Week Five - Will They Take The Next Step?

Jeffrey Cottrell

Welcome back to another installment of Spartan Nation’s Prep Football Preview. This week’s matchups include two sets of 4-0 teams, a family affair, and one good old division game. Every one of these teams should be playing Halloween weekend, unless some major breakdown comes along in the next month. All of these teams need another win to keep their confidence up and to take one step closer to the magical six wins to make the playoffs. So let’s get into this week’s slate of games!

West Coast

Muskegon Orchard View at Spring Lake (September 26, 7pm)

Orchard View has been a good team for many seasons. They have made the playoffs seven straight times and 13 of the past 15 seasons. So far, they are 2-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of Montague in the season opener. On offense, their leader is center Ryan Coonrod, who played guard last season (and was all-conference selection) and made the move to the middle. Matt Latsch, a talented halfback in their Wing T offense has played well so far this season. He is also their kicker and punter. On the defensive side of the ball, safety Mike Jawer, linebacker Joe Brown, and defensive end Cody Vandokelaar anchor a tough-minded, hard-hitting squad.

It was a long seven years ago that Spring Lake made the state finals. Since then, they haven’t had a fantastic record. Things are changing though. The Lakers have installed an option veer offense and will spread Orchard View out. Returning quarterback Mark Rhem will be looking for blood this year, having had his spleen ruptured in the game against Orchard View last season. One of their fastest players is CR Mohrhardt, who can make plays out of the backfield. On the defensive side of the ball, Chad Setterbo, a tough linebacker has worked hard and is looking to keep everyone out of the end zone while crushing anyone who comes his way. Defensive end Logan Williamson, a returning starter, has to pressure the quarterback and force some bad decisions by Orchard View so their linebacking crew and defensive backs can capitalize.

Sorta Centralish Area

Bay City Essexville Garber at Millington (September 26, 7pm)

Millington has been in the top half of the Tri Valley Conference East Division for the past few seasons. Last year, they came close to winning the title, but we all know what they say about being close. Last week, they were able to pay back their rival, the team that beat them and took the conference, Frankenmuth with a 7-0 win. They have had to do some rebuilding though, after losing their quarterback, tailback, and wide receiver. Fortunately, they are still in the thick of it for a conference title. On the defensive side of the ball, Ken Hoffman has played well from his linebacker position and leads that side of the ball. They will have to play a nearly perfect game, similar to their win over Frankenmuth last week, in order to win.

This game is pitting the teams that The Saginaw News picked to finish #1 (Garber) and #2 (Millington) in the conference. Even though Garber is young, they are tough and went through a battle last week with North Branch. In their three games this season (not including the forfeit from Sarnia Saint Christopher); two of them have been very close. They won a 14-13 decision over Birch Run earlier this season and last week’s 16-7 win over North Branch shows how tough they can be. Jake Herbert has passed the ball efficiently during this season. Their running back, Andrew Aho has been a main cog in their offensive plan and has run wild when kept unchecked.

Detroit

Rochester Adams at Southfield (September 26, 5:30pm)

If you’re a football fan in the metro Detroit area, you’ve surely heard about the Rochester Adams Highlanders. With the exception of their first game, a 47-40 shootout win over Clarkston, Adams has smoked everyone they’ve played. Now they battle a tough and also undefeated Southfield team. It helps the team when you have seven offensive starters and six defensive starters returning from last year’s very good team. Their quarterback, Andrew Waszak is one of the top quarterbacks in the Detroit area. On an interesting note, Jordan Sanders, a junior offensive tackle and defensive tackle who anchors both sides of the line, is the son of Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders. We know Adams can put up points because their lowest scoring game was the opener when they scored 47.

Southfield is returning a bunch of starters as well. They have returned a great quarterback in Eddie Beal and a tough tailback named Tim Keith. Keith has been on the varsity squad for three seasons and has never seen Southfield start out a season this well. In the past few seasons, they have been hovering around the .500 mark. This year, they are 4-0 and only two wins away from making the playoffs. Last week, Robert Drayton led the team in rushing with 135. That pales in comparison to Keith’s 860 total yards and nine touchdowns. In order for the Bluejays to win this game, they will need to keep the high octane Rochester Adams offense next to the water bottles on the sidelines.

Yooperland

Menominee at Kingsford (September 26, 7pm)

Kingsford has a good football team. There is no denying that. They have lost to a very good Mequon Homestead team from Wisconsin and a close game to Traverse City West. Now they are getting into their Great Northern UP conference games. Coach Chris Hofer is coaching against his dad and Menominee coach Ken Hofer. Imagine being Millie Hofer…having a husband and son going against each other (I bet she roots for her son)! Early in the season, the defensive backs were making too many tackles, which means that the front seven (linemen and linebackers) were not making the tackles they should. Quarterback Chris Siegler has kept the offense on track for the 2-2 Flivvers. They have been in position to win these games, but have fallen short in one (TC West) and were able to pull off a last second win over Lakeland in another.

Yea, yea, single wing. Uh huh, back to back state championships. Regular readers of this column know something about Menominee. Old man Hofer has been at it for a long time. They are 3-1 this season, with their only loss coming to Mequon Homestead. Last week they had to play without two of their tailbacks but the offensive line played very well and pushed their way to victory. With a large lead, everyone got to play, and that playing time for the depth will pay off if more injuries occur. The Maroons have been able to grind out long drives by running the ball this season. If Jordan Maccoux (their own special kind of quarterback) can come back from injury, it will go al long way towards ensuring a win. You can bet that the winning coach will be buying the losing coach dinner after the game.

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