This season is progressing far too quickly. I love football far too much to like that we are on week seven of nine. Want to know the silver lining in that cloud? It’s the fact that the playoffs begin in three weeks. Then things get *really* interesting. Football, for those of us who love it, is a very special time of year. The crunching of the leaves under your feet is a favorite sound. The taste of freshly picked apples is a favorite taste. I’ve found nothing…nothing that compares to the thrill of victory in a huge football game. Those memories of fall last from the day they happen until we can no longer remember. It’s up to us to keep the memories alive with our teammates. First though, we have to make the memories. It is time to see who might be making memories this week.
Canton (6-0) at Plymouth (5-1) (Friday October 11, 7pm)
I don’t know why this is a home game for Plymouth. Plymouth, Canton, and Salem all share the same campus and football field. It must be Plymouth’s year to “host.” Last week, Canton beat up Livonia Franklin 56-7. They rushed for more than 500 yards. Seven plays, seven touchdowns, with the shortest being 43 yards and all coming on run plays off the guard. That’s a good thing, because their passing game was not good. Quarterback Greg Williams completed two of his 33 passes. Charles Turfe caught one pass for 18 yards, but it was his running that put the game away. He rushed eight times for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Western Price rushed five times for 181 yards and three scores. Chase Winningham ran five times for 70 yards and a score.
Plymouth also had a nice game. They beat Wayne Memorial 41-6. The Wildcats came out and took it to the Zebras from the start. They scored less than a minute and a half into the game and proceeded to score 27 first quarter points. Leading the rushing attack was Cameron Stella. He gained 173 yards and scored three times. Backfield mate Anthony Kenney rushed for 155 yards and scored twice. These two schools are rivals. They want to beat each other every time possible. Last season, Plymouth beat Canton, but ended up with a forfeit instead (ineligible player, athletic department oversight.) This year, they hope to beat Canton to take a share of the Kensington Lakes Athletic Association South Division title.
Traverse City St. Francis (4-2) at Saginaw Nouvel (5-1) (Friday October 11, 7pm)
Although this budding rivalry isn’t very old, it’s been pretty intense over the past eight years. Both are top notch schools with excellent football programs. Last year was a tough season for the Gladiators. It was the first time since 1989 that they missed the playoffs. This season, they are within striking distance of that familiar territory. In their game against Charlevoix last week, they won 49-7 but played sloppily. They racked up 19 penalties for 166 yards. The good thing is that they won their homecoming game. Leading the rushing attack was future Spartan Byron Bullough. He ran for 176 yards and four touchdowns. The defense gave up a touchdown right before half because of the penalties mentioned above. On that drive, they were penalized for a personal foul, offside, and four consecutive pass interference penalties. The defense was able to come away with two turnover; Christian Gallagher and Luke O’Brien both came up with fumble recoveries. TCSF had better bring it’s “A” game against Nouvel and not rack up nearly as many penalties.
Nouvel has been playing very well since losing the season opener to Saginaw Swan Valley. They hope to get tailback Ryan Sullivan, last year’s rushing leader, for the game this week. He has been out since getting injured in the second game of the season. This past week, the Panthers walloped Detroit Plymouth Educational Center 57-6. In the first quarter alone, Nouvel scored 30 points. Star of the game was quarterback Garrett Graham. He was perfect, completing all 10 of his passes for 172 yards and two scores. He also ran six times for another 42. Jason Russell scored twice on pass receptions. Ryan Collins hauled in three passes for 49 yards. Jon Albosta and Donyea Freeman each ran eight times, for 71 and 60 yards, respectively. Freeman also found the end zone. Austin Hughes scored two rushing touchdowns.
Caledonia (5-1) at Lowell (6-0) (Friday October 11, 7pm)
The Fighting Scots have come back around last season. After two years of not making the playoffs, they battled to the semifinals before bowing out to state runner up Muskegon. Right now, they only need one more win to return to the playoffs. In their 42-7 win over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central last week, the Fighting Scots were able to make the homecoming game go by quicker with a running clock. Caledonia likes to run the ball, so quarterback Kobe Wilson only attempted four passes. Two were completed for 18 yards, the other two were interceptions. Wilson also had two rushing touchdowns on one yard quarterback sneaks. Logan Soule grabbed one pass for 12 yards and ran 16 times for 92 yards. Eddie Kelly was the leading rusher, with 13 runs for 117 yards and three touchdowns. He scored three consecutive touchdowns and kicked all the extra points. Caledonia needs one more win this season to make a return trip to the playoffs.
Lowell didn’t have an easy game last week. It took them four overtime periods to beat East Grand Rapids. In the fourth overtime period, they were able to hold EGR to a field goal and then score a touchdown to win the game. Quarterback Kyler Shurlow had a monster game. He completed 10 of his 23 passes for 209 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also ran for 192 yards and a score on 24 runs. Kanon Dean ran nine times for 44 yards and a score. Ben Bigham reeled in six passes for 163 yards and three scores. Kyle Blough grabbed two balls for 20 yards and a score. That touchdown was the game winner in the fourth overtime period. The victor of this game will be in the driver seat for the Ottawa-Kent Conference White Division football title. Both teams still have to deal with the other school that is also tied for the O-K White lead, Grand Rapids Christian.
Negaunee (6-0) at Ishpeming (6-0) (Friday October 11, 7pm)
This game should be great. Both Negaunee and Ishpeming are among the best teams in the Upper Peninsula. The game should give us a winner of the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference…as long as the winner doesn’t start looking at the playoffs before finishing their regular season. The Miners of Negaunee beat up on Norway and won by the score of 53-0. Not only did they win, but they hit that magical number of wins to make the MHSAA playoffs. Even though star running back Tyler LaJoie sat out the game after the first quarter with a shin bruise, Tyler Windahl picked up the slack. He ran 10 times for 188 yards and three scores. Quarterback Ryan Syrjala completed two of his seven passes for 45 yards and a touchdown while also sneaking one in from the one yard line. Tyler Jandron grabbed a 22 yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in the first quarter. Austin Caya busted free for a 59 yard touchdown run. Jesse Godfrey scampered in a 65 yard touchdown.
Ishpeming went outside of the Great Lakes State to play last week. The Hematites took on Crandon, Wisconsin and won 45-0. It was scoreless after the first quarter which saw the Hematite defense on the field for 10 of the 12 minutes. The defense made halftime adjustments and ended up holding Crandon to 66 total offensive yards. Alex Briones rushed for 106 yards and a score while also completing four of his seven passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. Bobby Zhulkie rushed for 105 yards and a score. Tyrus Millimaki caught that nine yard touchdown pass from Briones. This game should be excellent. The Ishpeming defense has been extremely solid all season long. They will need a big game this week as well if they want to hang the banner in the gym that says “Mid-Peninsula Conference Champions, 2013.”
Matt Sokol – Matt broke his leg last week in Rochester Adams 42-21 win over Farmington. For the season, Sokol ran for 775 yards and seven touchdowns. The injury won’t affect him playing college football.
Deon Drake/Jayru Campbell – Cass Tech continued their winning ways, blasting Detroit Henry Ford 69-0. I sure wish the Detroit Public School League would cover their games better.
Byron Bullough – See write up on TCSF vs. Nouvel.
Jalen Watts-Jackson – Led Orchard Lake St. Mary’s with five catches for 55 yards and a score. He also scooped and scored a 57 yard touchdown on a fumble.
David Beedle – His Clarkston football team won 41-20, spoiling Pontiac’s homecoming.
Nick Padla – His Berrien Springs team lost a heartbreaker, 34-35 to Three Rivers, in overtime.