This week, 4Frenzy will head to Brighton for our Game of the Week, a rivalry game that will see the Plymouth Wildcats battle the Brighton Bulldogs. After two incredibly impressive seasons for these schools in 2019, each team finds itself in a must-win situation as they hope to climb back up the standings in the competitive Kensington Lakes division.
The hosting Brighton Bulldogs, fresh off an 11-win season that saw them reach the Final Four at Ford Field, have seen an uptick in popularity around the community after their successful season.
“I think last year was huge for our program,” Brighton Head Coach Brian Lemons said. “When I visit elementary and middle schools in our area, more and more kids are beginning to play football. It’s a season that I think helped the program a lot for the future.”
The Bulldogs have a lot of returning players from their successful 2019 squad, such as senior captain Nick Nemecek, the team’s leading rusher, and seniors Sheldon Riley and Tegan Kogler anchoring the defense. The team is ushering in a new starting quarterback though, and despite only being a junior, QB John Aurandt IV assumes the position with prior varsity experience.
“Aurandt is a great athlete,” Lemons said. “Last year as a sophomore he played defense for us on Varsity, which is rare. We’re very confident with John at the helm. He can throw the ball and run, which is perfect for the wide variety of plays we run in our offense.”
Regarding the rivalry between Plymouth and Brighton, Lemons was clear in his message to the team, but also recognizes the importance of this particular game.
“I tell my team that every week is rivalry week,” Lemons said. “Each week the target on your back is only going to get bigger. That being said, the last two games against Plymouth have been two of the most intense I have ever coached in.”
On the flip side, the Plymouth Wildcats are also looking to repeat their success of last season. After a 9-2 season, longtime coordinator Greg Souldourian, who first started working at Plymouth in 2005, was named head coach.
“It really is the ultimate honor,” Souldourian said. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn from a number of great coaches since working here and I’ve picked something up from each one of them. It’s great to come full circle and become head coach, and it’s a pleasure working with our administration.”
The Wildcats had their work cut out for them going into this season after losing 26 seniors from their successful 2019 squad, but Souldourian is confident in his team’s beliefs.
“We have an unbelievable coaching staff with tons of experience,” Souldourian said. “At the end of the day, it’s about the players. We tell them that in order to be successful you must fully believe that you will be successful, and the players have been working hard every day to prove that.”
Despite some injury issues, including losing their senior QB for the season due to injury, the Wildcats offer a strong roster based around versatility and strong offensive line play.
“Preston Long is a three-year starter on defense and a big play threat as a returner,” Souldourian said. Long returned three punts for touchdowns last season, including two in one game.
“We also have running back Justin McNeal, who I like to call our ‘sparkplug’, and our ‘Swiss army knife’ in Andrew Uhlian who has done a great job transitioning to tight end. All of this is held together by our strong offensive line, with guys like DJ Robinson and Ralph Buckley on the interior.”
When it came down to the topic of a Brighton v. Plymouth rivalry, Souldourian was strictly business.
“If the students want to say it’s a rivalry, they can,” Souldourian said. “I think any time two good teams play each other, it breeds rivalry, and that’s what we have here. We’ll know who the better team is when the game ends Friday.”
The highlights of 4Frenzy’s fourth Game of the Week, featuring Brighton vs Plymouth will air on Local 4 over the weekend. You can find them here at clickondetroit.com/4Frenzy after.
Plus you can watch the Brighton cheer team takeover on our Instagram highlights for a fun behind the scenes of the game!
Stay on the lookout for our next Game of the Week on clickondetroit.com/4Frenzy, or follow us on social media! You can share your photos and videos with our hashtag #4Frenzy.
We would like to thank our sponsors Meijer and Hungry Howie’s for their support!