OT Riley Norman, Cadillac Try to Stay Unbeaten Against Tough Titans
The 4-0 (2-0) Cadillac Vikings will face another tough test this week when they travel to face the 3-1 (2-0) Traverse City West Titans. Cadillac will be in for a true battle against a defense that has only allowed 11 points per game. Can their big tackle Riley Norman open up holes to help the Vikings break through that tough Titan defense?
Traverse City West lost their season opener on the road when they played Kenowa Hills Knights. The Titans held the Knight to only 16 points, but missed both of their extra point attempts to lose the game 16-12.
Their second game was at home against the Grand Haven Buccaneers, a game in which Traverse City West won 16-14. This was a tough game for them on the ground, rushing as a team for only 127 yards on 44 carries. They did score 2 touchdowns on the ground though. Their quarterback Donny Cizek did go 11 for 17 for 156 yards in this game as well.
Their last two games were blow outs as they shut down conference opponents Gaylord Blue Devils at home and the Alpena Wildcats on the road. They defeated Gaylord by the score of 48-14 and Alpena was shut-out 42-0.
Cadillac will have their hands full this week on defense. From what I have seen, the Titans are going to want to run the ball. It looks like they will continue to pound the ball, even if it isn’t working in hopes to break it open. Against Grand Haven this was the case when they were rushing the ball for only 2.9 yards per carry. They were moving the ball through the air with success, yet still they continued to grind it out. The Vikings are going to need to have a similar game plan. Shut down this strong running game from Traverse City West and force them to pass. Cadillac has played fundamental, sound defense so far, so they need to keep playing their assignments and I think they can do just that. Forcing them to pass also can be a great way to get turnovers, which is the other thing that the Vikings like to do. Norman and the rest of that big defensive line are going to need to play in the backfield and disrupt what they Titans are trying to do. After shutting down the running game, they’re going to need to keep the quarterback from getting time to throw as well.
The Vikings’ offense is very similar to what the Titans want to do. They run the ball and if it struggles they can put it up, in hopes to open up the tight defense. This week they are going to be in for a battle. As I have said above, Traverse City West has a tough defense and Cadillac is going to need to pull out all the stops if they are going to crack it. During their game against the Glenn Bobcats, the Vikings couldn’t get anything going on the ground, but with the help of two big passing plays, they won the game 15-14. I think their offense is going to need to do something similar to this if their running game can’t get going. Cadillac’s quarterback Jalen Brooks will be important for this Cadillac offense to move the ball on the ground and through the air. He needs to hit the holes or get time from that big line being led by Norman.
Last year the game was played in Cadillac and the Vikings scored the 21-16 victory. Cadillac went up 21-7 at halftime and then held on as the Titans scored 9 points in the 4th for the win.
This year the game will be played in Traverse City. I think that both teams are coming in with great teams this year. I give the edge in defense to the Titans, but I think that the Vikings have the better offense. I do think the big tackle for Cadillac, Norman and his counterpart on the other side of the line Jack Ford are big issues for this Titan defense though. Both play on Cadillac’s defense as well, which makes their defensive line strong. My prediction is that we have a similar score as last year as the Vikings stay unbeaten, 17-16.
This game will be played on Friday, September 21st, at 7:00 p.m. at Traverse City West High School in Traverse City, Michigan.
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