Belleville has gotten to the Division 1 football semifinals the last three seasons.
Hartland is having its first winning season in six years.
All of that will be moot tonight, when the teams meet at Belleville for the KLAA league title in a game to be broadcast on The Livingston Post. Click here for a link.
“The kids are excited,” Hartland coach Brian Savage says. “We set some goals way back when, last winter, and they’ve done a great job working toward those goals and put themselves into this spot. We’re happy to be here.”
The Eagles (7-1 overall, 6-1 KLAA West) have been relying on a rushing attack led by running back Joey Mattord, who has rushed for over 900 yards this season behind a powerful offensive line.
Sam Clay, who moved to quarterback when Brad Sollom sustained a season-ending injury, is a talented, shifty back in his own right.
Belleville, meanwhile, is led by freshman quarterback Brady Underwood, a 6-2 right-hander who’s a threat to run and pass.
“He’s going to be really good,” Savage said. “They do a lot of run-pass options, and he pulls it down (to run) a lot. They’ve got a platoon of running backs. They have a workhorse guy and a couple of scatbacks who can turn on a dime. Wherever you look, they’ve got kids, but there are some who stick out after watching film all week.”
It’s the first meeting between the schools on what expect to be the first chilly night of the fall. Belleville has a turfed field, but Savage doesn’t expect that to be a factor.
“I don’t think it will be a factor at all,” he said. “It’s suppose to be dry by game time. I really don’t get caught up in (grass vs. turf). We’ll show up, and whatever’s on the ground, we’ll play on it. We’re not real fussy.”
Hartland clinched the East Division title last week. The Eagles’ only loss was at Brighton, while Belleville’s came in a 28-21 loss to Livonia Churchill. Hartland clinched a spot in the title game by beating Canton, while Belleville needed losses by Churchill and Dearborn to seal their spot.
Now that they’re both here, Savage said, the Eagles are looking forward.
‘They’ve got a good program going,” he said, “They’re going to be a challenge, but we’re going to show up and show them what we’ve got as well. From here on out, it’s playoff time. That’s the thought we have, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”