With both teams 7-0, game will decide MAC Red title

By: Thomas Franz | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published October 16, 2013

 Chippewa Valley running back Doug Roberts is pictured turning the corner on the Utica Eisenhower defense during a game on Sept. 13.

Chippewa Valley running back Doug Roberts is pictured turning the corner on the Utica Eisenhower defense during a game on Sept. 13.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Through seven weeks of the season, Chippewa Valley has displayed a physical brand of football to win each of its games by an average of three touchdowns per contest.

The Big Reds will face their toughest challenge of the season this Friday, when they will travel to Macomb Dakota for a battle of two unbeaten teams.

Dakota has been ranked as one of the top teams in Division 1, and its defense is the main reason. Dakota has surrendered 13 points through four games of league play so far and 35 points the entire season.

Chippewa will counter with two running backs who have complimented each other well all season. Doug Roberts, the power back of the pair has amassed 696 yards on 98 carries and nine touchdowns,  while Troy Taylor, the speed back, has contributed 443 yards on 48 carries, with seven touchdowns. All of this would not be possible without a superior offensive line, Chippewa coach Scott Merchant said.

“We’ve got a couple of really good running backs, but those running backs will be the first ones to tell you that the guys up front are the reason why they’re doing as well as they’re doing,” Merchant said. “We have four seniors who start on our offensive line, and three of them are returning starters from last year. And each year, those kids have gotten better and better. They’re not only big players, but they’re also athletic; they’re smart and physical.”

Those four seniors make up part of the 29-member senior class this year for Chippewa, and Merchant explained that the group has already made a bit of history.

“They’ve already done a lot of special things this season. I believe this is the first time Chippewa has been 7-0 since 1975. This would just be an opportunity to reach another one of our goals and one of the senior class’ goals,” Merchant said. “They’ve worked really hard in the offseason and all the way through this year. They’re extremely focused, and I have to give a lot of credit to our captains and our entire senior class for their leadership with this team.”

Having two schools so close in proximity to one another have such successful seasons will make this game especially unique, with it not just deciding bragging rights, but title implications, as well.

“It’s extremely intense, and I don’t think that you could ask for anything more than having the two high schools from your district both be undefeated and playing each other in week eight for the undisputed MAC Red championship. That’s pretty special,” Merchant said.

After their contest this week, both schools will have one game left on its regular-season schedule before playoffs begin. Chippewa will host Port Huron, while Dakota will travel to Roseville.