A year and come and gone since last year’s semifinals, and the prevailing sentiment is this: No way could the weather get worse.
Not surprising, considering the logistics involved at Brighton and Howell high schools when a winter storm dumped well over a foot of snow onto Livingston County.
The schools are back at it today, playing host again in weather that promises to be unpleasant, but with no shoveling required.
“I don’t think it will be the gorgeous day we ended the week with,” Brighton athletic director John Thompson said on Friday. “But it looks like it will be better than the last couple of years.”
The matchups should be interesting. At Howell, Detroit Catholic Central and defending Division 1 champ Romeo meet in a Division 1 semifinal. It’s the second trip to Howell for Catholic Central, but the first at Howell High School; the Shamrocks defeated Howell 38-0 in the 2007 playoffs at Parker Middle School.
The Shamrocks (12-0) and Romeo (9-3 met last year in the regional final, which Romeo won 40-29.
At Brighton, another rematch is at hand, when Lowell and Walled Lake Western, which met last year in the semifinals, meet again. Both have won all 12 games they’ve played this season, but Western’s opener against Farmington was forfeited due to an ineligible player.
Both schools are used to handling large crowds, and Howell has hosted a semifinal game nearly every year for more than a decade. That experience, first-year Howell athletic director John Young says, should come in handy.
“It’s a very comforting feeling for me, being new here,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of people from our chain crew all the way up to our ticket takers and our game operations people. We’ll put on another great game.”
Both schools hope the influx of fans at each location will give their local economies a boost as well.
“I think it’s great exposure for the (city) of Howell and great exposure for our school,” Young said.
“I think this is more of a way for Brighton athletics to give back to our community as well as showcase our school district,” Thompson said. “It gives us a chance to showcase our town and our community as well, and bring people in who wouldn’t normally be in Brighton on Saturday, Nov. 19m and eat at our restaurants and shop in our stores and fill their tanks with gas. Those kind of things.”
Certainly as long as the snow stays away.