Previewing Okemos @ Mason Tonight
Tonight is the season premiere of high school football on The Game 730 AM WVFN. Erik "Doc" Love will join Brock Palmbos from Mason High School just before the 7:00 kickoff. Brock will have pregame coverage starting at 6:00.
Okemos vs. Mason is a longtime rivalry that has been played consecutively (except for the 2020 COVID-19 year) since 1961. The Bulldogs crushed the Wolves last season 57-7 at Okemos.
Here's a look at both teams heading into tonight's contest.
The Bulldogs are coming off their most successful season ever. They finished 10-3, won a share of the CAAC Red title (with Williamston & Haslett), and won their first regional title ever. It was a thrilling 20-17 victory over perennial power Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice at Lawrence Tech University last November. Cason Caulfield threw a touchdown pass to Derek Badgley in the final seconds to give the Bulldogs the huge win in the regional final. They got blown out by eventual state champion Detroit Martin Luther King in the Division 3 semifinals the following week.
Mason has two competent QB's in Caulfield and Nick Wells. Both are expected to see significant time this season. Running back A.J. Martel is excellent, and so is their defense. Head coach Gary Houghton is concerned about the offensive and defensive lines, but we'll see about that.
As for Okemos...
The Wolves have lost 23 straight games, the longest losing streak in the Mid-Michigan area. But first-year head coach Efe Scott-Emaukpour has been able to lift participation from six (that's right, six) in the spring to around 40 as this season begins. Step #1: Successful.
As for Step 2: Improvement to the point of being competitive on the field. That will take time to happen. Considering that Okemos plays in the stacked CAAC Blue, you might see improvement on the field but not see it in the win-loss columns.
The start of this game is important to Okemos. If they can get off to a good start, or at least play Mason close to even in the first half, then belief might set in. And we could see a competitive game. But if Mason jumps on them early, it could be a blowout quickly with a running clock in the second half. The first quarter is key tonight.
Again, you can hear coverage of Okemos at Mason tonight on The Game 730 AM WVFN, thegame730am.com, or The Game 730 AM app! We hit the air at 6pm with the pregame show.