Howell football ends season on a high note
November 3, 2011 • Patrick Miller, Sports Editor
Filed under Sports
After losing a majority of their team to graduation last year, the Highlanders knew they were going to have their work cut out for them. There were also extremely high expectations, especially since they had just come off one of their most successful seasons in school history, claiming the division title and reaching the quarterfinals.
Nevertheless, the Highlanders entered the 2011 season with a winning mentality.
Howell looked very strong in their first game of the season at Eastern Michigan University, where they easily beat Utica Stevenson 21-6. It looked as though the Highlanders were on their way to replicate last season’s performance.
However, Howell revealed their weaknesses against a high powered Plymouth attack, losing 14-35.
The Highlanders bounced back from the tough loss and defeated Hartland in a tough battle, 20-13.
Despite the comeback performance at Hartland, Howell struggled the following four weeks.
In the first game of the losing streak, the Highlanders appeared to be taking care of business when they went into halftime, leading Pinckney 21-6. Howell came out flat in the second half and let the Pirates score 31 unanswered points.
The Highlanders sputtered offensively and the defense could not stop Pinckney through the air as they lost 21-37.
Howell then faced Grand Blanc away and was simply outmatched by a better opponent in a losing effort, 22-45.
On a cold rainy evening, the Highlanders lost their homecoming game in blowout to Milford, 7-42. The Howell offense was plagued by numerous turnovers, which ultimately decided the outcome.
In the last game of the horrible stretch, they faced their arch rival, the Brighton Bulldogs. Brighton’s offense proved to be relentless as they convincingly beat the Highlanders 42-21.
Even though Howell had hit the low point of their season, they refused to accept another defeat.
In their KLAA crossover matchup, they punished Waterford Mott on their way to a 48-3 win.
The final game of Howell’s season was against Inkster. For the seniors on the team, they would not be denied a victory as they dominated the contest, 35-8.
Throughout the course of the season, the Highlanders were led by seniors Greg Cauley, Josh Gardner, Jon Melanson, Dan Hannah and Nate Mimnaugh.
“They really did a great job providing leadership for our team. They used their experience and never gave up on the season,” Howell coach Aaron Metz said.
While Howell didn’t have the season they were looking for, it really helped with the development of the team.
“It was a building year for the program, with a lot of younger guys getting experience. We didn’t reach our ultimate goal but made improvements from the start of the season to the finish,” senior captain Mimnaugh said.
Highlander coach Metz was still proud of his team despite them finishing the season with a 4-5 record.
“The team gave great effort throughout the entire season. They didn’t quit and were able to finish the season on a high note.”
While it was a rebuilding year for the Highlanders, they will work hard to continue their winning ways next season.
“Hopefully, the juniors learned from this season and will apply that next year so we can have a great season,” coach Metz said.