing their game total to 371 yards.
In short, Addison is strong, they are efficient and they can run the ball. At the same time Union City has shown the great ability to stop the run, so this may just be the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. Union City’s defense is for real, led by a very busy and aggressive defensive front made up of Grady Iobe, Tyler Wagley, Phoenix Elkins, Garrett Halder and Jakob Fosmore, not to mention All Conference linebacker Owen Jackson and safety Colton Russell. The front is disruptive and loves to hit, so can Union City’s vaunted defense come through yet again, this time on the road?
The Union City offense has proven to be quite efficient as well and the coaching staff has been quite adept at making big changes at just the right times. Union City has the ability to run the ball with power and speed, thanks to a backfield filled with solid runners such as Dylon McDonald, Riley Laird, Landyn Crance, Owen Jackson, and more. They can also move things out into the spread and throw with the best of them thanks to quarterback Eli Payne and receivers Jeremy Zehr and Rick Austin along with tight ends Aidan Decker, Garrett Halder, and Luke Watson.
In reality Union City doesn’t light up the scoreboard, they don’t need to, their defense has held some very good teams to very few points. Can they continue that trend in a key non-conference test?
I wouldn’t count the Chargers out of anything, they’ve beaten some very good teams on the season and I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to do so.
Prediction: Union City 21, Addison 13.
Game 3- Bronson Vikings (2-3) at Homer Trojans (3-2) at Homer High School, Friday night beginning at 7 p.m.
The Bronson Vikings are reeling coming into week six, having dropped three straight after beginning the season at 2-0. Homer is also reeling a bit, coming off just their second loss of the year, a 20-14 heartbreaker to Union City with first place in the Big 8 conference up for grabs.
So who bounces back in week 6?
Bronson has just battled their way through a proverbial gauntlet of the best the Big 8 has to offer, falling to Jonesville and Reading while dropping a non-conference clash with Michigan Center. Now the Vikings have to contend with what is probably the most dangerous offense in the league in the Homer Trojans, led by playmaking quarterback Davey Mohn. Homer averages 37.8 points per contest and can score either through the air or on the ground, basically it’s a pick your poison type of situation for opposing defenses.
The Vikings are a grind it out team and have seen success on the season, however their three game skid has not shown much in the way of offense. While Homer’s offense is beyond superb, their defense has some holes however, giving up 28.6 points per game. This may just be a big help for the slumping Vikings who have only averaged 20.4 points a contest while giving up 32.8 points a game.
I have no doubt that Bronson can right the ship, they have the talent, the drive and the coaching. But can they do it against the Trojans who may be a little angry after their loss versus the Chargers?
Predictions: Homer 38, Bronson 20
Game 4- Springport Spartans (0-5) at Quincy Orioles (0-5) at Quincy High School, Friday night beginning at 7 p.m.
The season has not went the way either of these squads expected, as both enter week six still looking for that elusive “W”. Both are absolutely starving for a win, but who is hungrier?It has been a rough season for both Springport and Quincy on the offensive side of the ball, with Quincy averaging 8.4 points a game while Springport only averages 6.6. It’s even worse on defense where Quincy has given up an average of 37.6 points a game while Springport has allowed a whopping 50.2 points a contest.
That matchup would appear to favor Quincy which has actually seen their offense get rolling over the past few weeks, putting up 24 points against a good Homer team while putting up 12 points against a very solid Manchester team. The Oriole offense looks to be finding its groove behind a strong offensive line and the hard running of Tre’Von Bodley who had over a 100 yards in last week’s loss to Manchester.
Entering week 6 Quincy has losses to Sand Creek (8-0), Union City (42-6), Reading (42-0), Homer (56-24) and Manchester (40-12) while Springport has suffered losses to Stockbridge (38-6), Bronson (50-12), Homer (42-7), Napoleon (54-0) and Jonesville (67-8).
One of these teams will leave Friday night with a win and I think it’s time for the Orioles to get in the win column, doing so in front of a home crowd that has never wavered in the support of their team. Quincy takes the “W”.
Prediction: Quincy 26, Springport 12.
Game 5- North Adams-Jerome Rams (1-4) at Tekonsha Indians (4-1) at Tekonsha High School, Friday night beginning at 7 p.m.
The Tekonsha Indians will face off with North Adams-Jerome in their final home game of the 2022 season riding a four game winning streak and sitting at 4-1 for the year. After a season opening loss to Camden Frontier (36-6) the Indians have rattled off four straight, taking wins over Waldron (58-6), St. Phil (52-28), Litchfield (60-6), and Bellevue (64-20).
On the season the prolific Tekonsha offense has averaged a robust 48.2 points per game, doing so thanks to a dynamic offense that has averaged 523.2 yards a contest, with 425 of those yards coming on the ground a game.
Tekonsha’s potent offense is led by senior quarterback Wyatt Blashfield who has averaged 246.8 yards rushing a game, having ran the ball 97 times for 1234 yards and 14 scores through five games. Blashfield has also added 491 yards passing and four scores in what may be an All-State year.
Now if Blashfield wasn’t enough, Tekonsha has another game changer in the backfield in junior running back Xander Kilbourn who has averaged 142.6 yards per game this year, rushing for 713 years and 12 touchdowns through five games. So essentially, if Blashfield doesn’t get you, Kilbourn will.
Those two will be the first to tell you much of their success comes thanks to a dominant offensive line that may just be one of the best in the state. The guys up front, led by Blake Griffith, Dylan Griffith, Claude Wart and Isaac Henry, play with a chip on their shoulders and they are physical, making Tekonsha’s offense very dangerous.
On defense the team has only allowed 19.2 point per game and will be facing a North Adams team who has averaged just over 23 points a contest. North Adams, who enters the week at 1-4, has losses versus St. Phil (60-6), Litchfield (54-48) and Waldron (46-24), with their lone win coming against Burr Oak.
In the end I just don’t think North Adams has the horses to stop the high powered Tekonsha offense. Look for this to be a big win for Tekonsha.Prediction: Tekonsha 56, North Adams 13.
Do you agree with Sports Editor Troy Tennyson’s picks? Disagree? Let him know via email at email@example.com. Follow all the happenings on the gridiron in Branch County by following The Daily Reporter and Sports Editor Troy Tennyson each and every Friday (and sometimes Thursday…and occasionally Saturday) for up to minute scores, stats, news and more from all across the county via The Daily Reporter’s Facebook page or follow Troy on Twitter at @ttennysonTDR.
This article originally appeared on Coldwater Daily Reporter: Branch County Football Week 6 Previews and Predictions