Week Three MHSAA High School Football Preview

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Hello and welcome back to my little portion of Spartan Nation! It’s time to get ready for another weekly report about what’s going on in Michigan high school football. Teams are rolling along and with a win this Friday (or Saturday); they could be half way to the required six wins to make the playoffs. The contenders are starting to separate from the pretenders. There is still a lot of football to play, but things are starting to take shape. What a fantastic time of year! By Monday night, football on all three levels will be back!


Hemlock (2-0) at Freeland (2-0) (Friday September 9, 7pm)

The Huskies of Hemlock are on a roll. After years of inconsistency, they hired Coach Bruce Bendix to take the leash off of the Huskies in 2010. In their game last week against Saginaw Swan Valley, they posted back to back wins over their rival for the first time since 1988-89 (and last season’s victory was the first over them since 1989). A win over Freeland this week will clear the way for Hemlock to win their first conference title since entering the Tri-Valley Conference in 1979 (and first football title since 1974). Versus Swan Valley, quarterback Chase Weichmann completed five of his eight passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns while running 15 times for 181 yards and two more scores. Running back Michael Devereaux carried 18 times for 108 yards and another score. TJ Vondette was the leading receiver with four catches for 63 yards and a score. 

Freeland has some horses as well. They won the TVC-Central twice in the past three seasons. With a Wing T offense and fantastic execution, the Falcons are a tough team. Freeland is led by running back David Ruhlman. Last week against Chesaning, he ran 18 times for 204 yards and three touchdowns. When he gets into the open field, he can pull away and make long runs for scores. Quarterback Connor Schultz completed three of his nine pass attempts for 52 yards. Matthew Schauman and Chris Graebner each carried 14 times, for 94 and 57 yards, respectively. This team doesn’t do a whole lot of funky things, but what they do, this team does extremely well.

West Coast

Zeeland East (2-0) at Zeeland West (2-0) (Friday September 9, 7pm)

Everyone loves a rivalry. In the Ottawa-Kent Green Division, there are two schools separated only by school colors. Down by seven points in the second quarter in last week’s game against East Kentwood, the Chix scored 28 unanswered points to put the game away. Casey VanHoof completed 13 of his 15 passes for 161 yards and a score. Spencer Viening toted the rock 16 times for 112 yards and two scores. He also caught a two yard touchdown pass. Josh Snyder led the team in receiving yards with 81 on six receptions. The scoring was capped by a 71 yard interception return for a score by Brice Kramer. This is the first game of league play for both teams so they hope to get off on the right foot with a win over their intra-city rival.

The Dux of Zeeland West have not been around for a long time. The football program started in 2005 and by 2006, the team had won a state championship (Division 4). It didn’t take long for them to get rolling last week against Wayland Union. Quarterback Clay Coatney completed two of his three passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. The score was a 66 yard pass to Derick Postma. He caught both passes from Coatney. Postma also ran eight times for 94 yards and a score. This should be a very good game. Both teams have done well as of late and hope to continue the playoff success. 

Capital Area

Grass Lake (2-0) at Michigan Center (2-0) (Friday September 9, 7pm)

The Warriors of Grass Lake, like Hemlock, had a big victory over someone they’ve had trouble beating in the past. They won at Addison for the first time since 1989 and it was only the third victory over them since 2000. Running back Frank Vuocolo ran 21 times for 227 yards and three touchdowns, including the fourth quarter one that put the game away. That happened shortly after Addison had mounted a second half comeback to pull within a score. Quarterback Logan Knopka completed two of his six passes for 90 yards and two interceptions. Both balls had been caught by Jared Lazarz. It makes the game against undefeated Michigan Center even more important this week in regards to trying to win a conference championship. 

It could have been a very bad week for Michigan Center. With running back Chris Roe out with a broken hand, it fell to Drew Dowding and Jordan Knapp to pick up the slack. These two responded with 234 total yards and four touchdowns. Dowding finished with 96 yards and three touchdowns on 11 attempts while Knapp carried 12 times for 97 yards and another score. Quarterback Dylan Zaborowski completed six of his 18 passes for 101 yards and one interception. Dowding and Knapp each caught a pass, with Knapp’s going for 31 yards and Dowding making a 10 yard reception. Eddie Niecko caught two passes for 25 yards. This game has the makings of a very tough and hard hitting game. 


McBain (2-0) at Manton (1-1) (Friday September 9, 7pm)

McBain is having a great season so far. They have played and won two games by the total score of 77-0. Now it will get a bit tougher though as they are starting league play. In the Ramblers game last week against Manistee, Coach Chad Grundy’s defense only gave up 39 yards and four first downs. Derek Vongphasouk returned a punt 60 yards for a score. Quarterback Jared Larr was nine of 14 for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Nathan Bunning caught three of them for 39 yards and two scores. Logan Nemeth ran for 68 yards. Last season, the Ramblers played very well and went to the regional final until they ran into state finalist Ishpeming.

Manton got things turned around after a season opening loss to Mesick. Last week, Coach Jeff Puffer’s Rangers beat Harbor Springs 20-8. They must have banned reporters from the game because there is NO information about the game (that I can find), other than the final score.


Trenton (2-0) at Wyandotte Roosevelt (2-0) (Friday September 9, 7pm)

The Trojans of Trenton have really picked it up this year. After finishing 2-7 last season, they have roared out two straight wins. Now comes the real test with the squad traveling to Wyandotte to take on a team they haven’t beaten since 2006. Last week, the Trojans beat Taylor Truman 34-14. Unfortunately, they lost their starting quarterback Mike Czarnecki to an injury. Now they will need to rely on Chad Hamilton under center. Jason Barbosa is a good receiver and will need to have a great game to beat a tough Roosevelt team. Running backs Cody Gundick and Norvis Smith are going to need to have monster games as well.

Wyandotte is the defending Downriver League champions. They beat up on Taylor Kennedy last week by the score of 41-14. Although they didn’t start quickly, they came on strong. Hunter Matt busted off a 34 yard scoring run and the Bears never looked back. Tyler Dunn scored two touchdowns, including a 61 yard punt return which was his second special teams score in two weeks. Aaron Robinson scored twice as well and had 94 all-purpose yards. Quarterback Kevin Matejko had a fine night as well. Coach Ron Adams made sure that even though they were the favorite to win the game; his team worked hard all week and was mentally focused.