KALAMAZOO — The Traverse City Wolves dropped a virtual must-win game, but still has a glimmer of hope to make the playoffs.
The West Michigan Tigers defeated the Wolves 33-28.
Traverse City (4-5) needs to win its regular-season finale on Saturday to have a shot at the postseason. The Wolves host the Grand Rapids Thunder, and a win would give TC the season tiebreaker over the Thunder and possibly keep them alive for at least another week.
Playing without its entire starting linebacker corps -- Tyler Alpers, Ryan Brown and Elliott Gallagher -- the Tigers were able to move the ball against Traverse City's defense.
Yet Brian Mauer's touchdown pass to Jeff Fancy with nine seconds left gave the Wolves some life, pulling them within five points. TC wasn't able to recover an on-side kick, however.
Alvin Sitkiewicz and Pablo Bocardo scored rushing touchdowns for Traverse City, and Tim Ohlert had a 53-yard punt return for a score. Bocardo missed a pair of field goals.