Brighton football coach Brian Lemons looks at the standings, like everyone else.
His job this week is to convince his players that his 5-1 Bulldogs won’t have a walkover when they take on 1-5 Hartland tonight.
“It always makes me nervous when a team is up against it and Hartland’s record the way it is, it doesn’t dictate how they’ve played,” Lemons said. “Watching the film, they’ve done a good job, they’ve just been on the back end of a couple losses.”
Hartland, meanwhile, is looking to at least delay Brighton’s bid to clinch a playoff spot when the teams meet tonight in a game that will be broadcast on The Livingston Post at 6:50 p.m.
“Like everyone else, our kids have played them for years in Little League and other sports,” Hartland coach Brian Savage said. “It’s the proximity. It’s a typical Livingston County rivalry.”
Brighton can clinch at least a tie in the KLAA West with a victory, while Hartland looks to rebound after a 19-0 loss to Pinckney last week. In that game, the Eagles crossed into Pirates territory only once, early in the second half.
Part of that was due to wind and rain that hampered passing attacks in Hartland and Brighton; the Bulldogs attempted only eight passes for 10 yards.
“When I watch them on film, they seem pretty balanced throwing and running the ball,” Lemons said.
Brighton rolled past Milford 48-21, with Luke Helwing rushing for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Four other Bulldogs also scored rushing touchdowns.
“They’ve shared the wealth,” Savage said. “They have thrown the ball. They do a good job in giving you a good look.”
Brighton’s homecoming festivities include grand marshals Bill Murray and Ted Buckless. Murray coached the Bulldogs for 21 seasons while Buckless is a former wrestling coach. Both retired as teachers in June.
Savage, with a wry grin, wouldn’t mind being a spoiler.
“We didn’t get a win at our homecoming (last week),” he said, “so we’ve got another chance to do what we can. We’re going to show up and do our best.”
Lemons, for his part, embraces homecoming.
“It’s great,” he said. “Everyone’s got spirit. everyone’s excited about the game. The kids are excited. It doesn’t matter what opponent you’re playing. Everyone is fired up.”