Who to Watch for in Friday Night’s Football Showdown

Who to Watch for in Friday Nights Football Showdown

Jack Lorenz and Sean Wing, Sports Reporters

This Friday will be the biggest football game FHC has seen in a long time. FHC (9-2) takes on Lowell (11-0) Friday at 7 PM.

Just a few weeks ago, the Rangers were trying to recover from a heartbreaking 41-37 loss to the Red Arrows. This time around FHC knows what to expect and will give Lowell their toughest game yet.

If the Rangers want to advance another round in the state playoffs, they’ll need to keep these players in check:


Senior running back Nathan Stephens fits the veer offense perfectly. He’s a strong, powerful back, yet he has the ability to break away once he’s past the first level. He’s a tough match up for any defense because he is almost impossible to tackle him one on one.  If the Rangers plan on slowing him down, they must gang tackle and fly to the football, because Nate will run through arm tackles.

Senior tight end Austin Branagan presents a challenge that will be tough to defend against. He stands at 6 foot 7 inches tall. That’s a mismatch for almost any team in the state. If done correctly, Lowell could throw up the ball to Austin whenever they want to. He will either come down with the ball or draw a pass interference. He also is a good blocker because he takes up space and is tough to get off a block.

Junior quarterback, David Kruse, was expecting to be the backup all season. Then, senior quarterback Sterling Anderson got injured and was out for the season. Some games, David has been expected to make a lot of plays. In others, all he had to do was manage the game. If the Rangers shut down David and force Lowell to be one dimensional, they have a good chance of winning.

Another running back the Rangers need to watch out for is senior Sage Solomonson. He is smaller than Stephens yet can be just as dangerous. He is a change of pace and Lowell can hit a home run with Sage in the backfield. He receives less carries than Stephens, but he will have fresh legs when he comes in.

Senior receiver Hayden Berry is another threat offensively. For as much as Lowell runs the ball, they have weapons in the passing game like Branagan and Berry. They might not win the game for their team but they are a consistent group who make plays more often than not. If you fall asleep outside, Hayden Berry will take advantage and put his team in a good position.


FHC who fell to the Red Arrows earlier this season in heartbreaking fashion will have to have several of the following key players bring their all Friday night.


Senior WR Jack Uecker – Jack is one of the most dangerous players on the Rangers team, and he is coming off of one of his biggest games of his career, scoring three touchdowns against a tough Portage Central team. If the Rangers are going to take down Lowell, Jack is going to have to have a big game.

Junior WR Bryce Clay – Bryce has developed into one of senior quarterback Tanner Hallock’s favorite targets. Bryce has already scored four touchdowns this postseason and is looking to score a few more on Friday. The Rangers are going to have to score a lot of points to keep up with the high scoring offense of Lowell.

Senior DT Alec Elzinga – Alec is one of the best players on the Rangers defense. Memories of the FHC 4th quarter defensive collapse in the Rangers first meeting with Lowell will motivate seniors, like Alec, as this is their last ever meeting against Lowell. Alec will not only have to have a good game, but he must also fire up the rest of the defensive line for the Rangers to win.

Senior LB Sal Sidebotham – Sal is a part of a strong group of linebackers that, along with the rest of the defense, must step up to stop Lowell’s running game led by Nate Stevens. Nate has the speed and strength to make it past the defensive line, which will leave the linebackers in situations to make many open field tackles. Sal must step up and play to his full potential and play as he had the whole year if the Rangers are going to win.

Junior K Daniel Riser – Daniel is one of the most important players that is going to take the field on Friday. This game is expected to be very close and will come down to either a field goal or an extra point. If the game is close, Daniel will be the perfect person to give the Rangers a win.