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Momentum can make a difference/Paul Peterson

October 31, 2012
By Paul Peterson - For the Gazette , The Daily Mining Gazette

It's often been said that that momentum is one of the most overused terms in the world of sports.

But after watching some of the more notable events of the past week, I would beg to differ.

Take our forlorn Detroit Tigers, for example.

The Tigers were deflated in the opening game of the World Series when their erstwhile pitching ace Justin Verlander turned in a subpar performance. Verlander has been constantly lauded as the top pitcher in the major leagues by every media outlet the past two seasons.

But the San Francisco Giants used the momentum from their pounding of him in the opener to roll over the Detroiters in an embarrassing four games.

The Tigers played the entire series without any fire or spark. In short, they never regained any momentum.

Then, there were the impressive performances by the Calumet Copper Kings and L'Anse Purple Hornets in the opening round of the high school football playoffs.

Calumet, which came in riding a six-game winning streak, steamrolled Manistique from the get-go in a 45-0 win.

After three tough losses (to Northland Pines, Negaunee and Ishpeming) to open the season, the Kings were basically in playoff mode the rest of the way just to qualify for the postseason.

That sort of urgency led to some great momentum for coach John Croze's club. Many people, including myself, believe that CHS can knock off Negaunee this Friday night in the rematch of the two teams.

L'Anse, on the other hand, had to remove to a 900-pound gorilla off its back when it met Forest Park last week.

The Trojans have long been a nemesis of the Purple Hornets.

Even when L'Anse won the Barber Trophy in 1970 as the top big school in the Upper Peninsula, Crystal Falls put the only blemish on their 7-0-1 record with a 6-6 tie.

Over the years, FP has always been there to chill the hopes of the Purple Gang. Of course, the Trojans have ended many team's hopes over the past three decades. But the defeats they have pinned on L'Anse have been particularly galling.

A 1976 meeting of the two undefeated schools was a good example of that. Although the Hornets had what most observers considered to be a more talented team, the Trojans used their mystique - and a couple of breaks - to score a 20-6 victory.

So, when the Mark Leaf-coached Hornets pulled out a miraculous last-minute 34-28 win at Meadowbrook Field last week, they gained tremendous momentum.

Whether they can parlay that big win into an upset of No. 1-ranked North Dickinson this week is another question.

But the junior-dominated LHS squad, who I believe will be the team to watch out for next season, at least has the confidence to pull off the feat.

And that's what momentum is all about.



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