Well, one thing is certain this season: The Southgate football team will not finish with the year with a 3-6 record as it has every year since 2015.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the uncertainty of the 2020 season and the shortened campaign as a result, Michigan teams will play just six regular season games this year and all teams will qualify for the state tournament.
The Titans, who lost games with Carlson, Lincoln Park and Taylor, opened the season Sept. 18 against Dearborn Edsel Ford. The results were unavailable at press time.
Anderson will play Bay City Western Sept. 25, Woodhaven Oct. 2, Trenton Oct. 9, Wyandotte Oct. 16 and Allen Park Oct. 23.
It’s a tough schedule as all four of the Downriver League opponents were playoff qualifiers a season ago.
Anderson coach Mitch Dobek said the tough schedule is made even tougher by the compacted, confused practice time available to teams and the lack of a live scrimmage.
“It’s trying to squeeze so much coaching into a short time,” he said. “We’ve adapted our practice schedule; we have varsity and jayvee together and we break into offense and defense.”
Dobek admitted that he and his staff were caught a bit unawares by the return to the football field.
“I was surprised,” he admitted. “I understand everyone wants to get the kids back to normal, but these are not normal times.”
Southgate, like several other Downriver school districts, does not yet have face-to-face learning in its schools.
Anderson will play this year on a brand new synthetic field.
“The field is just awesome,” said Dobek. “It was just outstanding how quickly they were able to install it this summer.”
Dobek said the program numbers are trending up and the Titans will have both a varsity and jayvee teams and each will be at least 25 players.
He also said the varsity squad features veteran linemen playing in front of younger skill players – in some cases, very much younger.
In an unusual move at a school as large as Anderson, a freshman – Chase Barbosa – will start at quarterback.
“He is the best athlete in our program,” said Dobek. “He is a natural leader and with him our offense has clicked a little better each practice. There will be some growing pains, but he is a competitor and we are comfortable with him there.”
The team’s bedrock will be the offensive and defensive lives, where Ian Norscia rules. Norscia, plays center and on the defensive line. He is a four-year starter for the Titans.
“He plays both ways and he anchors our defensive line,” Dobek said.
Senior Dominique Dixon and Daveon Jones join him on the lines. Senior Ryan Drouillard and junior Charlie Mickel are key linebackers.
Others who will make an impact for the Titans this season are seniors Orlando Perez and Torian Clemmons, juniors Ryand Kruzak and Brennan Emans, sophomore Colin Webb and freshman LaVelle Hughes.
2020 Southgate football • (Varsity and JV)