Who: Livonia Churchill (7-2) at Pinckney (8-1)
Where: Pinckney High School
When: 7 p.m.
Broadcast: On the Livingston Post. Broadcast time is 6:50 p.m.
What’s next: For the winner, a game against the winner of the Livonia Franklin-Walled Lake Western game. If Western wins, the game is at Western. If Franklin wins, the game would be at the winner of the Churchill-Pinckney contest.
Churchill lost to Canton in last week’s KLAA championship game after going 6-0 in the KLAA Gold this season. Its other loss was to Livonia Stevenson in week 3. The Chargers are led by running backs Darrell Mason and Tyrese Williams. They are in the playoffs for the fifth time in seven seasons. “We know from the past how good KLAA football is,” says Pinckney coach Rod Beaton, whose school was in the KLAA last season. “We know there are very good football teams there, well-coached and competitive every night. They (Churchill) play very sound, fundamental football, and they do good things on both sides of the ball. It’s definitely a big challenge for us.” Fun fact: The Chargers were the team the Pirates played the night Pirate Stadium opened in 2011. Churchill won 14-7.
No place like home
The Pirates were elated to get a home game after computer projections had them being on the road despite their 8-1 record. “The community has been erupting,” said Pinckney’s Cauy Hendee. “I have people telling me every day, ‘Good job.’ It’s great to see that we have a solid community.” Pinckney High School is having a pep assembly, organized by the football team, to honor its SEC champions this fall as well as getting students pumped up for the game. Fans are being encourage to wear red for the game.
“We have to make them earn every single thing,” Beaton says. “We’re not aiming for a shutout by any means. We just have to play good solid fundamental football. Make them earn things consistently and keep ourselves in the game.” The Pirates have won seven in a row and could tie a school record with a win tonight. The formula, players say, is simple. “We have to pick up their blitzes, and I think we’ll be fine,” Hendee said. That simple? he was asked. “Yeah. Do our job, take our right steps (as linemen) and, yeah.” Quarterback Jack Wurzer, who hasn’t thrown an interception in 140 tries this year, was even more to the point. “Do what we do best, as our coaches say,” he said. “We do what we do, and we win.”
Each Pinckney player gets a bone to put on his helmet after positive accomplishments during practice and games. Wurzer’s helmet has the message “Got ’em, Larry.” in honor of Larry Prout Jr., who has inspired the Pirates and the Michigan Wolverines with his spirit and personality despite having undergone 100 surgeries in his life. Read more here. “He resembles toughness and courage, from what all he’s gone through.” Wurzer said. “You don’t look at guys like these and see what they go through and not see what toughness they have.”