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September 12, 2012

Pair of undefeated teams set to battle as Prep and AAGR meet in week four

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Pair of undefeated teams set to battle as Prep and AAGR meet in week four
Coach Kyle Zimmerman runs through practice with his Prep football team earlier this season. The Fighting Irish (3-0) take on Gabriel Richard (3-0) Sept. 14 at home.

PONTIAC — When training camp began earlier this summer, Kyle Zimmerman saw himself as an optomistic coach with cerntain hopes for his Pontiac Notre Dame Prep football team.

Young, and in certain positions inexperienced, Zimmerman remained confident that once the season got going, his guys could, perhaps, clinch a playoff spot, if not more.

So, when asked last week if he was at all surprised at what the Fighting Irish have done so far, he kind of was, but not really.

“I guess things have come together a little faster than I thought they would,” he said with a laugh. “I always knew we had the talent to be good. I just didn’t know how long it would take for everyone to get on the same page.”

As the page turns to Week 4 of the 2012 season, Prep is in about as good a spot as it could hope, with three wins in three tries.

The toughest test to date, though, comes this week.

“It’s awesome. It’s going to be an awesome atmosphere and just a huge game in general,” Zimmerman said of the Sept. 14 game against Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, set for 7 p.m. at home. “This is a great rivalry where both teams know and respect one another, but truthfully, probably don’t like each other all that much. That’s how it should be, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Prep got to its 3-0 mark thanks to a 17-14 upset of Almont High in the opener, a 50-0 win against Dearborn Heights Star International in Week 2 and last week’s 27-14 victory against Ortonville-Brandon.

“There’s a lot going right for us right now,” Zimmerman said. “The defense has been real strong; some of the younger guys have stepped up and played well; and we’re not turning the ball over very much. All that adds up to some good football.”

Running back Jeremiah Johnson has anchored the offense so far. In three games, he’s rushed for more than 400 yards and scored five touchdowns.

Things haven’t been too shabby with Richard, either, also sitting at 3-0 and having an offense that’s scored 119 points already, while allowing just eight points the past two weeks.

Prep won last year’s meeting 38-7, stopping a four-game winning streak for Richard in the series.

“They’re a bigger team that likes to be physical, and that’s what we have to work against,” Zimmerman said. “If we avoid the turnovers, like we have all season, and try not to allow them to get that big play or two, we should be in good shape. Either way, it’s going to be a great game.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.