Week One is in the book. Half of the teams are unbeaten, and half the teams are winless. It’s up to the coaches and players to rededicate themselves to improvement this week. Many schools are getting into their league schedule, after an out of conference game to begin the season. Games will begin to get tougher as the season goes on. That is doubled if your star player ends up injured and watching the game from the bench. If that situation arises, it’s up to the next player on the depth chart to step up and take over.
This season, I’m going to try a new section. Many people have asked me to report on players that are committed to Michigan State. That is a request I hear over and over whether it’s my football columns or my basketball columns. So, to make sure my faithful readers get what they want, I’m going to add another section. I will still write about four games, but I’ll also add a section about what future Spartans are doing. It might be a stat line; it might be a paragraph about each of them. I’m still trying to figure it all out. If you have an idea, please come into the Phalanx Forum and tell me. You can find me by looking for the guy who posts under the username Jeff.Cottrell (virtually the same thing that’s on my by-line, Jeffrey Cottrell.)
Grand Rapids Area
Muskegon Oakridge (1-0) at Montague (1-0) (Friday September 6, 7pm)
Oakridge had a bad taste in their mouth. Last year, they lost in the Division 5 District Championship to Grand Rapids West Catholic after finishing the regular season without a blemish. Their head coach, Cary Harger, said the team has been ready to play that game since it was announced. Quarterback Austin Wright completed nine of his 17 passes for 148 yards and three scores. He also scored on a touchdown run. Receiver Dom Greenawalt caught four passes for 52 yards and a score. Dan Shoop was the workhorse, running 22 times for 179 yards and a score. Jerick Wambaugh chipped in 16 runs for 117 yards and caught three passes for 40 yards and a score. These two teams have lined it up against each other since Oakridge’s first year of football back in 1965.
Last week, Montague got the season started off right. They beat up Muskegon Orchard View 44-6. The offense racked up 365 total yards and the defense was stifling. They stopped OV seven of eight times when they got inside the 20. Quarterback Jacob Buchberger completed nine of his 13 passes for 220 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He also ran 10 times for 56 yards and a score. Wyatt Ford caught three passes for 68 yards and a touchdown as well as making 11 tackles and an interception while playing defense. Alex VanVleet was the leading receiver with three catches for 111 yards. Chris Carroll ran 17 times for 83 yards and two scores. I’m not sure whether these teams would rather play a rivalry game early in the season or late. Regardless, it’s going to happen on Friday night!
Mason (1-0) at Eaton Rapids (1-0) (Friday September 6, 7pm)
The Bulldogs of Mason started the season with a rival. Although they didn’t score first, they scored more to get the win over Okemos. Starting as a sophomore at quarterback, Jarrett VanHavel had a fine evening. He ran six times for 12 yards and completed five of his 10 passes for 98 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Running back Hunter Holbrook ran 25 times for 77 yards and a score. Marshal Hayden was the leading receiver with two catches for 51 yards and a score. The score was all tied up in the fourth quarter when Jake Scavarda ran 10 yards to pay dirt. It was a nice win for Mason and let them get some experience with a new quarterback.
Eaton Rapids are known as the Greyhounds. They are the only team in the state with that mascot. For quite some time, they weren’t very good. Now, with head coach Mike Smith (former Holt coach) returning to the helm at ER, things seem to be looking up. Last week, they absolutely BLASTED Leslie. The win was only first opening game win since last doing it 2003. All it took was a HUGE second quarter in which they scored 37 points. Quarterback Jared McDaniel completed five of his eight passes for 83 yards and two scores while also running in a pair of touchdowns. Kyle Sawyer caught three of those passes for 38 yards and a score. Jaedin Sklapsky rushed 13 times for 64 yards and two scores.
Upper Peninsula/Northern Michigan
Sault Ste. Marie (0-1) at Alpena (1-0) (Friday September 6, 7pm)
The Blue Devils played tough last week, but ended up with a defeat. They were losing at the half, but it was close with the score 13-7. A nice drive down to Petoskey’s five yard line ended with an interception and Petoskey went on a scoring drive which deflated Sault Ste. Marie. Leading the rushing attack was Ray’Nell Anderson who toted the rock 14 times for 114 yards and a score. Quarterback Michael James ran 12 times for 43 yards while completing three of his eight pass attempts for 39 yards. Justin DeLisle caught two passes for 22 yards. The Blue Devils will need to clean up the turnover situation (three in the game) and not allow a bad play to slow them down.
If you are from the Saginaw area and have followed football for ages, you probably know Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame inductee Mel Skillman. Although Coach Skillman had a family emergency and wasn’t able to coach his team in the season opener, the players were inspired. Using the pistol offense, the Wildcats were able to beat Escanaba 15-7. Quarterback Tyler Pintar completed 10 of his 23 passes for 92 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Jordan Ferguson ran the ball 13 times for 137 yards and a score. Receiver Kaleb Smith caught three balls for 44 yards. Josh Bell also caught three passes, but gained 24 yards and scored a touchdown. This game should be a good one. Both are looking to make a statement.
Edwardsburg (1-0) at Vicksburg (0-1) (Friday September 6, 7pm)
This game was requested by SpartanJock99 in the Phalanx Forum. Why do you ask? Edwardsburg is the school closest to him in Indiana. The Eddies are coming off a 34-7 win over Otsego last week. Much of the credit for the win has to go to the offensive line, at least according to head coach Kevin Bartz. He said the line was dominate and they were able to move the ball when they wanted to. Leading their rushing attack was Jack Bywaters who finished with 144 rushing yards and three scores on 17 carries. Also chipping in a very good night was Dylan Hulett. He ran for 112 yards on 10 attempts.
Vicksburg had a tough night. They were beat up by Dowagiac. It didn’t help that they turned the ball over five times, twice when they field advantage. Coach Tom Marchese admitted that it’s all fixable. I’m sure it wasn’t the season opener that the Bulldogs were hoping for. Unfortunately, I could only find a few quotes on the game and no stats.
High School Spartans
Jayru Campbell – Detroit Cass Tech – 16 for 27 for 194 yards and two touchdowns against Southfield. Cass Tech plays Detroit College Prep at Northwestern this week. I couldn’t find any stats for linebacker Deon Drake.
Byron Bulluogh Traverse City St. Francis – 14 carries for 78 yards against New Lothrop. The Gladiators will take on Gaylord this week.
Jalen Watts-Jackson – three receptions for 36 yards. OLSM plays Toledo Whitmer this week.
Matt Sokol and his Rochester Adams teammates will play the always tough and well coached Farmington Hills Harrison this week.
David Beedle of Clarkston battles West Bloomfield’s offensive and defensive lines tonight.