LAINGSBURG – Following Friday’s victory over Potterville, Brian Borgman didn’t allow his team to relish in its early-season success for long.
For most of the new decade, winning early hasn’t been the issue for the Laingsburg football program. It’s been the lack of oomph in the meat of its schedule that’s been a cause for concern.
In 2011, Laingsburg had five victories going into the final two weeks of the season, but failed to come up with the playoff-clinching sixth win. In 2012, the team was 4-3 before losing its last two games by a combined 12 points. Last year, the Wolfpack started 4-1 – once again two wins shy of guaranteeing a postseason spot – before dropping three of their final four games.
New season, same challenge.
“As soon as we were done watching the Potterville film, I said, ‘Your whole season rides on what we do in the next three weeks,’” Borgman said. He team is 4-1 overall and in a three-way tie for second in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference. “Bottom line, we have one league loss. Dansville has one, Fowler has a league loss. If we win out, we’re going to share a title.”
The path to that title is identical to last year’s. First up? Fulton. Then, with a combined record of 9-1, Pewamo-Westphalia and Dansville. Durand, which lost 48-0 to Laingsburg last year and is still looking for its first win in 2015, caps the regular season.
The late-season struggles have been especially tough on the seniors, who grew up saluting the teams of the mid-2000s that were postseason mainstays. But it’s fueled them, also, to get a taste of football in late October and early November.
“As a senior, it’s been hard. I almost want to use the word embarrassing,” senior tailback Dan Harkness said, “because coming up as a middle schooler, Laingsburg (did well) over teams like Fowler and were pretty even with Fulton and P-W. It feels like we’re not carrying on the legacy like we should. I feel like it’s time to leave our mark and change things.”
Fulton’s 1-4 record suggests the Wolfpack are the favorites heading into Friday, but Borgman isn’t overlooking his team’s conference rival, which already completed its rugged stretch of the schedule.
“Fulton, you can throw the record out of the window,” Borgman said said. “They’ve played Dansville, they’ve played Pewamo-Westphalia, they’ve played Fowler. …Those are three off the top teams in the league. They played Lakewood in Week 1, which is having a great season. It’s their homecoming. Fulton is going to be motivated to play us and it’s going to be a good game.”
The push for the playoffs starts anew Friday.
“If we get back to the playoffs, like when we get to the states in basketball and everything else, it will be an uproar,” senior Levi Fraidenburg said. “The community supports us now, but the environment around us will be way more enthusiastic.”
Contact James L. Edwards III at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.