**ARTICLE BY JOSH LONGSTRETH**
Bay City John Glenn vs Frankenmuth
After a season opening win, the John Glenn Bobcats have had a couple weeks that have not gone in their favor. Although their offense has kept them in those games, to a point, the defense has given up 42 and 43 points, respectively. This week. they will be tested again in the form of the Frankenmuth Eagles.
Frankenmuth enters the season at 3-0, and is riding high after their best all-around game of the year last Friday against Birch Run. The Eagles defense really helped lead that effort hold the Panthers to just 131 yards of total offense. Sam Barger has led the way for the Eagles on the ground this year. The Senior is averaging 91.3 yards per game for Frankenmuth to go with 5 touchdowns on the year. At the helm for the Eagles is QB Aidan Hoard. Hoard has not turned the ball over for the Eagles, and he is averaging 47.3 yards on the ground himself. Griffin Barker has chipped in with 48 yards per game on the ground. Dalton DeBeau has led the Eagles on the defensive side with 6.3 tackles per game. Ryan Tutt and Colin Main have gotten after the opposing quarterbacks and tallying 3 sacks apiece on the year.
The Bobcats will look to gain a monumental win on Friday night as they welcome in the Eagles Friday night. The two will clash at John Loop Football Field in Bay City with a start time of 7:00.
Essexville Garber vs Freeland
After outscoring their opponents 72-0 in the first two games of the season, the Garber Dukes dropped a tough one last week. They would suffer their first defeat of the year, 27-21, to Swan Valley. It was a game that Swan Valley was desperate to have. Garber will look to bounce back against a Freeland team that has been nothing short of dominant. The Dukes will look to really get back to their defensive ways this week. They are led by stalwarts on the defensive side of the ball in Ethan Burrows and Cade Coquillard. The two have averaged over 10 tackles per game individually on the year. They will look to limit a Freeland team who is gelling offensively.
The Freeland Falcons come into this one clicking on all cylinders. They have outscored their opponents through three weeks, 150-22. It was a team that had some turnover this year, but that has not stopped them in getting off to a quick start. Ty Fournier has pitched in to help the Falcons by averaging 50.3 yards per game on the ground and 73.3 yards per game receiving. He has accounted for three touchdowns. Nick Harrington and Sam Talaga have helped with 4 touchdowns apiece, all on the ground. On the defensive side it has been Gabe Blanchard and Tommy Melzo accounting for over 7 tackles per game apiece. They look to keep things running smooth against the Dukes this week.
Freeland has won the last three against the Dukes. Garber will look to change that Friday night when they travel to Falcon country. The two square off in Freeland with a start time of 7:00.
Ithaca vs St. Louis Preview
After a tough loss in week two, the Ithaca Yellowjackets were able to bounce back in a big way last week. Ithaca would cruise to a 48-6 win over Nouvel Catholic Central. It was a welcome sign for the Jackets, as they put together their best all-around performance of the year. Bronson Bupp has led the way for them on offense, accounting for over 300 yards of total offense per game and 11 touchdowns. Noah Risner has been a force on both sides of the ball. The junior has averaged 56 yards per game on the ground and 2 touchdowns, while pacing the defense with 10 tackles per game on the year. Bupp has found Ethan Hull through the air much of the year. Hull leads the team in receiving at 104 yards per game to go along with 4 touchdowns. Charlie Martyn has chipped in with 3 touchdowns on offense to go with 2 interceptions on the defensive side. Junior defensive lineman Brandon Pas has caused havoc with 4 sacks on the year, and 5 tackles per game.
The St. Louis Sharks come in on sort of a different note this year. The Sharks nearly escaped with wins the first two weeks of the season. Last week would not go their way from the start as they were defeated by a tough Michigan Lutheran Seminary team, 58-6. Although it hasn’t gone their way early, it’s a young Sharks team that continues the process and keeps battling. The Sharks will look to be on the other side of the final score this week, as they look for their first win of the season against the Yellowjacket swarm.
This is a series that has gone all Ithaca’s way throughout the years. That won’t stop a ready St. Louis squad, as they look to gain a win over Ithaca on Friday night. They welcome in Ithaca into St. Louis with a 7:00 start time.
Clare vs Gladwin Preview
The Clare Pioneers have been a force in the Jack Pine Conference for quite some time now. Since the year 2000, Clare has missed the playoffs just two times. That has been met with numerous Jack Pine Championships and many deep playoff runs. After a tough start to the year in a loss to Freeland, the Pioneers appear to be finding their groove, although it has been met with some adversity. Quarterback Miles Haggart went down early last week with an apparent injury. However, it did not stop the Pioneers from banding together and cruising to a 33-11 victory over Beaverton. Clare would pound it on the ground for much of the game, as they ran for 304 yards. It’s a team that has everyone chip in all year and they showed that again in week three. They will be faced with a different sort of test this week when they face Gladwin.
The Gladwin Flying G’s come into week four outscoring their first three opponents, 172-0. Yes, if you were to look up the word domination, you might very well find their names next to it. It’s a team that after a great 2021 season aren’t willing to settle and their mindset is clear. Play a clean all-around game, while jumping on the opponent early and continuing that for four quarters. Although they have had success, Head coach Marc Jarstfer knows what they were in for this week. After last week’s victory Jarstfer put it quite simple, “We’ll enjoy this one over the weekend. But we’ll change the mindset to Clare pretty quick”. His team will head into this one looking to see if they can take full control of the JPC.
These are two teams that had a couple epic battles in 2021. Gladwin would defeat the Pioneers during the regular season, but Clare was able to split the series in the playoffs. We’ll see who will flinch on Friday night when Clare makes the short trip over to Gladwin in what should be another great battle. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 at Gladwin High School.
MSR WEEK 4 PREVIEWS