Howell ready for Catholic Central playoff challenge

Howell coach Aaron Metz talks to his team after it won its 2016 season opener on Thursday, The Highlanders defeated Lansing Everett 18-12. (Photo by Tim Robinson)
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HOWELL —  The Howell football team was one of nearly three-dozen teams that got into the playoffs on points, rather than qualifying outright.

But, the Highlanders reason, we’re here. Let’s make the most of it.

That don’t-worry-just-play attitude could serve them well today, as they take on Detroit Catholic Central in a first round playoff game. The game will be broadcast on The Livingston Post, starting at 12:50 p.m.

“They’re good,” Howell coach Aaron Metz said of the 9-0 Shamrocks. “They wouldn’t have the playoff points or beat the people they did if they weren’t good. To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best, and it might as well be in the first round. We’ve had a good week, and our kids are excited for the opportunity.”

The opportunity might last only as long as the HOwell defense, which has given up points in bunches the last two weeks, can show down the Catholic Central offense.

.In the last two games, both losses, Howell allowed an average of 51.5 points per game.

“It’s been a couple kids out here and there,” Metz said. “It’s been ,for whatever reason, misalignments and missed assignments, and that falls on me as coach, Maybe we got too complicated or too cute with things we were doping instead of linking up and playing football.”

A simpler approach, he said, would likely work well against CC’s offensive philosophy, which is to dare teams to stop the Shamrocks’ rushing attack. So far, no one has.

“They’re sound,” Metz said. “They don’t make many mistakes and they don’t turn the ball over. They do all the cliche things They play field position, they play good defense and they run the ball. So I think we have some challenges up front. We have to play our best game.”

And, senior running back Joey Gossett says, the last two games, losses to Brighton and Waterford Mott, are ancient history.

“We’ve put those two games behind us,” he said..” We got in, we’re lucky to get in, and now we have to make the most of it. Everyone is coming in 0-0, and we want to come out of this week 1-0.”

Meanwhile, the Highlanders are confident going into the school’s first meeting with CC since the Shamrocks blanked Howell 38-0 at Parker Middle School in the first round of the 2007 playoffs.

“You just gotta have faith in your team,” Logan Russo said.” People think you come in as an underdog, and you’ve got to make that motivating to your team, and I think that’s helping us out.”

The HIghlanders asid they enjoyed the extra day to prepare.

“We’ve had a really good week of practice,” Gossett said. “We’re all focused, and we really do think we can win this game. We’re the only ones who do.”