The DeWitt Panthers are in the Division 3 state semifinals for the fifth straight season.  That's right, the fifth straight year.  And of all of the trips to the semifinals, this one is the most unexpected.

When you consider that the Panthers lost, arguably, the best quarterback in school history in Tyler Holtz (now at Brown University).  And maybe their best wide receiver in school history in Tommy McIntosh (now at the University of Wisconsin).  This trip to the semis is a big surprise.

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The Panthers are 9-3 entering this Saturday's game against Muskegon at Greenville HS (Which you'll hear on just before 1pm this Saturday).  DeWitt's three losses are by a combined 20 points (to East Lansing, Detroit Catholic Central in overtime, and to Grand Ledge).  And their defense has struggled during many portions of the season, giving up a total of 319 points in 12 games played (actually 11 because of the Okemos forfeit).  And they've used four different players at quarterback, and the instability at that key position has affected their record.

But the playoffs have seemed to energize them.  They scored 50 against Cadillac in round 1.  They rallied to defeat Mt. Pleasant in triple overtime 56-49 on the road to win the district title.  And then they went on the road to beat Linden 29-16 to win their fifth straight regional crown.

Do-everything senior Bryce Kurncz is leading the way for the Panthers offensively.  He's rushed for 1,349 yards and 17 TD's.  He's also caught 47 passes for 727 yards and 11 touchdowns, and has thrown four touchdowns at the QB position.  Defensively, he has 31 tackles, two interceptions, and a forced fumble.  If Kurncz isn't an All-State performer this season, something is terribly wrong.

They have played Muskegon in the playoffs three times since 2017.  Twice they have lost to the Big Reds (49-0 in 2017, 28-21 in 2019), but defeated them 14-0 in 2020 (on their way to the state title).

It should be a whale of a game on Saturday afternoon.  Whether or not the weather is a factor remains to be seen.

But DeWitt isn't afraid of anybody.  They're like what John Wooden used to say:

"Fear No Opponent, Respect EVERY Opponent."

I will write about Mason's run to the semis tomorrow.  Good luck to the Panthers!

Lansing-Area H.S. Football Top 10 (After Week 12)

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