What: Skyline (0-2) vs Saline (2-0)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Hornet Stadium
Student Section: White Out
History: Saline is 6-0 against Skyline. Last year, Saline won 45-6.
What’s at Stake: With a win, the Hornets are halfway to a playoff spot with six games to play. With a loss, Skyline’s back will be against the wall for the remainder of the season.
There’s no shortage of elite talent on the Skyline roster. But to date, the Eagles haven’t found a way to turn that talent into wins. Last year was supposed to be the turnaround season for a young program that has yet to post a winning season. The Eagles started 2-0 and then were spanked at home by the Hornets in a much hyped-early season affair. The Eagles never recovered, finishing 4-5. This year the Eagles are off to an 0-2 start. Andre Rison, the Michigan State commit, caught two touchdown passes in Skyline’s season opening loss. The Eagles also have running backs Charles Jones (Central Michigan University) and Treshaun Hayward (uncommitted), but the team has managed just 25 points in two games. At the same time, the Eagles have given up 65 points.
Saline head coach Joe Palka said the team must respect Skyline’s talent.
“What we’ve got to do is try to prevent the big play. We can’t have breakdowns or they’ve got the talent to get behind you,” Palka said.
Many of the Eagles play on both sides of the ball, while the Hornets, for the most part, play only one side of the ball.
“You’ve probably heard this a hundred times from us, but to be successful we’re going to try and wear them down and get stronger as the game goes on,” Palka said.
After winning by forfeit in week one and pummeling Windsor Holy Names 69-13 last week Saline wants to start the SEC Red season off on the right foot. The Hornets have won two straight SEC Red titles. In fact, the Hornets haven’t lost an SEC Red contest since their loss to Bedford, Sept. 27, 2013. Only once in school history has the football team won three straight SEC titles (1979-81).
Senior defensive end Sean O’Keefe said the Hornets aren’t worrying about the past.
“Our team this year doesn't want to worry about our past accomplishments because this is a new team. And a very different type of team from years past,” O’Keefe said. “I believe we have the talent and drive to win another SEC title. But winning this first game is key. We are excited to get into the meat of our schedule.”
Senior QB Zach Schwartzenberger said winning the SEC is a team goal.
“The SEC is a really tough conference and there are many teams that could win it. Our goal is to be SEC champs every year, so it's really important to prepare and be ready for a good skyline team this week and hopefully come out on top,” Schwartzenberger said. “We expect it to be a tough game. They are athletic and have a lot of playmakers. It will be a good challenge for us to open SEC play with.”