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PLAYOFF FOOTBALL: Roosevelt vs. Truman preview (PHOTOS)
Division 2 District: Roosevelt (9-1) at Truman (9-1) Friday
D'Aries Davis had a solid day on the ground last week in Roosevelt's opening round victory over Woodhaven.
Damar Clements is one of six dangerous backs in Truman's explosive rushing offense.
Game Info>> View more scores
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The Bears were paired up against Downriver League rival Woodhaven and well remembered the 64-36 beating the Warriors hung on them midway through the season.
It was a huge points-against total, Wyandotte’s only loss and it cost the Bears a third straight outright league title.
Revenge is a powerful motivator and the Bears had all the fuel they needed last week, cruising to a 31-14 victory.
This week against Truman – another league foe – the Bears find themselves on the other side of the equation.
Back on Sept. 21, Roosevelt knocked off then-unbeaten Truman 24-20.
The Cougars had been virtually unchallenged until that point and were the talk of Downriver.
The Cougars recovered from the defeat and went on to post an 8-1 regular-season record, but the loss stung and it forced the Cougars to share their first-ever Downriver League football title with Roosevelt and Woodhaven.
Revenge is the fuel in Truman’s tank this week.
As if the Cougars have needed extra motivation this year.
This is a complete team from one end to the other; strong defense and an even stronger offense.
In this day of “me first” kind of players, hats off the Coach Eric Stiegel and his staff for molding a group that thinks more about team wins than statistics.
The Cougars have nearly 3,750 rushing yards and no fewer than six running backs have contributed mightily to the total.
Quarterback Devil Goodwell and running back Osiris Smith are likely to go over the 1,000-yard mark this week and Devonte McGregor (610 yards), Cortez Garnder (485), Dante Barrow (359) and Damar Clements have all rushed for more than 296 yards.
It has been an impressive show by the Cougars this year, but they are going to need a few wrinkles if they are going to beat Wyandotte.
Remember, the Bears already stopped the Truman attack once this year and last week the team corralled Woodhaven’s high flying offensive trio, Nick Maher, Mickey Sutton and Garrett Weirich.
This is an exceptional Wyandotte defense and outside of that huge outburst by Woodhaven in their first meeting, the Bears have allowed only 75 points in their other nine games.
Truman lives with its inside-outside rushing game, with Smith probing the defensive underbelly between the tackles and the other backs running wild around the ends.
Nobody but Wyandotte has been about to stop the attack this year. In the first meeting, Truman had few precious long runs that are its bread and butter.
In order to loosen up the Bears and gain some needed running room, Truman may have to look first – for the first time this year – to Goodwell completing a few passes.
Defensively, Truman will have to devise a plan for stopping Downriver’s best pass-catching tandem in Devan Stewart and Brandon Sowards.
The pair has combined for 51 receptions, 15 of them for touchdowns this year. Last week against Woodhaven, each had a touchdown pass.
Quarterback Kevin Matejko, who is completing nearly 60 percent of his passes this season, is just the guy to get them the ball. Matejko has passed for 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns with only two pass interceptions.
The Roosevelt running game has finally started to round into shape, too, with D’Aries Davis and Aaron Robinson combined for more than 100 rushing yards last week.
Robinson is the team rushing leader with 458 yards and Davis has 422.
Roosevelt, with seven straight playoff appearances and eight victories in those years, has a huge edge in postseason experience.
But the Cougars have the excitement on their side and the exuberance that comes with new experiences.
This promises to be an exciting game, just as the first meeting was.
With the offensive firepower each team has, it likely will not be a low scoring game, but the defenses are too good to let it turn into a scoreboard buster.
The winner moves on to the MHSAA Division 2 regionals against the winner of the Southfield (7-3)-Oak Park (8-2) game.
Last Updated: 10/31/2012 10:52:24 PM EST