Chris Fahr takes a step back before taking Waterford Mott forward into the playoffs
Waterford – Chris Fahr knew something was wrong but he wasn’t sure just what.
The symptoms began shortly before his Waterford Mott’s team game at Walled Lake Northern on Sept. 18. It was a big game for both teams. Both were 2-1 at the time, 1-0 in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association North Division.
“I couldn’t remember our starting lineup,” Fahr said. “My heart was racing so fast.”
As kickoff approached it got worse. In his fourth season at Mott’s head coach, Fahr couldn’t tear himself away from his players. He was going to gut it out.
“I was on the bench and I wanted to say something to my players,” Fahr said. “I got up to say something but I couldn’t find the words.”
Mott lost the game 36-25 but that’s not important. After the game Fahr was taken to Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield to find out what was wrong. He remained at Henry Ford for six hours and was diagnosed with exhaustion.
Reality had hit. Fahr was pushing himself too much.
“I was obsessing about winning,” Fahr said. “I never did that before. I had to step away.
“I ran myself down. I had to re-examine myself. I had to shut my phone down. I had to start eating better. I had to sleep more.”
Fahr missed two days of practice the following week but was back on the sidelines for the next game against Walled Lake Western. Mott lost that game, too, 33-21, but the Corsairs won four straight since to qualify for the playoffs for just the fifth time in school history.
Mott (6-3) will play at Detroit Catholic Central in a Division 1 pre-district on Friday at 7 p.m.
Mott has never won a playoff game. C.C. has won 10 state titles.
Fahr said his health is much better now. Winning helps and he’s getting more sleep but there’s more.
“The kids were so caring,” he said. “They told me to shut my phone down, and they thanked me when they couldn’t get me. It was so moving. It was so humbling.”
Mott is led by quarterback Jake Baldwin (27 touchdown passes, 1,700 passing yards) and one of the state’s top receivers, Dez Fitzpatrick.
Both teams are young. Half of C.C.’s starters are underclassmen. Fahr starts seven sophomores. Pick: C.C. by 10.
Clarkston (7-2) at Romeo (8-1): Did Romeo peak too soon? The Bulldogs lost to Utica Eisenhower last week, 17-14. The fewest points its scored previously this season was 26 against Macomb Dakota. Clarkston has won six straight and its young offensive line continues to improve. Pick: Clarkston by 4.
Detroit East English Village Prep (7-2) vs. Warren De La Salle (6-3) at Wayne State: Last season De La Salle defeated East English in a district final last year, 17-10. The Pilots’ offense has been a no-show the last two weeks. East English has had time to rest its starters and will be ready for revenge. Pick: East English by 2.
East Kentwood (6-3) at Hudsonville (6-3): Both teams lost last week as each blew a chance to tie for the O-K Red Division title. Hudsonville won earlier this season, 22-13, and East Kentwood’s offense has been inconsistent the last five games. Pick: Hudsonville by 3.
Grand Rapids Christian (5-4) at East Grand Rapids (6-3): Good luck predicting this outcome. Christian won 39-33 in overtime earlier this season. Christian won in 2011, 50-49. The season before East Grand Rapids won 49-48. Pick: E. Grand Rapids by 2.
Lincoln Park (6-3) at Wyandotte Roosevelt (7-2): Wyandotte owned Lincoln Park recently, until this season when Lincoln Park scored late and won, 18-15. The players at Wyandotte will be more prepared this time around. Pick: Wyandotte by 7.
Livonia Churchill (5-4) at Jackson (7-2): Churchill can score but the Chargers have been the model of inconsistency this season. They upset Canton one week then lost two straight before they came from behind to defeat a good Livonia Stevenson team. Jackson played well down the stretch. Pick: Jackson by 8.
Millington (8-1) at Sanford Meridian (9-0): Give a slight edge in competition to Millington. Millington handed Vassar its only loss and the Cardinals’ lone loss was to a one-loss Frankenmuth team. Pick: Millington by 3.
Muskegon Oakridge (7-2) at Grand Rapids West Catholic (7-2): No easy road for the defending Division 5 champions. West Catholic won seven of eight after losing by one point to Jackson Lumen Christi. Oakridge lost in overtime to Montague (9-0) and its loss to Detroit Loyola was too early in the season to matter here. Pick: W. Catholic by 2.
Utica Eisenhower (6-3) at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (7-2): Not sure this is a good game for either team. Eisenhower won the first game this season, 17-3, and now must tangle again with one of Macomb County’s top offenses. Chippewa Valley has a chance for revenge but it’s against a team it only scored three points against. Pick: Chippewa Valley by 6.
Last week’s record: 6-4.
Season record: 62-28.