Michigan High School Football Week Two Scouting Report

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Heck YEA! Football is BACK! High school football is headed into week two while the college players are gearing up for week one. It won’t be long until the NFL gets back into regular season action as well. Now that we are pushing into week two, many schools are starting their conference schedule. Typically, teams make their biggest improvement from week one to week two. That’s a good thing because many teams are playing early (Thursday) because of the holiday weekend. The slate of action I’ve picked to profile this week is outstanding. The majority of the teams have strong tradition and some big time recruits. So let’s delve into Week Two!

West Coast

Mason County Central (0-1) at Muskegon Oakridge (1-0) (Thursday September 1, 7pm)

This could be a rough season for Mason Country Central. The Spartans don’t have a ton of players nor experience, returning only a pair of two way players. Last season, Coach Scott Briggs’ squad went 2-7. In the season opener, MCC lost to Benzie Central by the score of 22-6. They held the 6-0 edge at halftime, but couldn’t hold it. With such a small team, it will be very important to play mistake free football.

Muskegon Oakridge is doing something different this season. No longer is longtime head coach Jack Schugars roaming the sideline. He retired this past January and it’s Cary Harger who wears the whistle. Coach Harger knew not to mess with a good thing so he’s kept most everything intact. In the season opener against Muskegon Heights, Oakridge won 16-0. Interestingly enough, the scoreboard malfunctioned and it was not used. Running backs Dan Shoop ran for 57 yards and Francis Decker added another 51. Patrick Giddings ran in the first score from two yards out and Dion Holiday returned a fumble 26 yards for the final score. In between that, Trevor Jones nailed a 32 yard field goal. Terry Doxey and Austin Winters each racked up five tackles for the stout defense. That defense held Muskegon Heights to 83 total yards. 

Capital Area

Portage Central (0-1) vs. Jackson Lumen Christi (0-1) (Friday September 2, 7pm at Jackson Community Stadium)

The Mustangs of Portage Central had a pretty good year last season. This year started with more of a “thud.” They were smoked by Battle Creek Harper Creek 24-0. A large part of that was because of six turnovers. On top of that, quarterback Nate Schneider went 0-8 passing the ball, five of which were interceptions. He ran the ball 14 times for 19 yards. Dejuan James ran the ball 10 times for 65 yards to lead the team in yardage. They will need to get things going right and quick because next week starts league play in the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference East Division.

As a football coach myself, I know that continuity at the top of a program is very important. Coach Herb Brogan has been at the helm for 32 years (longer than I’ve been alive). Last season was rough for the Titans. They turned in one of their worst performances in years and lost in the first round of the playoffs. To many teams, that would be considered a success…but for a team with 10 state championship appearances (winning eight), it was not up to the usual standards. Last week in their 32-26 loss to Niles, they ran 80 plays to Niles 33, but still lost. The first score was an 87 yard fumble recovery to score in the first quarter. In the second quarter, after scoring a touchdown, they gave up an 85 yard kickoff return for another score. Obviously, the Titans gave up way too many big plays. Quarterback Justin O’Dowd completed 13 of his 22 passes for 162 yards and was sacked 6 times. Amani Bass led the rushing attack with 103 yards and a touchdown on 21 attempts while also catching three footballs for 24 yards. Jo Jo Kenndy scored three times and gained 52 yards on 12 attempts. Nick Girodat caught three balls and gained 75 yards to lead the receiving corps. This should be an epic battle between two teams trying to correct the mistakes of last week.

Detroit

Flint Carmen-Ainsworth (0-1) vs. Warren DeLaSalle (1-0) (Friday September 2, 7pm at St. Clair Shore Lake Shore High School)

Carmen-Ainsworth had a huge crowd (4,000+) and a new starter at quarterback to deal with in their game against Grand Blanc. An early turnover turned the scoreboard against them and they had to play catch-up all night. Quarterback Shane Barron has been lighting it up since his freshman year. He completed five of his 16 passes for 75 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions while also running 23 times for 118 yards. His two touchdowns went to Brandon Lenoir who finished with two receptions for 50 yards and those two scores. It was close at the end though; it came down to an onside kick that wasn’t recovered. They will need to play very very well if they want to be DeLaSalle this week.

When talking about the Pilots of Warren DeLaSalle, the talk starts with future University of Michigan quarterback Shane Morris. Morris finished last week’s 48-23 win over Ann Arbor Pioneer with 12 completions on 15 attempts for 233 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Zack Bihary scored two touchdowns on one yard runs. It seemed like every phase of the team was playing very well and enabled DeLaSalle to come away with a nice victory. The defense came away with a safety and a strip turned touchdown by Justin Browning. It was 42-9 at the break and then the Pilots put in the second and third stringers. These two teams both have strong quarterbacks and good teams. This should be a fun game to watch.

North

Muskegon Catholic Central (1-0) at Kingsford (1-0) (Friday September 2, 6pm)

The Crusaders of Muskegon Catholic Central started the season in dramatic fashion last week. They beat up Muskegon Mona Shores 48-7. It helps when the coaching staff and system have been in place for 20-30 years. With those things in place, the offense rolled up 526 yards of total offense with 443 coming through the ground game. Jessie Anderson ran all over Mona Shores with 26 carries for 215 yards and one touchdown. A key was the fact that there were no turnovers by MCC. Coach Mike Holmes has to be happy with the way his squad started the season. This week will be a very big test as they will have to travel 400 miles to the Upper Peninsula to take on Kingsford.

Kingsford opened the season with a trip to Wisconsin to take on Lakeland Union. The Flivvers capitalized on early mistakes and never looked back. They had 247 yards rushing on the night. Sean Ryan, Jeffrey Gregory, Reed Larson, Mike Ouradnic, John Mitchell, and Aaron Sussman all scored in the game. When you get up 21-0 at the beginning of the second quarter, coaches make sure they spread the ball around and get other players in to the game. After getting knocked off in the second round of the playoffs last season, Coach Chris Hofer has his team smashing the players across the line of scrimmage, flying to the ball on defense, and laying punishing hits when possible. This game will be two tough teams that run the ball smashing into each other. If there was a “three yards and a cloud of dust” game of the week, this is that game.

Mid-Michigan

Traverse City St. Francis (1-0) at Saginaw Nouvel (1-0) (Friday September 2, 7pm)

I think that this will be an exciting game. These two teams, while I bet they respect each other, I feel (again, this is my guess, based on nothing) these two teams probably don’t like each other a whole lot. They have only played six times in the past and the series is tied at three games each. We proud members of the Spartan Nation know all about Traverse City St. Francis. With Max Bullough already on the Spartan squad, his little brother, Riley, is still playing for the Gladiators before he can actually sign his letter of intent to come to Michigan State. Last week they beat up Kingsley 57-8.

Saginaw Nouvel is no slouch either. Although last season ended only two games into the playoffs, they still had a solid season. This year, they started out with a huge 55-14 victory over Flint Powers Catholic. Star of the game was Bennett Lewis who scored five touchdowns, including a 71 yard kickoff return. He also caught three passes for 74 yards. When he ran the ball, he gained 202 yards on 16 carries and scored twice. Quarterback Joe Buchalski tossed three touchdowns, including two of them to Lewis.  Clay Henderson led the defense with 12 tackles. I’ve seen Nouvel play, and I’ll say this; they play until the last echo of the whistle is gone.