(8-3, 5-2 BWAC)
Week 1: Aug. 30 at Otisville-LakeVille (0-9) at Flint Atwood Stadium
The former Tri-Valley Conference East rivals will have to go shoe shopping before the season opener, as Atwood Stadium’s playing field is made of artificial turf. The Falcons haven’t had much football success, winning less than one-third of their games since 1955. They went 0-9 last year and still are looking to taste playoff action for the first time. In last year’s season opener, the Broncos kicked off the best season in 12 years with a 54-12 win over the Falcons.
Week 2: Sept. 6 vs. Armada (2-7)
North Branch’s first Blue Water Area Conference victory came in its first league contest last year, a 44-12 win over Armada. The Tigers went 1-6 in league play last year and haven’t qualified for the playoffs since 2006. North Branch has won all four matchups between the two.
Week 3: Sept. 13 at Yale (5-5)
The Bulldogs squeaked into the playoffs last year with a 5-4 regular season, which included 3-3 BWAC mark. The Broncos benefitted from an offensive explosion in last year’s matchup, winning 63-35. As common non-conference opponents before the Broncos joined the BWAC last year, the two teams played in the last game of the regular season from 2007-15. North Branch is 9-16 against Yale since 1950.
Week 4: Sept. 20 vs. Almont (10-1)
Almont went undefeated in the 2018 regular season, winning the BWAC and entering the Division 5 playoffs ranked No. 7 in the state. It was the ninth consecutive playoff appearance for the Raiders, who lost in the second round to Frankenmuth. In the first matchup of the two squads since 1956, Almont flexed its might against the Broncos by way of a 42-6 win last season.
Week 5: Sept. 27 at Algonac (4-5)
The Muskrats failed to make the playoffs last year after going a combined 31-6 the previous three seasons while advancing twice to the Division 3 quarterfinals and once to the semifinals. Last year’s Algonac/North Branch contest not only was first time the two teams met as conference rivals, but the first time they had met. The Broncos now lead the all-time series 1-0 after a 34-21 victory.
Week 6: Oct. 4 at Richmond (6-4)
The Blue Devils have made the playoffs 17 of the last 19 years – including last season – but that didn’t mean much to North Branch, which rolled to a 37-0 win. Richmond went 5-2 in the BWAC before losing to Frankenmuth in the first round of the Division 5 playoffs. Like its game with Algonac, this was the first time North Branch and Richmond met on the football field.
Week 7. Oct. 11 vs. Imlay City (1-8)
Unlike its previous two opponents, North Branch is quite familiar with the Spartans, as the two often met in non-league games. In fact, Imlay City and North Branch have met 65 times since 1950 despite not playing in the same conference since 1988. In the Broncos’ first BWAC season, they downed Imlay City 47-12. The Spartans are coming off three consecutive 1-8 campaigns and are 29-36 against North Branch since 1950.
Week 8: Oct. 18 at Croswell-Lexington (6-4)
After losing to the Pioneers in the final conference game of the 2018 season, North Branch bounced back to end Cros-Lex’s season with a 44-41 shootout win in the first week of the Division 4 playoffs. Cros-Lex is a perennial playoff qualifier, having earned a spot in the postseason in 15 of the last 21 years. The Broncos are 7-6 all-time against the Pioneers.
Week 9: Oct. 25 vs. Caro (4-5)
The rivalry between Caro and North Branch didn’t end when both teams left the TVC East after the 2017 season. This season will mark the 41st consecutive that the two have met, the last two in the regular-season finale as non-league foes. The Tigers needed a win in Week 9 last year to have a shot to make the playoffs with a 5-4 record, but North Branch didn’t oblige, capturing a 39-30 win. The Broncos are 21-19 all-time against Caro.