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Farmington, WL Western meet at the Big House in our Game of the Week

By KEITH DUNLAP, 08/25/16, 11:45AM EDT


Farmington head football coach John Bechtel has probably been asked the infamous question, “Are you nuts?” for a couple of different reasons the entire summer leading up to the start of the season.

One, he agreed to schedule his team’s season opener on Thursday against Walled Lake Western, a team which suffered its only loss last year to a powerful Lowell team in a Division 2 state semifinal and returns a good core of players who are a year better and hungrier this season.

If that wasn’t enough, Bechtel is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, returning just three starters and knowing he will be throwing plenty of new faces into the fire against a state juggernaut.

Oh, and those new players will get their first extended taste of varsity football at one of the country’s most famous stadiums, “The Big House” at the University of Michigan, as part of a three-day event in Ann Arbor to kickoff the prep football season.


But while having an inexperienced team go up against a great team with experience in a historic atmosphere appears to be as bad of a mismatch as a footrace between Usain Bolt and well, everyone else on the planet, there is a method to Bechtel’s supposed madness.

It’s not every day your kids get to play at Michigan Stadium and it’s not every day a team can get such a great measuring stick of where it is right off of the bat, such as what Farmington will have after playing Western.

“Every time we have played them we have had great games,” Bechtel said. “(Western head coach) Mike (Zdebski) and I get along great and we thought it would be fun.”

Evidently, fans of both schools agree it will be fun, since it was voted the “Game of Week” on MIPrepZone for Week 1 of the season.

The game collected 68.9 percent of the 6,717 votes cast.

These teams might be in different leagues, but they do have a nice history together. The Falcons and Warriors met regularly in the 1990’s as members of the old Western Lakes Activities Association and did meet in the first round of the Division 2 state playoffs in 2012, a game won by Western, 31-28. Western leads the all time series 9-2 in eleven meetings.

“They have always been very good defensively in the years we have played them,” Western head coach Mike Zdebski said. “They always scheme very well and put things in that give you a problem. When we played them in the playoffs a few years back, they came out and did things we hadn’t seen on film all year offensively. We were scrambling to make adjustments all game long.”

For Western, the game will end a long countdown to what will be one of the most anticipated seasons in the history of the storied program.

Wide receiver Cody White (Michigan State commit), lineman Rob Hudson (multiple Division I college offers), and wideouts/defensive backs Kam Ford and Jack Dodge headline a deep, versatile team full of potential future college players that got so close to Ford Field last year and want take that next step come this year.

But Farmington will take its best shot and regardless of the outcome, will be more battle-tested playing Western and get a good barometer going forward.

“Our kids are fired up and we expect to play at a high level,” Bechtel said.


Read More @ MI Prep Zone