Last week, Howell got a big win and Hartland won even bigger.
This week, that’s all in the past as the two longtime rivals meet at Howell High School in a game that will be broadcast on The Livingston Post starting at 6:50 p.m. Click here for the link.
“Obviously, a win’s a win,” said Hartland coach Brian Savage, vastly underplaying his team’s 62-7 win over a Plymouth squad that beat Howell in the season opener. “But we have a 24-hour rule, and records are pretty much out the window when you play the crosstown rival.”
Hartland is 2-0 overall and in the KLAA West, while Howell is 1-1, 1-1 after beating Salem 25-6 last week for its first win under new coach Brian Lewis.
“That was huge for us,” Lewis said of the win. “Hopefully we can produce some momentum moving forward. That was a good win last week, a hard-fought win, and we’re looking forward to seeing what we’ve got this week.”
What the Highlanders figures to be a challenge. The Eagles are led by quarterback Holden D’Arcy, who missed last year due to a knee injury but has come back strong for his senior season.
Last week, he threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more at home against Plymouth.
“Their quarterback’s the real deal,” Lewis said. “Their quarterback’s a really good player. They have big wideouts on either side they can throw it up to at any time. They do a good job there, and the defense is playing really well this year.”
D’Arcy won the starting job as a sophomore before he was injured, and is well versed with the Hartland attack.
Howell quarterback Nolan Petru, a junior in his first season as a starter and learning a new offense, has gotten Savage’s attention.
“He’s gotten better, obviously, each week and seems to be a little more comfortable in the pocket,” Savage said. “Ball security is going to be huge, and whomever wins the turnover ratio is going to have the better night.
“They’re a typical Howell team,” he added. “They’re big up front and they’re getting better every week. Its a rival game, so everything will be out the window, and another challenging night for us.”
The attendance restrictions in force the first two weeks of the season will be in effect tonight, with a spectator ratio of two to every participant on the field, including players, support staff, and cheerleaders.
Next week, due to a recent executive order from Governor Whitmer’s office, schools will be allowed to have up to 1,000 fans in attendance.
Lewis also said that seven unnamed players, who have been in quarantine due to the coronavirus, have been cleared to play this week for the Highlanders.
The teams are well versed with each other; Savage’s daughters have competed for the Howell swim team. He says that familiarity fuels the rivalry.
“These kids, a lot of them play travel ball and stuff together,” Savage said. “They see each other in the shopping malls and grocery stores in the county. So it’s a big deal.”