Reprinted from an article in THE TIMES HERALD written by Joseph Hayes
September 26, 2012
In many ways, the Port Huron Northern football team barely resembles a 1-4 team.
Last week, the Huskies battled tooth and nail with rival Port Huron before mistakes tripped them up in a 45-20 loss.
With Macomb Area Conference Blue Division play set to resume this week, the Huskies (1-1, 1-4) feel they are on the cusp of a breakthrough if they can limit those miscues. Last week, they turned the ball over six times. If they expect to pull off the upset Friday when they travel to Grosse Pointe South, that must change.
“We missed out on a lot of opportunities last week,” Northern senior outside linebacker and tight end Donovan Barnes said. “We had a lot of bad turnovers. That’s not coming from one person. It’s a team effort. We have to come out and be ready to go the next play.
“If we stick to our game plan, we should be ready to go. We have a lot of potential on this team. We just have to put it together.”
Grosse Pointe South (2-0, 4-1) is coming off a 34-14 win over Roseville and should have confidence when it plays the Huskies. The Blue Devils have won five straight over Northern, including a 34-6 victory last season.
“We haven’t beat them a lot in the past, but we know it’s a big rivalry,” Northern sophomorequarterback Alex Merchant said. “I’m going to play my heart out for my team.”
Last week, Merchant did just that. He took over for senior Blake Goulding, who broke a legin practice last week, and completed 17 of 27 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns against Port Huron.
“For his first start on such a big stage, I thought he played an excellent game,” Northern coach Pat Connell said. “He wasn’t scared of the situation. I think he was pretty proud of himself, too. “The next step for him is to continue to build a rapport with the receivers. Once he gets the timing down with those kids, he will hit them in stride so they can make yards after catch. We didn’t have a lot of yards after catch last week. That’s a credit to Port Huron High and its defense.”
Although the Huskies have only a slim chance to make the playoffs, they do have an opportunity to win the MAC Blue. In fact, a win this week would put them in a tie for first place with a 2-1 divisional record.
“Last week, we didn’t capitalize on our chances,” Merchant said. “We came back and have had a good week of practice. We just have to maintain our focus, not have any stupid turnovers and play the game the way we know how.”