By Staff Writer: James Edwards
After a promising 3-0 start to the season, the Howell Highlanders’ football team fell into a funk that took them a few games to break out of, probably because of the brutal, four-game road trip that they were on. The Highlanders managed to split the road trip. Following a 24-7 win over Lakeland, Howell is heading into a Friday night game that will dictate if they are going to be playing in the MHSAA state playoffs.
This season, Howell has put on an impressive show given the doubts and criticism that the team received prior to the season. The team has given us everything we could ask for, from blowout wins to nail-biting victories over cross-town rivals. Howell has beaten every team they should beat, lost to powerhouse teams, and have five wins under their belt going into the final game of the season and contending for a playoff spot. That’s a lot for a team that was picked to win three games this season.
“We love turning heads, silencing the critics. It has always been an ‘us against the world’ mentality in this locker room and I am so proud of our guys,” says senior defensive lineman Kyle Scott.
The Highlanders have four of their five wins and have done much of their business on the road this year. Most high school athletes would have a problem with that, but the always content quarterback Darren Ford had a few words to offer. “I guess most people would hate it, but we like quieting the other crowd. We love playing at home, but beating other teams at their place is fun too.”
Howell is eager to get back home and play in front of the always-loyal Highlander fan base for the first time in more than a month to play Jackson Lumen Christi on Friday, October 25. The infamous “Warrior Zone” Howell student section is expected to make a huge appearance to help their classmates get a victory and put them back in the playoffs for a consecutive year.
“We can’t say enough about how much we love our fans. We always have the best atmosphere of any stadium and it just pumps us up,” says junior running back Evan Sieman.
With losses to Grand Blanc and Brighton this year, Howell has found a bit of motivation to make the playoffs and prove that they can still hang with the big dogs. “We have always been a scrappy bunch, and those losses just added fuel to the fire and we are going to go out and play like a playoff team,” says Ford.
Expect the green and gold of the Howell faithful to pack the stands on Friday night as they help propel their boys of fall to a playoff spot. “We just want to put on a good show for the fans,” says Ford.