Week Nine - Do Or Die

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Week Nine is here! After the games on Friday and Saturday, most teams across the state will put away the footballs…pack away the shoulder pads…hang up the cleats, the 2009 season will be nothing but a memory. Other teams will gear up for the first round of the playoffs and get ready to take their shot at playing in Ford Field. There are plenty of teams who need a win this weekend; some to secure their sixth win and a playoff spot and others to get to the 5-4 mark and hope that they get a bid. I’d like to send congratulations to the Temperance Bedford Mules who have made the playoffs for the first time since 1990. Let’s examine the games for the SpartanNation Week Nine Games of the Week.



Lake Orion (7-1) at Clarkston (8-0) (Friday October 23, 7pm)

Not only is this a rivalry, but both teams are looking to win the Oakland Activities Association Red Division title. Chances are that these two teams will be placed in the same district and will play again before they make it out of regionals. Last week, the Dragons took on Rochester Adams. It was a close game with the score tied at 13 going into the fourth quarter. The Dragons took advantage of the Rochester turnovers and put points on the board when they needed to. Sophomore quarterback Sean Charette gained a lot of experience last season when he played and guided his team to a state finals birth. He tossed a nine yard pass for a score to Zach Zott in the later part of the fourth quarter. Charette drove his team 96 yards on that drive. Running back Kim Bruce carried the ball 18 times for 71 yards and scored late in the first quarter.

The Wolves of Clarkston took care of business last week. They handed Farmington Hills Harrison a 32-20 defeat. Things started quickly for Clarkston; they were up 13-0 before the first quarter rolled under six minutes. Tailback Dakota Bender scored from six yards out and quarterback Tyler Scarlett hooked up with Dustin Gamble for a 54 yard touchdown pass. Bender ended the game with 73 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Scarlett passed for 115 yards and a touchdown while also running for 160 and another score. Jeff Dean led the defense with three sacks and four tackles. This will be the 11th time that these two teams have played each other since the 2000 season.


Crystal Falls Forest Park (7-1) at Lake Linden-Hubbell (8-0) (Saturday October 24, 1:30pm)

Bill Santilli’s Crystal Falls Forest Park Trojans are arguably the top program in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This season, they have rolled past most everyone using a strong running game. Last week was different; Christian Valesano threw for 210 yards (seven of 12 passing for three touchdowns). Josh Siler also had a strong game, scoring three times on his six runs and gaining 64 yards. Levi Oleksy caught two footballs for 100 yards. Junior running back Jeff Hegstorm was the top rusher, gaining 119 yards on seven attempts and scoring a 76 yard touchdown. This game will pit two of the top teams in the UP this season against each other. If the Trojans can come out with the W, then they will have bullied their way into the Great Western Conference title and share it with Lake Linden-Hubbell and Hurley (Wisconsin).

Lake Linden-Hubbell had a decisive 52-0 victory last week over Ewen-Trout Creek. They scored five first quarter touchdowns including two on fumble recoveries which were taken to the house. Kyle Kumpula led Lake Linden-Hubbell with 62 yards on four carries. Quarterback Brett Gervais only completed one of his two passes for 16 yards, but he recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Brandon Sundblad, Kyle Kumpula, Brett Beauchamp, Beau Dupis, Doug Makeela, and Taylor Ambuehl all scored for Lake Linden-Hubbell. This is a big game for both Lake Linden-Hubbell and Crystal Falls Forest Park as they are both ranked pretty high in Division 8. These two teams will probably meet up in the playoffs as they could both end up in the same district.


Byron Center (7-1) at Holland Christian (7-1) (Friday October 23, 7pm)

The Bulldogs of Byron Center tied Holland Christian and Hamilton for the OK-Green conference title with their win over Wyoming Park last week. Now they need to take care of business against Holland Christian and hope Hamilton stumbles against Wyoming Park so they can win the title outright. Derek Sievers rushed for three touchdowns and 207 yards on 17 attempts to lead the Bulldogs. Quarterback Matt Giarmo only completed one of his three passes for eight yards and also threw an interception. Austin Haight ran in a touchdown from 50 yards out and also returned an interception 34 yards for another score. Byron Center took care of business in a game that they had to win. This week, they are facing a similar situation, but going against the reining Division 4 state champions.

Holland Christian has had another great season. They have beat up on most everyone, except Zeeland East. Last week against Hamilton, it was the Nic Kiekover show. The senior quarterback completed 22 of his 31 passes for 359 yards and five touchdowns. This is pretty impressive considering that Hamilton had only given up six touchdowns in seven games. Josh Voetberg caught seven of those passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner with four minutes left in the game. Conlin Britton ran 12 times for 25 yards and another score. Jordan Mast caught seven footballs for 89 yards and a touchdown. Most people didn’t think that the Maroons had much of a chance this season after losing their star quarterback and also the head coach.

Mid Michigan

Remus Chippewa Hills (5-3) at Stanton Central Montcalm (5-3) (Friday October 23, 7pm)

Last year when these two teams met, both were 8-0 and battling for the league title. This year, the winner will be playoff bound and the loser will get out the basketballs and wrestling mats. Chippewa Hills had a nice 41-32 win over Reed City last week. They fell behind 7-0 early, but came back strong. Erik Tarbell connected with Trevor Wyman from 10 yards out to tie up the game at 7 apiece. Tarbell completed seven of his nine passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Wyman completed seven of his 14 passes for 114 yards. He also caught five balls for 119 yards and two touchdowns, including a 78 yard strike. Wyman was the leading rusher with 45 yard on 10 carries. Casey Howard went wild on defense, making 17 tackles. With 675 students, they would probably end up in Division 4 if they make the playoffs.

Stanton Central Montcalm beat up Holton last week. The Green Hornets won by a score of 49-0. Shane Miller ran seven times for 101 yards and a touchdown. D.J. Mudgett scored twice on runs of 19 and two yards. Nate Austin had 15 tackles for the Green Hornets. Their defense had come up huge throughout the season, posting three shut-outs. Other than the 26-15 loss to Manistee in late September, the other two losses have been by a total of three points combined. If Central Montcalm can make the playoffs, they could end up at the bottom of Division 4 or at the top of Division 5.

Capital Area

Michigan Center (5-3) at Quincy (3-5) (Friday October 23, 7pm)

First, I’d like to send a shout out to JacksonSpartan who suggested this game to me on the Phalanx Forum after I couldn’t find a game to profile. Michigan Center hasn’t made the playoffs since 1990 and only twice in school history (the other was 1982). The Cardinals have a chance to make it a third time in school history if they can take care of Quincy. Last week, they snapped a 16 game losing streak to Addison by winning 10-0. Cody Marr ran the ball in from 18 yards out with under seven minutes to play to push the lead to ten. Korey Stewart hit a 26 yard field goal with under a minute left in the first quarter to start the scoring. Stewart also ran 18 times and gained 41 yards. Quarterback Derek Dowding completed eight of his 18 passes for 115 yards and was picked off once. Coach Greg Pscodna was a college coach who took over last season but this season has been filled with much more success. The defense for the Cardinals has been pretty good, relying on guys like Cody Marr and Ken Welch. Marr had two picks against Addison. Michigan Center would be a small Division 5 team or a large Division 6 team.

Quincy hasn’t had the season they hoped for. They come into the game with a 3-5 record. Last week, they lost to Union City 37-0. Quarterback Shane Rider injured his ankle in the loss and it is unknown whether or not he will be able to play this week. Backup quarterback Cyrus Raymond filled in for Rider. Orioles Coach David Bach had his team playing hard and giving it their full effort. That’s all you can ask for of your team. Although this isn’t the best season for Quincy, they will give it their full effort as they try to play the spoiler for the Michigan City playoff hopes.