Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Week 2 Football Picks

Week 1 Record: 13-5
Southfield at Farmington Hills Harrison (Thursday)
In week one, both teams made a big time statement. Southfield could be Harrison's biggest test of the regular season. Expect this game to be decided in the late stages of the fourth quarter.
Harrison 35 Southfield 33

Walled Lake Central at Plymouth Salem (Thursday)
The Vikings may have lost their season opener, but much like last season, week two will finish with a much better result for Central.
Central 31 Salem 10

Rochester Adams at Farmington (Friday)

Adams almost pulled off the upset against Clarkston last week. Behind running back Bryan Green, Farmington is going to have a VERY good shot at pulling one off this week.
Upset Special #1 Farmington 24 Rochester Adams 21

Oxford at Southfield-Lathrup (Friday)
Last week against Lake Orion, Oxford showed they were the real deal. No letdown this week
Oxford 35 Lathrup 20

Walled Lake Western at Novi (Thursday)
In their week one beating of Saline, Western showed that they have very few weaknesses this season, while Novi has a flaw or two to fix.
Western 24 Novi 18

Walled Lake Northern at South Lyon East (Thursday)
Last week Northern proved they could score in their narrow 56-55 loss to Churchill, Expect the scoreboard to light up again in this one.

Northern 52 South Lyon East 40

Waterford Kettering at Northville (Thursday)

Northville proved they would be a force to be reckoned with this season in their impressive 69-28 win over Lakeland.
Northville 34 Kettering 20

Birmingham Seaholm at Bloomfield Hills Andover (Thursday)

After the Maple's season opening win, the tandem of quarterback John Glazier and J.D. Hess will be one to watch as the season goes on.
Seaholm 35 Andover 27

Auburn Hills Avondale at Hazel Park (Thursday)
This game won't be one for the defensive minded out there. Instead this is a game that could make its way into the 60's
Avondale 63 Hazel Park 55

Lakeland at South Lyon (Thursday)
Lakeland will likely be on a mission against South Lyon after suffering a bad loss at the hands of Northville.
Lakeland 38 South Lyon 21

Birmingham Groves at North Farmington (Friday)

Groves opened up their season with a little bit of disappointment, but not in week two. Expect Keon Collier to have a BIG game in this one.
Groves 28 N.F. 18

Wayne Memorial at Milford (Thursday)

The Mavericks kicked off the second go-round of the Pat Fox with an impressive win over Waterford Mott. Expect much of the same in week two.
Milford 49 W. Memorial 21

Pontiac at Troy Athens (Friday)

Pontiac will be a running team this season but don't forget about junior quarterback Jody Harrison. This guy is deadly accurate with the long ball and Pontiac just might take advantage of Harrison's arm against Athens.
Pontiac 35 Athens 27

Clarkston at West Bloomfield (Thursday)

Clarkston quarterback Mitch Baezinger proved last week that he is back and looks in mid-season form.
Clarkston 40 W.B. 21

Rochester at Lake Orion (Thursday)

Nobody on the Lake Orion side is happy with the way the Dragons started their season. On the flip side, I don't think the Rochester squad could be happier with the way the season has started.
Upset Special #2 Rochester 24 Lake Orion 21

Troy at Royal Oak (Friday)
It was great seeing Royal Oak finally get back in the win column in week one, but Troy will likely pull out the "W" this week.
Troy 28 R.O. 19

Ann Arbor Pioneer vs. Birmingham Brother Rice (Saturday)
Brother Rice proved that there wasn't any question mark at the quarterback position. Now that that's out of the way....
B.R. 31 Pioneer 18

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekend Warriors - Week 1 Football Recap

For starters, a long overdue congratulations to the entire Royal Oak football program, who grabbed their first win since 2007. First year head coach Jeff Hill definitely has his team on the right track

Nobody put in a better individual performance than Prescott Line from Oxford, the senior running back ran wild on the defending state champion Lake Orion defense, rushing for  232 yards, 5 touchdowns and 33 carries.

Making the most of his opportunity, Farmington running back Bryan Green burst onto the season in big time fashion. In his first career start, Green ran for 240 yards and three touchdowns in a win over West Bloomfield.

Most know what Walled Lake Western’s Brent Zdebski can do defensively, but not many were prepared for what the senior threw down on offense. Lining up in the Warrior backfield, Zdebski bruised his way to 150 yards rushing during Western’s 51-14 beating of Saline.

Pontiac running back Kezlow Smith flew under the radar all summer long, but after Friday night, things are about to change. Smith shredded the Southfield Lathrup defense for over 130 total yards, including a touchdown pass and a touchdown catch.

Milford welcomed back head coach Pat Fox in grand style, as the Mavericks pounded Waterford Mott 55-3 in Fox's first game on the Milford sideline in three years.

Rochester Adams back up quarterback Cory Clemons came up big when the Highlanders needed him most, completing 7 of his 8 pass attempts for 136 yards and two touchdowns in relief of starter Tony Annese.

Brandon Watkins has a nose for the end zone, and that was proven again in Thursday’s Southfield route of Detroit Northwestern 54-0. Watkins scored four touchdowns on the ground and took another to the house via the interception.

The Royal Oak Shrine backfield of Raymond Brown and Harry Cooney put all others on notice, these two were a wrecking balls for the Shrine offense on Saturday, each rushing for over 100 yards on limited carries in Shrine’s 38-7 shellacking of Suttons Bay.

Coming into this season, the only real question regarding the Brother Rice squad was at the quarterback position. After Saturday, all questions were put to rest, with both quarterback’s, Nick Rao and Cheyne Lacanaria tossing touchdowns in their season opening win over Detroit Martin Luther King.

Farmington Hills Harrison quarterback Jake Vento stepped in nicely in his first game at quarterback for the defending division two state champs. The senior signal called completed 13 of 19 passes and found the end zone twice (once rushing and one passing) in the Hawks’ 43-7 bashing of Cass Tech.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Week 1 Football Predictions

Detroit Northwestern at Southfield (Thurs. 4 pm)
Southfield may have the most exciting and explosive offense in the state and Northwestern is about to find out about it.
Southfield 42 Northwestern 21

Walled Lake Central at Canton (Thurs. 7 pm)
Last season the Canton made a statement in their season opener at Central. This year Central might return the favor.
Upset special #1: Central 24 Canton 21 in OT

West Bloomfield at Farmington (Thurs. 7 pm)
For those of you not familiar with Connor Mohr, you’re about to see just how good this guy is
Farmington 20 West Bloomfield 7

Walled Lake Northern at Livonia Churchill (Thurs. 7pm)
Northern should be better this season with returning starters at key positions, but Churchill will be much improved as well.
Churchill 31 Northern 21

Bloomfield Hills Andover at Hazel Park
Most years Hazel Park is at the top of the OAA Blue division and this season won't be any different.
Hazel Park 42 Andover 31

Novi Detroit Catholic Central at Dearborn Fordson (Fri. 4 pm)
Fordson's going to get a first hand look at just how good the Shamrock defense is. Bad news for Fordson.
Catholic Central 24 Fordson 9

Detroit Loyola at Oak Park (Fri. 6 pm)
Game number one in the Greg Carter era at Oak Park will not disappoint.
Oak Park 27 Loyola 21

Walled Lake Western at Saline (Fri. 7 pm)
The Warriors are loaded with returning talent, including the states top tackler from last season, Brent Zdebski. This could be a big season for Western and it starts with Saline.
Western 20 Saline 10

Northville at Lakeland (Fri. 7 pm)
Chuck Sanders will be running all over opponents this season, and it starts with Northville.
Lakeland 20 Northville 17

South Lyon East at Waterford Kettering (Fri. 7 pm)
Waterford Kettering could surprise some teams this season. Starting with SLE.
Kettering 21 SLE 14

Milford at Waterford Mott (Fri. 7 pm)
Milford will be welcoming back head coach Pat Fox in a big way on the road on Friday night.
Milford 35 Mott 20

Lake Orion at Oxford  (Fri. 7 pm)
Oxford will be kicking off the “smurf turf” era while Lake Orion will begin their campaign for a repeat for the division 1 title. This game will have a state championship type atmosphere with nearly 10,000 fans in attendance. This rivalry game is must see.
Upset Special #2: Oxford 28 Lake Orion 27

Southfield-Lathrup at Pontiac (Fri. 7 pm)
If you're looking for a game with speed and athleticism on display, this is the place to be on Friday night.
Lathrup 35 Pontiac 24

Clarkston at Rochester Adams (Fri. 7 pm)
The Wolves have arguably the best defense in the state yet again and that doesn’t bode well for the Adams offense.
Clarkston 20 Adams 6

Novi at Chelsea (Fri. 7 pm)
Novi narrowly missed the playoffs last year. Head coach Todd Pennycuff and Co. won't let that happen this year.
Novi 17 Chelsea 7

Warren Fitzgerald at Auburn Hills Avondale
Avondale can flat out score with the best of them. Fitzgerald better be ready for a track meet type of game on Friday.
Avondale 49 Fitzgerald 35

Birmingham Brother Rice vs. Detroit Martin Luther King (Sat. 5 pm)
Brother Rice will have to stop Martin Luther King running back Dennis Norfleet. MLK will have to stop the Brother Rice three headed monster of Church, Brown, and Walker. Advantage: Warriors.
Brother Rice 35 DMLK 20

Farmington Hills Harrison vs. Detroit Cass Tech at Eastern Michigan (Sat. 8 pm)
Harrison will come out ready to defend their state title. Just bad timing for Cass Tech.
Harrison 31 Cass Tech 17

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top 15 Oakland County Football Players

My top 15 football players from Oakland County... Plus 15 more to keep an eye on

1. Aaron Burbridge - WR/CB - Farmington Hills Harrison
Not only is Burbridge an elite wide receiver, but he’s one of the best cornerbacks around and is as dangerous as any in the return game. It’s very rare to find a difference maker like him on both sides of the ball.
Committed to Michigan State
2. James Ross - LB - Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
Ross will go down as one of the best linebackers that Oakland County has seen. Ross is the best defensive player in the state by far. Very rarely (if ever) will you see this guy miss a tackle, and he is as big of a hitter as there is.
Committed to Michigan
3. Mario Ojemudia - DL - Farmington Hills Harrison
Not often do you find a defensive lineman that can do it all. Ojemudia is just that. Last season, as a junior, he made 12 sacks and almost 90 tackles. There may not be a player in the state with a high ceiling than him.
Committed to Michigan
4. Matt Godin - DL -  Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Godin is as steady of a force as you’ll find along the defensive line, constantly wreaking havoc on opposing backfields. Godin will continue to be relentless on opposing backfields this year.
Committed to Michigan
5. Jamal Lyles - LB - Southfield-Lathrup
If you’re looking for a player who has the ideal size, strength and speed at the linebacker, look no further than Lyles (6-3, 225). The senior linebacker is second to none at getting after the quarterback, and stopping the run.
Committed to Michigan State
6. Devin Funchess - TE - Farmington Hills Harrison
Sure-handed, fast, strong, athletic. All of those things are something coaches look for in their tight ends, and Funchess has each of those attributes. Funchess adds yet another dimension to the Harrison offense.
Committed to Michigan
7. Brandon Watkins - RB - Southfield
Watkins is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball, because of his speed and athleticism. But what makes Watkins even more dangerous is his ability to not only run the ball, but to catch it as well.
Offers From: Iowa, Bowling Green, Toledo
8. Devin Church - RB/DB - Birmingham Brother Rice
Church has it all. He’s got all of the speed you’d want out of your running back, but he isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder to get the extra yard. He’s the ideal back to have in the exciting Catholic League.
Committed to Northern Illinois
9. Ron Thompson - TE/DE - Southfield
Not many know about Thompson because he spent last season playing at East Detroit. People ought to get to know Thompson pretty fast. Thompson can flat out play on both sides of the ball.
Offers from: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Syracuse, Toledo, Maryland
10. Leviticus Payne - WR/DB - Southfield
A perfect slot receiver, and a shutdown corner. Southfield coach Tim Conley couldn’t ask for more from Payne. Payne is as sure-handed of a player as there is and it shows on both sides of the ball.
Committed to Cincinnati
11. Wyatt Shallman/Anthony Darkangelo - RB - Novi Detroit Catholic Central 
A perfect example of a thunder and lightning type of tandem. Shallman is a punisher out of the backfield, while Darkangelo can wow you with his speed and quickness. Scary thought: Both are just juniors.
12. Mitch Robinson - QB - Auburn Hills Avondale
No records are safe with Robinson under center. Last season Robinson passed for over 3,600 yards and a state record 46 touchdowns. Another scary thought: He could be even better this year (If possible).
13. Prescott Line - RB/LB - Oxford
Line is a no non-sense type of player. When he steps on the field, he means business, and it shows. You won’t see Line go down easily on offense, and packs a punch with every hit defensively.
Committed to Southern Methodist
14. Tony Annese - QB/S - Rochester Adams
Annese is irreplaceable on both sides of the ball. A top signal caller on offense, gaining almost 2,000 total yards. He is also one of the top safeties around thanks in large part to his play making ability in coverage.
Committed to Central Michigan
15. Colin Goetz - DL/OL - Oxford
Goetz is a flat out beast along the line, opening up huge holes for the running game on offense and clogging those holes when on defense. He is as good as any at doing the little things.
Committed to Central Michigan

The next 15:
16. John Reschke - LB - Birmingham Brother Rice (JR.)
Offer from Michigan State
17. Matt Delllinger - LB - Clarkston (SR.)
Committed to Kent State
18. Danny Larkins - WR - Madison Heights Madison (SR.)
19. Zach Collins - LB - Clarkston (SR.)
20. Zach Leimbach - QB - Walled Lake Central (SR.)
21. Brent Zdebski - LB - Walled Lake Western (SR.)
22. Justin Danzy - QB - Southfield (SR.)
23. Sean Charette - QB - Lake Orion (SR.)
24. Dylan Anderson - OL - Birmingham Brother Rice (SR.)
Offer from Central Michigan
25. Denzel Wright - RB - Oak Park (SR.)
26. Jake Vento - QB - Farmington Hills Harrison (SR.)
27. Keon Collier - RB - Birmingham Groves (SR.)
28. Joe Eroyan - LB - Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s (SR.)
29. Garius Coleman - RB - Farmington Hills Harrison (JR.)
30. K.J. Schultz - RB - Walled Lake Central (SR.)/Chuck Sanders - RB - Lakeland (JR.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Preseason Football Top 10: State Powers Back on Top

10. Walled Lake Central
The Vikings lost some key players from last years state semifinal team, including a big portion of their offensive line and their entire starting secondary. But it’s what they have coming back this season that will again make the Vikings dangerous. Senior quarterback Zach Leimbach and running back K.J. Schultz will shoulder much of the load offensively for the Vikings. The main concern for the Vikings this season will be their defensive depth and inexperience.

9. Rochester Adams
Adams has been to the playoffs in each of the past 14 seasons and there’s no reason to think that they won’t make it 15 this year. Starting quarterback and safety Tony Annese is a game changer on both sides of the ball, but he’ll need some help if Adams is going to stay in the mix in the OAA White, and he’ll likely get it, Year in and year out, Adams seems to be one of the deepest teams in the county on both sides of the ball.

8. Lake Orion
The Dragons may have lost the likes of Marques Stevenson and Zach Zott, but senior quarterback Sean Charette is back and healthy after missing the end of the season with an injury. The Dragons lost the vast majority of their starting offense and defense from last season, but head coach Chris Bell and company seem to always have a plan regardless of the situation and this season won’t be an exception.

7. Auburn Hills Avondale
No deficit is insurmountable when you have a passing attack that’s as good as Avondale’s is. Led by one of the top quarterbacks in the state in Mitch Robinson, Avondale will be entertaining to watch on Friday nights this fall. Last season, Robinson gained over 4,000 total yards and 55 total touchdowns. The main issue for the Yellowjackets will be their defense, after graduating nine starters from last season.

6. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
This years Saint Mary’s team won’t be any different than any of their other teams in recent history; very good defense with a balance attack on offense. James Ross is the best linebacker in the state, but his running mates in the middle, Joe Eroyan and Dave Talley are very good as well and should help stabilize the defense. Offensively, running backs Spencer McInnis and Grant Niemiec will punish defenders while Keith Stonestreet will give a change of pace with his home-run-threat ability.

5. Southfield
I know I put the Bluejays higher than most would, but the Southfield offense is loaded with talent across the board. From running back Brandon Watkins, to wide receiver Leviticus Payne, to transfer Ron Thompson at tight end, quarterback Justin Danzy will have some of the best weapons in the county at his disposal. The only question for Southfield is whether or not their defense can equal the offense.

4. Clarkston
The Wolves could have the county’s best defense this season, last seasons, Clarkston could shut down just about anybody they faced. With linebackers Matt Dellinger and Zach Collins and defensive lineman Lucas Sanders all returning this season, this defense could be even better. Offensively, the Wolves will be able to put up some points this year with quarterback Mitch Baezinger and running back Joey Goss back for their senior seasons.

3. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
The Shamrocks will be dangerous on both sides of the ball, with defensive linemen Matthew Godin and Wyatt Shallman, Catholic Central will likely make their second homes in opposing backfields. Offensively, Catholic Central has weapons left and right, with Matt Doneth lining up at tight end and a one-two punch of Shallman and Anthony Darkangelo, making them one of the better offensive units around.

2. Birmingham Brother Rice
Most coaches would love to have a big time running back to lineup in their backfield. Brother Rice has three. Senior Devin Church, junior DeShun Brown and sophomore Brian Walker will be relentless against opposing defenses. On defense for the Warriors, the secondary will be rock solid with returning starters Eddie Kidd and James Hendrix while junior linebacker Jon Reschke will anchor the Warriors front seven.

1. Farmington Hills Harrison
Was there really any question who would be on top? They have the famed “Big 3” but what makes this team even more dangerous are the lesser known players. Running back Garius Coleman will give the offense a nice change of pace not to mention the presence of wide receiver turned quarterback Jake Vento now under center should give the offense a new dynamic. Junior linebacker Eddie Huckleby will be a force to be reckoned with all season long on defense, while Mario Ojemudia will be a wrecking ball type force on the defensive line and Aaron Burbridge will be a shutdown corner all season long.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Preseason watch list: Roundup

Hitting on the top players from the remaining conferences that haven't been discussed:

Deonte Hill - LB - Clawson
Hill was a tackling machine last year for the Trojans, leading the way with 99 tackles. Hill is outstanding against the run, stepping up and tackling just about anyone that comes even close to him. One of the underrated parts of Hill’s game is his ability to get after the quarterback and apply some pressure whenever needed.

De’Jour Donaldson - ATH - Madison Heights Lamphere
Donaldson can and likely will do just about anything for the Rams this season. He’ll lineup at running back or wide receiver on offense and can play any position in the secondary defensively. If he’s put in the right spots at the right times, Dondalson should have a huge season in 2011.

Danny Larkins - WR/DB - Madison Heights Madison
When he gets the ball, Larkins is as dangerous as anyone, showing off his speed and athleticism. Defensively, Larkins gives opposing quarterback’s headaches regularly because of his ability to shut down a teams top receiver almost on any occasion.

Nathan Drews - QB - Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest
As a sophomore, Drews threw for over 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns and for the most part was very accurate in doing so. Drews should be even better this season with two of his top receivers in junior Joshua Morrison and senior Collin Sheehan returning. With the weapons around him, Drews could be one of the county’s top signal callers for the next two seasons.

Shane Mahaffy - QB - Ortonville Brandon
As a sophomore in 2009, Mahaffy threw for almost 1,300 yards. As a junior last season, the Brandon quarterback threw for 1,900 yards and 17 touchdowns. This season, Mahaffy could have an even bigger season with some help from the players around him. The senior has been deadly accurate at times and can make some of the big throws that most high school quarterbacks struggle with.

Justin Mezsets - OL - Ortonville Brandon
If you’re looking for the ideal size of a college offensive lineman, look no further than Mezsets. The senior lineman is a road grader, providing Brandon with protection in the passing game, but opens up huge holes for the running backs on a regular basis. The Brandon run game will likely follow Mezsets regularly throughout the season.

John Hill - RB - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Hill is a barn burner, putting up ridiculous times in the 40 yard dash, but that shouldn’t surprise anybody this season, after his first place finish in the 100 meter dash in the Division 2 track state championship. Hill will be dangerous running the ball as well as catching the ball, proving to be a home run threat any time he catches the ball.

Bill Schoenle - LB - Milford
Schoenle, is a big time hitter in the middle of the Mavericks defense and could have received more recognition if he had stayed healthy for a full season. Schoenle will be a big piece of the puzzle for the Milford defense, but he could see some time offensively, depending on how the Milford coaching staff plan to use him.

Zach Masserant - LB/RB/K - Novi
Masserant can do it all, he’s a sure tackler defensively, and a hard nosed running back offensively. Don’t forget that Masserant can also be a pretty reliable kicker as well for the Wildcats. Simply put, Masserant will have a lot to do with Novi’s success this season, he can make the big tackle and he can get the tough yards. What more can you ask from a player?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Preseason watch list: CHSL

James Ross - LB - Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
Arguably the best defensive player in the state will headline an always tough defense that should carry Saint Mary’s back to the Division 3 state finals. Ross, who committed to Michigan earlier this year, is as good as it gets at linebacker, a sure tackler and a big hitter who can play against the run and the pass.

Keith Stonestreet - RB/DB - Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
Stonestreet is as reliable of a player as you can find on both sides of the ball. The senior corner can shut down most receivers he lines up across from and can come up with the big play on offense. Stonestreet will likely get plenty of action on both sides, and if he can continue to improve like he has in the years prior, the Eaglets won’t miss a beat on either side of the ball in 2011.

Devin Church - RB/DB - Birmingham Brother Rice
Church can do a little bit of everything at running back, whether it be running the ball between the tackles or taking it to the outside or catching the ball out of the backfield. Defensively he is another fundamentally sound corner that the Warriors could rely on down the road. Church committed to Northern Illinois earlier this summer.

Nick Rao/Cheyne Lacanaria - QB - Birmingham Brother Rice
Rao and Lacanaria are currently battling for the starting quarterback job, but they both could see some time under center throughout the season. Regardless of who it is, the Warriors quarterback will be in a great spot to succeed with the weapons he’ll be surrounded with. With a very dangerous group of running backs to play with, their presence will only make the job easier for the eventual starter.

Matthew Godin - DL - Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Godin, who committed to Michigan in the spring, is very good at rushing the quarterback, but some would argue that he’s even better against the run from his defensive end position. Godin can play a number of positions defensively, whether he plays at end, inside at tackle or on occasion at linebacker. The fact that Catholic Central can use Godin in a variety of ways will make the Shamrock defense very hard to plan against.

Matt Doneth - TE - Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Doneth, a two sport star (Basketball/Football), has all of the intangibles to play tight end for Catholic Central. He’s a great blocker and just as good of a receiver. Look for Doneth to have a monster season this year with basketball teammate Kyle Cooper throwing the ball his way from time to time at quarterback.

Raymond Brown - ATH - Royal Oak Shrine
Brown will play all over the place on offense this season, grabbing some carries at running back, but will line-up in situations where he will be a receiver. Brown is tough to bring down for defenders because of his build, but he also brings some extra speed which makes him all the more dangerous in the Shrine offense.

Jake Doetsch - RB/DL - Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
Doetsch, had a bit of a breakout season last year as a sophomore, proving to be disruptive on the defensive line for Lakes, averaging nearly six tackles per game and almost one sack per contest. With the Lakers losing a handful of players on defense from last season, look for Doetsch to have a big time junior campaign this season.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Preseason watch list: OAA

Mitch Robinson - QB - Auburn Hills Avondale
Last season, Robinson threw for 3,600 yards on 222 of 386 passing and set a single season state record 46 touchdowns, while only throwing eight interceptions. He also ran for nearly 500 yards and had nine more touchdowns. This season, Robinson could break even more records if things go as expected this season.

Mario Ojemudia/Aaron Burbridge/Devin Funchess - Farmington Hills Harrison
Everybody knows about these three already, so very little really needs to be said about them individually. But as a trio, these three have the opportunity to do something special, by helping Harrison back to another state championship. There hasn’t been as talented of a trio in Oakland County for a very long time and it should be fun to watch these seniors in there senior seasons.

Jake Vento - QB - Farmington Hills Harrison
Vento will be taking over the signal calling for the Hawks this season after playing at wide receiver a year ago. Vento will bring a number of different looks to the Harrison offense which will make the defending state champs that much harder to beat.

Connor Mohr - BR/LB - Farmington
Mohr is a machine on both sides of the ball, averaging more than eight yards per carry on offense last season, while scoring eight touchdowns in seven games. Defensively, Mohr averaged almost 13 tackles per game, including a 20 tackle effort against Southfield. Mohr will only be a junior this season, and the next two years should be fun to watch for the Falcons.

Leviticus Payne - CB - Southfield
Payne, who recently committed to Cincinnati, is a ball hawk because of his his speed and athleticism make it tough for any quarterback to make the right throw against him. Along with having the ability to break up a pass, he is as sure of a tackler as you’ll find in the secondary. Most quarterback would be best served to not throw in his direction this season.

Sean Charette - QB - Lake Orion
Last season, before suffering a season ending injury, Charette led the Dragons to an 11-1 record. Charette finished up the year with just over 1,500 yards passing and 20 touchdowns with just five interceptions while completing 87 of 147 passes. Charette is a proven winner and I wouldn’t put it past him to help Lake Orion make another deep playoff run.

Jamaal Lyles - Southfield Lathrup
Lyles, a Michigan State commit, can flat out tackle. Last season, he made 90 tackles last season, over ten of which were for loss. Lyles is also a big time hitter, so opposing players will be avoiding going in his direction for the most part. This season, Lyles should have an even bigger season, which is great news for Southfield-Lathrup.

Prescott Line - RB/LB - Oxford
Line is a sure tackler on defense, but was also a dependable running back for Oxford last season when they needed the tough yards. He will likely fill that same role this season offensively, while remaining one of Oxford’s key pieces to their defense. Line committed to Southern Methodist University earlier this year.

Tony Annese - QB/S - Rochester Adams
Annese, heading to play for Central Michigan next season, can do it all at quarterback. Last season, he threw for 900 yards and ran for the same total while compiling 22 touchdowns. Defensively, Annese is multi-talented, he can come in and play the run, but is also very good against the pass. Adams has made the playoffs in each of the past 14 seasons, and Annese is a big reason why Adams will make it 15 straight this year.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Preseason watch list: KLAA North

Justin Santana - RB/DB - Waterford Kettering
Santana can do it all, and that’s what he’s going to do. He’ll run the ball, catch the ball out of the backfield, line up at receiver and probably do a couple of other things while he’s at it. Santana will get as many touches as anyone in the KLAA North and rightfully so, with his speed and athleticism making him one of the most dangerous players in the conference. Pair that with a much improved offensive line, Santana is in line for a big time season.

Matt Okaiye - DL - Waterford Kettering
Last year, Okaiye proved to be one of the divisions top linemen… As a freshman. This year, Okaiye is stronger and faster and will only be a sophomore, that spells trouble for opposing teams for the next three years.

Evan Underdown - QB - Waterford Mott
Underdown was the main source for Waterford Mott last year as a junior, and things should be much easier for the quarterback for the 2011 season, as he will have more weapons at his disposal. Underdown can make the throws, but where he is most dangerous is in the open field where his speed and athleticism really shows.

Zach Leimbach - QB - Walled Lake Central
It’d be pretty hard to imagine the Vikings signal caller to not be on this list. Leimbach has a cannon for an arm and if Central can find a big target for the senior quarterback, it won’t be out of the question for Central to make another deep playoff run.

K.J. Schultz - RB/DB - Walled Lake Central
Schultz gives the Vikings offense another dimension out of the backfield with his quickness. Schultz can run between the tackles and he can bounce the ball to the outside at any given time. The senior running back is a home-run hitter and big things can happen any time he touches the ball.

Chuck Sanders - ATH - Lakeland
If you don’t know about Sanders yet, now would be a good time to do so. Sanders is an athletic freak who will line up at running back, but you could see him line up in a number of places. The Eagles will utilize him in a number of different ways and he will be a difference maker in the KLAA.

Brent Zdebski - LB - Walled Lake Western
Zdebski has racked up the tackles in just about any way possible. As a senior this year, he might be even better. Zdebski and the Western defense will be the key to the Warriors success when the season begins.

Jason Gamble - DL - Walled Lake Western
Gamble can wreak havoc on the run game, and by busting plays in the backfield, his presence instantly makes things easier for the Warriors defense.

Collin O’Donnell - QB - Walled Lake Northern
O’Donnell, only a junior this year, is a pass first quarterback, but can also pull it down and run for a first down. O’Donnell did lose some weapons from last season, but he can create opportunities in a number of ways, which makes him all the more dangerous.

Others: Alec Spurlock, RB, Kettering; Jake Ginster, RB, Northern; Andy Rabaut, LB, Northern; Josh Strange, K, Western; Anthony Waite, DB, Lakeland; Chris Saikalis DL, Mott

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fall Football Storylines

High school football is finally back and now is as good of a time as any to take a look at some storylines for the upcoming season.

New Oak Park head coach Greg Carter made the move from Inkster high school. But it seems like much of the Inkster roster will be joining Carter at Oak Park as well and that should help Oak Park in a big way for the upcoming season. Carter has a reputation of having big time success at a number of places, including Detroit DePorres and helping build Inkster into that mold.

The Farmington Hills Harrison big three of Aaron Burbridge, Devin Funchess, and Mario Ojemudia have stolen the headlines in the off-season with their college commitments, but the key to another title run may rest on some of the lesser-known players. Jake Vento is now in charge of the Harrison offense at quarterback and he has some of the top weapons around to help him succeed. Offensive lineman Jake Slobin and wide receiver Garius Coleman should help make Vento’s job much easier this season.

The Catholic League should be as competitive as ever this season, with Novi Detroit Catholic Central loaded with talent as always with tight end Matt Doneth and Matthew Godin leading the way. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s defense will be a dangerous one, led by punishing linebacker James Ross, it will be very hard to score on the Eaglets this season. Birmingham Brother Rice will have an intriguing quarterback competition as camp goes on between Nick Rao and Cheyne Lacanaria, but regardless of who comes out on top, having Devin Church in the backfield should make things that much easier for the Warriors.

I can’t lie, one of the most intriguing things about this upcoming football season for me is the blue turf put in at Oxford. The “Smurf Turf” has taken its fame at Boise State over the course of the past 10 seasons, so it will be interesting to see if the new turf can give Oxford a competitive edge.

Walled Lake Central quarterback Zach Leimbach has put together a 10-0 record in two seasons of KLAA North play. The Vikings have lost a handful of players from last season, but they still have Leimbach, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the senior quarterback finish at 15-0 in KLAA North action.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brother Rice's Church, Southfield Payne Make their Commitments

Today two of the more underrated recruits in Oakland County made their decision on where they will play in college and two schools got huge steals with their commitments. Birmingham Brother Rice running back Devin Church made his commitment to Northern Illinois while Southfield corner Leviticus Payne decided he will play at Cincinnati next year.

Church, a three start player according to Rivals, is lightning quick out of the backfield And can do it all, whether it be running the ball or catching the ball out of the backfield. Church is a guy who should have a monster 2012 season and could be as dangerous as any running back in the county for next season. Church passed on offers from Boston College, Toledo and Bowling Green to commit to Northern Illinois.

Payne is considered as a three start recruit as well, and is as good as it comes in the secondary, because of his athleticism and is considered as one of the best corners in the state. Payne, who turned down offers from Iowa, Toledo, Western Michigan and Bowling Green, will play a big role in shutting down opposing offenses this season and should do the same at the next level.