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Published: Thursday, 11/14/2013

SIDELINES

Kicking Mules look to advance to state semifinals

BLADE STAFF
Hullibarger Hullibarger
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

Bedford believes it has what it takes to hang with the state’s best, and the Mules are just one of eight teams left playing in Michigan’s Division I.

An inspirational season continues Friday when Bedford hosts perhaps the biggest game in school history. In the path is juggernaut Novi Detroit Catholic Central, a power with a long tradition of producing state championships and Division I college players.

“They have the nucleus to win a state title, but so do we,” Bedford coach Jeff Wood said. “Our players are confident they are up to the task.”

Bedford (11-0) hosts Detroit Catholic Central (9-2) for a regional championship at 7 p.m.

The Mules have reached the playoffs six times. Detroit CC has made 24 appearances.

Bedford has earned a spot in the postseason five straight seasons. The Mules won two playoff games in 2010, the longest run in school history.

The Shamrocks have won 10 state titles with the last coming in 2009. They’ve been to the state final three of the last four years and have won four championships since 2001.

Bedford (11-0) kept its undefeated season intact with a dramatic 36-29 comeback win against Saline. The Shamrocks advanced by defeating Walled Lake Western 37-27.

Both teams love to run the ball. The Mules are outscoring foes 455-156, while the Shamrocks are averaging 321 points and giving up 125.

Bedford quarterback Brad Boss, who spearheads the veer option attack, has rushed for 1,109 yards and 15 touchdowns. Fullback Alec Hullibarger has rushed for a team-high 1,228 yards (28 TDs).

The Mules’ dream season has taken on more poignancy when senior Colton Durbin died after being in a car accident last month.

“We have a great group of seniors who have been through thick and thin,” Wood said. “Their confidence is sky high.”

Boss has thrown for 694 yards and six TDs. His top wide receiver is Collin Carter (424 receiving yards). Jeremy Harris leads in tackles (113) and sacks (8½). Connor Clements has four interceptions.

Detroit CC lost its regular-season finale 20-7 to Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice. Among its other wins was a 23-0 blanking of Whitmer.

The team’s running game has been led by seniors Zach Bock and Connor Holton. Quarterback Sean Birney tossed two TDs in the first half last week.

— Mark Monroe



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