We are officially past the mid-point of the 2022 prep football season here in Branch County and things have never been more interesting on the gridiron.Three of Branch County’s best are on the right track towards a possible MHSAA playoff berth as the Union City Chargers, the Bronson Vikings, and the Tekonsha Indians all enter week five with a .500 record or higher. Both Union City and Tekonsha sit at 3-1 on the season while Bronson sits at 2-2 after two straight tough losses. As for the other two teams in the area, Quincy and Coldwater, well they are still looking for win number one on the season, a win that may just be on the horizon for both squads.Well, as we enter into week 5 of the Branch County Prep Football Season let us take a look at the upcoming match ups and see if we can’t put together a nice little preview with a prediction at the end. (Note: Sports Editor Troy Tennyson was a perfect 5-0 last week in his picks for Branch County Football)So without further ado Ladies and Gentleman, here are the Branch County Prep Football Week 5 Previews and Predictions.
The Daily Reporter Game of the Week- Homer Trojans (3-1) at Union City Chargers (3-1), Friday night at Union City’s Alumni Field with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.There are two games worthy of game of the week, but we are going to kick things off with the one that holds the most conference championship and postseason implications, as the Homer Trojans travel to Union City to face off with the surging Chargers. To say this game is big is an understatement, in fact it’s so big it was recently voted as this week’s Detroit Lions Michigan High School Football Game of the Week sponsored by Hudl.Homer comes into the contest at 3-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big 8 conference, with wins over Jonesville (38-32), Springport (42-7) and Quincy (56-24) with their lone loss coming at Ithaca in their season opener by the score of 60-39.One thing is for certain, Homer can score the football as they head into week five averaging 43.75 points per game. On the other hand teams have been able to score on the Trojans, as opponents themselves are averaging 30.75 points per game at the midway point of the season.Homer, much like Union City, likes to mix the pass and the run, although their offense seemingly goes where the passing game goes. Senior quarterback Davey Mohn has had an amazing season as has junior receiver Logan Bryant. Mohn is coming off of a 355 yard four touchdown performance versus Quincy, with Bryant catching five of those passes for 192 yards and three scores.In short, the Homer offense is dynamic and they can sling the ball around, but they are about to go against possibly the best defense in all of the Big 8.Union City has only averaged 20 points scored per game, they have also only given up an average of 5 points per contest, having outscored their opponents 80-42. The Chargers are coming off one of the biggest wins in recent memory for the program, having just defeated the 4th ranked team in Division 8 in the Reading Rangers by the score of 18-16. Union City also boasts wins over Quincy (42-6) and Jonesville (6-0) with their lone loss coming to the 5th ranked team in Division 8 the Centreville Bulldogs in week one by the score of 20-14.For the Chargers, where the defense goes, they go, and so far they have went some big places. Union City has shut down opposing teams during their three game winning streak, holding down a Jonesville squad that just scored 51 points on Bronson to zero points while also holding a dangerous Reading attack to just two scores.The defense is big, physical and fast, led by linebackers Owen Jackson and Colton Russell, along with one of the best defensive fronts in the conference in Tyler Wagley, Phoenix Elkins, Grady Iobe and Jakob Fosmore. The secondary is where Union City will be tested this week, as Homer’s passing attack is absolutely lethal. Look for the likes of Riley Laird, Rick Austin, Austin Jeffries, and Luke Watson to have big games in order for the Chargers to win.On offense the Chargers will need to score to keep up with the Trojan offense but I’m sure the Union City coaching staff wants to stay away from a shoot out with the high powered Homer offense. Union City is a team that can do it both, they can either grind it out on the ground with their Wing-T offense and running backs Riley Laird, Colton Russell, Owen Jackson and Landyn Crance or they can open things up and go over the top with quarterback Eli Payne and receivers Rick Austin and Jeremy Zehr.It’ll come down to that Union City defense and whether they can stop the high powered Homer offense, and if they can’t whether the Charger offense can hold court in a shoot out. So far the Charger defense has held against some good teams, and so far the Union City offense has been able to score against some good defenses. Look for that to continue and the Chargers to take a huge win and take their spot in the driver’s seat for the Big 8 title.Prediction: Union City 28-Homer 24.
Game Two- Jackson Lumen Christi Titans (1-3) at Coldwater Cardinals (0-4), Friday at Cardinal Field, kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.This is Coldwater’s annual Purple Game, an amazing week long fundraiser done by the school to raise money and awareness for cancer research in Branch County. This event was started a few years ago and has been a rousing success ever since. For this game Coldwater will be sporting special purple jersey’s bearing the name of someone who is fighting or has fought the evil that is cancer. It is a great cause and one that always inspires the Cardinals to play their best.Coldwater is coming off a tough 46-0 loss to what I believe is the best team in the conference in Hastings, while Lumen Christi is coming off their first win of the season, defeating who I believe is the second best team in the conference in Parma Western by the score of 19-14. Lumen Christi had a tough start to the season but appear to be picking things up, playing better on both sides of the ball.Coldwater has had a rough start to the season and is still looking for their identity, relying more on the pass than in recent years with the connection of Zach Coffing to Donte Work paying dividends. Even with that excellent connection Coldwater has only scored 21 points combined throughout their four games, not a great statistic at the midway point of the season.Bottom line, Coldwater is well coached, they have the heart, they are just replacing too much on both sides of the ball. I think the Cardinals will get in the win column, just not this week.Prediction: Lumen Christi 28, Coldwater 6
Game Three- Quincy Orioles (0-4) at Manchester Flying Dutchmen (3-1) at Manchester High School, Friday night at 7 p.m.Quincy enters week five still looking to break into the win column but things are looking up as the offense finally got rolling in the Orioles loss to Homer, putting up 24 total points after having only scored six points all season. Unfortunately Quincy has to take the very long trip to Manchester to face their Cascades Conference counterparts in the Flying Dutchmen who enter the week at 3-1. Manchester has wins over Whitmore Lake (20-6), Addison (29-26) and East Jackson (49-26) with their lone loss coming to Napoleon (30-25).Manchester has outscored opponents 123-98 on the year, while Quincy has been outscored 148-30 for the season.Quincy’s defense is solid, led by the likes of Davin George, Blaine Pish, Brady Mescher and more, but Manchester has shown the ability to score the football.On offense Quincy got going behind the speed of Sam Sawyer and Ethan Copas along with the throwing ability of Brennan Allman who found Ryder Schmachtenberger for a passing touchdown.Things are definitely looking better for the Orioles as the offense starts to flow, but the long trip to Manchester will not be their first notch in the win column, that comes a little later. Manchester will defend home field in this one.Prediction: Manchester 38, Quincy 12.
Game Four- Reading Rangers (3-1) at Bronson Vikings (2-2) at Bronson High School, Thursday night at 7 p.m.Due to the ongoing officials shortage this game has been moved to Thursday evening as the Vikings will host the Rangers in a rare Thursday night affair. Bronson is on a two game skid, having dropped two big decisions, falling to Michigan Center and to Jonesville this past week. Reading meanwhile comes off of their first loss of the season at 18-16 decision to the Union City Chargers in an exciting game.Bronson will counter a very good Reading defense with a solid rushing attack, led by the likes of Aiden Whitaker and quarterback Boston Bucklin. The likes of Jacob Dixon and Everardo Lozada gives the Vikings much needed grit inside, but it may not be enough against a pack of angry Rangers.Bronson is struggling right now and Reading will be a little angry coming in to the game after that tough loss versus the Chargers. Look for Reading to get back on the winning track and hand Bronson their third straight loss.Prediction: Reading 38, Bronson 13.
Game Five- Tekonsha Indians (3-1) at Bellevue Broncos (0-4) at Bellevue High School, Friday night at 7 p.m.Tekonsha is coming off a huge win in week four, blasting previously undefeated Litchfield 60-6, a game that saw the Indians rush for 528 total yards, with 354 of those yards coming from quarterback Wyatt Blashfield while another 152 came from tailback Xander Kilbourn. Tekonsha did not pass the ball at all during the win, because they didn’t need to, as their rushing attack averaged 13.9 yards per carry. That running game is made possible thanks to one of the very best offensive lines in the state of Michigan. They are big and physical, they are athletic and they play with an attitude. They know they are the best and they take pride in it, which makes them very dangerous. Thanks to that running game and that offensive line Tekonsha is averaging 44 points per game, compared to 11.5 points per game for Bellevue.Bellevue is 0-4 coming in to the game, falling to Camden Frontier, Litchfield, Colon and Climax Scotts while Tekonsha is on a three game winning streak after losing their first game of the season to Camden Frontier 36-6. Tekonsha has since beaten Waldron 58-6, St. Phil 52-28, and Litchfield 60-6.Tekonsha is currently averaging 414.3 yards per game on the ground, compared to just 47.3 for Bellevue. Total yards, Tekonsha averages 502.5 while the Broncos have put up 86.7 yards per contest, a huge discrepancy there.Tekonsha is on a mission and I don’t think Bellevue will be able to stop Blashfield, Kilbourn and company. Tekonsha wins big.Prediction: Tekonsha 52, Bellevue 6.
Do you agree with Sports Editor Troy Tennyson? Disagree? Let him know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep in mind these are just one man’s opinion on the games and their predicted outcomes. Stay tuned to The Daily Reporter throughout Friday night’s activities for stats, scores and news concerning all games being played under the Friday Night Lights. Tune in to the video version of these picks as Troy joins Sturgis Journal Sports Editor Brandon Watson in picking both St. Joe and Branch County Football games.
This article originally appeared on Coldwater Daily Reporter: Branch County Prep Football Week 5 Previews and Predictions