In sports, they say the hardest thing to do other than winning a championship is defending it. The Ishpeming Hematites will attempt to win their second straight Division 7 Football Title Saturday morning at Ford Field.
The Hematites will take on the same team they defeated in the state finals a year ago in Detroit Loyola. Just like Ishpeming, the Bulldogs are 13 and 0.
Last year, no one gave Ishpeming a chance to win the crown. But, despite the critics, Ishpeming took down Detroit Loyola 20 to 14 in route to a State Championship.
That left a bad taste in the Bulldogs mouth. In a Detroit Free Press article last week, Detroit Loyola talked about a sign in their locker room that reads ‘Remember Ishpeming,’ reminding them of that game on a daily basis.
“They’ve been talking about us all year,” said Ishpeming Head Coach Jeff Olson. “It’s been on there bulletin boards. They talk about it in the offseason. They’ll get their chance. It’s going to be a tough game. They’re a great team. We played a great game last year to beat them. But, again, no one is going to give us much of a chance except us. That’s fine with me. They’re going to be tough, but I’ll tell you what, so are we.”
“They’re a good team. We’re a good team. It’s going to be a good game,” remarked Hematites’ Running Back Bobby Zhulkie.
“They’re ready for us, but we’re ready for them too. So, bring it on!” noted Ishpeming Linebacker Mitch Laurin.
“It’s going to be a fun one. They had an article in the [Detroit] Free Press saying, ‘Remember Ishpeming,’ and they should remember us because we beat ’em last year and we’re going to beat them again this year,” said Hematites’ Quarterback Alex Briones. “They’re bigger than us, but one thing they don’t have is our heart. They don’t have our toughness. We’re going to go in and play our hearts out like we do every week.”
One of the Bulldogs better players, Defensive Tackle Malik McDowell, transferred to another school last summer, so the Hematites won’t have to worry about him.
The State Title rematch between 13 and 0 Detroit Loyola and the undefeated Hematites will be carried live on Fox Sports Detroit Saturday at 10 a.m. eastern time.