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Sterling Heights

September 25, 2013

Parkway Christian football team eyes return to postseason

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
The Sterling Heights Parkway Christian football team is looking to return to the postseason for the first time since 2010. Pictured is Eagles senior quarterback Noah Allen during a Sept. 18 practice.

STERLING HEIGHTS — Parkway Christian senior linebacker Nick Halas said the Eagles must keep their intensity level high if they hope to build on their 3-0 start and make an appearance in the Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoffs for the first time since 2010.

“We have to keep that intensity up,” said Halas, whose team’s start included a 1-0 mark in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference at press time. “We have a strong drive to keep it up. For having such a small team, we have the drive of a team with 60 kids.”

Parkway Christian missed the playoffs for the second straight year in 2012, finishing 4-5 last season. They qualified for the MHSAA postseason four times from 2006-10.

The team is doing everything it can to ensure a return trip to the postseason. Through three games at press time, Parkway Christian has scored 27.3 points per game while allowing just 6.67 points per game through three games. At this point last season, Parkway Christian was surrendering 27.6 points per game. In 2011, the number through three games was 32.6 points allowed for the Eagles.

“The guys are working hard, playing together and having fun,” Parkway Christian coach Todd Francis said. “Our defensive staff sets the tone. The guys get after it on the field. They’ve worked really hard together.

“It’s been a good run so far. We’ve got some really good senior leadership. Those guys are leading the way, and most of the seniors play defense and they take pride in it.”

Those “guys” include senior quarterback Noah Allen, senior tight end/linebacker Phil Lipinski and Halas. Francis said team chemistry has been the biggest factor in the Eagles’ start; the team returned seven starters.

Allen said he and his teammates expected this start.

“Everybody else was expecting us to finish at the bottom of the league, but we know what we can do,” said Allen, a three-year starter. “I love hearing people say things like that. I like the fact that we can surprise everybody.”

Francis and Halas cited the team’s work in the offseason propelled the Eagles to where they are.

The Parkway Christian coach said the team must stay healthy if it hopes to maintain its current form and make the playoffs. Francis also said the younger players need to grow as the season goes along.

“We’ve got to get the younger guys out on the field in competitive situations,” Francis said.

Francis added that the team wants to win the MIAC.

“The closer we get to our goal, the more that’ll keep pushing us to keep that drive high,” Halas said. “The intensity we have on the field is unexplainable. It’s like we’re a professional team because we’re all so hyped up.”

Parkway Christian next hits the field for a matchup against Oakland Christian (1-2, 0-1 MIAC). Game time is slated for 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at Fraser High.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.