By Trevor Austin
It has been a long road for the Muskegon Heights football team to get to where they currently find themselves.
The Tigers suffered a winless record of 0-9 in 2018, then went 1-8 in 2019 and the missed out on the 2020 season. This year’s squad hopes to make up for all those struggled and, so far, they’re doing a good job of it.
The Tigers (6-4) travel to face the Carson City Crystal Eagles (9-1) in the Division 7 district championship game at 7 p.m. Friday at Community Field. It’s a rematch of Week 8 when Carson City routed the Tigers 41-13.
Last week the Tiger’s competed in their first-ever home playoff match against the Holton Big Devils and ran away with a 66-42 victory. It was the Tigers’ first playoff victory since 2010.
Despite having to hit the road and compete on a field that was already in rough shape the first time the teams squared off, Coach Van Parker believes his team is geared up and ready to go anywhere.
“Our plan is to embrace the road and make it home,” said Parker. “Nothing changes, we’ve been road warriors.”
One element that is going to help bolster this Tigers team is being back at full strength. They did not enjoy that luxury for first time around against the Eagles.
“We will be better this time around,” said Parker.
The Eagles are led by head coach Tim Swore, who was voted the Detroit Lion’s Coach of the Week back in September after leading the team to a 5-0 record with a 53-30 victory over Coleman.
The Tigers have their work cut out for them against a well-rounded, balanced Eagles’ team.
“Defensively, they are strong in their front seven and they fly around,” said Parker. “On offense they mix it up a ton using multiple formations.”
Assembling a strong game plan is going to be crucial for the Tiger’s to try to succeed. And playing mistake-free football.
“The major key is controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and we need to tackle well all four quarters,” Parker said. “We need to find some offense early and often.
“We had a great week of practice leading up to game day,” Parker said. “We are just trying to keep the energy and keep rolling.”
The winner will roll into regional action against the winner of Friday night’s game between Iron Mountain (7-3) and Beal City (9-1).