Orioles win away from playoffs
The Ludington Orioles (5-2, 2-2) will be on the hunt Friday night at Oriole Field looking for the one more victory that will send them to the MHSAA football playoffs. Coming to town will be the Stockbridge Panthers (1-6, 1-4), a team that Ludington played last season for the first time. The Orioles came away with a 21-20 win in that meeting.
Stockbridge, a Class C school with an enrollment of 412, is a member of the Greater Lansing Activities Conference along with Lake Odessa-Lakewood, Leslie, Olivet, Perry and Vermontville-Maple Valley.
In week two of this season, the Orioles defeated Maple Valley in Vermontville, 35-6. Stockbridge, in week four, lost to Maple Valley 53-50.
Stockbridge does have a veteran team with a lot of seniors and juniors.
“Stockbridge is an older team,” said Ludington head coach Charlie Gunsell. “I am shocked, watching them on film, that they are 1-6. Their athletes and their record just don’t match up. They have a very good junior class.
“They also have a big-time quarterback. He is about 6-4, 6-5 and he puts the ball all over the field,” added Gunsell. “They have had good quarterbacks at Stockbridge. They seem to mentor them well.
“They will spread us out on offense with four or five wide receivers. We haven’t seen much five-wide,” said Gunsell “They will throw from sideline to sideline.”
Keeping the Panthers quarterback in the pocket and putting pressure on him will be a key for the Orioles.
“On defense, Stockbridge likes to get after the quarterback,” noted Gunsell. “They will change fronts a lot and lineup differently. They are high-risk and high-reward on defense.”
“But it will be interesting to see how they do after the three-hour ride to get here,” added Gunsell.
The Orioles expect to dress 23 players for the contest.
“We sent a couple of our sophomores back to the junior varsity because they will have a game of their own on Friday,” said Gunsell.
The Orioles will also be without wide receivers C.J. Samuels (out for the season) and Riley Calhoun (should be back next week). For the season, the Panthers have scored 139 points and allowed 331. The Orioles, on the other hand, have put up 201 points and given up 101.