By DOUG DONNELLY
ADDISON – Frederick Bills knows a thing or two about winning.
The Addison senior became the Panther quarterback as a sophomore. He missed the final two games as a junior when he tore his ACL. He’s back this season and the Panthers are undefeated and in the second round of the state playoffs.
“His leadership and ability to run the offense is been amazing,” Addison head coach Joshua Lindeman said. “I think he’s 18-3 as a starting quarterback. He’s a difference-maker for us.”
Bills is part of a talented backfield that will lead Addison into Friday’s playoff game at home against Dansville. It’s one of six games featuring Lenawee County Area schools and all of them are at 7 p.m. Friday.
Addison had the week off last week because it was the No. 1 seed in a seven-team district. Lindeman said Panthers did a great job of staying focused.
“As a coach, you wonder how they are going to handle a week off,” Lindeman said. “I thought our kids handled it well. We got better as the week went on. Plus, because of not playing, we were able to get our young kids some good, quality reps. I would have rather played Friday, but our kids handled it well.”
Addison is led by its offensive backfield. Lindeman has a lot of options with Nathan Rodlund (60 carries, 664 yards), Dylan Malinowski (40-612), Bills (17-212) and Sam Larrowe (22-198). Nicholas Trumble is another weapon in the backfield and is a leader on the defense.
“We have a lot of guys who can carry the load,” Lindeman said.
Addison will look to use those backs to grind out the clock against Dansville, who also features several backs.
“They are a lot like us in that they don’t want to throw the ball,” Lindeman said.
If Addison wins it will host the District final against the winner of Sand Creek and Hudson. Here’s a look at all of the county games:
Dansville (5-2) at Addison (6-0)
Game: 7 p.m. Friday
Coaches: Addison: Joshua Lindeman, 7th season (33-29); Dansville: Jeff Graf, 3rd season (20-13).
Series: First meeting
Game notes: Addison has been adept all season at distributing the ball among its loaded backs. Nathan Rodlund leads the team with 664 yards on just 60 carries while Dylan Malinowski has 612 yards on just 40 attempts.
Coach Lindeman: “They have a couple of fast backs that are hard to bring down. We are going to have to be very gap sound defensively and we can’t turn the ball over and give them extra possessions.”
Next round: The winner plays the Sand Creek-Hudson winner.
Madison (6-1) at Michigan Center (4-1)
Game: 7 p.m. Friday
Coaches: Madison: Taz Wallace, 9th season (29-50); Michigan Center: Troy Allen, 9th season (55-29).
Series: First meeting
Listen/Watch: K105.3 FM in Jackson will broadcast the game live. It will be livestreamed on the Michigan Center Football Facebook page.
Game notes: Rovahn Roberts is Madison’s big-play threat and showed that with four touchdowns and one called back vs. Quincy. He is averaging 20.5 yards per carry with 637 yards rushing on just 31 attempts. Isaiah Casarez-Ruiz leads Madison with 809 yards on the ground while Max Palpant has 681 yards passing and six touchdowns through the air. Michigan Center is led by senior quarterback Joe Olkowski, has has 527 yards passing. Kaydin Hiland leads the team in rushing (398 yards).
Coach Wallace: “Our kids have been resilient all season. Once you get to the second round, there are no bad teams.”
Coach Allen: “The keys to the game for Michigan Center will be to win the turnover battle and continue to play disciplined football especially in regards to individual assignments. Madison has some excellent skill players that will cause us problems if we lose track of our assignments.”
Next round: The winner plays the winner of Jonesville-Stockbridge.
Grass Lake (2-5) at SMCC (5-2)
Grass Lake (5-2) at SMCC (5-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
Coaches: Adam Kipf, SMCC (sixth year, 45-18); Randy Cole, Grass Lake (21st year, 157-64).
All-time series: SMCC has won all three meetings.
SMCC playoff history: Won its third state championship last year (1991, 2014). Qualified 25 times. Playoff record is 52-23.
Grass Lake playoff history: 24th appearance, including 14 of the past 15 seasons. State runner-up in 2006.
How to watch: SMCC has live streamed its home games on the St. Mary Catholic Central Facebook page (www.facebook.com/St-Mary-Catholic-Central-67067157564). The game also will be broadcast live on the radio by 98.3 WMIM-FM out of Monroe.
SMCC player to watch: Quarterback Mitch Kemmerling has competed just 11 passes in 19 attempts this season, but 4 of them have gone for TDs. He also is the team’s third-leading rusher with 290 yards, averages 7.1 yards per carry and has scored 4 TDs.
Grass Lake player to watch: Quarterback Carson Farley has completed 102-of-163 passes for 1,601 yards and 18 TDs.
Game Notes: All of the previous meetings between the two schools have come in the playoffs – 2014, 2012 and 2010. SMCC advanced to the state finals against Ithaca in two of those years, winning in 2014 and finishing second in 2010.
Comments from Adam Kipf: “The key to this week’s game is pressuring their quarterback and staying on their routes. We have to control the line of scrimmage in order to have any success.”
(Grass Lake-SMCC info from Monroe News)