MARQUETTE - They face the same team that beat them 42-7 last year in the MHSAA playoffs and now the Midland Chemics are ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press Division 2 football poll.
But the Marquette Senior High School football Redmen (5-3) are just happy to be in postseason play for the fourth straight year.
"We're excited to play a great team (in Midland)," MSHS head coach Dave L'Huillier said in previewing Saturday's 1 p.m. matchup on the Chemics' home field. "We'll try to compete."
Marquette Senior High School All-Great Northern?Conference linebacker Gabe Apple (45) tackles a Menominee Maroons ball carrier while teammate Connor Brazeau runs in to assist on Friday at William?Hart Stadium in Marquette. Apple heads into Saturday’s 1 p.m. MHSAA Division 2 pre-district playoff game with 84 tackles, including nine for a loss. (Journal file photo by Jenna Thompson)
Marquette Senior High School quarterback Brett Place leaps over the tackle of Negaunee’s Tyler Jandron on Oct. 18 in?Negaunee. Place has completed 64 of 116 passes for 1,005 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Midland is 8-1 with an offense L'Huillier said averages more than 40 points a game.
"They're a powerful team," the coach said after watching the last two game films of Midland contests. "They have a very good offense with a running back (Will Williams) who's very good."
Williams rushed for 267 yards on 30 carries and scored four touchdowns in last week's 45-6 Midland win over Midland Dow.
That ran his season total to 224 attempts for 1,324 yards and 20 TDs, according to the Midland Daily News.
"They're a shotgun, spread team on offense," L'Huillier said of the Chemics. "Williams is a big key to their offense and we'll have to slow him down."
Midland quarterback Tanner Gross, in a recent game against Bay City Western, ran for 107 yards and two scores in just four carries.
"It'll be a big test for our defense to slow them down," L'Huillier said.
That will largely be up to All-Great Northern Conference linebacker Gabe Apple and MSHS teammate Shane Duquette, also a linebacker.
Apple has made 84 tackles, including nine for a loss; Duquette has come up with 48 tackles and four sacks.
Offensively, the Redmen have QB Brett Place and wide receiver Kurt Burmeister as a potent 1-2 combination.
Place has completed 64 of 116 passes for 1,005 yards and 13 TDs. His favorite target has been Burmeister, who has caught 43 passes for 722 yards and nine scores.
Marquette kicker Max Bednarek could also be a factor in the game. He has booted 24-of-24 extra points and field goals of 27 and 42 yards.
"I don't know a whole lot about their team this year, but I'm assuming their style will be pretty similar to last year," Chemics head coach Eric Methner said of the Redmen to the Midland newspaper.
"They play a full house T (formation) and power football. They had some pretty big guys last year."