The Lakeland Michigan high school football team(5-0), is showing ‘True Grit’, as they battle for the Conference Championship, and they are led by former Northwest Guilford High School coach, Joe Woodruff…..
from The Oakland Press, coming in from around Oakland County Michigan…..
An unheralded Lakeland football squad is quietly making a lot of noise in the LVC this fall.
The scrappy and “sum-of-their-parts” Eagles are 5-0 for the first time since 1982 and playing with unbridled passion and peak physicality.
Even though Lakeland has been to the playoffs the past three seasons and all Joe Woodruff teams are known for their heart, hustle and tenacity, this year’s club was overlooked early on in favor of the area’s glitzier, more college-scholarship-heavy programs.
“There’s no magic pill, wait, well, maybe the magic pill is grit,” responded Woodruff when asked what the recipe for success is for his Eagles in 2020. “We keep the expectations lofty around here. We don’t make excuses and we embrace who we are. Some people might look at a team without a bunch of kids bound for college football scholarships as a negative, we view it as strength. We make it part of our identity. We play hard-nosed, disciplined football and get after it and let the chips fall where they may.”
A win this week against Milford (1-4) would unofficially crown Lakeland the champions of the LVC. Before the season, due to the fact that teams were not playing full league schedules because of the pandemic, the league’s coaches decided that the LVC wouldn’t be awarding a 2020 league championship trophy.
Woodruff has mixed in a triple-option attack with his normal Wing T offense this year, tailoring the scheme for Eagles junior quarterback Tate Farquhar to best utilize his skill set. Farquhar is committed to play baseball in college at Michigan State, but is also a real-deal RPO threat under center on the gridiron.
“The change to our offense has been good for us, it has given us a jolt,” Woodruff said. “Tate being back there at quarterback gives us a great deal of confidence. He’s going to hurt opponents one way or another. He just knows how to make the right play at the right time.”
Juniors Reid Jabiro and Evan Percin head a crowded backfield rushing the rock with bone-crushing efficiency for the Eagles. Senior Shane Ells and junior Mike Sherrill are game-changers on both sides of the ball; Ells as a slotback and safety and Sherrill as a wide receiver and linebacker.
I had a feeling before the season that this could be a special group,” Woodruff said.