Reprinted from an article by Paul Costanzo in The Times Herald, September 20, 2012
Tyler Fadell and his Port Huron Northern teammates know most people consider them the underdog in Friday’s game against Port Huron High. It’s just a little extra fuel on a fire that doesn’t really need any.
“We kind of take it and turn it around and use it as extra firepower,” Fadell said. “We know that everyone says that we’re the underdog, but we just have to use that.”
The Huskies want to get back the Brick Fowler Trophy Friday when the two city teams meet at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Port Huron High (3-1) enters the game on a three-game win streak, while the Huskies (1-3) have lost their last two games. Another loss would all but end the Huskies’ bid for a spot in the postseason.
“There’s always a sense of urgency when you’re trying to make the playoffs,” Fadell said. “We want to win out, and PH is definitely a big game to get that started.”
Momentum could be a big key in the game, as it is in most football games. But in a rivalry contest with 5,000 people in the stands that can be magnified.
“When you lose momentum, you get down on yourself,” Northern senior linebacker and running back Micah Moore said.
“It’s like a balance beam. If it’s balanced, it’s a good game. If it’s lopsided to one side, one team is blowing the other one out. That momentum is a crazy thing. Momentum plays a big part, especially this week, with the matchup we’ve got with talent on both sides of the ball for both teams. So momentum is a big thing for us.”
Port Huron High has made its share of big plays, most coming from senior quarterback Mark Chapman. Stopping him —or slowing him down —is the main challenge for the Huskies defense.
“I think I want to use the same quote I used last year, and that’s ‘You want to do everything you can to slow him down,’” Northern coach Pat Connell said. “He’s a solid football player, and he’s a really good athlete.
“They’ve got that receiver (Tony Washington) who’s a really good player, and their running back (Carl Portis-Hollier) —they’re two or three deep at running back with kids that run the ball hard. So you have to make sure that you’re assignment-accountable for the game.”
Being assignment-accountable is something Connell said his team has to be on offense, as well. Senior quarterback Blake Goulding is fighting an injury, but is expected to play. If he can’t go, sophomore Alex Merchant would step in.
“As an offense, you’re looking to, within your scheme, take what they give you,” Connell said. “Get the balls in your playmakers‘ hands and take advantage of it. We think we have a game plan set where we can take advantage of what they’re giving us.
“It’s going to take 11 guys doing their job on every play.”