I can’t lie I don’t know a whole lot about Mattawan or Portage Central, but I picked this game for Friday because it’s close and I love eating at Chinn Chinn’s. The last time I went to a Mattawan game was several years ago (2012 regional final game they lost to Caledonia). I remember only a handful of observations from that day. One of which was how nonchalant the fans sitting around us where in regards to the action on the field. The second was just how big some of these division two players looked. It’s a pretty high level of football. Seemingly not a ton has changed for Mattawan since then although they have a new head coach. The old one was fired and is now at Paw Paw after their coach left this past offseason. But Mattawan hired their defensive coordinator to be their new head guy and it looks like more of the same for them. Ryan Brown’s wildcats went 5-4 last year running the same stuff they’ve come accustomed to there. I will say though after watching some of their highlights from last year they looked a lot more open on offense then their Power T ways of old. I say Power T only because from what I remember and have seen it looks like more double teams with lead blockers then pulling linemen with backfield deception (old Mattawan Power T highlights of a kid who played for WMU). Not that they don’t do both, but true Wing T teams almost never break the T. We used to think that if we forced a team to break the T then we were winning. Last years highlights show a lot of broken T formations for Mattawan which puts them more in the category of a Power T team in my eyes. (A side note it is really difficult to find videos of teams out there so most of what I’m saying probably should be generalized. I don’t have a film vault I jut have YouTube sadly.) I’m excited to see the different formations thrown out there by the wildcats in order to gain an advantage while maintaining their offensive identity. You can’t run the traditional trap, cross, keep series of Wing T options with two backs away from a powered away wing and that limits the amount of formation options they have. It also helps me play a little game I call “tecmo bowl” where I pick your play based on the formation.
Portage Central on the other hand is way different and pretty good. They’ve beaten Mattawan the last three in a row, including a real lopsided affair last year 49-7. Central has only lost five games in the last three years, one of which being a game six point loss to Muskegon in the 2013 state semifinal game. I couldn’t find a ton of videos of them out there but from what I’ve seen people from my neck of the woods would love their split back offense. I stopped watching I started gushing over the old school veer looks, a new age pistol option, some power sweep plays, and I legit stopped watching after seeing an old school toss play that made me reminisce of days of old. I didn’t need to see any more. I never got to be a head coach but I had plenty of ideas of what it would look like and no joke it could have easily resembled the guys in blue and gold from Portage (I don’t know if it’s gold or not but I know most schools that sport yellow like to refer to their color as gold. Just saying.). According to mlive, they are losing a ton of seniors from last year including the Kalamazoo offensive player of the year. With the schemes they are running on offense being so close to my heart I can’t imagine them not being entertaining to watch.
Even if the games a dud though the day should be awesome because I’m eating at Chinn Chinn’s before hand! I’m not the food snob I wish I was but I get a different dish every time I go there and I’ve never been dissatisfied with my meal. It’s a pretty popular place so if you’re hoping to get a seat you’d better get there early so you can make the start of the game.