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Midland rides an 8-game winning streak into the Division 2 playoffs

By: Tom Markowski, October 23, 2017, 5:16 pm

Midland – It’s not how well a team starts a season that counts. It’s how well they finish.

Midland got off to a poor start but the Chemics have won eight straight heading into the state playoffs, which begin Friday.

Midland (8-1), the unofficial champions of the Saginaw Valley League, will host Traverse City Central (6-3) in a Division 2 Region 1 opener on Friday at 7 p.m.

The winner will play the winner of the Traverse City West (8-1)-Midland Dow (7-2) game the following week in a district final.

Midland lost to T.C. West, 42-20, at Midland in the season opener. West dominated the game from the start and the Chemics could never establish any type of rhythm.

“We were still searching for the right personnel who could fit in at what spot,” Midland coach Eric Methner said. “West came out clicking and, defensively, that’s a tough (offense) to defend. We were on the wrong side of the momentum.”

West runs an offense similar to that of Canton, Zeeland West and others. The Titans use two tight ends often with three backs. At times West will split a receiver out or put a back on the wing or slot but the object is the same – run a power running game that uses deception in the backfield.

Methner and his staff weren’t discouraged and, after watching the film, knew corrections could be made. Midland went back to what it does well and that’s run the ball. Methner also uses two tight ends but most often with also employ two wide receivers with one back, that being Martin Money.

“We made a concerted effort to keep things simple,” Methner said.

Methner wasn’t playing favorites but what he did was to tell his son, Cade, a senior quarterback, to take the reins and control the offense. That’s exactly what he did.

Cade Methner took his lumps as a junior. He started every game and Midland, uncharacteristically, finished below .500 at 4-5. Midland was 7-3 in 2015 and since 1976 Midland has had just two losing seasons.

Methner (6-0, 160) won’t impress anyone with his size. He plays with grit, has become a leader and he can beat teams with his running ability as well as with his passing.

Methner has rushed for 461 yards and nine touchdowns, and has thrown for 1,089 yards and 12 touchdowns. Carter Grove tops the teams in receptions with 26 for 473 yards and Money has 132 carries for 1,004 yards.

A big reason for the success of the Chemics is the development of the offensive line. All five starters are juniors. That’s never happened before with Methner as head coach and it was a concern during preseason practices. Credit must go to Chris Corbat, the offensive line coach. Corbat, who was a lineman for Midland in the last 1990s, is in his first season as the line coach. Previously he was coaching the freshmen team and Methner brought him up this season due to an opening there.