Saturday will mark the fourth time in five seasons that Grand Rapids Catholic Central will play at Ford Field, but it never gets old for the Cougars.
"It is a great accomplishment to get there," Catholic Central senior cornerback Owen Lavoie said. "Two years in a row, especially with the legacy that our team has built every year trying to treat it better than we did the year before."
The Cougars have a high powered offense led by quarterback Joey Silveri, wide receiver Jace Williams and running back Nick Hollern, but something that has stood out is the way the defense has improved over the course of the season.
"We are very young, we had a lot of starters leave last year," Catholic Central junior linebacker Jack Klafeta said. "So we knew coming into this year knowing that we are not very mature on defense so we definitely at the start of the year struggled a little bit and we have really grown into ourselves and we definitely have shown what we can do these past few games."
CC returned just two starters from last season's defense and currently just four seniors start on that side of the ball.
"It is a process for younger guys to come in, first year starters," Catholic Central head coach Todd Kolster said. "We've had some seniors step up really well up front on the defensive line as a rotational group but is has really been cool to see these guys just get better and better and better throughout the year."
The defense has flexed its muscle in the postseason with the starting group allowing just 14 total points.
"I've seen so much more of a change from our defense," Lavoie said. "We've had way more urgency and more leadership."
The way the defense and offense have both played at a high level has been a big key to the teams success.
"We definitely build off of each other seeing how the offense does," Klafeta said. "We usually start off on defense on the field we get a stop, three and out and the offense comes out scores, it really sets the tone for the rest of the game."
The defense figures to be challenged Saturday against a Frankenmuth team that has scored at least 28 points in every game it has played this season.
"We need stops and that is how we have always been," Kolster said. "We don't look at defensive statistics or all these crazy things , we need stops we have to get off the field so in order for us to be successful on Saturday afternoon we got to get stops."
The Cougars will look to add a division five state championship to their collection of titles on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Ford Field.