It didn’t take long for Bridgman to adjust to life as an eight-man football program.
The Bees (3-0, 5-0) host Martin (4-0, 5-0) on Friday in a game between the Southwest Michigan Eight-Man Football League’s finest.
The Clippers are averaging 35.6 points per game and allowing just 9.6. Bridgman is scoring 52.8 points and giving up 15.4.
“They are a very disciplined team,” Bridgman coach Aaron Locke said. “They play aggressive, downhill defense. They’re a sound football team on offense; they run a lot of motion and counter that with backside runs. They’re a very dynamic football team.
“Our kids are geared up to play them.”
Both programs have embraced the transition to eight-man and are thriving in their new division.
“It’s been a good adjustment,” Locke said. “We’re similar programs in similar situations. Both schools believed that eight-man was going to benefit the kids more. Both teams studied up on offense, defense, and special teams.
“We look like we’ve been doing it for years.”
A win against Martin would move the Bees to first place in the conference with just two league games left.
“It would be big,” Locke said. “Martin is a playoff-caliber team. A win would prove that this football team is upper-echelon. This is the toughest team we’ll play this year. They’re at the top of the mountain and we’re fighting our way to the top. This game will be worth coming to even if you’re not from either school.”
Lake Michigan Catholic (1-3, 2-3) looks to end its two-game losing streak when it travels to face Bangor (0-4) on the road. The Vikings, who are playing a mixed 11-man and eight-man schedule, will be playing their second eight-man game of the season.
Michigan Lutheran (0-3, 1-4) will try to turn things around at home against Lawrence (0-3, 0-5) this week. The Titans have lost three games in a row.
After earning its first win of the season, New Buffalo (1-1, 1-3) hopes to start a winning streak on the road against Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (2-1, 2-3).
Division 3 No. 7-ranked St. Joseph (3-0, 5-0) aims to punch its postseason ticket with a road win against a scrappy Portage Central (1-3, 3-2) team on Friday. The Mustangs are quarterbacked by junior Luke Leto, the nation’s No. 1 ranked baseball player for the class of 2021.
Lakeshore (1-3, 2-3) looks to avoid a three-game losing streak when 5-0 Battle Creek Lakeview (3-0, 5-0) comes to town this week. Niles (1-2, 1-4) hosts Portage Northern (3-0, 4-1). The Huskies are tied with St. Joseph for first place in SMAC West play.
Benton Harbor (3-2) hopes to extend its win streak to three when it hosts South Bend Clay (Ind.) on Friday.
Brandywine has outscored opponents 269-25 during its 5-0 start. The Bobcats – ranked No. 7 in the AP Division 6 poll – hope to qualify for the playoffs this week with a win over Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (4-1).
Undefeated Berrien Springs (1-0, 5-0) aims to continue its winning ways and clinch a playoff berth when it hosts Parchment (0-1, 1-4). Watervliet (0-1, 2-3) looks to shake off Saturday’s 35-0 loss to Kalamazoo United when it travels to face Delton Kellogg (0-1, 3-2).
Fresh off a 34-15 win over Parchment, Buchanan (1-0, 1-4) will try for win No. 2 when it hosts Saugatuck (1-0, 2-3) on Friday.
Coloma’s offense has been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since 2014. The Comets (0-1, 1-4) will play Kalamazoo United (1-0, 2-3) in Kalamazoo.
With River Valley opting to cancel the rest of its season, Decatur (2-3, 2-3) will have an extra week to prepare for Centreville (3-2, 3-2). Hartford is 3-0 following an 0-2 start, outscoring its opponents 101-0 during that span.
The Indians hope their momentum continues at home this week against Mendon (4-1, 4-1).
Eau Claire (0-5, 0-5) and Bloomingdale (0-4, 0-5) face off this week in a matchup of winless teams.
Dowagiac (3-2, 3-2) travel to face Otsego (3-2, 3-2) in a key conference battle where the winner will remain in the top half of the league standings.
After forfeiting last week’s game against Edwardsburg, South Haven (0-5, 0-5) gears up to face Three Rivers (1-4, 1-4).
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