CC-Crystal preparing for first playoff appearance since 1999

By Chip Burch • Last Updated 9:59 am on Monday, October 22, 2012

CC-Crystal’s Robert Failing (24) takes a handoff and runs behind his blockers during a game this season. The Eagles will face Evart in the first round of the MHSAA playoffs this week.

CARSON CITY — On Sunday players and coaches of Carson City-Crystal’s football team were gathered around the television at the middle school to see who they would play in the playoffs.

A cheer went up when they saw their name on the screen.

“We’re very pleased and honored to be a part of the selection show,” coach Jason Gray said. “There are 340 schools sitting at home right now wishing they were in our shoes. It’s a big honor for our program to say we will be playing a 10th game.”

The Eagles will face Evart in the Division 7 district tournament in Evart for their first game. The date and time will be set sometime today.

Should CC-Crystal win, the Eagles will face the winner of Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian and Lake City. If it’s NorthPointe Christian, CC-Crystal would host the game.

“I know a little bit about Evart. I talked to their coach in the past because they played Montabella last year so I communicated with them about some film,” Gray said. “He’s a great guy and they have a great program.”

The Wildcats, like the Eagles, were 7-2 this season. They had a 51.444 playoff average, just slightly better than CC-Crystal’s 50.222.

“There’s going to be a lot of running and it’s going to be won on the line of scrimmage,” Gray said about the matchup. “We’re pretty confident we’re fairly strong on the line of scrimmage.”

CC-Crystal runs the wing-T system of offense. So does Evart.

“We’ve seen that before this year,” Gray said. “Our kids just have to be disciplined in their assignments and play physical. Evart has a couple of running backs that run really hard so we have to gang-tackle and get off blocks and we’ll be OK there.

“Offensively we feel like we can move the ball against most teams.”

Going on the road was something the Eagles were expecting, but Gray said the game will be treated like any other road game.

“We’re going to approach our practices as though it’s just another regular-season game,” he said. “We’re going to go to Evart, try to do the best we can and take care of business. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We’re going to prepare the best we can, play as well as we can, and whatever is the outcome is the outcome.”

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