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TC Patriot Game tickets, shirts on sale

TRAVERSE CITY — Tickets to Friday’s 10th Traverse City Patriot Game are available for sale at gofan.co.

Tickets will also be available at the gate on game day beginning at 5 p.m. All veterans, active duty and first responders get into the game free and can enter Thirlby Field at the 13th Street rolling gate or through the 14th Street main entry. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.

Proceeds from this year’s T-shirt sales will support Reining Liberty Ranch, which offers community based programs that serve veterans, their families and other disabled/at-risk individuals within the Grand Traverse community.

This year, Titan supporters will wear red shirts, while supporters of the Trojans will wear blue. The minimum shirt donation is $10. Commemorative T-shirts are available for student sales Sept. 13-16 during lunch. The public can purchase shirts outside both schools at specific time periods. Traverse City West fans can purchase shirts on the east side lawn by the school’s main entrance from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. through Thursday. TC Central fans can get their shirts outside of the gymnasium from 7:30-8 a.m. through Friday. Any remaining shirts will be sold at the game.

For more information, contact the TC West athletic office at 231-933-7780.

Babcock wins half marathon in Holland

HOLLAND — Bear Lake’s Kelly Babcock won the Holland/Haven Half Marathon on Sunday.

Babcock finished the 13.1-mile race in 1:34.35, just beating out Traverse City resident Carie Wille by 33 seconds.

Manistee’s Zach Wegner placed 16th in the men’s marathon in 3:26:21.

Urban cards first hole-in-one

BIG RAPIDS — After about 60 years of playing golf, Jerry Urban of Kingsley recorded his first hole-in-one Sept. 8 at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids.

Urban used a 5-wood to ace the 150-yard hole No. 4. The hole-in-one was witnessed by brother-in-law Buck Harvey.

MHSAA adds middle school X-C regionals

EAST LANSING — The first postseason events in Michigan High School Athletic Association history for students at the junior high/middle school level will be conducted in cross country this season at eight regional sites during the second half of October.

The Junior High/Middle School Cross Country Regionals were approved by the MHSAA Representative Council during its Spring 2020 meeting, on recommendation of the MHSAA’s Junior High/Middle School Committee. Students from the nearly 650 MHSAA-member junior highs and middle schools may participate, with regional meets not counting against the 10 events teams are allowed during the regular season.

Each of eight host sites will conduct one girls and one boys race. Host sites determined the dates regionals will be run. Teams may enter up to 20 participants in each race, dependent on the size of their school (as larger schools may enter more participants). The regional races will be two miles in length.

The local regional will be held at Gaylord at Michaywe Golf Course on Oct. 23.

Team championship trophies will be awarded to the top-placing girls and boys teams at each regional. The top 20 individual finishers in each race will receive medals.

Gaylord hosting MHSAA Update

EAST LANSING — The Michigan High School Athletic Association will conduct its 44th annual Update Meeting series in person in the coming weeks, after the 2020 series was provided online only because of COVID-19, and this year’s schedule will again offer in-service programming for athletic directors at six of the seven locations.

The Update series is annually attended by more than 800 school administrators. During the meetings, information about current MHSAA activities is disseminated, issues affecting interscholastic athletics are discussed and attendees are surveyed on various topics.

Six luncheon meetings are scheduled in the Lower Peninsula, and a morning meeting is scheduled for Marquette in the Upper Peninsula. MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl will address high school superintendents, principals, athletic directors and school board members on a variety of topics at these meetings. Update Meetings also provide school administrators an opportunity to ask questions and discuss any recent changes in the Association’s rules and regulations.

This also will be the 19th year of Athletic Director In-Service programs conducted during morning-long sessions prior to most of the Update Meetings. These workshops are designed to help prepare those administrators for the rigors of their jobs, and with the Update Meetings offer those in attendance an opportunity to meet with administrators from neighboring school districts with whom they normally are not able to have day-to-day contact.

The area meeting is Oct. 4 at Otsego Club & Resort in Gaylord at noon, preceded by AD In-Service at 8:30 a.m.

Harbaugh renames drill

ANN ARBOR — Jim Harbaugh seems to have his best running game in seven seasons at Michigan, rotating two speedy and powerful backs behind an offensive line that has been opening huge holes.

The Wolverines were so effective at moving the ball on the ground in a 31-10 win over Washington that they had 56 rushing carries for 343 yards and chose to throw just 15 times for 44 yards.

Harbaugh said he heard “a little bit of noise,” about it with fans clamoring for the team to throw more and run less.

“There’s a lot of ways to travel,” he said Monday. “Some people choose to travel on the ground, some people by air. George Patton was able to get his job done on the ground. Neil Armstrong through the air. Last Saturday night, we chose to grind it out on the ground and were also able to get our mission accomplished.”

No. 25 Michigan (2-0) will likely lean on its ground attack at home again against Northern Illinois (1-1) on Saturday.

Even though the Wolverines are off to a strong start and may not be underdogs until they play Oct. 2 at No. 18 Wisconsin, they will be measured by how they fare against No. 9 Ohio State at the end of the regular season.

No one knows that more than Harbaugh, who is winless as a coach against the rival Buckeyes. Reflecting the importance of The Game, he changed the name of the team’s running drill that stacks seven defenders in a small space against an offense without wide receivers.

“Years prior, we’d call it a 9-on-7, which is what the drill is,” offensive guard Trevor Keegan said. “But this year, we changed it to the ‘Beat Ohio’ drill.’ Now we’re blasting music, smelling salts, everything. It’s a pretty physical period. We love it.”

Ohio State has won a school-record eight straight against Michigan, including a 56-27 rout two years ago in the last matchup, and 15 of the last 16 meetings.

Buckeyes coach Ryan Day has a “Team Up North Drill,” and now the Harbaugh has been inspired to dub a part of practice that shows how much that game means to him.

“It kind of came along with the whole tradition of, ‘What are you doing to beat Ohio State every day?’” center Andrew Stueber said. “Kind of taking that rivalry into focus every day.”

The physical, straightforward run drill seems to be paying off so far.

Michigan is averaging 339 yards rushing a game, ranking fourth in the nation, and 6.85 yards per carry to rank fifth. The Wolverines’ offensive line opened massive holes against the Huskies and Western Michigan and a pair of running back took full advantage.

Blake Corum, the Big Ten offensive player of the week, has run for 282 yards to rank No. 8 in the country and Hassan Haskin is 27th with 225 yards rushing.

Against Washington, they became the first pair of running backs to have 150-plus yards rushing in the same game since Karan Higdon and Chris Evans pulled off the feat against Minnesota in 2017.

“We just kind of feed off each other,” Corum said. “We’re thunder and lightning.”

Without a strong offensive line, though, both backs would be stopped in their tracks.

Harbaugh said he sensed his team would block better this year back in spring practice when he saw how offensive linemen embraced the team’s no-frills running period.

“That has become a drill of emphasis,” Harbaugh said. “Look forward to it. Excitement. They wanted music, so we play music during that drill. That (Washington) game felt like a 9-on-7 drill.

“Both teams were trying to turn it into that type of game and our guys have embraced it and had a lot of practice at it.

Follow @Jamescook14 on Twitter.

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