Week Six - The Best Defense Is A Good Offense

Jeffrey Cottrell

We are entering Week Six. There are only three games left after Friday night/Saturday afternoon. This week, we will also have a Sunday afternoon game which is the traditional “Boys Bowl” between Detroit Catholic Central, and this year, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. October began today which means by the end of the month, many teams will have put away the helmets and blocking sleds for the winter. Other teams will continue that march to Ford Field. Some are going to fall along the way. Others will have a memory to last a lifetime. It’s all on the players and coaches. The question is, who wants it bad enough and is willing to put in the effort?

Detroit

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (3-2) at Detroit Catholic Central (5-0) (Sunday October 4, 1pm)

The Eaglets of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s struggled to begin the season. They lost to East Grand Rapids and Highland Park. Since that September 4th loss to Highland Park, they have won (or won by forfeit) the last three games. Last week against U-D Jesuit, they blanked the Cubs 35-0 and forced a running clock in the third quarter. Robert Boldin went 10 of 13 for 118 but didn’t toss a TD. Leading the rushing attack was Corey Lucas with 81 yards on six carries. All in all, 11 different Eaglets ran the ball. Earnest Thomas scored two touchdowns and Christopher Vicinaj hit five extra points. OLSM has been coming on strong lately so it’s a big game for them if they want to make the playoffs. The series is a very close 8-7 in favor of Detroit Catholic Central. They need another three wins in the next four games (Catholic Central, Brother Rice, Davison, and the Prep Bowl) which makes this game very important if they don’t want to miss the playoffs two years in a row.

The Shamrocks are rolling over everyone. The defense is playing “lights out” and has only allowed 13 points on the season. The closest game was two weeks ago versus Brother Rice, which they won 24-7. Last week against Dearborn Divine Child, they scored two safeties in the first half and led 11-0. Interceptions, long runs, quick touchdowns, and a solid offense helped them put away Divine Child quickly. Tom Mach has one of the best teams he’s had in quite some time. Orchard Lake will need a very good game plan and near flawless execution against this defense. This game is “Homecoming” for DCC so emotions will be high and there will be plenty of alumni and family in the stands.

North

Norway (5-0) at Negaunee (4-1) (Friday October 2, 7:30pm)

The Knights of Norway are playing tough football this season. They pulled out a close 23-20 victory over Ishpeming in the last three minutes of the game. Quarterback Jalen Bal hit Josh Brodersen on a 44 yard score to take the lead and passed to Justin Fila for a two point conversion for the three point margin of victory. Bal was 12 of 21 for 178 and three touchdowns last Saturday afternoon. They weren’t able to get their running game going and only had 51 yards on the ground. Brady Grayvold was the leading receiver for the Knights and hauled in six passes for 85 yards and also kicked a field goal and intercepted a pass which sealed the victory for Norway. Bal credits his offensive line for allowing him to make the passes necessary to win the game.

Negaunee was tested last Saturday afternoon in their win over Gwinn. Leading 16-13 with less than a minute left, they ran the ball for a 10th straight time, but this time, not up the middle. Quarterback Tyler Nault ran to the left and punched it in from one yard out. He finished the game with 73 yards on seven attempts and two touchdowns. On defense, Nathan Alexander picked off Luke Ghiardi twice. Coach Paul Jacobson was happy with how hard his team hit and that they were able to come away with a victory in a close game.

Mid Michigan

St. Charles (5-0) at Carrollton (4-1)

Both Carrollton and St. Charles have been waiting for this game since last October 17 when the Cavaliers pulled out a 21-14 victory in the final seconds. Coach Brady Lake has his single wing offense clicking at the right time. This past week, they were able to put up 401 rushing yards while their defense limited Breckenridge to 95 total yards in the 43-8 victory. Dugan Roosa threw for a touchdown as well as running for one. He finished with 11 rushes for 69 yards and completed three of his six passes for 61. Tyler Larsen gained the most yards with 90 on nine attempts. Travis Crane had 83 yards on nine attempts and Tyler Nieman had 80 on his five rushes.

Although this game decided the Tri Valley West champion last year, Carrollton has one loss. They lost to Ithaca but have some nice wins under their belt. The game against St. Charles has become much fiercer than in the past, when Carrollton was a doormat team. Last week in their 28-7 win over Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary, they fell behind but were able to get their star running back going. Robert Essex had 223 yards and three touchdowns on 34 attempts. Backfield mate Zach Palmreuter had 95 yards rushing on 10 carries. Coach Greg Wasmer has really improved this team over the past two seasons. Great coaching and some good players like Essex have really pushed them to the forefront of football in the Saginaw area.

Capital Area

Fowlerville (5-0) at DeWitt (5-0) (Friday October 2, 7pm)

The stage has been set. These two undefeated teams will battle for at least a share of the CAAC Gold crown. Fowlerville beat Haslett 28-21 last Friday. Joe Rajala has been the workhorse for the Gladiators this season and he had 159 yards and two touchdowns on 25 runs last week. Quarterback Tim Wedesky hasn’t passed that much, but is effective when Coach Jack Wallace does decide to pass. He was eight of 10 for 101 yards and a touchdown. I think those are pretty good stats for a sophomore quarterback, especially playing the day after his grandmother passed away. Fowlerville will try to run the ball as much as possible and pass when they need to. If the Gladiators have a near flawless game and plan they have a great chance to beat a tough DeWitt team.

Not only is DeWitt playing for the league title, it’s also homecoming. Last week, they beat down Charlotte 56-14. Like Fowlerville, they also like to run the ball. The Panthers have been very tough to play this season. Their closest game was the opener against Flushing, and they still won by 20 points.  Quarterback James Williams had 156 passing yards against Charlotte and also ran in a touchdown from 27 yards out. He has completed 65% of his passes this season for 12 touchdowns. Many of those passes have been targeted to Jordan Johnson, who has eight of those scores. Johnson scored two touchdowns last week, one from 40 yards out and the other from 20. Nathaniel Deak had 116 yards on 16 carries. This Panther team has a balanced attack and their defense is strong.

West

Portage Central (5-0) at St. Joseph (4-1) (Friday October 2, 7:30pm)

The Mustangs are preparing to play St. Joseph for the first time in five years. Coach Brett Foerster is back coaching after a four game suspension and he credited the defense for the shutout of Kalamazoo Loy Norrix.  Quarterback Jeremy Renda only attempted six passes, but he completed three of them for 87 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 18 times for 85 yards and another score. Spencer Munson carried 12 times for 81 yards, scored a touchdown, and had an interception. On the defensive side of the ball, AJ Tuckey had three sacks. Running back Dan Leighty had three carries for 11 yards…and scored each of those three times he got the ball.  These teams will be ready to battle for the 48th time this week at Dickinson stadium. St. Joseph holds a 25-23 advantage in the series.

The Bears of St. Joseph also had a decisive victory last week over Benton Harbor. Quarterback Sean Guinane got his first start of the season and played very well. He completed 15 of his 17 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Jamaal Jackson ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns against the team his father coaches.  On the season, he has 837 yards and 14 touchdowns. Receiver Joel Bergman caught five balls for 64 yards, but Robert Symonds had more yardage on his three receptions (88). The defense was led by J Michael Carter who had 15 tackles. Coach Elliot Uzelac knows that Portage Central is a great team. They will need to play their best to try and get the win.

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