MARQUETTE, Mich. – The last time the Ishpeming Hematites faced a spread offense in the postseason, they took care of business. Ishpeming faced Harbor Beach in the state semifinals last year. The Hematites defense held the Pirates spread offense to a season low 10 points.
Ishpeming is back in the state semifinals for a third consecutive year. The Hematites will face Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals run a spread offense, centered around four guys that can make plays happen.
One way to slow down the Red Birds– control the football. Ishpeming held onto the rock for more than 33 minutes last week against Traverse City Saint Francis.
“If we can control the ball, keep it in our hands and try to get some long, extended lives, it throws them out of their rhythm,” said Ishpeming head coach Jeff Olson. “That’s our game plan all of the time no matter what type of team we are playing and it’s going to be no different (this week. This team compared to the other teams, we have to stop four athletes. The other teams had two phenomenal athletes, so it’s going to be a tough test,” Olson went on to say.
“They have some big guys on their team,” said Marcus Antilla about the Cardinals. “They have a really big receiver and a couple of big lineman. We just have to come low at the big guys.”
“We just have to keep having hard practices. Our line has played pretty good this year and our secondary earlier in the season it was kind of lacking, but now I think we’re good. Everyone has been stepping up quite a bit,” said Ishpeming lineman Dan Thornton.
Saturday’s game between the Hematites and Cardinals is set for 2 p.m. at the Superior Dome. The other semifinal in Division seven features Pewamo Westphalia against Detroit Loyola, Saturday at 11 a.m. at Jackson High School.