Week Eight - Take It One Game At A Time

Jeffrey Cottrell

MHSAA

We are getting closer and closer to the playoffs. Some teams need to have a great last two weeks of the season or they will be packing up the cleats and helmets for the winter. Other teams have clinched their conference titles. Still other teams can win a share of the title with a win this Friday. I might sound like a broken record, but get out and catch some high school football action. Call up a couple of buddies that you played with, kiss the wife goodbye (or heck, bring her along!), grab a hot chocolate and some popcorn from the concession stand, and cheer your fool head off. It’s a great way to support your alma mater and have a great Friday night of entertainment.

West Coast

Lowell (7-0) at East Grand Rapids (7-0) (Friday October 16, 7pm)

For Lowell’s homecoming last week, the top rated team in Division 2 cruised to a decisive victory. They beat up Grand Rapids Christian 42-7. Quarterback Gabe Dean ran for 121 yards on 21 carries and scored three times. When he passed the ball, Dean completed eight of his 11 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown was a 10 yard strike to Derek Cornish. Running back Austin Graham also contributed a strong game. He ran 20 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns. The Red Arrow defense came like gangbusters; they held the Eagles to 53 total yards of offense and 17 yards of rushing on 18 carries. Being physical while still having a strong game plan and great coaching is a fantastic combination which helps Coach Noel Dean’s Red Arrows win a lot of football games.

East Grand Rapids has dominated Division 3 football lately. They are currently the #1 ranked team in Division 3. East Grand Rapids has three consecutive state titles and has gotten huge wins over larger programs that have propelled the Pioneers to the forefront of high school football in Michigan. Not only have they dominated in football, but also have 112 state championships in their school history. Coach Peter Stuursma knew he had to keep the players focused on this week and not look ahead to Lowell. Although the weather was not ideal, EGR racked up 44 first half points. Quarterback Ryan Elble completed six of his nine passes for 131 yards and a score. Two of those passes went to A.J. McEwen who gained 60 yards and scored the lone receiving touchdown. Running back Kirk Spencer only attempted 13 runs, but amassed 209 yards and four touchdowns which included a 78 yard scamper in the first quarter. This team knows what to do. They play a tough brand of football…preferring to take their star running back and let him run the ball as much as possible. These two teams are rivals and it will decide who wins the O-K White Conference.

Capital Area

Grand Ledge (6-1) at Holt (6-1)

The Comets of Grand Ledge had to battle last week for their 21-20 victory over Jackson. They trailed 17-7 at the half. It took a pass from Dario Bongiorni to Drew McLaughlin to get the win and stay in the race for the CAAC Blue crown. McLaughlin also ran for 125 yards and a touchdown in addition to the game winning touchdown reception. Bongiorni scored a one yard touchdown run and only completed two passes, but one was that game winning 25 yard screen pass. Nick Simon paced the Comet defense with 11 tackles. The win sets up this showdown between Grand Ledge and Holt for the conference crown.

Holt knew they needed to shut down the run in order to beak Okemos. That message from Coach Al Slamer was hear loud and clear; the Rams held the Chieftains to 88 yards rushing on 30 attempts. 45 of those yards came on a third quarter run by Terrance Saxon. Holt, on the other hand, rushed for 256 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Jordan Beachnau ran for 94 yards on ten carries and also completed eight of his nine passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Kyle Bort led the rushing attack with 95 yards and both rushing touchdowns. Daniel Middleton caught three passes for 53 yards and a score. Holt and Grand Ledge typically play in the last game of the season and many times it’s for a playoff spot. This year, both teams are in the playoffs and it’s for the conference crown.

Mid Michigan

Ithaca (7-0) at St. Charles (6-1) (Friday October 16, 7pm)

It didn’t take long for the Ithaca Yellowjackets to take control of a not-so-good Saginaw Valley Lutheran (I say that in the nicest possible way, the defensive coordinator is a friend of mine). They scored 21 in the first quarter and 27 in the second to cruise to an easy victory. Quarterback Alex Niznak completed all three of his passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he also ran for 99 yards on six attempts and two more scores. David Brown contributed two touchdowns; one from 47 yards out and the other was a 27 yard touchdown catch. Christian Marble also had a pair of scores. He ran one in from 17 yards out and caught a score from 14 yards out. The Yellowjacket defense held Valley Lutheran to 120 yards of total offense, 69 of which came on one play. The win gives Ithaca at least a share of the Tri Valley Conference West Division title. If they beat St. Charles, they will win the outright title. If they lose to St. Charles, it will put them in a three way tie with St. Charles and Carrollton.

The Bulldogs of St. Charles only have one blemish on their season. That was a loss to Carrollton two weeks ago. Other than that, St. Charles has been putting up a ton of points using their single wing offense. Last week in their 48-6 win over St. Louis, four different Bulldogs scored. Tyler Larson ran nine times for 93 yards and two scores. Tyler Nieman ran seven times for 85 yards and two more scores. Sam Mayer and Adam Ballien also ran for touchdowns. The coaching staff at St. Charles had their team where they wanted to be; in the hunt for the conference title. Coach Brady Lake has the six wins needed to make the playoffs and although that is a relief, he wants to get that conference title that eluded them last season.

North

Petoskey (7-0) at Cadillac (6-1) (Friday October 16, 7pm)

The Northmen of Petoskey have turned their program around in the past couple of seasons. After a 3-6 record in 2007, they came back strong with a 9-2 record in 2008 and are undefeated this season. Last week, they were able to avenge their only regular season loss of 2008 in their 20-12 win over Traverse City West. Running back Mike Suter wasn’t able to go, but the other half of their running attack, James Proctor, carried the load. He ran 23 times for 130 yards. Quarterback Mike Pattullo completed all five of his passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. Josh Daniel got his first career start and gained 43 yards rushing and also caught a 21 yard touchdown pass. Kicker Anthony Bear ended two long drives in the second half with field goals and pushed the 14-6 halftime lead to 20-6. It’s amazing to me that Petoskey was able to run the ball as well as they did, considering that they were missing one of their top backs and going against a 6-3 defense most of the game. On defense, Zach Marihugh had nine tackles for the Northmen.

Cadillac also had a big win over a Traverse City school last Friday. The Vikings beat Traverse City Central 25-28. If they can come up with a win over Petoskey, they will be in control of the Big North League with one game to go. The victory gave Cadillac their sixth win of the season, giving them an automatic bid in the playoffs. Running back Tyler Ellsworth had a nice game; he carried the ball 18 times for 153 yards and three touchdowns…one being a 50 yard scamper before two minutes had run off the clock in the first quarter. Quarterback Gary Silvers ran 10 times for 71 yards and also tossed a touchdown to Mike Weeks from 55 yards out. TCC was able to tie the game at 21 around the middle of the third quarter, but the Vikings kept coming. This is only the sixth time that Cadillac has made the playoffs.

Detroit

Melvindale (7-0) at Wyandotte Roosevelt (6-1) (Friday October 16, 7pm)

Melvindale has the league in its hands. All they need to do it beat Wyandotte Roosevelt, finish off Allen Park, and they will get the first title the Downriver League has ever given out. Last week, they beat up Lincoln Park 35-0, even though the field was flooded and the weather was terrible. Quarterback DJ Smith completed four of his seven passes for 60 yards and a score. Running back Wayne Pettus scored twice in the second quarter and ended the game with 85 yards on eight carries. Josh Allen added 90 yards on his four carries and another two touchdowns, including one from 47 yards out. Melvindale Coach Phil Howard knows that Wyandotte will be well coached because he worked under Ron Adams at Wyandotte Roosevelt for several years.

The Bears didn’t need much time to get going on Friday night. Wyandotte’s Tom DeSana scored from 65 yards out less than a minute into the game and they never looked back. The defense didn’t allow the Taylor Kennedy Eagles to cross midfield (or get a first down) until late in the game. At halftime, Wyandotte led 39-0 and the Eagles had negative 36 yards of total offense. DeSana finished the game with 74 yards on five runs. Quarterback Chase Schmittou completed three of his six passes for two scores. Adam Borbely ran five times for 16 yards and scored twice. Although they blew out the Eagles, the last two games will be against much tougher competition. This is the fourth consecutive season that Wyandotte Roosevelt has made the playoffs.

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