ST. IGNACE - Every fall when the state football playoff pairings are conducted, somebody's team has to be the last one to be picked.
This time, North Central happened to be the last team selected.
Although, none of that matters to the Jets right now.
The bottom line is the Jets (5-4) are in, and they'll be heading to St. Ignace (9-0) for a Division 8 district opener Friday at 7 p.m.
"When you're the last team in the tournament, you don't beg," said Jets' coach Kevin Bellefeuil. "You just go and play where you're assigned. We're just happy to get in. This is a big accomplishment for our school."
Although Jets were unable to meet as a team during the Michigan HIgh School Assocation's "Selection Sunday" show on Fox Sports Detroit (channel 33), they all agreed to watch the program.
"Once our name was called, text messages started spreading like wildfire," said Bellefeuil. "The kids and community are very excited. We had to get some help to get in and got the help we needed. We pretty much knew we were in Saturday night."
The Saints are by 6-foot-2, 232-pound senior tight end/middle linebacker Joe Ostman, who's headed to Central Michigan University next year on a football scholarship.
Ostman, this year's Player of the Year in the Ski Valley North Conference, has 28 pass receptions for 606 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He also has 85 tackles and two quarterback sacks under his belt.
"We've seen him on film and he looks like Captain America out there," Bellefeuil said of Ostman, who's also a two-time Division 4 state championship wrestler. "He's the biggest, strongest and fastest kid on the field everytime."
The Saints, who run out of multiple offensive formations but mainly the Wing-T, are led by senior running backs Curtis St. Louis and Galloway Thurston, also a state championship wrestler last winter, and 5-6, 145 senior fullback Richard Bentley. St. Louis has 486 yards rushing and 10 TDs and 256 yards receiving and six scores.
"Bentley isn't very big, but he's a real tough kid," said Bellefeuil. "He allows other kids to roam around a lot and they certainly make plays. The kids who are also on their wrestling team move like superior athletes. They have a low center of gravity. You can tell which ones the wrestlers are. Their three guys in the middle set everybody else up. They don't play with as many wideouts as we do, but I think they're pretty happy with what they do. They're a pretty complete package."
St. Ignace junior quarterback Tyler Snyder has passed for 1,137 yards and 21 TDs. Also among his favorite targets senior ends Parker Simmons and Curtis Herrian, who was 10 receptions for 203 yards and three TDs.
The Saints, who have 17 seniors, have also done the job on defense by allowing just 28 points all season.
"With 17 seniors, Friday's game is going to be their focus," said Bellefeuil. "They're not going to look past us."
North Central sophomore QB Rob Granquist passed for 1,116 and 14 TDs and ran for 222 yards and four scores during the regular season.
Junior running back Josh Granquist has 668 yards rushing and five scores and 338 yards receiving and five TDs and sophomore Devin Wodraska has 600 yards in total offense, including eight TDs.
Senior running back Dyllion Hanchek and junior Travis Vincent combined for seven TDs and junior wide receiver Andy Estrada has four TD catches.
"We have some people we can throw to," said Bellefeuill. "I think we have some things that can make them uncomfortable for a time. We're not just going to lay down. We're going to play to the best of our ability. We'd have to play nearly a perfect game to beat them. But if you can limit our mistakes and have a little luck go your way, who knows."