SPALDING — Different year, different situation.
That’s where the Powers North Central Jets are as they enter the state eight-player football playoffs.
The three-time defending Division 2 state champs will be road warriors as the No. 4 seed. They visit top-seeded Posen for their regional opener today at 3 p.m.
North Central (7-2) secured its postseason berth with a 48-24 triumph at Crystal Falls Forest Park Oct. 20.
“We’ve gotten used to playing at home,” coach Leo Gorzinski said. “This is a slightly new experience for the guys. I thought we were pretty much set after our sixth win (60-8 over Superior Central at home Oct. 6), then the loss at Norway (32-26 on Oct. 12) put a lot of pressure on us in the game at Crystal Falls. We had to respond. We had little bit of a shaky start, then we found our groove and played a pretty solid game. That gave us the confidence that “we have a chance. We can still do this.’
“We’re a little banged up like most other teams. We knew we had a lack of depth, but we also knew if we made it into the playoffs we’d be a dangerous team.”
The Jets had won 41 straight prior to a 28-25 loss to Lake Linden-Hubbell Sept. 22
Gorzinski expects the Vikings (9-0) to run a modified version of the Wing-T offense.
“They run a full house backfield,” he added. “They have a good quarterback, one bruising back and one speed back. They’ll run a little bit of misdirection. We need to stay home on defense and do our job. We just have to carry out our assignments.”
Posen’s senior leaders include Jack and Ethan Romel and Logan Timm.
“To the victors go the spoils,” Gorzinski said. “They’re the No. 1 seed for a reason. Their athletes look good and they have a lot of returners. They’re a senior-heavy team. Their skilled players are pretty good.”
Jets’ senior QB Jacob Gorzinski and junior Lane Gorzinski have shared the signal-calling duties this fall and have also proven to be run threats.
Jacob is 32-of-49 passing for 400 yards and has rushed for 1.011 yards on 107 carries for a 9.4 average. Lane added 1,237 yards in 121 attempts on the ground for a 10.2 average and completed 12-of-21 aerials for 222.
Lane rushed for 20 touchdowns and passed for three and Jacob scored 16 times on the ground and threw for seven.
Top receivers are Lane Gorzinski with 177 yards on 14 receptions and Jacob caught seven passes for 141.
Lane Gorzinski has a total of 70 tackles, followed by junior defensive back Aidyn Burton with 65 and junior end Spencer Willa 31. Senior Adrian Mercier, Jacob Gorzinski and Burton have two interceptions apiece.
A victory would send the Jets to Lake Linden or Forest Park for next week’s regional final.