TONTOGANY – The undefeated and ninth-ranked Otsego Knights (6-0) are not taking the Marion Pleasant Spartans (2-5) for granted.
The two teams are matching up in the second round of the Division V tournament Saturday on the Knights’ home field.
Matt Dzierwa, Otsego’s head coach is making sure his team, a 2 seed, does not overlook Marion Pleasant, an 18 seed who beat Benjamin Logan, 35-13 in the first round.
“We told our kids that if you think 2-5 means something it doesn’t because the competition those guys play is really good,” Dzierwa said. “It’s a really, really tough schedule. 2-5 isn’t indicative of how good this team is.”
Dzierwa and assistant coach Scott Bylow were able to scout the Marion Pleasant game-Benjamin Logan game.
“They are a nice-looking football team. They know how to win and they are really big,” Dzierwa said. “They have won a lot of games in the last handful of years.”
The Knights had a bye last Friday.
“I think the challenge to be honest with you was last week,” Dzierwa said. “In the end we had really good practices. Because we didn’t know who we were going to play. So we kind of prepared for a little bit of both.
“We went back to two-a-day stuff, back to the basics of blocking and tackling, and working on individual stuff … We went pretty hard at it on Thursday and Friday and gave them the weekend off.
“We had a couple of kids that were dinged up. A little muscle here and a little thing there,” he added. “It was nice to get rested. I think it was good for us because at this time of the year usually you are getting a little worn down, tired and mentally beat a little bit.”
With the game being played at Otsego, the Knights are excited to have a play-off game at home.
“It’s pretty rare, it really is,” Dzierwa said about playing at home in the second round.
“We told them after practice (Tuesday) that this is pretty exciting stuff, it’s a different atmosphere, and it’s nice to have a different opponent,” he continued. “I think it’s pretty cool that we get to play someone else that we have never played before at home. I think we might have played them a long time ago.”
Dzierwa added that even without a full stadium because of coronavirus, the community has gotten behind his team and they are looking forward to Saturday.
For the Knights, Joseph Dzierwa is 88-of-138 for 1,363 yards and 18 touchdowns through the air.
Noah Dzierwa has 29 receptions for 436 yards. He has seven TDs and a 2-point conversion for 48 points.
Devin Coon has 20 catches for 294 yards. He has scored two touchdowns, kicked three field goals and had 22 PATs for 43 points.
Chase Helberg has 15 receptions for 272 yards and has scored six touchdowns.
Trent Leiter is the top running threat with 64 carries for 532 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Otsego-Marion Pleasant winner will play the winner of the 7 seed Bucyrus Wynford vs. 10 seed Indian Lake game. The game will be played on the field of the lowest seed.