GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Ever since an impressive season opening win over East Grand Rapids, the Cougars have been pointing in the direction of competing for a state championship and now Grand Rapids Catholic Central is just one win away from reaching the title game.
"You know, you put in all the hard work, you put the time in, you're guys have worked so hard for so many months and to see it come to fruition here and still playing in the semifinals is pretty special," said coach Todd Kolster.
But despite being just one win away from playing at Ford Field for the first time since the state championship season of 2010, you have to forgive the Cougars for not thinking about that. They know all too well how elusive that win can be. The last two seasons the Cougars have been knocked out of the playoffs by Unity Christian. Up next in the semifinals? Unity Christian once again.
"Since I've been here we always knew we could make a big playoff run, but we knew we had to work a little bit harder to get over the hump and it's always been Unity Christian, so hopefully we can get over the hump this year," said wide receiver Mike Brown.
"They knocked us out the last two years and to play them now to get to the state championship is gonna mean a lot," added wide receiver Antonio Strong. "I mean, it's just another opponent in the way of our goals."
"I mean, not just the last two years, but really four out of the last five we've played," said Kolster. "We've won a couple in close fashion, they've won a couple in close fashion. Our guys have done a great job and they've earned this opportunity to go play a great football team on Saturday."
And playing Unity Christian again, this time with a spot in the state championship game on the line, is exactly how the Cougars would've drawn it up.
"We couldn't have scripted it better," said Brown. "We knew we were gonna have to play them at any time in the playoffs and right before the state championship is what we want."
"I mean, this is everybody's dream," said Strong. "One game before the state championship. You win this game you get to the state championship. We can't overlook this team. We've got to play very hard on Saturday. It's what we've all been waiting for."