Topping the list of nightmares for football defensive coordinators is when you know what the offense is going to do, but you can’t stop it anyway.
All nine defenses Plymouth’s offense faced this season knew once the football was snapped, it was more than likely going to be placed in the gut of Jaxon McCaig, yet the senior still rumbled down the field like a runaway train.
Friday night at Livonia Churchill, McCaig broke a long-standing school record by amassing 327 yards on 36 carries in the Wildcats’ emphatic 42-21 triumph.
By 7:30 p.m. — approximately 30 minutes after kickoff — McCaig, running behind a well-oiled offensive line that accelerates out of their three-point stances like high-octane monster trucks, had accumulated 138 yards and two long scores.
McCaig also topped 300 yards rushing — a super-rare feat at any level of football — in the Wildcats’ 48-45 loss to Novi last month.
Is it enough?
Plymouth’s victory was bittersweet considering its regular-season record of 4-5 will more than likely not be enough to propel the Wildcats into the post-season.
The outcome also stung the Chargers, who would have been assured a playoff berth with a victory.
The brackets for the MHSAA tournament will be revealed Sunday at 6 p.m. on the “Selection Sunday Show” on Bally Sports Detroit Extra and its website.
The playoff qualifiers and pairings will be posted to the MHSAA website following the Selection Sunday Show, and times and dates will be added Monday, Oct. 23.
Two Division 1 teams that finished 4-5 qualified for the playoffs in 2022, so there is still hope for the ‘Cats and the Chargers, who are slotted in Division 2.
Churchill’s Snead brilliant, too
McCaig’s huge performance helped offset a sterling night for Churchill senior quarterback Evan Snead, who completed 16 of 30 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns (both to Peyton Sitarski).
Snead also ran for 85 yards and a 16-yard score.
Playing in his final regular-season game, Plymouth QB Sam Plencner completed 5 of 11 passes for 57 yards and two TDs (to Cameron Witt and Dylan Sasena).
Plymouth senior lineman Jay Shqau was a force on both sides of the line of scrimmage, notching two drive-killing sacks and leading McCaig on several of his yards-churning efforts.
The Wildcats built what proved to be an insurmountable 21-0 lead in the first quarter on a 43-yard run by McCaig, a 25-yard slant-pass TD from Plencner to Witt and a 50-yard run to the house by McCaig.
Churchill, which battled hard all night, cut its deficit to 21-7 4:43 before halftime on a 24-yard Snead-to-Sitarski pass.
‘3’ for 6
The Wildcats countered, however, when McCaig scored on a 1-yard plunge 18.6 ticks before halftime.
The Chargers stayed in the game when Snead somehow escaped the clutches of Shqau, rolled to his right and hit Sitarski for a 42-yard score, cutting their deficit to 28-14.
Plymouth re-established its momentum two minutes later when Plencner connected with Sasena from 16 yards out.
Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or email@example.com.