MUNISING - After the first three games of the season, Munising High School's chances to make the MHSAA football playoffs didn't look very good.
The Mustangs lost all three contests - by a total of 13 points - and needed to win their remaining six games to automatically qualify for postseason play.
That's exactly what they did.
"The kids still believed we had a good team and were capable of winning the last six games," Munising head coach Jeff Seaberg said. "Once we got that first win (28-27 over Newberry), things just started to turn around."
Munising will play at Powers North Central (7-2) at 7 p.m. EDT Friday in a pre-district encounter.
"Making the playoffs is our goal every year," Seaberg said. "The kids dedicated themselves in the offseason and this is their payoff."
The Mustangs lost to North Central 14-12 early in their season after falling to West Iron County 7-0 the previous week. The Mustangs also bowed to North Dickinson, 24-20.
"We played all of them tough," Seaberg said. "We stuck with what we do and the kids believed."
North Central features six All-Mid Eastern Conference players, perhaps led by quarterback Rob Granquist.
"(The Jets) throw the ball well," Seaberg said. "We stopped the run before, but they threw the ball on us.
"We have to work (Friday) in stopping their passing game."
He added North Central has a "physical" defense.
"They have one of the better middle linebackers (Eric Prestay) and an outstanding defensive end (Travis Vincent," Seaberg said. "But we still might have some success running the ball."
The Mustangs will counter with QB Austin Kelto, as well as all-league offensive linemen Brett Johnson and Tyler Tweedale.
"Austin makes our offense go," Seaberg said. "He can beat you with his legs and his arm."
Kelton completed 71 of 125 passes for 1,095 yards and nine touchdowns. He also ran for 648 yards in 101 carries and scored seven times.
"We need to control the football and keep it out of North Central's hands," Seaberg said.
"We can't have any turnovers, either. You won't beat a quality team with 2-3 turnovers."
Defensively, the Mustangs will be led by interior lineman Ian McInnis, linebacker Cody Hayes and defensive back David Harris - all are Mid Eastern Conference honorees.
"If we defend the pass against North Central, I think we'll be in good shape," Seaberg said.