Plymouth's football team entered the school's history books with the force of a black-and-silver tornado Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats registered the program's first post-season victory in dominating fashion, silencing Saline, 27-7, to improve to 8-2.
Plymouth will meet Canton in a Division 1 District final Friday at 7 p.m. at the P-CEP varsity stadium.
The Wildcats utilized a balanced offense (324 yards rushing, 117 passing) and several huge sacks on defense to demoralize a Saline team that came into the contest riding a four-game winning streak.
"It's the greatest feeling," said junior running back/nose guard Donte Fox, who ran for 117 yards on 10 carries and recorded two sacks on defense. "Coach Saw (Mike Sawchuk) has been here a long time, so it feels good to give him his first playoff win because he's been working so hard.
"Getting this win was pretty much our No. 1 goal before the season started. We've been rolling since Week 8."
Much like on his darting runs, Fox didn't hesitate when asked for the key to his team's late-season surge.
"Our offensive line," he said. "They're working well together and opening some big holes for me and Jerel (Jenkins)."
Plymouth's killer B's -- Brennen Beyer and Kyle Brindza -- stung the Hornets big-time on Saturday. Beyer registered a pair of sacks in the final minute of the first half to knock Saline out of field-goal range.
Brindza nailed two field goals (50 and 34 yards) while helping Plymouth win the field-position battle with several deep kick-offs.
"Beyer really turned it on there," said Sawchuk. "We ran a couple of stunts when he got the sacks. He's hard enough to block when it's one-on-one."
The Wildcats have been utilizing their deep roster more during the three-game winning streak, Sawchuk noted.
"We only have one player -- Tyler Goble -- playing both ways now," Sawchuk said. "Two-platooning is huge because we're fresher at the end of the game. Saline had a lot of guys going both ways and they were getting worn down a little in the fourth quarter."
Moving Fox from linebacker to nose guard a few weeks ago has also paid dividends.
"I hadn't played nose guard since little league," he said, "but I love it. I'm a little faster than the offensive linemen and I can use my strength to bull-rush when I have to. There's a lot less responsibility than linebacker. Now, I just have to go get the ball."
After forcing a game-opening Saline three-and-out, the Wildcats moved deliberately down the field, driving from their own 16 to the Hornets' 6 before Shaun Austin's tip pass was picked off by Mitch Osadchuk in the end zone.
Three plays later, Plymouth used a turnover of its own to get the ball back in prime field position. Sophomore defensive tackle Adam Packer's jolting hit separated Saline quarterback Trey Haren from the ball, which was recovered by Faris Abraham at the Saline 11.
Six plays later, Austin connected with Michael Olevnick with a 2-yard scoring pass to give the Wildcats a lead they would never relinquish.
Fox doubled the Plymouth lead to 14-0 with 36 seconds left in the first quarter when he outsprinted the Hornets down the south sideline on a 50-yard run.
Brindza extended the Wildcats' lead to 17-0 mid-way through the second quarter when he ripped a 34-yard field goal.
Saline regrouped on its next drive, a five-play sequence that was capped by Heren's 54-yard TD pass to Nick Ostrander, who caught the spiral despite tight coverage by Plymouth cornerback Vic Hicks.
Brindza delivered a no-doubt-about-it 50-yarder with 1:36 left in the half to make it 20-7.
The Hornets buzzed down to the Plymouth 35 late in the half, but back-to-back monster sacks by Brindza snuffed out the scoring threat.
Plymouth dominated time of possession in the second half and scored the game's lone TD on a 4-yard run by Jenkins with 1:47 remaining in the third quarter.
Plymouth defense, which was led by Fox, Goble, Tony Rhodes, Abraham and Beyer, put Saline's ground game in reverse, limiting the Hornets to negative-58 yards rushing.
The Wildcats picked up 20 first downs to Saline's five.
Jenkins was brilliant, following his jelling offensive line to 230 yards rushing on 27 carries.
Olevnick caught four Austin aerials for 32 yards.
Austin was sharp all afternoon, completing 14 of 19 passes. Austin spread the ball around to eight different receivers.
Adedamola Adebiyi picked off a Heren pass.
Ed Wright can be reached at (734) 453-1980 or email@example.com.
Michael Olevnik gets a grip on this 2-yard Shaun Austin pass to scored Plymouth's first touchdown. (Ed Wright photo)
Adedamola Adebiyi puts the wraps on Saline running back Justin Barnes. (Ed Wright photo)
Donte Fox extended Plymouth's lead to 14-0 with this 50-yard TD run. (Ed Wright photo)
Saline's Nick Ostrander hauled in a 54-yard TD pass despite tight coverage from Vic Hicks. (Ed Wright photo)
Nate Emminger picks up solid yards on this punt return. (Ed Wright photo)
Thomas Afetian picked up eight yards on this reception. (Ed Wright photo)