Close loss puts MCC in unusual position heading into Week 4

Manistee Catholic Central’s Ben Feliczak (20) prepares to haul in a 57-yard touchdown pass from Alex Hogan in Friday’s 22-20 loss to Montabella at Saber Stadium. MCC will host its homecoming game against Crossroads Charter Academy on Friday. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Three years ago, when the current group of Manistee Catholic Central seniors were merely freshmen, it all looked pretty easy.

The Sabers cruised to their first 9-0 regular season while outscoring their opponents 402-50 over that span. Now in their final year with the program, those same players are called upon to take over much bigger roles and aren’t putting games away in the first half every week.

“It feels a lot different to tell you the truth,” senior quarterback Alex Hogan said during Monday’s practice. “Going from my freshman year … to a below .500 record after the first three weeks — that part’s not fun, but just being out here is fun.”

At 1-2, the Sabers find themselves in an unusual position as far as recent years are concerned. Between 2008-10, MCC went 24-3 in the regular season. So, Friday’s 22-20 loss to Montabella stung as the Sabers dropped back below .500.

“We really saw some emotion in that game Friday,” said MCC coach Dave Russell. “There were a lot of teary eyes after that loss. We just have to come back and see what we can do.”

Even Russell isn’t quite sure of what that will be.

“Usually when you have a tough loss or a good win, that next game is kind of tough because you don’t know how they’re going to react,” he said. “I’m dealing with 16-, 17-, 18-year-old kids — I don’t know how they’re going to deal with this tough loss.”

The regrouping process began Monday as the Sabers watched film before hitting the field to take part in a live inter-squad scrimmage.

“I think it’s good to go live because it’s more like a game situation instead of just hitting the pad,” said senior Logan Hansen. “That helps us out a bunch.”

Scrimmaging with such a small roster hasn’t been the norm for the Sabers, but Russell said it’s for a reason — partially to evaluate players at certain positions.

“Usually we don’t (scrimmage) because we’ve got 20 players, but we’re doing it,” he said. “I think it’s really to see our defense up front and see how well they’re doing.”

It can also help the team regain it’s focus following a narrow defeat and kicking off a distraction-laden homecoming week that’s capped with Friday’s West Michigan D League game against Crossroads Charter Academy (0-3).

“A Live scrimmage is what we need because we need to get used to going against live people, full speed, every play,” Hogan said. “The more you get used to that, the easier the game will be.”

 

Leave a Reply