Friday, September 30, 2011

Week 6 Football Predictions

Last Week's Record: 15-4   Season Record: 69-21

Birmingham Brother Rice at Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
Al Fracassa will be going for win number 400 as Brother Rice head coach, and I’d find it hard to believe that he won’t get it on Friday night.
Brother Rice 24 OLSM 14

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep at Dearborn Divine Child
The Fighting Irish have looked almost unbeatable this season, I doubt that they would stumble for the first time this week.
N.D. Prep 31 Divine Child 17

Waterford Kettering at Walled Lake Northern
I’ve bounced back and forth on this pick all week long, but Northern will be desperate to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Northern 31 Kettering 28 in OT

Novi at South Lyon
Derek Ince has been lighting up the KLAA as of late, expect more of the same from the Wildcat signal caller this week.
Novi 42 South Lyon 35

Milford at Howell
The Mavericks bounced back nicely after their first loss of the season to Grand Blanc. The Mavericks fell to Brighton last week, so look for another big rebound win in week six.
Milford 35 Howell 21

Warren Fitzgerald at Bloomfield Hills Lahser
A very disappointing past couple of weeks for the Lahser defense. Almost 90 points given up in the past two weeks. I expect that to change… In a hurry.
Lahser 17 Fitzgerald 7

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes at Livonia Clarenceville
Expect a huge game from all-everything junior Jake Doetsch. But the Lakers better not look ahead to their showdown next week against Royal Oak Shrine.
WOLL 42 Clarenceville 31

Clarkston at Rochester
The Wolves have been playing a dominating brand of football on both sides of the ball all season long, and at this point are starting to make it look easy out on the field.
Clarkston 42 Rochester 21

Lake Orion at Troy
Has there been a more lethal QB-WR duo than Sean Charette and Zach Zott this year? I don’t think so.
Lake Orion 38 Troy 24

Oxford at Rochester Adams
With the way the Highlanders have been playing this season, they’ve made me a believer. There is very little that can stop Adams. But expect Oxford to put up a huge fight.
Adams 34 Oxford 31 in OT

Walled Lake Central at Lakeland
The Vikings better not look ahead to their showdown with Walled Lake Western Lakeland is as dangerous as anybody.
Central 24 Lakeland 17

Oak Park at Farmington Hills Harrison
The Hawks just seem to be in cruise control at the moment. There’s just too much talent in so many places for anyone to challenge these guys right now.
Harrison 35 Oak Park 20

Hazel Park at Birmingham Seaholm
Seaholm has a dynamic set of receivers at quarterback John Glazier’s disposal, they can strike at any moment during a game.
Seaholm 45 Hazel Park 31

Auburn Hills Avondale at Birmingham Groves
A match-up between two of the top players at their positions in Avondale quarterback Mitch Robinson and Groves running back Keon Collier. I gotta give the slight edge to the running game in a game that might see some rain.
Groves 28 Avondale 27

Farmington at Southfield
Both teams have outstanding athletes across the board on offense, but Southfield has some on defense too. I would not be surprised in the least if there’s an upset here.
Southfield 35 Farmington 34

Berkley at North Farmington
Nice to see the Raiders are getting back on track after a slow start to the season. Pair a little bit of momentum with an outstanding run game and you just might find yourself a win.
N. Farmington 24 Berkley 20

U-D Jesuit at Novi Detroit Catholic Central
There’s no getting past the Shamrock defense this season, these guys come to play every single week.
CC 21 Jesuit 7

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pleasant Surpises

Breaking down some of Oakland County's teams that are off to surprising, and impressive starts as we have crossed the midway point of the football season.

Farmington (4-1)
This season was expected to be a rebuilding year of sorts for the Falcons, but instead, it’s been anything but a rebuilding year. The Falcons, behind dynamic playmakers Jordan Degreffenreed and Bryan Green on offense and a solid core on defense that held a very talented Oak Park team to just six points last week, Farmington has a very good chance to make the playoffs this year.

Birmingham Groves (4-1)
Groves, behind star running back Keon Collier, continue to get the job done week in and week out. The offense for the Falcons has been at full strength from day one, averaging just over four touchdowns per game. But the importance of Collier cannot be understated, the senior running back is just as dangerous as a receiver as he is a runner, which gives opposing defenses nightmares.

Rochester Adams (4-1)
Heading into this season, many thought that depth would be a huge concern for the Highlanders, who had a smaller than usual turnout for their team this year. But behind quarterback and safety Tony Anesse, Adams is on pace to make the playoffs once again for the 15th straight season.  If it weren’t for a minor misstep or two against Southfield, Adams could very well be 5-0 this season.

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (5-0)
It’s not necessarily surprising that Notre Dame Prep is piling up wins this year, but more how they’ve done it. They are flat out hammering teams in one way or another. The Fighting Irish are outscoring teams 176-35, and head coach Kyle Zimmerman has them firing on all cylinders in just about every way possible.

Royal Oak Shrine (5-0)
Much like Notre Dame Prep, it's not a surprise to see Shrine win their fair share of games, but again it's the way they've been winning their games. The defense has been flat out dominant and the offense has been a force to be reckoned with. The Shrine offense has put up nearly 36 points per game while the defense is allowing less than six points per game.

Novi/North Farmington (3-2)
After slow 0-2 starts both teams have come out in a big way in the past three weeks, tallying wins in each of the past three contests and putting up some impressive numbers while doing so. Novi quarterback Derek Ince has thrown for 300+ yards in each of the last two weeks while the key to North Farmington’s success has been running backs Jacquis Woods and Kevin Miller who are as electric in the open field as anyone.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oakland County Boys Soccer Top 10

10. Walled Lake Central
The Vikings continue to get the job done with a very strong offensive attack that is averaging well over three goals per contest, led by Alex Besh and Bryan Maxwell.

9. Stoney Creek
The Cougars are starting to hit their stride this season, putting together a solid offense and an even better defense has been on display over the past couple of weeks.

8. Auburn Hills Oakland Christian
The Lancers continue to get the job done week in and week out on both ends of the field, but keeper Luke Combs has been a difference maker this year, making big saves in key places all season long.

7. Farmington
The Falcons have been able to slow down opposing attacks while keeping the pressure on opposing defense with the ability to score from all over the pitch.

6. Walled Lake Northern
Northern keeper Mitch Thompson has nine shutouts this season for the Knights, and while the senior has been stellar this season, the Knights are going to need to find a go to guy offensively that can put the ball in the net like the team has had in years past.

5. Troy Athens
The Red Hawks have been one of the top scoring teams all season, thanks in large part to forward Sunny Shettigar who is one of the top pure scorers in the state. Athens has been able to win in a couple of high scoring games this year, but the defense seems to be improving on a week by week basis.

4. Rochester Adams
The Highlanders are as deep as anyone in the county on offense, and with forward Dylan Knott gaining a lot of attention from opposing teams, it will continue to free up all sorts of opportunities for the rest of the forwards and midfielders.

3. Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Forward Tariq Akeel has been a magician with the ball this season, and with a talented midfield to play with, the Yellowjackets just might be the most dangerous team in the county this season. Don't forget that the defense can slow down most offenses around too.

2. Novi
The Wildcats have what looks to be the most complete team in the county right now. Offense? Check. Defense? Check. And the midfield does as good of a job as any at controlling the pace of the game. Novi is primed for a deep playoff run, which is nothing new for the Wildcats.

1. Troy
The Colts, aside from a loss to Adams, have been rolling teams with a dangerous group of forwards as well as one of the top keepers in the state in Matt Smolinski, who has been, as expected, dominant in net all season long.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oakland County Football Top 10

10. Troy Athens
The Red Hawks continue to impress this season, moving to 4-1 with their narrow win over a desperate Rochester team. What makes Athens so dangerous this year is all of the playmakers they have across the board on both sides of the ball.

9. Rochester Adams
Even after falling to Southfield, Adams continues to show that this years version of the Highlanders is for real. Quarterback Tony Anesse has been the real deal all season long, leading Adams on offense and on defense as well.

8. Walled Lake Central
The Vikings just seem to be getting stronger and stronger every week and what has been the most promising for the Vikings this year is that it seems like they have a new playmaker step up each and every week and that should come in handy in the next two weeks against division rivals Lakeland and W.L. Western.

7. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
Some offense have a “thunder and lightning” duo in their backfield, but running backs Spencer McInnis and Grant Niemeic give the Eaglet offense a “thunder and thunder” dynamic which has just worn down on defenses throughout the season.

6. Farmington
The Falcons have gone from “pleasant surprise” early on this season to “serious contender” now past the midway point this season. They are only getting stronger as the season goes on. The athletes on display for Farmington on offense has been too much for opposing defenses to handle so far this year.

6. Lake Orion
The Dragons have been pretty dominant over the past four weeks thanks in part to the consistent play from quarterback Sean Charette and top receiver Chaz Miller, but not to be overlooked is the Dragons defense which has only allowed 12.25 points per game during their four game win streak

5. Walled Lake Western
The Warriors are dangerous across the board, whether it’s on offense or defense, Western has the ability to dominate a game in  number of different ways. They can light up the scoreboard as well as keep teams out of the end zone. They’re that good.

4. Southfield
The Bluejays squeaked out a win on Saturday over Rochester Adams, but they have won in a variety of ways. Behind their offense, or behind their defense. Low scoring or high scoring. They just know how to win football games.

3. Clarkston
It really doesn't seem to matter what happens, nothing can phase this team. Quarterback Mitch Baezinger is in my mind the most underrated signal caller in the county... and maybe even the state, he can make just about every throw and does it with pinpoint accuracy.

3. Birmingham Brother Rice
Brother Rice head coach Al Fracassa picked up win number 399 on Saturday and with the way the Warriors defense has played as of late, number 400 could be had as early as this week.

2. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Speaking of defense, the Catholic Central defensive unit has looked like the “Steel Curtain” of the 1970’s. The Shamrocks have given up 23 points so far this season… In five games… just 23 points. Good luck scoring on these guys this year.

1. Farmington Hills Harrison
Farmington Hills Harrison defensive tackle Mario Ojemudia AKA “The Nigerian Nightmare” not only has one of the best nicknames out there, but he is the motor of the Hawk’s defense. He continues to be a disruptive force against any offenses he line up against. The guy is a flat out playmaker from the D-Line.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday's Finest - QB's Raising the Bar

First off, a big congrats to Lake Orion quarterback Sean Charette, who threw for 229 yards but more importantly had four touchdown passes, which now gives the senior gunslinger the all time record for touchdown passes at Lake Orion with 60. Three of Charette’s touchdown tosses were to hit top target Chaz Miller.

Is there a hotter quarterback right now than Novi’s Derek Ince? I don’t think so. On Friday night Ince shredded the South Lyon East defense, completing 22-of-39 passes for 340 and three touchdowns. Ince found his top receiver, Mike Jocz seven times for 141 yards and a score as well.

Clarkston quarterback Mitch Baezinger was as close to perfect as you can get on Friday night, completing 9-of-14 passes for 215 yards and five touchdowns.

Seaholm quarterback John Glazier completed 14-of-21 passes for over 300 yards, while Avondale quarterback Mitch Robinson ran for just under 150 yards and did the same through the air as Avondale escaped with a narrow win over Seaholm

Walled Lake Western’s Brent Zdebski rushed for nearly 200 yards on 33 carries in the Warriors’ win over rival Walled Lake Northern and Zdebski also led the way on defense for Western, tallying nine tackles.

Prescott Line was his usual dominant self on Friday night as the Oxford running back rumbled his way to 238 yards and five touchdowns on 20 carries to lead the Wildcats over Stoney Creek.

The three-headed monster of Alex Moorer, Curtis Booth and Zac Leimbach all went over the century mark on the ground on Friday night for Walled Lake Central in their win over Waterford Mott.

The backfield duo of Spencer McInnis and Grant Niemeic combined to score five of the six touchdowns scores for Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s in the Eaglets’ drubbing of Columbis Saint Francis De Sales.

Troy’s Oliver Jiang pounded his way to 230 yards and three touchdowns on Friday night to help lead Troy to an easy win over West Bloomfield.

Harry Cooney carried the load for Royal Oak Shrine on Friday night, running for 236 yards on 26 carries to lead Shrine to a 33-23 win over Riverview Gabriel Richard.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Week 5 Football Predictions

Last Week’s record: 12-4 Overall Record: 54-17

Madison Heights Bishop Foley at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
Notre Dame Prep just continues to impress week after week, so it’d be pretty hard to go against them here.
N.D. Prep 28 Bishop Foley 18

Walled Lake Northern at Walled Lake Western
Most know about Western’s high powered offense, but don’t forget that Northern can rack up the points too. This one will be a shootout.
Upset Special: Northern 56 Western 52

Waterford Kettering at Lakeland
Very tempted here to go with the upset pick, but Lakeland running back Chuck Sanders might be ready for a big breakout game.
Lakeland 31 Kettering 28 in OT

Walled Lake Central at Waterford Mott
The Vikings are getting stronger and stronger each week and week 5 won’t be any different.
Central 40 Mott 17

Novi at South Lyon East
The Wildcats are starting to look like the playoff team we expected to see from the start.
Novi 35 S.L.E. 21

Pontiac at Clarkston
Clarkston looked like they didn’t miss a beat last week even facing all of the adversity and the Wolves should continue their strong play to move to 5-0, errr 3-2.
Clarkston 24 Pontiac 14

Brighton at Milford
The Mavericks duo of Alex Larson and Brandon Wallace are as dangerous of a 1-2 punch at quarterback and running back as there is.
Milford 34 Brighton 28

Stoney Creek at Oxford
The Wildcats have had it rough over the course of the past couple of weeks, but look for Prescott Line and Co. to bounce back in a big way.
Oxford 42 Stoney Creek 21

Farmington Hills Harrison at Southfield-Lathrup
Harrison head coach John Herrington called quarterback Jake Vento the most important player on the Hawk’s roster… and for good reason.
Harrison 49 Lathrup 20

Birmingham Seaholm at Auburn Hills Avondale
This is going to be a match-up of the quarterbacks, Seaholm’s John Glazier and Avondale’s Mitch Robinson are as good as it gets. This one should be fun to watch.
Avondale 50 Seaholm 47

Troy Athens at Rochester
Rochester will be playing with some desperation in this one, trying to keep their playoff hopes alive for the time being, and they will for at least another week.
Rochester 34 Athens 28 in OT

Birmingham Groves at Bloomfield Hills Andover
I don’t know if there’s a more exciting running back in the county than Keon Collier.
Groves 35 Andover 21

Bloomfield Hills Lahser at Berkley
Lahser wasn’t their usual self against North Farmington last week. Look for the Knights defense to make big time statement.
Lahser 21 Berkley 7

Oak Park at Farmington
If you don’t know about Farmington’s Jordan Degreffenreed, now would be a good time to get to know him… this guy can play with the best of them.
Farmington 28 Oak Park 24

North Farmington at Ferndale
After starting off the season with an 0-2 mark the Raiders have impressed in their two blowout wins in week three and four.
N.F. 38 Ferndale 24

Rochester Adams at Southfield
Southfield will just have too much size and talent for the Highlanders to handle in this one.
Southfield 35 Adams 31

Novi Detroit Catholic Central at Warren De La Salle
De La Salle got the better of an Oakland County team last week, but it wont happen this time around.
Catholic Central 27 De La Salle 14

Madison Heights Lamphere at Madison Heights Madison
Is there anything Danny Larkins can’t do? He showed last week that he’s a threat to score on Offense, defense, special teams and it’s a big reason as to why he’s heading to Toledo next year.
Madison 42 Lamphere 31

U-D Jesuit at Birmingham Brother Rice
Tough loss last week in overtime for the Warriors, but Devin Church and Co. will bounce back to help pick up win number 399 for head coach Al Fracassa.
B.B.R. 35 Jesuit 17

Monday, September 19, 2011

KLAA to Take Part in "Coach to Cure" Weekend for third straight year

On September 23rd (this Friday), the Kensington Lakes Activities Association conference will be taking part in the “Coach to Cure MD” weekend, in an effort to raise money to raise awareness and find a cure for a rare disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Duchenne affects 1 in 3,500 boys every year and there are roughly 15,000 boys throughout the U.S. that have the disease. In the majority of cases, those diagnosed with Duchenne don’t live beyond their early 20’s.
This will be the third year that the KLAA will be participating in the weekend event, Joining high school teams throughout the country as well as all of college football on the following day (September 24th). There are over 10,000 coaches and staff at the college level that take part in the “Coach to Cure” weekend each year.
The idea for the conference to join the cause was brought up by the Walled Lake Central coaching staff after assistant coach Jeff Penrod and his family learned that his son, Joseph had been diagnose with Duchenne three years ago.
The KLAA immediately hit the ground running with the idea, setting up various ways to donate to the “Coach to Cure” foundation during the game with donation boxes filtering throughout the crowd. Teams in the conference have made donations from money made from concessions and 50-50 raffles from games that week and you can expect more of the same during Friday’s games.
If you would like to make a donation to coach to cure, you can make a five dollar donation by texting the word “CURE” to 90999. You can also make a donation and learn more about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy by going to
If you would like to learn more about Joseph Penrod and make a donation you can visit

*Look for my full story on Coach to Cure in Thursday’s edition of the Oakland Press*

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Clarkston and Oak Park did the right thing by owning up to mistakes

The forfeitures by Clarkston and Oak Park were surprising in a number of ways, because of the very good starts that both teams got off to in the first three games of the season. Instead now Clarkston sits with a 2-2 record and Oak Park at 1-3, both needing a little bit of luck to go their way in order to make the playoffs.
But what is overlooked in all of this is that BOTH TEAMS DID THE RIGHT THING. Plain and simple. Both incidents are both unfortunate but at the same time are honest mistakes made by both sides and both took responsibility for those mistakes and for that. Also, when both team learned about the mishaps, both voluntarily made and accepted the punishment of forfeiting the game(s).
From the Clarkston point of view, many thought that this was their year, having one of the state’s best defenses along with a pretty formidable offense, but still have a very, very good chance of making the playoffs. Even though the Wolves have a favorable schedule right now, the margin of error is minimal from here on out, especially with one of the state’s best rivalry games with Lake Orion looming in the last week of the season.
On the Oak Park side, the Knights were off to a very good start to the Greg Carter era, and there’s no reason to think that it won’t stay that way. However, the Knights have one of the tougher schedules remaining, facing one of the state’s surprises, Farmington next week, followed by the state’s top team in Farmington Hills Harrison. It will be a tough road, but Oak Park is still a very talented team and should still be one of the counties best as the season goes on.
This may be a tough pill to swallow on both sides because of how each team’s season was going, but both did the honorable thing in admitting to their mistakes and accepting the punishments that came with it. Regardless of how the season plays out for both sides did the right thing and nobody can blame them for doing so.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday's Finest - Dynamic Duo's

Milford quarterback Alex Larson and running back Brandon Wallace both got it done on the ground on Friday night, rushing for over 150 yards each as the Mavericks improved to 3-1 with a 24-14 win over Hartland.

North Farmington might have had the most impressive performance on Friday night, as the Raider running backs Kevin Miller (160 yards) and Jacquis Woods (193) ran over, through and around a very stout Bloomfield Hills Lahser defense to push their record to 2-2.

Jordan Degreffenreed and Bryan Green also went over the Century mark in week four, as they lifted Farmington to a win over Southfield-Lathrup and now a 3-1 start this season.

Walled Lake Western’s Brent Zdebski and Alex Buchanan may be the next thunder and lightning duo to come through this county. Zdebski rumbled his way to 115 yards on the ground while Buchanan was able to break loose for just over 100 yards in Western’s win over Lakeland.

Spencer McInnis and Grant Niemeic are the next duo to go over the 100 yard plateau on Friday night, as McInnis powered his way to 135 yards and Niemeic rumbled his way to 109 yards in Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s 34-0 beat down of U-D Jesuit.

Keon Collier is only getting warmed up now, the Birmingham Groves running back had a HUGE game for the second straight week, this time going for 243 yards and four touchdowns… and he tacked on another 75 yards receiving, as Groves picked up win number three on the season.

Kezlow “Squirrel" Smith showed that he can do it all, running for 180 yards and touchdowns and did the same kind of damage in the receiving game as “Squirrel” went over 100 yards receiving and two more scored on top of that in Pontiac‘s route over Rochester. This guy can make defenses pay in just about every way possible.

Now let’s not forget about the quarterbacks, because Novi’s Derek Ince simply went off on the Plymouth Salem defense, making it look like a game of catch in the backyard with his receivers, throwing for 322 yards and four touchdown tosses in Novi’s 42-0 drubbing of Salem.

Tony Anesse, did what the senior signal caller is known for, doing a little bit of everything, by putting together 300 total yards  (105 passing; 195 rushing) of offense on Friday to keep Adams unbeaten at 4-0.

Clarkston quarterback Mitch Baezinger stepped up in the biggest way possible for the Wolves, after a tough week last week, having to forfeit their first two wins of the season. Baezinger was just laying in picture perfect passes for his receivers in the Wolves’ 28-13 win over Troy.

And last but not least, what more can you say about Farmington Hills Harrison quarterback Jake Vento went for 261 first half yards (190 rushing) and three rushing touchdowns in the first half in the Hawks win over Oxford. Vento finished the game with well over 300 total yards, not to mention averaging near 50 yards per punt.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Week 4 Football Predictions

Last weeks record 15-5      Overall Record 42-13

Oxford at Farmington Hills Harrison
I thought long and hard about picking the upset in this one, but after the injury big bit the Wildcats last week, Harrison should come out on top.
Harrison 35 Oxford 20

Lakeland at Walled Lake Western
The Warriors are racking up the points with ease this season, and it doesn't look like anyone is going to stop them from doing so anytime soon.
Western 52 Lakeland 42

Plymouth Salem at Novi
The Wildcats finally got into the win column last week's win over Livonia Stevenson, but they still have work to do.
Novi 28 Salem 13

Clarkston at Troy
Clarkston's gone through a tough week having to forfeit two wins from earlier this week. Expect a very determined Clarkston team to get out to a fast start.
Clarkston 42 Troy 30

Waterford Kettering at Walled Lake Central
The Vikings offense has weapons all over the board, but few know about their punishing fullback, Curtis Booth, who just runs over defenders in most cases.
Central 42 Kettering 28

Hartland at Milford
Expect the Mavericks to bounce back in a big way after a tough road loss at Grand Blanc
Milford 45 Hartland 31

Waterford Mott at Walled Lake Northern
Northern is as dangerous as it gets on offense, but expect their defense to do much of the damage this week.
Northern 35 Mott 17

Rochester Adams at Oak Park
Oak Park also learned on Thursday that they would have to forfeit a game this season on Thursday, but that shouldn't slow them down for the time being.
Oak Park 28 Rochester Adams 21 in OT

Southfield at Stoney Creek
The Southfield offense has gotten quite a bit of hype to this point, but their defense could be even better by seasons end.
Southfield 24 Stoney Creek 10

Farmington at Southfield-Lathrup
Farmington had a big upset win over Oxford last week to continue their surprise start to the season, and you can expect more of the same this week.
Farmington 35 Lathrup 20

West Bloomfield at Lake Orion
Dragon's quarterback Sean Charette is throwing the ball as well as any quarterback in the county right now.
Lake Orion 42 West Bloomfield 24

Rochester at Pontiac
Rochester has to bounce back from a couple of tough back to back losses, and this is a game where they could get their season back on the right track.
Rochester 42 Pontiac 38

Marine City at Clawson
Blake Blue just might be the most accurate quarterback around, and the biggest reason as to how Clawson has gotten out to such a fast start.
Clawson 31 Marine City 21

Birmingham Seaholm at Romulus 
Expect Maple's quarterback John Glazier and Co. to bounce back by putting up some serious numbers after a disappointing loss last week.
Seaholm 38 Romulus 21

Birmingham Groves at Hazel Park
Groves, coming off of an exciting double overtime win last week is starting to put things together on both offense and defense, which should continue to translate into W's.
Groves 28 Hazel Park 21

North Farmington at Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Lahser's defense is the real deal. After holding a very good Seaholm offense to under 120 total yards of offense, they have one of, if not the most exciting defense in the county.
Lahser 24 North Farmington 7

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Calling the Shots

Listing off some of the county's top signal callers so far this season.

Jake Vento - Farmington Hills Harrison
Vento can do it all for the Hawks, this guy is just as dangerous running the ball as he is throwing the ball.

Mitch Robinson - Auburn Hills Avondale
When the ball is in Robinson's hands, the Yellowjackets can score at any time with his ability to make plays at will, he's that good.

Zac Leimbach - Walled Lake Central
Leimbach might be the most dangerous runner in the county regardless of position. On Friday night, Leimbach had more than 30 carries against rival Northern. He's a flat out workhorse.

Vito Giannola - Oxford
He's not asked to do a ton at quarterback for the Wildcats, but is clutch when it matters most and does a great job of selling the fake on a play action pass.

Tony Anesse - Rochester Adams
Anesse is a true gamer, in just about every sense. He can get the tough yards through the air or on the ground regardless of the situation.

Sean Charette - Lake Orion
Finally getting back into last season's form and it's showing on the field as the Dragons have rolled in the last two weeks.

Kirk Thomas - Walled Lake Northern
Thomas is one of the most exciting quarterbacks around, showing off some big time speed to go with a very accurate arm.

Mitch Baezinger - Clarkston
Baezinger's ability to march the offense down the field at will is a big reason why the Wolves are still destined for a playoff berth at the end of the season.

Blake Blue - Clawson
Blue has been deadly accurate all season long with his ability to throw the deep ball and it's a big reason as to why Clawson is putting up impressive numbers this season.

Justin Danzy - Southfield
With his ability to throw and run the ball,  Danzy adds yet another big play threat to an already dangerous offense.

Justin Losey - Troy
Losey brings a Vince Young at Texas type dimension to the Troy offense, which makes the Colts offense as exciting as any around the county.

Nathan Drews - Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest
Drews, can make almost all of the throws possible, and has a big time arm to back it up. Expect him to build on his solid start this year.

John Glazier - Birmingham Seaholm
In the first two games of the season, Glazier only had four incompletions. Week three was a bit of a step back, but expect the senior gunslinger to bounce back in week four.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Return of Friday's Finest

Now that the football schedules are back to normal, Friday's finest is back to recap the top performances from Friday night's football games.

First off, I’d like to say that I am a HUGE fan of the jerseys worn by Walled Lake Central and Walled Lake Northern on Friday night. The Vikings broke out their all yellow uni’s while Northern had on their all white’s.
Now back to the on the field performances.
Just how good is W.L. Central quarterback Zac Leimbach? You decide: The senior signal caller went off on Friday night, running for over 200 yards on 34 carries and four touchdowns in the Viking win.

Putting up some impressive numbers in his own right was Northern quarterback Kirk Thomas who had 230 yards of total offense and three touchdowns, to lead Northern’s comeback attempt on Central.

Bloomfield Hills Lahser cornerback Nate Cole is as big of a playmaker on defense as there is. Cole had two picks and a fumble recovery returned for at touchdown and put together almost 130 yards total in returning those turnovers. Defenses beware!

Southfield running back Brandon Watkins just might be the most exciting back in the state, he has the ability to go for six any time the ball is in his hands and that was shown on Friday night when Watkins carried the ball 18 times for over 200 yards and two touchdowns not to mention his 85 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

In my predictions for this week’s games I said I had a hunch that Birmingham Groves running back Keon Collier could have a big game. Collier did that and so much more, running his way to 180 yards rushing and four touchdowns in Groves double overtime win over Berkley.

West Bloomfield’s all everything C.J. Brathwait might be the most dangerous player nobody knows about, Brathwait accounted for nearly 300 total yards and all five of West Bloomfield’s touchdowns in Friday night’s win over Royal Oak.

So far this season, it seems like Troy has found a source of offense from a different player every week and week three was more of the same. Oliver Jiang is the latest Colt to put in a prime-time performance, as the senior rolled to nearly 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 30 carries.

What more is there to say about Brother Rice running back Devin Church? This man can do just about anything when he’s got the ball. Church rushed for over 120 yards on just 10 carries and also took a kick return 96 yards back to the house!

Auburn Hills Avondale kicker Kyle Sroka must have ice water in his veins as Sroka booted a 45 yard field goal through the uprights as time expired to give Avondale the narrow win over Andover.

How’s this for a stat line? 7-for-9 passing for 141 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers belong to Clawson quarterback Blake Blue in the Trojans convincing win over New Haven and that’s about as close to a perfect day as you’re going to get.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Week 3 Football Predictions

Week 2 Record: 14-3 Season record: 27-8
Walled Lake Northern at Walled Lake Central
In this game last season, Central made a statement in a convincing ___win. This year it will be much closer, but Central will come out on top again.
Central 42 Northern 29

Waterford Mott at Lakeland
Lakeland looks like their back on the right track after a week two win over South Lyon.
Lakeland 42 Mott 26

Bloomfield Hills Lahser at Birmingham Seaholm 
Even though it’s still early in the season, nobody has proven capable of slowing down the Maples offense.
Seaholm 28 Lahser 21

Troy Athens at Clarkston
The Wolves have proven they can score plenty of points this season and most are already aware of the defense.
Clarkston 24 Athens 10

Milford at Grand Blanc
It’s usually a bit early for statement games in week three, but Milford has a chance to make a statement against a talented Grand Blanc squad.
Upset Special: Milford 31 Grand Blanc 28 in OT

Birmingham Brother Rice at Toledo St. Francis DeSales
Much has been made about the Warriors running game early on this season, but the passing game could end up being the key in this one.
Brother Rice 31 De Sales 28

Livonia Stevenson at Novi
There’s no way Zach Masserant and Co. will let Novi start off with an 0-3 record, is there?
Novi 21 Stevenson 13

South Lyon at Plymouth Salem
South Lyon has been sneaky good so far this season and it should continue against the Rocks.
S. Lyon 31 Salem 24

Inkster at Novi Detroit Catholic Central
With Catholic Centra'ls defense, the Shamrocks have looked almost unbeatable so far.
CC 24 Inkster 7

Pontiac at Lake Orion
Now that the Dragons have righted the ship, and moving to 1-1, expect them to start rolling now.
Lake Orion 35 Pontiac 18

Walled Lake Western at Waterford Kettering
The Warriors are putting up some serious offensive numbers so far this season, but don't forget about their defense.
Western 35 Kettering 17

Berkley at Birmingham Groves
It’s only a matter of time before Keon Collier has a monster game. I’ve got a feeling that this will be that game.
Groves 34 Berkley 28

Southfield-Lathrup at Rochester Adams
Adams has looked relatively strong in each of their first two games and there’s no reason to think Friday will be any different.
Adams 42 Lathrup 24

Riverview Gabriel Richard at Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
The Lakers continue to find big time performers on both sides of the ball on a regular basis.
WOLL 24  RGR 12

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep at Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard
Notre Dame Prep can take a huge step toward making the playoffs with a win on Saturday and a 3-0 start.
N.D. Prep 26 A.A.G.R 24 

Southfield at Oak Park
Even though the Bluejays fell short last week, they proved that they can hang with just about anyone.
Southfield 35 Oak Park 20

New Haven at Clawson
Clawson has been one of the early pleasant surprises in Oakland County this season, and they are out to prove that this start is no fluke.
Clawson 31 New Haven 21

West Bloomfield at Royal Oak
The Ravens couldn’t make it two in a row last week, but could make it two out of three this week.
R.O. 24 The W.B. 17

Rochester at Troy
Even though the Falcons stumbled a bit in week two, don't forget about their impressive season opening win.
Rochester 38 Troy 28

Farmington at Oxford
Oxford better not look past Farmington with their showdown with Farmington Hills Harrison looming next week. This game should be much closer than expected.
Oxford 28 Farmington 27

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oakland County Football Top 10

10. Birmingham Seaholm
The Maples, behind quarterback John Glazier, just might have one of the most consistent passing games in the county.

9. Walled Lake Central
The Vikings are starting to find success on offense with their running game behind K.J. Schultz and Zac Leimbach and that led to a nice bounce back win over Salem in week two.

9. Lake Orion
The Dragons made a statement in week two in their beating of Rochester. These guys are still the real deal!

8. Walled Lake Western
Western is putting up some serious numbers on offense and the defense has been pretty impressive in their own right.

7. Oak Park
The Knights have playmakers left and right, and they’ve come through in each of the first two weeks.

6. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
A disappointing week two home loss won’t slow the Eaglets down for week three.

5. Southfield
The Bluejays had a strong showing in their week two loss to Harrison, expect them to remain as one of the top teams around all season long.

5.  Clarkston
Last season, the Wolves were all defense. This season, Clarkston’s got it all. The offense can score points and the defense is as good as any at keeping teams out of the end zone.

4. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
In their first two games this season, the Shamrocks have outscored teams 56-7. The defense is flat out scary and the offense is going to roll all season long.

3. Oxford
Much is being made about the Wildcat’s running game, but Vito Giannola may be the most underrated signal caller in Oakland County. His presence in the Oxford backfield just makes them all the more dangerous.

2. Birmingham Brother Rice
The Warriors have without a doubt the most explosive and balanced backfield in the state! It doesn’t matter if it’s Devin Church, DeShun Brown or Brian Walker, a touchdown is a possibility at any turn when the ball is in their hands.

1. Farmington Hills Harrison
There are very few teams, if any, that can match the talent level the Hawks have. Every single game new playmakers seem to rise to the occasion. This team is a flat out machine in every single way possible.

Next Five:
Auburn Hills Avondale
Rochester Adams
Ortonville Brandon

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Boys Soccer: Top 15 players w/ Top 3 Keepers

Top 15 Players
1. Matt Habrowski - D - Birmingham Brother Rice (Jr.)
Habrowski is as talented as it gets along the backline and will only get better. Teams are going to need some luck when it comes to scoring as long as the junior is on the Warriors backline. The junior has already received offers from Virginia, Notre Dame, Michigan and Stanford.

2. Chase Jabbori - F - Novi (Sr.)
Jabbori is a magician with or without the ball. He can score or pass to set up the score, but whenever he’s on the field, Novi is the most dangerous team in the county offensively. Jabbori is considering offers from Michigan, Oakland and Western Michigan.

3. Dylan Knott - MF - Rochester Adams (Sr.)
Knott is tremendously gifted when it comes to setting up his teammates for a chance to score, but he has proven that he can also score. Last season, Knott led the Highlanders in goals and assists.

4. Phillip Soong - D - Novi (Sr.)
Soong is outstanding at shutting down opposing attacks, especially in counter attacks, and clearing the ball after throw-ins and corners.

5. Tariq Akeel - F - Birmingham Detroit Country Day (Sr.)
Akeel does his best work when the ball is on his foot. The senior can score from all sorts of angles and can change the outlook of a game in an instant. Akeel has committed to Brown University.

6. Sunny Shettigar - F - Troy Athens (Sr.)
Shettigar can flat out score with the best of them. Always finding himself with good looks to put the ball in the back of the net and has done just that in the early happenings of this season. Shettigar has already given his verbal commitment to Cornell.

7. Jack Brown - MF - Birmingham Detroit Country Day (Sr.)
Brown might play at the midfield, but that doesn’t mean he can’t create offense at any time with his strong leg and ability to create opportunities for his teammates. Brown will be playing for Michigan next season

8. Sean Hazen - D - Novi (Sr.)
Hazen, a solid defender overall, has been known to sneak in here and there on the offensive side of things when the Wildcats may need an extra spark. Hazen has committed to Western Michigan.

9. Alex Serwatka - MF - Troy Athens (Sr.)
Serwatka is one of the best at controlling the pace of a game, but from time to time will move up to forward to give Athens a bit of an extra scoring punch when needed.

10. Eric Kelly - D - Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Kelly can quickly nullify an opposing attack regardless of the situation, very rarely will you find him out of place and not in a spot to make a big play.

11. Russell Cicerone - F - Birmingham Brother Rice (Jr.)
Cicerone can and will pile up the goals this season, Cicerone’s speed and vision will lead to plenty of goals this season for the Warriors.

12. Nick Shabino - F - Bloomfield Hills Andover (Sr.)
Shabino’s speed will lead to a handful of goals for Andover this season, but it will also help set up his teammates when defenders are locked in on him.

13. Nate Chapman - F - Auburn Hills Avondale (Sr.)
Chapman can get the job done scoring or passing, but the senior’s strong point is spreading the ball out to his teammates, which makes the Yellowjackets even more dangerous.

14. Sam Brown - MF - Birmingham Detroit Country Day (So.)
Brown is the most talented sophomore in the state. Bar none! Already as a sophomore, Brown is a tactician in every way of the word. By the time he’s a senior, Brown will be one of, if not the top senior in the state.

15. Bryan Maxwell - MF - Walled Lake Central (Jr.)
Maxwell has played all over the field and has done so very well, but he’s at his best in the midfield where he can control the pace of play for the Vikings.

Top 3 Keepers
1. Mitchell Thompson - Walled Lake Northern (Sr.)
Thompson has been one of the best in net over the past couple of years, piling up the shutouts every year while making the clutch save when the Knights need it most.

2. Matt Smolinski - Troy (Jr.)
Smolinski is as good as any when it comes to making the highlight reel save, but he will also make necessary saves throughout the game.

3. Josh Shifman - Berkley (Jr.)
Shifman has been incredibly dependable from the start for Berkley, rarely giving up multiple goals when in net, which immediately gives Berkley a chance to win.

Rapid Reaction - Week 2 football recap

For starters, Prescott Line is a flat out monster on the gridiron, rushing for 250 yards and scoring five touchdowns for the second straight week in Oxford's beatdown of Southfield-Lathrup. There’s no doubt in my mind that Line will be in the Mr. Football award talk by the end of the season.

I don't think that there is any question on where you can find some offense this year, as plenty of scoring in Walled Lake this season, both Western and Northern are averaging almost 50 points per game.

Northern quarterback Kurt Thomas proved he can do it all with his arm and his legs in the Knight's 42-21 double up on South Lyon East. Western linebacker Brent Zdebski has caught most off guard with his performance in the Warriors backfield including another 100 yard plus outing as the Warriors beat up on Novi, 50-25.
Over at Central the Vikings have a pretty electric duo of quarterback Zac Leimbach and K.J. Schultz. Schultz had just under 400... Yep, that‘s right… 400 total yards of offense in their bounce back win over Plymouth Salem.

Birmingham Seaholm quarterback John Glazier is as accurate of a quarterback as you’ll find at the high school level. After completing 12-of-15 passes in week one, Glazier completed 10-of-11 passes for nearly 300 yards in a victory over Bloomfield Hills Andover.

Jake Vento is as big of a “Primetime Player” as there is in this county. The senior quarterback can get it done in just about every way possible. Running the ball. Throwing the ball. Catching the ball. And playing defense. There are few players that are more important to their team than Vento is to Harrison… and that’s say a ton considering the talent that the Hawks have all over the board.
Speaking of Harrison…… Week 1 test? Check. Week 2 test? Check. It’s becoming very apparent that the only team that can beat Farmington Hills Harrison is Farmington Hills Harrison. The Hawks have probably had the most difficult first two weeks of the season and the Hawks have passed those tests with flying colors.

Troy junior quarterback Justin Losey burst on to the scene on Thursday night, accounting for each of Troy's first six touchdowns, four coming on the ground, and two more through the air in the Colts win over Royal Oak.

The Lake Orion defense responded in a huge win after falling at the hands of Oxford. The Dragons defense shut down the Rochester offense in every way imaginable in their 35-7 win on Thursday. Now that's what everyone was expecting out of the defending state champs!

At the start of this season, many were anxious to see the high powered passing attack of Auburn Hills Avondale, and rightfully so. But in week two a running back stole the show for the Yellowjackets as Michael Johnson went off, piling up nearly 300 yards on the ground and finding the end zone four times.

Friday, September 2, 2011

2011 Boys Soccer Preview - Top 10 teams

10. Lake Orion
The strength of the Dragons will most likely be their midfield where they return four starters from 2010, while their defense should be up to par with all four members of last years backline back for another year. Expect some low-scoring wins for the Dragons this season

9. Bloomfield Hills Lahser
The backline, anchored by senior Erik Kelly, should be the strength of the Knights team much like last season. But the question remains if Lahser can put together some sort of offense on a regular basis to help out their defense. But the Knights will likely have a healthy team all season long, which wasn’t the case a year ago.

8. Auburn Hills Avondale
With Nate Chapman and Joe Davison playing at forward, it will be hard to keep Avondale off of the scoreboard.  On defense, the Yellowjackets could shut some teams down with plenty of returning starters along the backline.

7. Troy Athens
There won’t be any doubt that Athens will be able to score this season with Cornell commit Sunny Shettigar at forward and a talented and experienced group at the midfield. The biggest question will be whether or not their defense can keep opponents off the scoreboard.

6. Rochester Adams
Dylan Knott can do it all for the Highlanders, whether it be scoring assisting on a goal, he makes Adams all of the more dangerous. The only question there will be for the Highlanders will be the 13 starters they have to replace from last season.

5.Walled Lake Northern
There haven’t been many keepers as steady as Mitch Thompson over the past couple of seasons. Thompson will be able to shut down opposing attacks, but the biggest question for the Knights will be if they can keep up the scoring after graduating seniors Kyle Rutz and Mike Ankoviak.

4. Troy
Junior goalkeeper Matt Smolinksi will keep most opponents off of the scoreboard. One of the other strengths for Troy will be their midfield where you’ll find Zach Doepke and Jason Leslie who can control the pace of the game to benefit the Colts.

3. Birmingham Detroit Country Day
If anything this season, the Yellowjackets will be able to score with anyone with Tariq Akeel at forward and Jack Brown at midfield. But there are returning starters all over the field for Country Day which makes a deep run in the playoffs a good possibility once again.

2. Birmingham Brother Rice
The Warriors, as always, are loaded with talent across the board. Led by junior defender Matt Habrowski, who is highly sought after by division one schools, the strength of Brother Rice will be their backline. Russell Cicerone will give the Warriors some balance offensively at forward, but expect plenty of low scoring games this season.

1. Novi
The Wildcats have a little bit of everything this season. With one of the state’s best players, Chase Jabbori, able to score at just about any time. You pair that with one of the top defenders in the state in Phillip Soong and a very experienced midfield, Novi should be very dangerous yet again this season.