ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Last Friday night felt all too familiar for Tim Rogers and the Forest Hills Central football program.

Mona Shores, the team who lined up on the other side of the Rangers, had knocked them out of the playoffs three of the last four seasons.

The Sailors were driving as halftime crept into view of the 7-7 game. Rogers called a time out to try to halt the Mona Shores momentum.

“We needed to make a stop right there to give us a good feeling going into the half,” Rogers said at Tuesday’s practice.

That’s exactly what the FHC defense did, as it stood tall on three straight downs and kept the game deadlocked at halftime. The Rangers would go on to outscore Mona Shores 26-14 in the second half, winning 33-21 and earning their first district championship since 2017.

FHC (11-0, 7-0 O-K White) has been winning all season, but the way this group has done it is reflected by that key stop against the Sailors before halftime to propel them to a win — a “blue collar” mentality.

“This group doesn’t have an ego,” Rogers said. “They’re a lunch pail, hard hat bunch that does everything to the best of their ability and doesn’t worry about who gets the credit. It’s a pleasure to coach these guys.”

They’ve earned the chance to take on East Lansing (8-3) in the regional title game in front of their home crowd.

In his 11th season as the head coach of the Rangers, Rogers has learned what it takes to win. This will be the seventh consecutive year his teams have made the playoffs. His record during that span is 55-16 and 68-39 overall as the head coach of the Rangers.

In order to get to the state semifinal matchup in the Division 2 bracket, it’ll take his team’s best effort to get passed an East Lansing group that has scored 58 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs and also forced a shutout against Battle Creek Central in round one.

“On defense, (East Lansing) is physical and runs to the ball really, really well,” Rogers said. “It’s kind of the same on offense because they have a lot of team speed. There’s a lot of skill out there that will require us to play a team game to keep these guys in check.”

While a trip to Ford Field and a state title try for the first time ever under Rogers is looming closer, he doesn’t talk about anything with his group other than what’s right in front of them.

“We’ve been close, a couple years ago especially getting to the (state) semis but we haven’t got there yet,” Rogers said. “Again, we’re playing it one game at a time. It’s not something we talk about around here. But for the program and what we’ve been through, it would be a big shot in the arm if we ever made it (to a state championship game).”

While there’s no guarantee of that happening, it is for certain that Rogers’ group will grab their hard hats and lunch pails one more time to take the field Friday night.