Week Three - We Will Rock You

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MHSAA

The third week of football season begins on Friday. Teams know what their strength and weaknesses are and are doing their best to correct them (or cover them up). Conversely, opposing teams know the strengths and weaknesses as well. We are starting to see who can play at the next level, which makes it interesting as far as recruiting goes. There are some interesting games to be played this week. Though I am only profiling five of them, there is a lot of interesting games from New Buffalo to Sault Sainte Marie…from Detroit to Traverse City. Go to a local game…or go “back home” and watch your old high school squad. There is a sense of community that goes hand in hand with high school football that you don’t see in many places.

West Coast

Kingsford at Muskegon Catholic Central (Friday September 10, 6pm)

Head coach Chris Hofer comes from a strong football background. His father, Ken, is the head coach at Menominee. In their first two games, they traveled to Wisconsin to take on some tough teams. Last week, they beat Minocqua Lakeland 20-6. Quarterback Kyle Sexton only completed two of his seven passes, but they went for 73 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 11 times for 106 yards and a touchdown, including a 67 yard scamper. Andy Ross chipped in 49 yards on 13 carries and a one yard touchdown plunge. The Flivvers are a disciplined team. They will come at you, try to knock your teeth out, and do what they have to do in order to score. This squad may be a lot larger in terms of enrollment, but both teams have proud traditions that they want to uphold.

Muskegon Catholic Central had a great season last year. Not quite as good as 2008, when they went 14-0 and won a state title, but they did make it to the championship game (which they dropped to Beal City, 14-7). The Crusaders played against a school more than twice as big (MCC has 203 students while Hopkins has 546), they were able to hang on for a victory. Hopkins got on the board first with a 74 yard TD run by Ben Bregg. Damon Armstrong answered in the second quarter with a 26 yard score. After two third quarter touchdowns, the Crusaders were in a hole. They answered back with another long touchdown by Armstrong, who ended the night with 15 rushes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. With only three minutes left in the game, they scored again and an extra point put them up by one. The kicker, Eric Robillard, who had just joined the team the week before, kicked that fateful extra point. Kevin Wickstorm toted the rock 10 times for 76 yards. Quarterback Bryant Westra completed four of his seven passes for 83 yards. Cari Campbell had an incredible 18 tackles.

Capital Area

Haslett at DeWitt (Friday September 10, 7pm)

Haslett may have let Corunna score first, but the Vikings scored more. Kolby Casady ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns on only eight carries. Jake Schaibly carried 16 times and gained 67 yards as well as catching two footballs for 75 yards. Quarterback Adam Foren completed four of his seven passes for 128. More importantly, the Vikings played without penalties. They did fumble the ball four times though. The Haslett defense needs to come through in a big way against DeWitt. If they can play without penalties again and NOT put the ball on the ground four times, the Vikings have a chance to win. It is imperative that Haslet not put their team in a hole by making bad decisions.

It was a very close game last week for DeWitt. They had led 20-7 in the second half before Portland rumbled back to take the lead 21-20 with only 1:17 left in the game. Luckily, quarterback Caleb Higbie finished strong. He found Jordan Johnson in the back of the end zone with only 34 seconds left in the game to retake the lead and win the game. Higbie finished 21 of 26 and passed for three touchdowns and ran in another. We all know DeWitt has firepower; it’s just a matter of harnessing that firepower and keeping their mind on the game at all times. This is a winnable game for both teams. It will come down to who executes and who wants it more.

Mid Michigan

Harbor Beach at Reese (Friday September 10, 7pm)

The Pirates of Harbor Beach have had their ups and downs in the past few seasons. Back in 2007, they went 12-1, only losing in the state semifinals to Traverse City St. Francis. The following two seasons, they won a total of four games. Now, they start out 2-0, nearly matching that two season win total. In the first two games, they have only given up one touchdown while scoring 81 total points. Last week in the game against Kinde North Huron, the Pirates capitalized on turnovers and turned a close game into a rout. Quarterback Sean Sorenson was able to toss touchdowns and manage a game that was close in the first half. Brian Dekoski punched in a one yard score early in the first. The last time these two teams met was in the first round of the 2006 playoffs and they drubbed Reese. That has to have left a bad taste in the mouths of the Rockets and they will come ready to play.

Reese, a team who has been a powerhouse in the last 10 years, isn’t showing any chinks in their armor right now. They have started 2-0, including a decisive 55-6 victory over Bad Axe last week. Although the starting fullback and quarterback went down with injuries in the season opener, but the Rockets blasted on through anyway. Sophomore Troy Elbers made his varsity debut and gained 119 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries. Cody Somerville toted the rock 13 times for 126 yards and a score. Only two passes were attempted, and both were completed, both by different players. Starting QB Kyle Yaklin completed one pass for 45 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 33 yards. On defense, he picked off a pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown. Reese seems to have a lot of backs that can carry the team. It will be easy to spread the carries around. They should get both injured players back this week and that’s good because it will be a tough game against the Pirates of Harbor Beach.

Detroit

Lake Orion at Pontiac (Friday September 10, 7pm)

Lake Orion holds its football team to a very high standard. They haven’t had a losing season since 1996 and played in the state title game only two seasons ago. Back then, Sean Charette was a freshman starting in a HUGE game. Now a junior, he makes the complex offense look like child’s play. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the workhorse last week, Marques Stevenson. He racked up 252 yards of total offense of which 199 were rushing yards. Charette had 114 yards passing and a touchdown. Dragons coach Chris Bell had his team prepped and ready for action. He will need to do it again when they travel to historic Wisner Stadium in Pontiac this week.

The Phoenix of Pontiac High blasted Troy Athens last week. By the end of the first quarter, it was 30-3. By halftime, all the scoring was finished for the night and the Phoenix held a 42-3 lead. With the victory, it puts Pontiac at 2-0 going into the showdown with a tough Lake Orion squad. Quarterback Jonathan Steed has many weapons to work with.  Reggie Washington, Anthony Adams, Steed, and Mark Cargle all scored last week and helped get Troy Athens coach Josh Heppner to call his team’s game “disgraceful” and “despicable.” And that was just the offense firepower! Debrian Lewis picked off a pass and returned it for a score. Pontiac is a quick team that will come out and punch you in the mouth. Though first year head coach Brad Zube is the new head man, he was the defensive coordinator last season so he knows what the players are capable of.

North

Suttons Bay at Mesick (Friday September 10, 7pm)

The Norsemen of Suttons Bay put a beat-down on Kalkaska last week. Noah Reyhl, who was all state last season, had a huge night. He ran 19 times for 218 yards and five touchdowns (and a two point conversion). Not only did he have a huge game on the offensive side, he also racked up nine tackles and an interception on defense. Layton Korson rumbled for a 43 yard touchdown run, kicked an extra point, and scored a two point conversion as well. On the night, he had 10 carries for 119 yards. The Norsemen defense has only given up two touchdowns on the season while scoring a total of 70 points. Mesick isn’t the powerhouse team that Suttons Bay is, but this is the first game of conference play and Suttons Bay will need to play good football if they want to win.

Mesick put up a ton of points last week and eked out a victory over Oscoda, 58-56. Ben Brown scored four times and Mike Riojas added another two. The score at the half was 30-36 in favor of Oscoda. If the Bulldogs don’t shore up the defensive side of the ball, Suttons Bay will end up putting on a clinic for the fans. Like I said above, Mesick isn’t a powerhouse when it comes to football and it doesn’t help that they play in a tough conference with Suttons Bay, Kingsley, and Frankfort. Two of those teams have been in a state title game recently and one has made it to multiple semifinals. If the Bulldogs can muster up the offensive game they had last week and shore up that defense, we will have ourselves a fantastic game!