By: John Raffel
Hemlock celebrates first league title since 1977
It's been a memorable football season so far for Hemlock, and coach Bruce Bendix is hoping it will become even more memorable during the playoff season.
Hemlock opened the season with a loss to Frankenmuth 28-14 and then reeled off eight straight victories.
The Huskies had 35-0, 43-18, 42-14, and 38-6 routs over Shepherd, Bullock Creek, Chesaning, and Alma.
Then it got tougher, with wins of 19-7 over Swan Valley and 21-7 over Freeland. The Huskies would end the Tri-Valley Conference Central division season at 7-0 with a 42-7 topping of Ovid-Elsie, and they closed the regular season with a 42-0 defeat of St. Charles.
“We qualified for the playoffs and won the first conference championship at the school since 1977,” Bendix said. “We're feeling pretty good. We had a very good nucleus of our senior class returning. But the TVC Central is very competitive. We have seven teams that have been to the state finals or semifinals within the past decade or so. We were expecting to have a good season.”
We're playing outstanding defense,” Bendix said. “That's probably the most noticeable thing about our team. We're stopping everything. The last four games [prior to the shutout of St. Charles,] we're giving up only one touchdown per game. Our starting defense in seven games has allowed seven touchdowns and have scored five touchdowns plus a safety.”
Defensive standouts include senior middle linebacker and co-captain Reese Engel, the team's leading tackler, and senior defensive end Aaron Matthias. He's 6'7", 231, and runs very well.”
Offensively, third-year quarterback Chase Wiechmann leads the way.
“He missed three games with an injury but is back playing very well,” Bendix said. “When he came back, we played the three toughest teams in our league in a row and we beat them.”
Dylan Honsinger leads a balanced rushing attack.
Hemlock won the district title last season, and “last year was the first year Hemlock won a playoff game,” said Bendix. “We were Division 5 last year and will probably be 6 this year. We're the smallest team in the TVC Central.”
There's some speculation that Hemlock could eventually see two-time state champion Ithaca in the postseason.