Montague football team ready for the battle of the unbeatens, with or without star running back Brayman

By Adam Knorr
LocalSportsJournal.com

MONTAGUE – The Montague football team got through the first round of the playoffs without Cameron Brayman.

But that was against a clearly overmatched Delton Kellogg squad.LSJ Logo incert

On Friday the Wildcats travel to Comstock Park High School to play Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian, a decidedly more qualified opponent, in a Division 6 district championship game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.Sport clips 2015 football sponsor logo

Both teams are 10-0 on the season and hungry to advance, so something has to give.

Brayman may or may not be available for the game. The Wildcats know they will have to be prepared, either way, and they think they can be successful, if necessary, without their star running back.

Brayman, a senior, suffered a arm injury in the final game of the regular season. He has been a workhorse and star for the Montague offense this season, racking up 156 carries for 1,470 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground.

It’s tough to replace that kind of production, particularly in big games.

“He’s still trying to heal up,” said Montague Coach Pat Collins. “He says it feels good, but what (the trainers) decide we don’t know so we’re just waiting on that.”

The Wildcats are not without weapons if Brayman can’t play.

Cameron Braymen on the rush against Ravenna earlier this season. Photo/Tim Reilly

Cameron Braymen on the rush against Ravenna earlier this season. Photo/Tim Reilly

They will obviously rely on senior quarterback Jacob Buchberger, an two-way threat who has 1,330 yards rushing and 869 yards passing.

They can also turn to sophomore running back Eddie Caviedes, who was their leading running back as a freshman last season, and has 581 yards on 87 carries this year.

“He’s excited,” Collins said.“He loves the challenge and has been waiting and doing different roles this season.

“(Brayman) was more of an h-back, but we found out he could run the ball and we decided as a philosophy for the year we were going to rest our main offense on that because he was a beast kind of runner.

“Eddie started running more receiver stuff and he’s still our changeup back in certain formations. Now Eddie has a chance to get back there and do what he did last year, which is lead the team in rushing as far as running backs went.”

NorthPointe Christian also has more than it’s share of offensive weapons.

Senior quarterback Spencer Peterson is the team’s has completed 51 of 112 passes for 816 yards and  nine touchdowns. He is also the team’s leading rusher with 685 yards and 20 touchdowns on 81 carries.

Eddie Caviedes rushes for a Montague touchdown in its opening playoff win over Delton Kellogg. Photo/Scott Stone

Eddie Caviedes rushes for a Montague touchdown in its opening playoff win over Delton Kellogg. Photo/Scott Stone

Other players that could make trouble for Montague include sophomore running back Jalen Shaffer  (56 carries for 347 yards and four touchdowns), and senior wide receivers T.J. Swore (19 catches, 471 yards and six touchdowns) and Kyler Dunn (12 catches, 153 yards and one touchdown).

Montague has scored a few more points than NorthPointe Christian this year – 440-358, but NorthPointe has been stingier on defense, giving up only 76 points, compared to Montague’s 245.

Collins knows that teams like NorthPointe don’t win every game by chance, but believes the West Michigan Conference (WMC) gauntlet has prepared his Wildcats well for anything in the playoffs.

“We have a good league and what it provides is not only great competition, but a variety of different offense and defense styles,” said Collins, whose team won the conference title this year. “We’ve seen pretty much everything you can see in a season with offense and defense. They’re not only teams that push you to the limit but they also run a variety of different looks.”

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