Football: FGR prepares for rematch with Whitmore Lake in playoff opener

It was a rollercoaster ride for the Father Gabriel Richard football team but the Irish ended up on top by reaching the playoffs after missing out on the postseason last season.

“The kids battled through a tough conference schedule and quality non-conference teams including Whitmore Lake,” said FGR Coach Matt Giarmo. “We were excited to know that we had qualified for the playoffs but we know that we must keep improving and work hard.”

The Irish opened the year with three wins, and after a loss in week four to Detroit Loyola, bounced back with a tough 22-20 win over Whitmore Lake to improve to 4-1 on the season.

Then, the Irish began a freefall which started with a 42-0 loss to University of Detroit Jesuit and losses to Divine Child (35-12) and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood (35-12). Of those three teams, only DC didn’t make the postseason.

But FGR finished the season with a 58-6 win over Pontiac to get to 5-4 and have a shot at the postseason.

FGR (5-4) will play at Whitmore Lake (7-2) in a Division 5 District 1 Region 4 game at 7 p.m. on Friday. The two teams met on Sept. 27 with the Irish winning 22-20.

“Our game against Whitmore Lake in Week 5 was a hard fought game which was two days due to lightning delays,” Giarmo said. “The game could have went either way and we were fortunate to have a couple breaks go our way that game.

“Preparing to play a team twice presents many challenges and it’s even tougher because of how tough and competitive Whitmore Lake is.”

Whitmore Lake won its last four games after falling to FGR including finishing the season with a 41-6 win over Livonia Clarenceville. After scoring just 20 points against the Irish, the Trojans scored 212 points in their final four games.

The other game in the District features Dundee (5-4) vs. Dearborn Heights Robichaud (7-2).