HOWELL — It’s possible that Howell’s football team will have another home game this season.
After all, the Highlanders would likely play host to a playoff game if they win their final three games, but coach Brian Lewis isn’t even considering the prospect.
“Someone mentioned that to me yesterday, and I’m one-week-at-a-time,” Lewis said, laughing. “Once you get to be a football coach, it’s one week at a time. You don’t get to look ahead, because anyone can get you at any time. so we’re focused on this right now.”
For the Highlanders, “this” is a Novi team that would like nothing more than to win and ruin Howell’s celebration.
The game will be broadcast on The Livingston Post, beginning at 6:50 p.m. Click here for a link.
The Wildcats (4-2 overall, 3-2 KLAA West) are tied with Brighton for second place in the league, while Howell (5-1, 4-1) is tied with Hartland and Canton for the league lead.
Should the three co-leaders win tonight, the division title will be decided next week in Hartland, where the Eagles play host to Canton. A Hartland win would give the title to the Eagles, who would win the tiebreaker based on their win over Howell last week no matter what the Highlanders do.
A Canton win next week, and a Howell win at Brighton, would give the title to the Highlanders based on Howell’s win over Canton earlier this season.
But the Highlanders have to get past Novi first, which is why Lewis insists on focusing on this week.
And the Wildcats have plenty to keep the Highlanders occupied, starting with junior quarterback Luke Aurilia, who has accounted for 992 yards of offense, 728 of that through the air this season.
Howell’s quarterback, senior Nolan Petru, has accounted for more than 900 yards for the Highlanders.
Howell also has gotten a boost from running back Cole Quattlander, who has rushed for 358 yards, most of them since August Johanningsmeier and Nolan Ramonaitis went out with injuries against Northville on Sept. 10.
That depth is a source of pride for Lewis.
“That’s why they call us the Howell Highlanders,” he said. “It’s a team thing. It’s not a one-person thing, or a two-person thing. It’s a team deal. All of these guys have worked hard, and when they’ve gotten the opportunity, they’ve run with it.”
It’s possible Johanningsmeier and Ramonaitis might see action tonight.
“We’re still kind of 50-50,” Lewis said. “I’its going to be a game-time decision. They’re getting closer, though, and progressing well, and that’s a positive. It depends on if they can go full ‘go’ or not.”
Senior defensive lineman Chase Harden expects his team will rebound from last week’s loss and respond if Novi gets on top early.
“We got a loss,” he said. “We’re going to work through this loss, and if we get punched again, we’re going to punch back harder instead of staggering around as we did against Hartland.”
Then again, Hartland was so last week. Tonight, it’s one final guaranteed chance for the Highlanders to make memories at home.
“It’s always great go be in our environment, great to be on our turf, with green and gold everywhere,” Lewis said. “It’s great to be home.”