Monday, November 24, 2008

SEMIS: Lake Orion vs. Dearborn Fordson

**Freshman QB Sean Charette**
**Ali Baidoun gets pressured from Evan Gros**
**Branden Oakes runs in for his second TD**
**Ali Alaboody couldn't find any running room**

Troy- The phrase states "defense wins championships", and that phrase hasn't won Lake Orion a championship yet, but it certainly has propelled the Dragons into the championship game as Lake Orion shutout Dearborn Fordson with a 38-0 victory.

Lake Orion's defense set the tone on the game's first play when John Chanthakhot intercepted Ali Baidoun's pass and returned it 25 yards for a 7-0 lead. Fordson turned the ball over again on their second possession on Abdullah Homayed's fumble. Lake Orion's Jared Lee recovered the ball at the 48 yard line. Branden Oakes' 1 yard touchdown made the score 14-0 with six minutes to play in the first quarter.

Lake Orion tacked on another touchdown with a 1:34 to go in the first half when Oakes ran up the gut nearly untouched for a 40 yard scamper to leave a rowdy Fordson crowd in shock.

Chanthakhot struck again in the third quarter with his second interception, returning this one inside the five yard line. Three plays later Daniel Ney crossed paydirt for a 21-0 lead. Lake Orion also added a 20 yard touchdown run from Marques Stevenson, and a 28 yard field goal to complete the scoring.


Lake Orion- the Dragon defense couldn't have been better on this cold night. Besides the forced turnovers they laid the wood and didn't give Fordson anywhere to run or throw.

Lake Orion fires off the ball extremely fast on both sides of the ball. Offensively they hit you so fast with dives and trap plays that they got 5 yards before you even know what hit you.

Fordson- the Tractors were never in this game; from the first play they lost the lead and could never get anything going in their favor. None of Fordson's big named players could make a play in this game as Lake Orion had them all in check. 5 turnovers and only 6 first downs just wasn't the Fordson team we have seen all season.

GAME MVP: John Chanthakhot, Lake Orion the senior corner's first pick for a TD set the tone and his second pick was the nail in the coffin.

Mikael Lott, LO- the senior slot receiver has speed and can really stretch the field. He added a few big run plays off of end arounds.

Sean Charette, LO- the freshman had some balls sail on him early but other than that he did a good job of managing the game without turning the ball over and what else can you ask out of a freshman in such a big game.

Abdullah Homayed, Fordson- got the job done at middle linebacker and held it down between the tackles. After Fordson got down by 21 Homayed became a non-factor at fullback. At 6-4/240 I would like to see him play D-end in college.

Baquer Sayed, Fordson- has the tools to be one the state's top 10 receivers next year but Lake Orion just would allow him to get free. Is a big target at 6-2/180 pounds.

Hassen Amen, Fordson- was the most consistent Fordson play on both sides of the ball. Better defensive prospect at the next level than offensive. Didn't have any errors on defense nor mistackles.

SEMIS: Country Day vs. Croswell-Lexington

**O'Neil Swanson celebrates after scoring his second TD**
**Lexington had trouble bringing down Bennie Fowler**
**Mose Hogan pressures Cameron Barrett**
**Lee Bailey brings down Ryan Fabbri**

Macomb- After falling behind 6-o, Country Day used their special teams to help rally back with 48 unanswered points for a 48-6 win in a Division 4 semi-final. The Yellowjackets used their special teams to set up the touchdowns but it was seniors Bennie Fowler and O'Neil Swanson who did most of the cashing in for the Yellowjackets who now advance to the division 4 championship game against Holland Christian.

Although the score looks one sided, Croswell gave Country Day an early scare. The Pioneers were able to move the ball early on through the air but credit the Yellowjackets because they came up with key sacks to stop the Pioneers from putting up any first quarter points. Crosswell got deep near the goal line on their third drive but a sack on 3rd down from Tim MacLean pushed the Pioneers back to face a 4th-and-17 on the 18 yard line. Cameron Barrett threw a dagger in the endzone that was caught by Dominic Arnold. The extra point was blocked giving Lexington a 6-0 lead.

The Yellowjackets didn't waste anytime to retake the lead, on the ensuing possession O'Neil Swanson twisted out of a tackle and raced 58 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-6 lead. After forcing a 3-and-out, Mose Hogan blocked the punt, giving C.D. the ball on the 21 yard line. Sawnson's 7 yard run gave C.D. a 14-6 lead. Special teams struck again for the Yellowjackets by recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Bennie Fowler's 6 yard touchdown, followed by Swanson's 2 point conversion run, gave C.D. a 22-6 lead. Country day added a 36 yard field goal to end the half making the halftime score 25-6.

Country Day started the third quarter with a 60 yard run from Swanson to set up a 1st-and-goal from the 2. Fowler capped the drive on the next play. Two plays later Jason Ray intercepted a pass and returned it 42 yards for a 39-6 lead. Fowler added another TD run and the Yellowjackets added a safety to finish the scoring.


Country Day- I like the fight I saw out of Country Day early on when the game wasn't going their way. The defense was phenomenal, even early on when Lexington was moving the ball, C.D. came up with some big sacks to end drives. The secondary didn't give up any yards after the catch and picked off four passes. The special teams played the biggest role by blocking a punt, forcing a fumble, blocking an extra point, and constantly setting up solid field position.

Lexington- the Pioneers had a solid game plan and I like their aggressiveness to pass early on, but they just had never seen the type of athletes that Country Day puts on the field and couldn't keep pace.

GAME MVP: O'Neil Swanson, Country Day the Yellowjackets couldn't get anything going on offense till Swanson broke loose for the 48 yard TD. Swanson finished with 158 yards, 2 TD's, and a 2-point conversion run.

Bennie Fowler, CD- Fowler had two big plays to set up a pair of 1st-and-goals in the first half. He added 3 scores and close to 100 all purpose yards. CD does a good job of moving Fowler around to get him the ball in open space.

Chris Eddins, CD- continues to prove his D-1 value by making plays at D-tackle. The 6-4 Eddins batted down a pass and added a sack.

Lee Bailey, CD- the sophomore corner held his side down, rarely gave up catches but instantly made the tackle.

Mose Hogan, CD- Hogan plays a few positions but is always around the ball. His block punt was huge in the win.

Jason Ray, CD- the 6-2/200 pound safety comes up and hits like a linebacker. He has great instincts and speed that were both seen in his 42 yard INT return.

Ryan Fabbri, Lexington- the sophomore receiver had a handful of receptions, and even took a reverse for a first down. He was forced to play QB after Barrett was knocked out of the game for a series. 5-10/155 pound athlete with some decent speed.

Dominic Arnold, Lexington- the freshman receiver had his team's lone TD and made a nice catch in traffic for it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Below is NGS' 1st and 2nd teams for the class of 2011. Teams were chosen on players performance based on this season only. Teams don't have any reflection on player rankings or next level potential.

QB- Ryan Morley, Grand Blanc, 6-1/165
RB- Jeron Clayton, Ann Arbor Pioneer, 5-9/160
RB- Justice Hayes, Grand Blanc, 5-11/170
RB- Davion Stackhouse, Canton, 5-10/175
WR- Matt Poches, Hartland, 6-4/185
WR- DeAnthony Arnett, Saginaw High, 6-0/165
WR- Willie Snead IV, Holland Christian 5-11/165
OL- Damon Knox, Muskegon, 6-2/240
OL- Robb Coleman, Fulton-Middleton 6-5/250
OL- Budd Gilfillen, Hudsonville, 6-4/250
OL- Bryce Hall, Melvindale, 6-3/260
OL- Kyle Foreman, Berkley, 6-3/265
K- Aaron Mick, Southfield Christian, 5-9/150

C- Lee Bailey, Country Day, 5-10/160
C- Ashton Gaines, Detroit Crockett, 5-10, 165
S- Jimmy Pickens, Brother Rice, 6-0/185
S- Donovan Lindsay, Inkster, 5-11/180
LB- Lawrence Thomas, Detroit Renaissance, 6-3/215
Tyler Tucker, East Lansing, 6-3/180
LB- Dell Simon, Arthur Hill, 5-10/175
LB- Percy Johnson, Detroit Denby, 6-0, 200
DT- Sinquarious Hayden, Flint Northern, 6-3/265
DT- Tyler Lemke, Mt. Pleasant, 6-3/230
DE- Julian Plummer, Muskegon Heights, 6-6/240
Conor Hart, Brother Rice, 6-4/220


QB- Josh Harris, Country Day, 6-0/195
RB- Neno Jones, Farmington, 5-8/162
RB- Darryl Flemster, Oak Park- 5-10/195
RB- Jamel Abrams, Marine City, 5-11/190
WR- Anthony Johnson, Parkway Christian, 6-4/180
WR- Chandler Young, Arthur Hill, 5-10/160
WR- Devon Ivy, Ottawa Hills, 5-9/150
OL- Vincent McCall, Detroit Finney, 6-1/270
OL- Trice Richard, Oak Park, 6-2/290
OL- Corey May, Muskegon Heights, 6-3/265
OL- David Brown, Country Day, 6-0 230
OL- Cortez Riley, OLSM, 6-0/255
K- Kyle Brindza, Plymouth, 5-9/155

C- Patrick Lucas-Perry, Flint Powers, 5-10/165
C- Ronald Walker, Detroit Cooley, 6-2/185
S- Ken Knight, Country Day, 6-3/ 175
S- Ryan Griffin, Ann Arbor Pioneer, 5-9/170
LB- Tim Hamilton, Brother Rice, 6-1/205
LB- Joe Kerridge, Traverse City St. Francis, 6-0/190
LB- Justin Messner, Detroit C.C., 6-0/175
LB- Davonte Snyder, Detroit Denby, 6-0/190
DT- Dylan Ochala-Gorka, Livonia Churchill, 6-0/215
DT- Cody Knoll, DeLaSalle, 6-0/230
DE- Dwight Trammer, Oak Park, 6-3/220
DE- George Darany, Detroit C.C., 6-2/200

Monday, November 17, 2008

REGIONALS: Hartland vs. Rockford

**Vonn Jones cradles in a 2-point conversion pass**
**Matt Poches turns up field after a catch**
**Alex Rojas takes a misdirection run play**
**Rockford's Josh Osbun sacks Chris Cagle**

Rockford- Rockford put an end to Hartland's dream season Saturday afternoon as the host Rams used a 5 star performance from their defense to clamp down on Hartland's explosive offense en route to a 24-8 win.

Hartland started the game by picking up 3 first downs but a dropped pass on 3rd-and-3 forced Hartland to punt the ball away. Rockford went right to their power run game and Jordan Morren raced 45 yards for the game's first score with 7:48 to go in the first quarter to give the Rams a 7-0 lead.

Hartland had their chances in the first half as the Eagles forced three Rockford turnovers, unfortunately the Eagles failed to capitalize on any of them. Twice Hartland went for it on 4th-and 3's but failed to convert. Rockford was able to tack on a 20 yard field goal to make the halftime score 10-0.

After forcing a three and out to start the third quarter, Hartland put together their best drive of the game. The Eagles moved down near the redzone but a fumble ended any hope of scoring. Rockford took advantage of the fumble recovery and marched down field 80 yards on all run plays. Once the Rams got near the goal line they ran a play-action to score on a 5 yard pass to Morren from Tim McGee to take a 17-0 lead. Morren added his third touchdown with 9:15 left in the fourth quarter, running in from 2 yards out, to take a commanding 24-0 lead.

Hartland showed their heart by never giving up. The Eagles were able to get on the board off of Matt Kenwell's 4 yard run. Vonn Jones catch added on the 2-point conversion making the final 24-8.


the Rams lost their starting running back early in the game but never skipped a beat showing how deep their roster goes. Defensively the Rams had a great game plan as they double teamed Hartland's weapons forcing other players to make plays. The Rams were able to get pressure on Cagle by only rushing four and dropping everyone else back in pass coverage.

it's been a heck of a ride for the Eagles this season as they proved many doubters wrong. They showed the state that not only do they have some pretty good football players but as a team they can compete with anyone. Hartland had their shots but just couldn't get into the endzone against Rockford.

GAME MVP: Jordan Morren, Rockford-
the halfback turned into the feature back after Aaron Kwekel went down. Morren gets credit for all 3 Ram TDs as he finished with 111 on 15 rushes.

Chris Cagle, Hartland-
I think Cagle was sacked only twice but he was on the run all day which shows his ability to move around the pocket to buy time. Cagle had a great season as he has proven that he in one of Michigan's top throwers. It will be near impossible for Hartland to replace what Cagle has given them this year.

Matt Poches, Hartland-
Rockford's head coach said afterward that his game plan was to take away Poches, and that states allot for the value of a sophomore. Rockford shadowed Poches with a 6-3 corner and kept a safety within 10 yards on every down.

Vonn Jones, Hartland-
Jones also received plenty of attention from the Rockford secondary but was still able to collect 5 catches. Jones had Hartland's biggest play of the day when he went up over two Ram defenders to make a catch to keep a drive alive.

Joe Stefanski, Rockford-
the junior linebacker did a solid job of covering ground against the spread offense. He's a phenomenal tackler in the open field as well as pass coverage.

Alex Rojas, Rockford-
the Ram split back mostly gets the ball on misdirection plays but those are the perfect situations for the little, but speedy, back to make plays in. he ran for 78 yards and seemed to have picked up a first down on every carry.

REGIONALS: Davison vs. Midland

**Jake Thompson runs in a 2-point conversion**
**Andrew Maxwell moves out of the pocket to buy some time**
**Midland had trouble tackling Oliver Saylor**
**A Davison corner gets yardage after making an interception**

Midland- At halftime it looked like Davison would again loose another playoff game at Midland's Community Field, for the third straight year, as the Cardinals trailed Midland 7-12. Two years ago Davison lost to Muskegon in a semi-final game and last year they lost to Midland in a regional final.

But this year would prove to be different as Davison got their run game going in the second half with QB Jake Thompson and RB Oliver Saylor to take a 25-19 win to advance to the Division 2 semi-finals.

Davison got on the board first when Thompson hit a wide open Daniel Thwing in the middle of the field for a 21 yard TD. Midland answered back on their first possession with a 80 yard drive. The drive was keyed by a 4th-and-1 conversion on Davison's 25 yard line when Andrew Maxwell ran under center to move the chains. On the very next play Maxwell hit Drew Moulton for a touchdown. The extra point snap was botched keeping the lead in Davison's favor 7-6 with 3:37 to go in the first.

For the remainder of the first half Davison's offense failed to pick up first downs while Midland just couldn't take advantage like the Chemics normally would. In the second quarter Midland missed a 36 yard field goal, had a touchdown called back for holding, threw an interception, and got stopped on a 4th-and-2 on Davison's 17 yard line instead of attempting a field goal.

Midland did manage to convert a touchdown with 27 seconds left in the half when Maxwell found Michael Albrecht in the corner of the endzone. The Chemics 2-point attempt sailed incomplete giving Midland the 12-7 halftime lead.

In the third quarter the Cardinals capitalized off of another Maxwell interception. A 25 yard pass from Thompson set up a 1st-and-goal from the two yard line and Saylor finished the drive on the very next play. Thompson ran in the 2-point attempt giving Davison a 15-12 lead.

Davison took control of the game early in the fourth quarter when Thompson scored from 12 yards out and a Cardinal 28 yard field goal gave Davison a 25-12 lead with just over four minutes to play.

Davison was able to withstand a Chemic rally late in the game, after Midland scored off of a 33 yard pass to Moulton, Davison was able to recover a Midland onside kick with 30 seconds left, securing the Cardinal win.


the Cardinal defense bent but never broke, and they really took over the second half as they were able to get pressure on Maxwell. Midland's offense could never get going in the second half but the Davison offense gets credit for that because they kept Maxwell and company off of the field by controlling the ball.

the Chemics just didn't seem to be as fired up for this game as Davison was. Too many mistakes and mental errors cost Midland the game. In the second half Midland had no answer for the Davison run game.

GAME MVP: Oliver Saylor, Davison
a pure bruiser on both sides of the ball! When Saylor wasn't laying the wood from his linebacker spot he was running people over on offense. Saylor kept the chains moving in the second half as Davison controlled the clock. Saylor finished with 135 yards and a TD.

Jake Thompson, Davison-
the sophomore QB didn't play like no regular sophomore. He did have a fumble and an interception but for the most part he was solid managing the game.

Andrew Maxwell, Midland-
Maxwell spent most of the game on the run avoiding D-ends. He showed good mobility with a strong arm but just didn't come up with the plays you would expect out of a big 10 bound quarterback.

Michael Albrecht, Midland-
the Saginaw Valley MVP showed why he was the MVP, even on a team with two big 10 bound prospects. Albrecht intercepted a pass to go with a touchdown in his final game.

REGIONALS: South Haven vs. Holland Christian

**A.J. Westendorp runs for a 25 yard TD**
**6-7 Isiah Grimes takes off down field**
**Jordan Brassard hauls in a pass near the goal line**
**Sophomore Willie Snead had 146 receiving yards**

Holland Christian and South Haven took the field Friday night in a regional final that featured two of the state's top senior signal callers in A.J. Westendorp of Christian and Isiah Grimes of South Haven.

The two teams traded first half touchdowns as South Haven took a 19-18 lead into the half. But the second half belonged to Westendorp, who's ability to make plays with both his arm and legs, overwhelmed the South Haven defense allowing the Maroons to rally back and cruise to a 53-25 win to advance to next week's semi-final against Grand Rapids C.C.

Christian scored on the game's opening possession when Westendorp avoided a sack and dashed 35 yards for an early 6--0 lead. It didn't take the Rams long to fire back, South Haven regained the lead on a 78 yard touchdown pass from Grimes to Chris Massenburg on the Ram's first play from scrimmage to take a 7-6 lead.

South Haven looked to build on the lead when they set up a 1st-and-goal on the 3 yard line but the Rams fumbled the ball away. On the very next play Westendorp hit a wide open Willie Snead for a 93 yard touchdown. Holland built their first half lead to 18-7 off of a Westendorp 4 yard run early in the second quarter.

South Haven cut the lead to 18-13 on Kelip Goodwin's 8 yard sweep. On the ensuing kickoff South Haven attempted an onside kick that was shortly recovered by Snead, who was then rocked by Blain McGowan causing Snead to loose the ball as the Rams recovered. South Haven regained the lead, 19-18, on a 13 yard TD pass from Grimes to Aaron Sollman.

In the third quarter Holland got a splash of luck when Westendorp's deep pass bounced off the fingertips of Nic Kiekover and fell right into the hands of teammate Matt Mulder, the 57 yard TD gave Holland a 25-19 lead that the Maroons would never relinquish. In the next 5 minutes Westendorp added touchdown runs of 25 and 12 yards to give the Maroons a 39-19 lead. A 55 yard TD pass from Westendorp to Eric Slenk capped Holland's huge 3rd quarter giving the Maroons a 46-19 lead.

Holland's final score came off of Matt Hochhalter's 1 yard run while South haven managed to get a 50 yard TD run from sophomore Josh Taylor late in the game.


Holland Christian-
the Maroons are very disciplined in their complicated spread offense that gives Westendorp plenty of freedom to pick apart defenses just like he did against South Haven. Holland's offense line has decent size but nothing extraordinarily big, however they do a heck of a job of staying with their blocks and getting down field to pick up blocks.

South Haven-
the Rams put up a good fight but the in the third quarter the offense failed to pick up a first down giving Westendorp too many opportunities.

GAME MVP: A.J. Westendorp, Holland Christian
the 6-2/210 pound senior goes both ways as a QB/outside linebacker. As good as AJ is with the ball on offense I think he has a better chance to excel as a linebacker in college. But don't get me wrong, his numbers alone prove he is a player- 16 of 19 pass attempts for 359 yards and three TDs to go with 17 rushes for 124 yards and four more scores.

Isiah Grimes, South Haven-
the 6-7 Grimes has a rocket for a arm and can really thread a pass into tight traffic. In the cold weather his receivers had trouble holding on to the hard throws but Grimes put the ball where it had to be.

Camron Kiekintveld, Holland Christian-
the junior goes both ways as a guard and D-end. Good size at 6-2/240 pounds but his ability to fire off the ball really caught my eye, really good speed rusher as well.

Willie Snead, Holland Christian-
another stud receiver for the class of 2011. Finished with 6 catches for 146 yards. The WR/safety/ kick returner rarely leaves the field.

Josh Taylor, South Haven-
the sophomore showed good speed in his 50 yard TD, and should get the bulk of carries next year for the Rams.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

PLAYER FEATURE: Janero Walker, Flint Beecher

Flint Beecher's football season ended last week in the district championship with a 41-45 loss to St. Charles; and while the Bucs won't have the privilege of playing in this week's regional finals the season was one for the Beecher community to be proud of. "The loss was tough knowing we were up at halftime but overall I had a fun senior season", states Janero Walker, "We had some growing pains early on but as they season went along we really started to click."

Growing pains is what you can call it when you start a pair of sophomores at running back and a freshman at quarterback. "It was a lot different from last year because we had a veteran team and a senior QB" says Walker. Walker, who has started on offense and defense for the varsity since he was a freshman, was the only returning starter on offense and one of three on the Buc's defense this year. "Honestly, I didn't know what to expect because I knew we were just so young but Coach Hawkins did a good job of teaching the young guys and I'm just proud of how we did overall." says Walker.

Walker also helped out the young fellas by being a big time playmaker on the field for the Bucs. Walker finished the season with 56 catches for 906 yards and 9 TDs to go with a kickoff return for a TD and adding 7 interceptions on defense.


Walkers' freshman season ended with a 1-8 record and his sophomore campaign wasn't much better as the Bucs finished 2-7. But now Beecher has a football program to be proud of. "I was really thinking of transferring after my freshman year but then Coach Hawkins took the job. He has taught me everything I know about football. He taught me technique and how to carry ourselves off the field as well. I have been really privileged because he played the same positions" says Walker.

"My goal was always to play in the playoffs and I have accomplished that" states Walker. Walker has done more than just play in the playoffs, the Bucs have made the postseason that past two years and have won a playoff game in both of those seasons. So while most kids take the easy road of jumping on another school's coat tail, Walker has stuck it out as a Buc and has now reaped the benefits.


Coach Courtney Hawkins did a phenomenal job this season at Beecher finishing the season with a 7-4 record but Walker also had his share in the development of the young guys. "I was raised to be a leader, not a follower. My coaches enforced it on me and I knew it would be my major role this year. I worked with the receivers and that allowed coach to put more focus on other positions. Being a leader has never been a problem for me because it just comes naturally to me," says Walker.

Walker also gives his teammates something else to look up to, besides being a leader in sports, Walker is also a leader in the classroom. The senior is currently carrying a 3.7 GPA and has a cumulative GPA of 3.5.


Now that the Buc's football season is over, Walker has little time to rest to get ready for basketball season. Walker is returning as the starting point guard of a team that fell in the State Championship last year to K-Zoo Christian. "Last year we fell a couple points short at the Breslin, our goal this year is not just to get back to the Breslin but finish what we couldn't last year- win a State Championship!" states Walker.

Walker's job won't be much different in basketball as it was in football. "We are going to be young this year but quicker than we were last year. I will have to be more of a vocal leader then I was last year," says Walker.


Walker, who runs a 4.5 forty flat, has received major interest in multiple sports. "I am currently being recruited by different schools for football, basketball, and track." says Walker. Walker is getting interest from plenty of D-2 schools in basketball like SVSU, Northwood, and Hillsdale.

But his major interest comes in track and football. "I really want to play college football because that's where my heart is. I don't care if I play offense or defense, anything to get on the field," says Walker. Walker is currently getting recruited by Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Ball State, Western Michigan, as well as Northwood and Ferris State.

Walker is one of those prep athletes that you can't help but wish the best for. As good of an athlete he is, he's an even better person. Janero is a true leader and does whatever is needed in the best interest of the team in any sport he plays.

While I have no doubt that Walker can excel in track or basketball at the next level, I feel his calling is in football as a lock down corner. His techniques are flawless and he has the foot speed to stay with receivers 40 yards downfield.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

HIGHLIGHTS: Vonn Jones, Hartland

Vonn Jones has made his name popular in most Michigan homes with his standout play as a basketball player. For the past couple of years this hardwood phenom has spent his falls playing football just to stay busy. But this year Jones got rid of his tag of being a "basketball player just playing football" and has become a true "football player".

This season Hartland has raced out to a 9-2 record and will face Rockford Saturday in a regional final. Jones' growth as a football player has played a key role in Hartland's success. Jones never leaves the field as he handles punt return and kickoff return duties on top of playing receiver and corner.

Jones has become a big time playmaker and has made huge plays for Hartland this season, below is a hyperlink to a play in which Jones makes a 50 yard diving catch against Howell in the district championship. It is just one of many of Jones highlight plays.

Monday, November 10, 2008

DISTRICTS: Goodrich vs. Marshall

**Joe Boisture throws downfield**
**Jamar Wimberly ties the game with his second TD**
**Jake Bourassa runs for his second TD**
**Kyle Elsworth dives for a completion**

Goodrich- If only the whole game could have been as easy as the first two drives were for Goodrich. The Martians looked flawless as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead in yesterday’s Division 4 district final. Unfortunately the Martians were unable to muster another point as they fell 24-14 to the visiting Marshall Redhawks.

Goodrich took a 7-0 lead on the game’s first play from scrimmage as Jake Bourassa ran nearly untouched for an 80 yard score. After forcing a three and out, Joe Boisture and his Martian offense were back in business. Goodrich mixed the pass and run to quickly move the ball downfield. A 15 yard pass from Boisture to Kyle Elsworth put the ball inside the 10 yard line and Bourassa finished the 8 play, 71 yard drive, with a 9 run to take a 14-0 lead with 7:55 to play in the first quarter.

But then Marshall woke up!

A fumble by Bourassa switched field position and Marshall took advantage on their next possession by giving Goodrich a heavy dose of Jamar Wimberly. The junior back used four rushes to gain 40 yards, and on his fifth rush he scored from 4 yards out to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 51 seconds to go in the first quarter.

Marshall's defense then put the pressure on Boisture. A sack by D-end Dave Giese put Goodrich back on the 1 yard line but on the ensuing play Boisture hit his tight end for a 8 yard gain but the tight end fumbled the football away, giving Marshall the short field. Marshall tied the game on a 1 yard dive from Wimberly to tie the game 14-14 with 10:21 in the second quarter.

The game belonged to both defenses from here on out as the score stuck at 14-14 at the half. Goodrich put their focus on Wimberly, taking away the Redhawk run game. Marshall used their D-line to continue to put pressure on Boisture and limit Bourassa.

Late in the third quarter Marshall punted the ball away and stuck Goodrich on their own 1 yard line. Two plays later Giese sacked Boisture for a safety to give Marshall their first lead at 16-14.

After the teams traded possession Goodrich punted the ball to Marshall's Blake Iobe. Iobe fumbled the ball but instantly picked it up, then dodged two diving Martians as he raced down the right sideline for a 93 yard run. Wimberly ran in the 2-point conversion to give Marshall a 24-14 lead going into the final quarter.

Goodrich managed to get down to the Marshall 31 yard line and went for it on 4th-and-1 but the Redhawks held ground and Goodrich never got any closer to scoring as Marshall ran most of the clock off in the final 5 minutes.


Marshall- after watching warm-ups and especially the first four minutes of the game, I thought this was going to be a 40 point win for Goodrich. But the Redhawks are very, very well coached and disciplined. They made huge adjustments on both sides of the ball and while their offense struggled they made the needed plays on defense and special teams.

Marshall failed to complete a pass (0 for 9) and that will be a huge problem next week against Country day if they can't throw the ball.

just one of those games where everything that could go wrong- went wrong. The two first quarter fumbles allowed Marshall to crawl back in the game after they were dead quite from being down 14 quick points.

GAME MVP: Jamal Wimberly, Marshall
the junior runs hard and his teammates feed off of his emotion. He finished with 116 yards and the two TDs on 27 rushes.

Marshall front four: Garrett Woods (DT), Zach Francs (DT), Dave Geise (DE), James Wimberly (DE)-
Marshall's D-line consisted of all juniors. Wimberly is a 6-1/180 pound speed rusher but the other three lineman all go 6-2/230 pounds of muscle and they are all mean and know how to get after the quarterback.

Joe Boisture, Goodrich-
the 6-6 junior QB just couldn't get comfortable or get into any kind of rhythm. He was sacked 6 times and couldn't do anything about it. He tried to dive out of the endzone during the safety but his knee was called down.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

DISTRICTS: Nouvel vs. Carrollton

**Kevin Robinson found plenty of running room against the Cavs**
**Robert Essex fights for yardage against Nouvel**
**Ryan Miller races for a 78 yard score**
**LT Calvin Jackson did what he could to contain the Nouvel defense**

Saginaw- Carrollton has had a fantastic season, smashing all sorts of school records, on their way to reeling off 9 wins for the first time in school history. But Friday night the Cavs just could not match the fire power or experience of the two time defending champs- Nouvel Catholic Central. The Panthers overwhelmed Carrollton on their way to a 35-3 win to advance to next week's regional final vs. St. Charles.

However, the Cavs showed no fear by forcing Nouvel into a three and out series on the game's first possession. Carrollton's offense then drove down field behind the running combination of feature back Robert Essex and fullback JJ Perry. After picking up a 1st-and-goal at the 6 yard line, the Cavs settled for a field goal from the two yard line to take a 3-0 lead with 1:45 to go in the first.

Nouvel got a big play from receiver Sam Herbert, who ran a basic hitch route, then shook off a defender to put Nouvel in the redzone. Kevin Robinson finished the drive with a run from a yard out to get Nouvel on the board with 6:15 left in the second quarter. Carrollton managed to block the extra point keeping the score at 6-3 in Nouvel's favor.

After regaining possession Nouvel got a 35 yard run from Robinson to again move inside the redzone. A screen pass to Robinson got Nouvel even closer and then Ryan Miller capped the drive with a 10 yard run to give the Panthers a 13-3 lead.

Nouvel's defense took over in the third quarter and erased any hope for a Cavalier comeback. A diving interception from Michael O'Connor gave Nouvel a 1st-and-goal from the 7 yard line. On first down Nouvel ran a play-action pass and Ryan Henris hit a wide open Murphy Wilson for the score. On the extra point attempt Carrollton jumped offsides and Nouvel decided to send the offense back onto the field. Miller ran in the 2-point conversion making the score 21-3.

Nouvel's defense got only stronger as they just physically pounded on Carrollton every chance they got. Another interception by Nouvel, this time safety Zach Garner, gave Nouvel another 1st-and-goal from the 4 yard line. On first down Miller plowed his way up the gut for a 28-3 lead with 5:27 to play in the third. Nouvel tacked on another score early in the fourth when Miller ran behind his 6-7/ 276 pound tackler, junior Shawn Kamm, for a 78 yard TD.


Nouvel- the Panthers had 6 drops in the first quarter- 3 from receivers and 3 from DB's that could have turned into INT's. If Nouvel is to 3-peat they need to take advantage of those situations.

Defensively Nouvel just took away everything from the Cavs. The safety's were in position to make plays and the front 7 just pounded Carrollton on every down.

On another note I love Nouvel's down field blocking, from interception returns to screen plays, Nouvel does a fantastic job picking up blocks down field and those are the little things that can make a difference.

Carrollton- nothing to hang your head about but Nouvel is just on another level right now as far as a program is concerned. But the Cavs have the perfect opportunity to establish a program by installing a winning mentality into the younger grades and getting the returning players right back in the weight room.

GAME MVP: Kevin Robinson, Nouvel- Robinson left the game in the third quarter with an injury but by then the game had already been decided. The senior power back had thee plays (all of 20+ yards) in the first quarter to help the Nouvel offense get going. Robinson had 100 all-purpose yards all in the first half.

Ryan Miller, Nouvel- the junior back only had 6 rushes but produced over 100 yards and 3 TDs. He showed speed on his big 78 yard score and power on the other two TDs but just running over linebackers.

Bo Themm, Nouvel- the senior captain has really taken over the defense since linebacker Josh Fallon ended his season with a knee injury a few weeks ago. Themm relies on his strength and instincts to finish plays while racking up over 120 tackles so far this season.

Robert Essex, Carrollton- the junior just couldn't get anything going as he was constantly hit in the backfield. He finished the season with close to 2,000 rushing yards and 20 TDs.

Monday, November 3, 2008

PLAYOFFS: Farmington vs. Southfield

**6-4 DeAndre Sutton goes up for a catch**
**QB Eddie Beal is a true playmaker**
**Sophomore Neno Jones had success running the ball**
**Sophomore QB Matt Craven has a bright future**

Southfield- The 8-1 Blue Jays were heavy favorites Saturday afternoon as they hosted a Farmington team who started the season 0-3 but won six straight to qualify for the playoffs. But Farmington showed that fight that got them into the playoffs by giving Southfield a big wake up call in the first half.

The Falcons limited Southfield for the first two quarters; and even when Southfield recovered a Farmington fumble on Farmington's 23 yard line the Blue Jays couldn't muster a single yard.

Meanwhile the Falcons were able to move the ball downfield by relying on the running of sophomore Neno Jones. Farmington was able to keep Southfield's offense off of the field but the Falcons just couldn't finish any drives and the game stayed scoreless till the final minute of the second quarter. That's when Southfield retained possession with 1:13 to play and quarterback Eddie Beal went to work. Beal picked apart the Falcons cover 2 defense and moved the ball 70 yards downfield. With time running out Southfield settled for a 21 yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead at the half.

Beal continued where he left off in the third quarter by hooking up with DeAndre Sutton for a 28 yard touchdown in the corner of the endzone to take a 9-0 lead with 6:15 left in the third, the extra point was blocked.

The 9-0 lead took Farmington out of their preferred offense, to run the ball, and forced the Falcons to go to the air. In the fourth quarter Southfield's Antoine Lee picked off a screen pass and returned it 30 yards for a 16-0 lead with less than three minutes in the game.


the Blue Jays are loaded with pure athletes at every position. They are just physically intimidating and you knew it was just a matter of time before they took control of the game, even though they didn't play their best game. Southfield seems to be determined to run the ball but they found more success throwing the ball.

the Falcons struggled to go 0-3 to start the season but as they developed they finished the year as a pretty competitive football team, and that says allot for a team that relies on a handful of sophomores on both sides of the ball. I'm expecting big things from Farmington in a year or two.

Offensive MVP: Eddie Beal, Southfield-
the QB did a good job of moving around the pocket to buy some time, he never panicked and scrambled, just bought another second and delivered the ball downfield. He has a soft touch and delivers the ball to his receivers in stride.

Defensive MVP: Charles Jackson, Southfield-
the senior D-tackle sizes up at 6-2/225 of pure brute strength. He just bulldozed the Farmington O-line and made plays in the backfield. I would like to see him play D-end because he has real good speed but he's strong enough to be successful at D-tackle.

Farmington sophomores:
The Falcons were led by four sophomores, Neno Jones (RB), Matt Craven (QB), Dae'Von Scarber (WR/C), and Mitch Sanders (WR/LB). Jones is a talented back while Craven is skilled at 6-3 with good foot speed.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

PLAYOFFS: Crockett at Country Day

**O'Neil Swanson runs for a handful of his 122 yards**
**Chris Eddins was all over Crockett**
**Tony Lippett races for a first down**
**Bennie Fowler had the Rockets missing all day long**

Beverly Hills- The Yellowjackets knew coming in that they would have their hands full against Crockett. Last year Country Day was able to sneak pass Crockett 7-0 in the district finals. So when the going got tough Saturday afternoon Country Day tightened up their chin straps and decided to play smash mouth football on their way to a 17-7 win.

Country Day took advantage of a Rocket fumble on the Crockett's own 23 yard line, a few plays later Bennie Fowler took an end around to the house for a 7-0 lead with 7:06 to play in the first quarter. Country Day appeared to have built the lead in the second quarter when sophomore Josh Harris connected with tight end Jason Ray who dove for the left pylon but was whistled just inches short. On the very next play Harris tried to sneak the ball across the goal line but the ball was knocked loose and Crockett retained possession to end the threat keeping the score 7-0 at the half.

The Rockets got a big play from Ashton Gaines in the third quarter when the sophomore blocked a Yellowjacket punt giving Crockett the short field. Crockett took advantage and tied the game on a 15 yard pass from Tony Lippett to Gaines with 8:52 to play in the third.

Crockett repaid the favor late in the third quarter when Lippett was sacked and fumbled, Country day recovered the ball on Crockett's 22 yard line. A few plays later O'Neil Swanson scored from 5 yards out to take a 14-7 lead.

The Yellowjackets sealed the win in the fourth quarter by sticking to the run game and running nearly 10 minutes off of the clock while moving 75 yards down field. Country Day tacked on a field goal with 55 seconds left in the game to make the final 17-7.


Country Day-
I like how Country Day matched the physical play of Crockett in the second half. They tightened up the formation and ran it right down the Rocket's throat. Country Day's young secondary has grown up and they are also playing extremely well- especially junior Jason Ray and sophomores Lee Bailey and Kenny Knight.

the Rocketts were talented enough to pull off the upset and I was particularly impressed with how physical and hard hitting the Rockets were. But they had too many mental miscues and turnovers that cost them the game.

Offensive MVP: Bennie Fowler, CD-
while Swanson carried the load, it was the big play ability of Fowler that keyed the win. Fowler forced Crockett to bite on every ball fake and when he did touch the ball he produced first downs.

Defensive MVP: Chris Eddins, CD-
I just love how Eddins takes advantage of his size and speed over opponents. The 6-5/ 250 pound D-end and D-tackle gets off the ball fast and has a speedy pass rush. He chased Lippett all over the field and Lippett never got comfortable sitting in the pocket.

O'Neil Swanson, CD-
usually excels in the open field but he got the job done running hard between the tackles for a total of 141 yards and a TD on 28 carries.

Aaron McCord, Crockett-
I knew the the CMU commit had great athleticism at D-tackle but I was also impressed with the aggression he plays with. He excels at both run stopping and pass rushing.

Ashton Gaines, Crockett-
the 2011 corner/receiver made big plays in all three aspects of the game. His blocked punt help set up his own TD reception, where he did a good job of keeping his feet in bounds. But Gaines shines at corner and was phenomenal all day in pass coverage.

PLAYOFFS: Dearborn at Walled Lake Western

**Michael Hatcher powers his way pass the goal line for 1 of his 7 TDs**
**Gilvanni Johnson did what he could to carry Walled Lake**
**Khalil Hazime is a hard nosed football QB**
**Michael Hatcher had a memorable playoff performance**

Walled Lake-
it wasn't uncommon to see Michael Hatcher run a player over last night against Walled Lake Western, but most of the people in attendance will remember all of the times the Dearborn tailback bobbed and weaved his way downfield while leaving Walled Lake hugging air. Hatcher amazed the crowd to a performance that saw the senior rush for 285 yards and 7 touchdowns, 6 rushing and 1 receiving.

And while its Hatcher's numbers that stoodout it was a full team effort as the visiting Pioneers trounced the Warriors 49-26 to advance in the Division 2-Region 4-District 1 finals next week against Southfield.

Walled Lake actually got on the board first when they took advantage of the game's opening drive and used two big pass receptions to John Popa to move the ball downfield. Gilvanni Johnson capped the drive with a 17 yard dash to give Western a 7-0 lead with 8:14 in the first quarter.

Dearborn's offense got on the field they didn't waste anytime to tie the game as Hatcher made the first of his gamebreaking plays by shaking off a handful of Western defenders as he trotted 66 yards. The Pioneers then took the lead off of a Hatcher 36 yard run with 3:41 to go in the first quarter.

Special teams doomed Walled Lake in the second quarter, allowing Dearborn to take a big lead that the Pioneers would never relinquish. First Walled Lake was set to punt the ball but the snap was off target and the punter was tackled at the Walled Lake 8 yard line. Hatcher scored his third touchdown on the very next play for a 21-7 lead.

Panic then forced Walled Lake to attempt a fake punt run that was stuffed by linebacker Nores Fradi to give Dearborn the ball on the Walled Lake 24 yard line. Dearborn took advantage on Hatcher's 5 yard touchdown run that gave the Pioneers a 28-7 lead with 6:34 in the second quarter. Walled Lake's third special team miscue came right before the half ended when they put together a solid drive and tried to attempt a short 23 yard field goal that sailed left.

Dearborn showed no let up in the second half as Hatcher added three more scores to put the game away.


the offense looked very explosive as the Pioneers didn't wasted any time to move the ball downfield by picking up huge chunks of yardage on a consistent basis. Coach Mifsud does a solid job of spreading the field and giving his playmakers space to make big plays. Defensively I like how Dearborn's players all just focus on their job and everyone is held accountable.

Dearborn had an obvious speed advantage over Walled Lake but that'll change next week against Southfield.

Walled Lake killed theirselves with mistakes in the second quarter and trying to pull off the fake punt so early in the game was suicidal. The defensive game plan looked solid but Western just couldn't finish the tackles, allowing Dearborn to make big plays.

Offensive MVP: Michael Hatcher, Dearborn-
the numbers alone give Hatcher this honor- 7 TDs and over 300 yards all purpose. Hatcher did an phenomenal job of making guys miss by hitting the breaks and quickly getting back in motion.

Defensive MVP: Nores Fradi, Dearborn-
the 6-1/ 200 pound junior linebacker finished with 16 tackles. He did a good job of sniffing out plays and he has good speed to get around the field. I would like to see him bulk up a little more before I label him as a D-1 prospect.

Khalil Hazime, Dearborn-
the senior linebacker only stands 5-9 but he seems to have a solid grip on the offense. He made good throws all night and I also liked how he tried to deliver the hit when he ran the ball.

Walter Knapp, Dearborn-
Knapp (6-4/194 pounds) is a deep field threat and really opened up stuff underneath for Hatcher. He made a real nice catch 30 yards downfield and also broke open a simple hitch route for a big play after shaking off a tackle.

Sam Welch, Western-
the 5-11/200 pound junior was Western's starting QB. He's a tough runner and a handful to bring down out of the spread option but he had his struggles reading the defense and delivering the ball downfield. Welch just has a little homework to do over the off season.

Gilvanni Johnson, Western-
I don't have an exact number but I am sure the senior back had well over 100 yards rushing. He's a good every down back but just lacks that true breakout speed.

John Popa, Western- Popa also had his share of big plays. The 6-3 receiver did a good job of finding space and then shielding his defender to make the catch.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

PLAYOFFS: Grand Blanc at Hartland

**Matt Poches goes up for 1 of his 8 catches**
**Ryan Morley looks to throw downfield**
**Vonn Jones has turned into a lockdown corner**
**Justice Hayes runs behind Justin Music**

HARTLAND- While both Hartland and Grand Blanc used their high powered offenses to punch their tickets to the big show, it was Hartland's defense that stole the show under the Friday night lights. The Eagles' defense stifled a Bobcat offense that averaged 38 points a game in the regular season in route to a 21-0 victory.

Hartland took the opening possession and instantly took advantage of 6-4 sophomore Matt Poches, who had a 7 inch advantage over a Grand Blanc corner, to move the ball downfield. But the drive appeared to be stalled on 4th-and-8 when Hartland was set to punt the ball but Grand Blanc was flagged for encroachment. Hartland sent the offense back on the field and QB Chris Cagle went right back to Poches who was interfered with to keep the Eagle drive alive. Four plays later Hartland faced another fourth down, and again Cagle went to Poches, this time connecting for a 22 yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 6:22 to play in the first quarter.

Neither team would score again for the remainder of the first half. Grand Blanc struggled to sustain drives by going three and out on their first two drives and turning the ball over on their next two. Hartland was able to move the ball downfield but fumbled the ball away at Grand Blanc's 20 yard line and a sack on third down kept Hartland from tacking on a field goal as a 39 yard attempt fell just short.

The play of the game came midway through the third quarter, Grand Blanc tried to throw a bubble screen to Tony Jones but Carson Pippin read the play and hopped the route, intercepting the ball, and giving possession back to Hartland on the two yard line. Three plays later Cagle crossed the goal line for a 14-0 lead.

Grand Blanc attempted to get back in the game to start the fourth quarter, but after setting up a 1st-and-goal on the 10 yard line, a run was stuffed for a three yard loss, and three passes fell incomplete in the endzone. Two of those passes were batted down by Vonn Jones.

Hartland then put the nail in the coffin with a with a 27 yard halfback fake reverse pass to Poches for the game's final touchdown.


Hartland- the Eagles now advance to the district championship where they will get a rematch against Howell, who they lost to 20-30 in week 6. Hartland's offense show up as predicted with a sick receiving core of Matt Poches and Vonn Jones, and quarterback Chris Cagle who can deliver the ball anywhere on the field.

But it was the Eagle defense that impressed me. Grand Blanc's offense is just as good as any in the state and Hartland just swarmed all over the field looking to hit anything in reach. If the Eagles can continue to stay consistent on both sides of the ball then they are capable of playing with anyone in division 1.

Grand Blanc- I know the Bobcats don't want any moral speeches but they can raise their heads with pride. The Bobcats have been in playoff mode for six weeks now, after starting 1-3, the Bobcats won their final five games just to qualify for the playoffs and that is an accomplishment in its own.

And while G.B. will miss seniors like Justin Music, Adam Cesal, and James Dehoff, the future looks as bright as even in Bobcat Country with studs like sophomore Ryan Morley (QB), junior Tony Jones (WR), sophomore Justice Hayes (RB), and junior Gabe Martin (WR/LB) all returning.

Offensive MVP: Matt Poches, Hartland- although he's just a sophomore he was the difference in the game. Grand Blanc had no answer for the combination of size and speed of Poches. Poches finished with 8 catches for 115 yards and two TDs.

Defensive MVP: Vonn Jones, Hartland- going into the game I knew Jones would have his hands full by having to perform well on both sides of the ball but I couldn't have been prouder of the job Jones did defensively. Not only did he have an interception but the senior corner added 5 tackles and 5 pass deflections. Jones added 7 receptions for 76 yards as a receiver.

Chris Cagle, Hartland- the senior QB completed 20 of 28 passes for 211 yards and a TD to go with a rushing TD, Cagle also added 60 yards on the ground.

Jon Stevens, Hartland- the 6-5 TE/DE had some big plays on both sides of the ball by hauling in 4 catches to go with a pair of sacks.

Ryan Morley, GB- no it wasn't the game the sophomore wanted but he gained valuable experience and will only learn from this game. His skills are the real deal however he was thrown off balance by Hartland's pass rush and a fast secondary.

Justice Hayes, GB-
Hayes played despite being only 70% according to his teammates. He was consistent on the ground but just lacked his homerun speed that we are acustomed to seeing. He still managed to finish with 100 all-purpose yards.

Tony Jones, GB- Hartland's game plan was to shadow Jones all night and they did. GB still tried to get Jones involved with a number of screens and reverses but Hartland was all over the junior star. Jones did manage to make 4 receptions for 77 yards.