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Coach Pizzala:'We're in...'

Blackhawks snag first playoff berth in more than a decade

October 26, 2011 - By David Fleet


The last time the Brandon Blackhawks football team made the postseason most of the current roster were in first grade.

On Sunday night all that changed.

Head Coach Tim Pizzala and his Blackhawks football team gathered at the Brandon cafeteria to watch the Michigan High School Athletic Association's televised announcement of which teams made the playoffs.

"We're in," said Pizzala, now in his fifth season. "It's been 11 years since the Brandon Blackhawks varsity football team made postseason play. We're going into the postseason with back-to-back winning seasons—it's just the beginning for the football program at Brandon."

Despite ending the season with two home losses—against Linden (5-4) and Holly (7-2)— the Brandon Blackhawks qualified for the Division II state playoffs after being selected fourth of 22 teams that finished the season with less than the required six wins.

"The state playoffs require 256 high school football teams to compete," said Pizzala. "When there's not enough six-win teams they select some five-win teams. We played a tough schedule and I knew when we walked off the field after losing to Holly on Friday night we still had a pretty good chance of getting in the playoffs. The last two games of the season were against very tough teams—both were playing for at least a piece of the league championship and were playoff teams."

The Blackhawks will take on Port Huron (8-1) on Oct. 28. The Port Huron Big Reds were ranked fifth in the state Division II poll.

After back-to-back 3-6 seasons in 2008 and 2009, the Blackhawks fell just one game short of making the playoffs in 2010, finishing with a 5-4 record. The Blackhawks have outscored the opposition 211-115 in seven games this season.

"Our offense has done a good job all season long," said Pizzala. "The defense has the ability and must stop the big plays by Port Huron—they can get it done. Look for Port Huron to be fast—their speed is the best part of that team. We must establish a tempo game."

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