Week Two - Tough Non Conference vs. Rivals

Jeffrey Cottrell

Time to get into the second week of games! Now that the first game has come and gone, coaches see their strengths and weaknesses and have had a week to make adjustments. There is plenty of season left for those who started out with a poor performance. It’s time for these teams/players to step up and play at a higher level. Those who started strong need to keep up the intensity. Let’s hope for a week of great games and no injuries.

I’ll just say my game this week didn’t go very well but we found that we have a few players that will be good.

Mid Michigan

Lansing Everett at East Lansing (Friday September 5, 7pm)

Last week, East Lansing had their way with Haslett. With their new quarterback Dan Folino (an Okemos transfer) at the helm, they relied on their offensive line to open holes and keep rushing defenders off him as he passed the ball. The Spartan Nation I’m sure has noted that senior tackle Blake Treadwell plays for these Trojans. Isaac Harper has moved out of the backfield and on to SVSU, letting Temwa Phiri get the nod as the starting running back. In the end, it all comes back to the offensive line and they average 6’2” and 229 pounds. With guys like that protecting Folino and opening holes for Phiri, it will challenge Lansing Everett to consistently put pressure on East Lansing.

Everett is looking pretty good as well. They trashed Lansing Waverly last week and now they move into their first Capital Area Activities Conference Blue Division game of the season. Both Everett and East Lansing have a chance to go undefeated this season, but this game could be that one loss for either team. The Vikings will be led by quarterback Reggie Williams who can make plays with his arm as well as his legs. Also back is Devon Beauford who had a nice season last year running the ball. If they can imitate the success that their defense achieved last season, the offense will take care of the rest. Sophomore linebacker Trent Bragg is turning some heads on defense and could anchor the front seven for the next few seasons.

Up North

Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central at Traverse City St. Francis (Friday September 5, 7pm)

This match up features two defending state champions. Last year, the Gladiators of St. Francis came to Saginaw and defeated Nouvel. This season, the Panthers travel to Traverse City with hopes of returning the favor. Last week TCSF beat up on Suttons Bay and new Gladiator coach (and former player) Greg Vaughan seems to have picked up right where the team left off last season. They are led by junior linebacker Max Bullough. He is one of the top recruits in Michigan for the Class of 2010.

Nouvel won last week in the annual Red Feather game against Flint Hamady at Saginaw Arthur Hill. They have forgotten the success of last season and should have the proper mindset to take on St. Francis. This game is one of the toughest games on their schedule (the other possibility is Bay City John Glenn). They have some experience in quarterback Ryan Henris and many of the players are seniors this year, but not all of them got much playing time last season. This game will feature the cream of the crop of catholic schools in Mid Michigan versus the top catholic school in northern Michigan.

The D

Macomb Dakota at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (Friday September 5, 7pm)

These two teams know each other. Mike Carr (Chippewa Valley) and Mike Giannone (Dakota) worked together at Chippewa Valley. Giannone has a heck of a defense to work with, but in his mind, the question mark is on his offense. According to Giannone, much of their success rides on the play of senior quarterback Mike Romanchik. They will use a sophomore slot back in Gerald Jackson who has been called a game-breaker. Jeff Fantuzzi and Joe Palm have to protect their inexperienced quarterback if they want to win the game.

Chippewa Valley was smoked by Dakota last season. They haven’t returned many starters from last season either, which puts them at a disadvantage going into this season. No place is this more evident than in their inexperienced secondary. Motivation shouldn’t be a factor because the Big Reds want to get a victory over the Cougars after losing to them six straight times. The last four games had a combined score of 136-13 in Macomb Dakota’s favor.  Big Red nose tackle Brandon Cathey is a large young man and will be tough to move out of the hole. If Chippewa Valley can come up with some big plays, they can win this game and tie the series at seven games each.

West Coast

Holland West Ottawa at Wayland Union (Friday September 5, 7pm)

Last week Holland West Ottawa rolled to an easy win against a good team from Chesterton, Indiana. Quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen will be headed to Western Michigan after this season, but in the mean time, he’s tossing touchdown passes with ease. The defense played well last week and they will need to play even better to defeat the wildcats of Wayland Union. The offensive line must have played well last week if they allowed Van Tubbergen to throw two touchdowns and run for 55 yards. Coach Jim Caserta knows that they must play a near flawless game to beat defending Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold Division champions Wayland.

Wayland can run the ball! They racked up plenty of yards in the first half and scored on four of their first five possessions against Jenison. Brady Forcier hopes to continue running the ball well which will be essential if they want to contend for another title. The secondary for Wayland is on the young side and gave up some plays, but rallied in the second half. This non league game seems to be stacking strengths against weaknesses, but each team has a week to prepare for each other. One interesting fact is that Holland West Ottawa and Wayland Union haven’t played each other since back in October of 1962.

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