Getting off to a fast start proved pivotal in Novi's 35-28 football victory Friday at home over Livonia Franklin.
The Wildcats, gunning for their second straight MHSAA playoff playoff berth as a 5-4 at large, jumped out to an 14-0 advantage and were able to hold off, 35-28, in the regular season finale for both teams.
"We needed to jump on them because they're good," Novi coach Jeff Burnside said of the the 6-3 playoff-bound Patriots. "We knew if we could get them in chase mode instead of us chasing them, that's where we needed to be."
The Wildcats' Tyler VanKirk recovered a Franklin fumble on the first play from scrimmage and five plays later senior quarterback Alec Bageris, who was 17-of-24 passing for 175 yards on the night, threw the first of four touchdown passes, a 34-yarder to fellow senior Anthony D'Annibale just 1:42 into the opening period.