Monday, October 31, 2011

Boys Soccer Semifinals Preview

Troy vs. Grand Haven
This game should be very entertaining with both teams coming off of double overtime wins in the regional finals, but the game should also be low-scoring. Grand Haven has 12 shutouts on the season, while Troy has had 13 this year. Troy keeper Matt Smolinski has been one of, if not the top keeper in Oakland County all season long, and for the Colts to move on, they will need another of Smolinki‘s prime-time performances. This is the first time that Troy has made it to the state semifinals since 2003, when Troy won the state title and only time will tell to see if history will repeat itself.
Prediction: TROY

Bloomfield Hills Andover vs. Auburn Hills Avondale
Both teams have put together some impressive defensive performances, with Avondale only allowing three goals in the playoffs and Andover has allowed just one goal in their five playoff games. But the difference in this on will likely be the offenses, Andover has dominated the time of possession throughout the postseason. Andover’s Will Neef has been on first in the playoffs, scoring seven goals to this point and has been a magician when the ball is on his foot, setting up scoring chances left and right for the Barons and becoming a nightmare for opposing backlines.
Prediction: ANDOVER

Birmingham Detroit Country Day vs. Elk Rapids
In a very chippy game last week, Country Day lost two of it’s top players, Tariq and Dean Akeel, who picked up red cards. But the Yellowjackets still have plenty of talent and speed across the board, and if they can utilize that, they will find themselves in the state finals once again. Elk Rapids has put together an impressive 19-2-4 record and were one of the best offensive teams in the state, having score five or more goals in 10 different games this season. On the flip side, Country Day has yet to allow more than two goals in a game this season, not to mention four shutouts in the playoffs thus far. This match-up should be a clash of styles, and I have a feeling that defense will prevail in this one
Prediction: COUNTRY DAY

Allen Park Inner-City Baptist vs. Auburn Hills Oakland Christian
It’s going to be an uphill battle for Oakland Christian if they are going to make a trip to the state finals, they will have to knock off the state’s top ranked team in Division 4. Oakland Christian has already fallen at the hands of Inner City Baptist twice this season, 4-2 and 3-0. If Oakland Christian wants to give themselves a chance, they’re going to need some big time play out of their back line and keeper Luke Combs. Combs is  more than capable of putting together shutout performances, having nine to his record this season, and has been very good at keeping opponents off of the scoreboard all season long. While the upset pick is tempting, and it is tough for a team to beat another three different times in one season, but Inner-City Baptist is the number one ranked team for a reason.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rapid Reaction - Moving on

Recapping some of the best from Round 1 of the Playoffs

Walled Lake Central kicker Bryan Maxwell had all of the “3 C’s” going on Friday night. The junior kicker was cool, calm and collected as he booted the game winning field goal as the Vikings knocked of the defending state champ Lake Orion on Friday night.

Rochester Adams quarterback Tony Annese (Central Michigan), is as big of a prime time performer as there is. Annese led Adams on a 99 yard scoring drive which gave Adams a lead over Oxford and then on the next Oxford possession, who comes up big for the Highlanders? None other than Annese who picked off a pass which sealed the victory for the Highlanders.

South Lyon senior signal caller Derek Talaga may not have thrown the ball a whole lot against Holly in the Lions’ Round 1 win, but when he did, he made each of his throws count. Talaga had eight completions on Friday night, four of which were for touchdown’s and each of those were via the play action pass.

There isn’t much that Walled Lake Western sophomore Kyle Bambard can’t do, quickly becoming one of the more dangerous dual-threats around, throwing for over 150 yards and rushing for over 50 on Friday night. But Bambard is also one of the most clutch kickers around and the super soph showed that once again in Round 1, knocking two kicks through the uprights including a 39-yarder to seal the win for the Warriors.

Clarkston just keeps rolling along, a week after their comeback win over Lake Orion, Clarkston made a statement in their 40-12 win over upset minded Pontiac. Running back Joey Goss carried the ball 14 times and ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the win for the Wolves.

There is really only one way to describe the Romeo and Troy Athens match-up that went to FIVE OVERTIMES from week one: Instant Classic! One of the many bright spots for the Red Hawks in the heart breaking loss has to be Lonnie Bolden, who found the end zone on three different occasions.

The Brother Rice rushing attack might be at its best right now, on Friday Northern Illinois commit Devin Church broke loose for 172 yards on nine carries while Brian Walker ran his way to over 120 yards rushing on 20 carries.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Week 1 Playoff Picks

Last Week's Record: 14-5    Season Record: 120-42

Northville at Novi Detroit Catholic Central
A rematch from the first round of the playoffs last year, this time around, Catholic Central probably won’t win quite as easily, but they’ll still pick up a win in this one.
Catholic Central 35 Northville 21

Pontiac at Clarkston
I’m incredibly tempted to pick the upset here, with Pontiac being one of the state’s hottest teams over the last few weeks. But Clarkston only has one loss that they haven’t forfeited, including one earlier this year over the Phoenix.
Clarkston 34 Pontiac 28 in OT

Romeo at Troy Athens
Athens has been overlooked by many all year long, and while Romeo will be a tough team to beat, the Red Hawks have impressed all season long
Athens 27 Romeo 21

Milford at Walled Lake Western
It’s been a tough week or so for Western, and unfortunately it all came at the worst possible time, but what has been overlooked all week long is the fact that Milford has had a very good season, and if the Mavericks take the lead, their run game is very capable of moving the ball, while running the clock.
Milford 31 Western 20

Walled Lake Central at Lake Orion
Two of the best teams in the state from a season ago, and while both aren’t quite what they were this year, this game makes for arguably the best match-up in the county in round 1. Lake Orion’s defense worries me, especially against the run, something Central does very well.
Central 38 Lake Orion 35 in 2 OT

South Lyon at Holly
There aren’t many teams hotter right now than Holly, winners of seven in a row. So why go against the hot hand?
Holly 28 South Lyon 24

Ortonville Brandon at Port Huron
Brandon snuck into the playoffs for the first time in about 10 years with a 5-4 record, and while locking up a win would be great to see from Brandon, Port Huron has been pretty impressive all year long.
Port Huron 34 Brandon 20

Rochester Adams at Oxford
A rematch of one of the best regular season games of the year, which Oxford won in overtime. This game will be another close one, but I think Oxford will pick up the “W” in regulation this time around.
Oxford 35 Adams 31

Birmingham Seaholm at Farmington Hills Harrison
Seaholm has been a great story to follow all season long, but unfortunately it has to end this week. The only team that can beat Harrison at this point… is, well… Harrison to be honest.
Harrison 42 Seaholm 14

Birmingham Brother Rice at North Farmington
Birmingham Brother Rice is a far better team than what their record shows, and I have a feeling that they’ll show just that this week.
Brother Rice 35 North Farmington 22

Farmington at Detroit Henry Ford
After their week 9 loss to Harrison, many thought that Farmington’s season was over with just a 5-4 record. But, after a relatively favorable draw, the Falcons might not be done for a little while longer
Upset Special: Farmington 34 Henry Ford 24

Southfield at Birmingham Groves
Keon Collier is as electrifying of a running back as there is, and if Groves can get him going early and often, they might have a shot. But chances are, Southfield is going to overcome a shaky finish to their season and take this one.
Southfield 42 Groves 24

Auburn Hills Avondale at Lapeer East
A very favorable draw for Avondale, who just barely made it into the playoffs, but the key in this game for the Yellowjackets isn’t going to be the passing game, but rather, the running game
Avondale 21 East 7

Bloomfield Hills Lahser at Redford Thurston
Lahser has a good enough defense to keep limit, or shut down most opposing offenses, but Thurston has a better offense than most which should give them the edge in this one.
Thurston 35 Lahser 21

Detroit Pershing at Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
Saint Mary’s might have the best defense in the state, keeping opponents to single digits five times this season, three of those were shutouts. The defense will be what leads the Eaglets back to Ford Field.
OLSM 28 Pershing 8

Birmingham Detroit Country Day at Detroit Crocket
Country Day, is currently riding a seven game win streak, where the Yellowjackets have put together a pretty impressive string of offensive and defensive performances. Crockett, though, poses a very big threat to that seven game streak.
Upset Special: Country Day 31 Crocket 28 in OT

Marysville at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
A very tough draw for the unbeaten Fighting Irish, but with quarterback Dan Durkin an Co, Notre Dame Prep should keep rolling along on offense.
Notre Dame Prep 38 Marysville 21

Clawson at Almont
Clawson’s offense, behind running back DeShawn Gilbert have put up their fair share of points this season, but has yet to go up against a defense like Almont’s, which has given up double digit point in just two games this season.
Almont 21 Clawson 10

Detroit PEC at Madison Heights Lamphere.
Lamphere has been averaging well over 30 points per game this season en route to their 7-2 record, so while this is PEC’s first playoff appearance in school history, it will probably be short-lived.
Lamphere 42 PEC 27

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett at Royal Oak Shrine
Shrine, has been too strong in all facets of the game all season long for most teams to handle, and while they did stumble a bit last week, they’ll bounce back in a big way this week.
Shrine 38 Liggett 17

Monday, October 24, 2011

Boys Soccer Regional Preview

(at Lake Orion)
Walled Lake Northern vs. Grand Blanc
Walled Lake Northern won this match-up the first time around, a couple of weeks ago, in the KLAA Lakes championship game. Northern shut the Bobcats out 1-0, and might need another shutout performance from keeper Mitchell Thompson to move on to the next round.
Troy vs. Midland Dow
Troy, much like Northern, might need a big time performance from their keeper, Matt Smolinski, and the rest of their backline, to help limit a dangerous Midland Dow team. If Troy can slow Midland Dow, manage to put one or two in the back of the net, the Colts have a better than good chance of moving on.

Breakdown: Both Troy and Walled Lake Northern need to keep their games as low-scoring as possible. If both can do that, they’ll likely meet in the regional finals, if not, then Tuesday might be a long night for both.
Regional Winner prediction: TROY 

(at Sterling Heights Stevenson)
Livonia Stevenson vs. Troy Athens
Athens is as good as anybody in terms of offense, but what is often forgotten is that Athens can play some defense as well. Forward Sunny Shettigar can score from just about anywhere on the field, so look for that to be a mismatch for Stevenson in this game.
Warren De La Salle vs. Utica Eisenhower
De La Salle has continued to get the job done with an impressive combination of offense and defense against some serious competition. Eisenhower has been impressive as well on both sides of the ball, which sets up for one of the best games in the state in the regional semifinals.

Breakdown: I expect Athens to get past Stevenson on Tuesday to go on to face De La Salle, but Athens will have a tall order against the Pilots, who have looked unstoppable for the vast majority of this season, having not dropped a game to this point this year.
Regional Winner Prediction: WARREN DE LA SALLE

(at Andover)
Ypsilanti vs. St. Clair Shores Lake Shore
Trenton vs. Bloomfield Hills Andover
Andover has been on the good side of some low scoring games this year, holding opponents to zero or one goals 14 time this season. Trenton is more than capable of scoring the ball early and often, but I expect this game to be low scoring, and that will favor Andover.

Breakdown: Andover should move on after Tuesday night, and while the Ypsilanti v. SCSLS game is a tough one to predict, I think Andover’s defense will be key for them in both the regional semifinal as well as the regional final.
Regional Winner Prediction: ANDOVER

(at Fenton)
Lapeer East at Clio
Auburn Hills Avondale at Mt. Pleasant 
If there is anything to know about Avondale, it’s that the Yellowjackets can flat out score the ball, having scored three or more goals 13 times this season, so if they can get out to an early lead, they should be able to hold that lead. Don’t forget about the defense either as they have put totaled eight shutouts this season.

Breakdown: Avondale has the combination of offense and defense to pick up a regional title, but at this stage of the playoffs, nothing is for sure. Mt. Pleasant has proven that they can score pretty easily, but if Avondale can make it past them, the Yellowjackets should be in good position to move on past the regional.
Regional Winner Prediction: AVONDALE

(at Birmingham Detroit Country Day)
Grosse Ile vs. Imlay City
Imlay City has been running like a well-oiled machine, putting together a 17-0-1 record this season and scoring eight or more goals eight time this season and haven’t allowed multiple goals in a game yet this season.
Birmingham Detroit Country Day vs. Flint Powers Catholic
Country Day has been powering through teams all season with an impressive combination of offense and defensse. The key for Country day is going to be the midfield which has set the tone for the Yellowjackets defense, and setting up numerous scoring chances on offense.

Breakdown: This region should be a collision course between Country Day and Imlay City, two of the best all-around teams in the state. It should be one of the best games to see all season. But the slight edge goes to Country Day with home field advantage.
Regional Winner Prediction: COUNTRY DAY

(at Dearborn Edsel Ford)
Jackson Christian vs. Allen Park Inner City Baptist
Blissfield vs. Southfield Christian
Southfield Christian came up with the upset in a shootout over Birmingham Roeper in the District final on Saturday, so there is something to be said for how well they’ve been playing as of late. If Kevin Nimmo and the Southfield Christian offense can break through against the Blissfield defense, the Eagles might make it to the regional finals.

Breakdown: The Eagles have had a bit of a Cinderella run through the playoffs, and it could continue into the regional finals, but Jackson Christian or Allen Park Inner City Baptist pose, what could be a couple of match-up problems for the Eagles in the finals.
Regional Winner Prediction: JACKSON CHRISTIAN

(at Auburn Hills Oakland Christian)
Lansing Christian vs. Saginaw Valley Lutheran
Auburn Hills Oakland Christian vs. Marlette
Oakland Christian’s defense continues to cause opponents fits all season long, which is a huge reason as to why they’ve cruised their way to a district title, beating opponents by a combined 15-0 in their three games.

Breakdown: Oakland Christian should get through the first game, but their second game could pose a challenge if the Lancers are matched up against Saginaw Valley Lutheran. Lutheran has mowed down teams one-by-one all year long behind shutdown defense and a high powered offense. It should be one to watch.
Regional Winner Prediction: OAKLAND CHRISTIAN

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rapid Reaction - Selection Sunday Recap

Best Games of Round 1
Walled Lake Central vs. Lake Orion
The best match-up of the first round just might be Walled Lake Central vs. Lake Orion. Last year, Central was in the final four of Division 2 and Lake Orion, was the Division 1 champion. Both teams have 6-3 records, but are both capable of doing a lot of damage in the playoffs this year.

Rochester Adams at Oxford
A rematch of the overtime thriller from three weeks ago. Oxford is the favorite to win in this game because of its impressive running attack behind Prescott Line and their big offensive line. But don’t overlook Adams, quarterback Tony Anesse has made big play after big play this season for the Highlanders.

Pontiac at Clarkston
Clarkston won this match-up the first time around, but round two could be a bit different. Pontiac is one of the state’s hottest teams right now, and with their electric rushing attack, Pontiac could be primed for an upset. Clarkston has balance across the board, which is a big reason as to why the Wolves only lost one game on the field before forfeiting two of their wins. The Wolves better beware though.

Most Intriguing match-ups
South Lyon at Holly
Speaking of hot teams, Holly started the season at 0-2, and haven’t lost since. Quarterback Johnny Williams and Co. have looked unbeatable at times, but South Lyon has surprised a lot of teams this season, and Holly just might be the next that South Lyon sneaks up on. Very interested to see how this one plays out.

 Brother Rice at North Farmington
The Warriors snuck into the playoffs at 5-4, but the record doesn’t even begin to tell the story. The Warriors have the pieces on offense (particularly at running back) as well as defense (mainly in the secondary) to cause fits for other teams. North Farmington has been yet another hot team to make the playoffs, thanks in large part to an explosive rushing attack that has torn apart opposing defenses.

Northville at Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Last season, Catholic Central took care of Northville relatively easily in the first round of the playoffs, both teams enter with an 8-1 record this time around. The winner of this game will get earn a match-up between the winner of Plymouth and Plymouth Canton, for what could lead to a trip to Ford Field a few weeks from now. Catholic Central should come out on top this time around as well.

Tough Draws
Marysville at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
Talk about a tough break. Notre Dame Prep finishes the year with an unblemished record. Their reward? A match-up with 8-1 Marysville. I still expect it to be business as usual for the Fighting Irish, but round one won’t be as easy as many thought it could be.

Grosse Pointe Woods University of Liggett at Royal Oak Shrine
Much like Notre Dame Prep, Shrin is dealt a pretty rough draw in Division 7. After finishing the regular season with an 8-1 record, Shrine will be playing host to 9-0 Liggett. Shrine should still come out on top, but it didn’t get any favors with their first round draw.

Birmingham Seaholm at Farmington Hills Harrison
Congrats to Seaholm on a great and memorable season. Your reward? A first rough pairing with... Farmington Hills Harrison. The defending Division 2 state champion is playing some of the best football the county has seen in decades. While this has been a memorable season for Seaholm on a number of levels, they didn't catch any breaks in the selection process.

Keep an Eye on:
Milford at Walled Lake Western
Walled Lake Western should move on to round 2, but they cannot overlook Milford. The Mavericks have had one of the most underrated rushing attacks in the state, and if they get out to a lead, they have the ability to run the clock down and keep the ball out of the Warrior’s hands for long lengths of time.

Romeo at Troy Athens
Both teams have had impressive seasons, but the difference for Athens will be their run game. Running back Sam Haskell will be the X-Factor for the Red Hawks, look for Athens to get it done with the ground game along with a little help from the defense.

Southfield at Birmingham Groves
I’d expect Southfield to come out on top in this one, but with Groves making their first playoff appearance since 2004 and having the home field advantage in this game it could be a close one. Groves will have to do everything in their power to keep the ball out of Southfield hands. Southfield’s firepower on offense can put up some points in a hurry.

Birmingham Detroit Country Day at Detroit Crockett
If Country Day is going to win, it might have to be the John Hill show. If the Yellowjackets can get the job done on the ground, they have a better than good chance in coming out on top. Keeping the Crockett offense at bay is a must for Country Day in this one.

Getting in with 5 wins:
Farmington, Auburn Hills Avondale, Brother Rice, Ortonville Brandon
All three will have a shot at moving on in the playoffs, but it's going to be a challenge for them to do so, all playing 7-2 teams that have proven plenty all season long. Avondale has a shot as long as quarterback Mitch Robinson is under center, and Farmington is no stranger in upsetting teams. Brandon will need some big time play from quarterback Shane Mahaffy if they are going to pull an upset over 8-1 Port Huron, and Brother Rice, is no stranger at all to the playoffs.

In But flying under the radar:
Madison Heights Madison, Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Madison should be able to take down Detroit PEC, who is making their first ever playoff appearance, behind their high flying offense and a little bit of defense to help out. Lahser, will have a tougher test against a very talented Redford Thurston team, but if the Knight's defense comes up big like they've done before, they might be able to pull off the upset.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday's Finest

Pontiac's big three of Mark Cargle, Kezlow "Squirrel" Smith and Jeff Johnson should be nicknamed "Earth, Wind and Fire" much like the New York Giants running back trio from a few years ago. Each brings something different to the Pontiac offense and it pays off each and every game for the Phoenix. On Friday night, with Pontiac needing a win to make the playoffs, the three running backs combined for nearly 500 yards rushing and 10... Yes, 10 total touchdowns in Pontiac's 66-40 track meet-like win over West Bloomfield.

Behind Brandon Wallace's 16 carry, 200+ yard performance, Milford is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2008 in the first year of head coach Pat Fox's return to Milford.

Holly quarterback Johnny Williams has flown under the radar almost all season long, but continues to be a primetime performer for the Bronchos on a weekly basis. Friday night wasn't any different for the junior quarterback who totaled well over 200 total yards as Holly locked up their first league title in almost 60 years.

Chevis Farris ended his season on a high note on Friday for Ferndale in its season ending win, making eight grabs for 168 yards and two touchdowns.

Walled Lake Central quarterback Zac Leimbach came up big on Friday night with both his arm and his legs for the Vikings. Leimbach completed 7-of-13 passes for 104 yards and also carried the ball 11 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns as Central clinched their sixth win and its third consecutive playoff appearance.

A long overdue congratulations is owed to Birmingham Brother Rice head coach Al Fracassa who finally picked up his 400th career win in the Warriors convincing win over Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy.

Also, best of luck to Waterford Kettering head coach and former Walled Lake Northern head coach Mike Fras who announced his retirement from coaching football after Friday night's game against North Farmington.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Week 9 Football Predictions

Last Week's Record: 11-7     Season Record: 106-37

Lake Orion at Clarkston
After a tough loss last week, the Wolves are in a must win situation in order to guarantee them of a playoff berth. I’m expecting Clarkston to come out on top in this one.
Clarktston 24 Lake Orion 20

Novi Detroit Catholic Central vs. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
No question that revenge will be on the minds of Catholic Central in this one. Look for a shutdown performance from the Shamrock defense.
Catholic Central 10 OLSM 7

Birmingham Seaholm at Birmingham Groves
Seaholm has been one of the many feel good stories of the season, and what better way to end this season with another win.
Seaholm 31 Groves 21

Detroit Loyola vs. Royal Oak Shrine
Shrine has been flying under the radar for much of the season, but can’t anymore, with running back Harry Cooney, Connor Francek and Co. These guys are the real deal.
Shrine 21 Loyola 14

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep vs. Riverview Gabriel Richard
The Fighting Irish have done it all season on defense, and more of the same is to be expected this weekend.
N.D.P. 35 RGR 17

Holly at Ortonville Brandon
Pretty big game for both teams, if Brandon wins they make the playoffs. If Holly wins, they’ll be taking home a league title as well as a 7-2 record. Plenty of storylines in this one.
Holly 24 Brandon 21 in OT

Troy at Troy Athens
Athens is getting better and better with each week and there aren’t many teams hotter entering week 9 than the Red Hawks.
Athens 35 Troy 27

Farmington at Farmington Hills Harrison
Another pleasant surprise in Farmington, and while it’d be an even better story if the Falcons picked up their sixth win of the year, Harrison is playing at a higher level than anyone else around right now.
Harrison 42 Farmington 28

Lakeland at Milford
Last season, Lakeland dashed Milford’s playoff dreams in week 9 last year. No question that Milford will be seeking some revenge as the Maverick’s make a playoff push here.
Milford 37 Lakeland 24

Auburn Hills Avondale at Berkley
When in doubt, go with the hot hand, and the hot hand right now is Berkley.
Berkley  31 Avondale 27

Walled Lake Northern at Northville
Regardless of how this game plays out, Northern has a very good chance of making their first playoff appearance this year. But call it a hunch or wishful thinking, but I’ll take the upset in this one.
Upset Special #1 Northern 30 Northville 24 in OT

Southfield Lathrup at Southfield
Southfield has stumbled as of late, but there is no denying the talent the Bluejays have, and they’re too good not to make the playoffs.
Southfield 38 Lathrup 17

Oxford at Oak Park
Prescott Line has yet to be stopped this year, so there’s no reason to think that this week will be any different.
Oxford 42 Oak Park 24

West Bloomfield at Pontiac
With the type of running game the Phoenix have at their disposal, there’s no reason to think that Pontiac is going to miss the playoffs at this point.
Pontiac 31 West Bloomfield 20

Bloomfield Hills Andover at Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Lahser, also on the verge of a playoff berth has the playmakers on defense that gives the Knights the look of a playoff team, but should be careful, there’s nothing Andover would like more than to play spoiler.
Lahser 21 Andover 17

Brighton at South Lyon
Yet another pleasant surprise in the county with South Lyon, who has already locked up a playoff berth, but it would be nice to lock up a seventh win this week.
Upset Special #2 South Lyon 34 Brighton 28 in 2 OT

John Glenn at Walled Lake Central
Central, much like Southfield, has hit a bit of a rough patch over the past couple of weeks, but again should lock up win #6 and reach the playoffs for a third straight year.
W.L. Central 38 J.G. 20

Rochester Adams at Stoney Creek
Adams, behind quarterback Tony Anesse, will be taking their 15th straight trip to the playoffs with a win this week.
Adams 35 Stoney Creek 21

Belleville at Walled Lake Western
Although they lost last week against Grand Blanc, Western proved that they are the real deal, limiting an exciting Grand Blanc offense to just six second half points. These guys are all business, expect a deep playoff run for the Warriors.
W.L.W. 42 Belleville 19

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oakland County Football Top 10 - Week 9

10. Pontiac
There are some dangerous backfields in Oakland County this season, but there may not be one that’s got three guys capable of taking it to the house every time they touch the ball. Mark Cargle, Jeff Johnson and Kezlow ‘Squirrel” Smith are a big reason as to why Pontiac is on the verge of a playoff Berth.

10. North Farmington
These guys aren’t sneaking up on anybody any more. The offense is flat out explosive, while the defense continues to get better and better with each and every passing week.

9. Birmingham Seaholm
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Senior quarterback John Glazier might be the most accurate quarterback in the county, and with the weapons the Maples have around him, there aren’t many offenses that are more dangerous.

9. Rochester Adams
The Highlanders have answered just about every question raised about their team and they continue to get the job done behind a consistent offense and a relentless defense.

8. Walled Lake Western
A minor bump in the road for the Warriors last week, but keep an eye on sophomore quarterback Kyle Bambard. This guy can get the job done in a number of ways, running or throwing… and he’s the kicker. The Warriors are looking like their in good shape for the playoffs.

7. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
A perfect regular season is more than likely at this point, because the Fighting Irish are one of the most well rounded teams around. Offense, defense, even special teams, Notre Dame Prep has it all and that’s going to be huge for the rest of the season.

6. Lake Orion
The Dragons are getting hot at just the right time, quarterback Sean Charette and Co. are looking a lot like the state championship team from last season. There might have been a bump or two early on in the season, but it’s all behind them now.

5. Troy Athens
Just when you think they might not be up to the challenge, Athens comes up big. This team won’t be surprising anyone any more this year, because these guys are the real deal. Plain and simple.

5. Clarkston
The Wolves finally lost their first game on Friday, but expect them to bounce back in a big way as they head into the playoff this week. I have a feeling that the Wolves won’t lose another game for a very long time.

4. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Even though the Shamrocks lost last week, their defense continues to wreak havoc on every team they play, and that will be very important as Catholic Central gears up for a deep playoff run.

3. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
The Eaglets have all of the makeup of a true Blue Collar team. A defense that stops opposing offenses dead in their tracks. An offense that not only eats up the clock, but punishes opposing defenses. This team has all of the looks of a state title team right now.

2. Oxford
You might know what’s coming from the Oxford offense, but the question is can you stop it? And more times than not, the answer has been no. The Wildcats running game is flat out unstoppable, just pounding away at defenses until running back Prescott Line breaks free. And until someone stops these guys, it’s just going to be more of the same for a while.

1. Farmington Hills Harrison
Surprised? Didn’t think so. But what might be a bit of a surprise is that the high octane Harrison offense has relied on the run game quite a bit in recent weeks and sophomore Lorenzo Collins has more than answered the bell with multiple 200+ yard rushing games. Just when you think they can’t get any better… They do.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday's Finest - Running Wild

One of the few mainstays on the weekly list has been Prescott Line, and for good reason. On Friday night Line rushed for 296 yards on 32 carries. The senior running back is now over 2,000 yards for the seson, and still has one more regular season game, and not to mention the playoffs to improve his mark.

One player that has been eclipsing the 200 yard mark at a Line-like pace has been Farmington Hills Harrison’s Lorenzo Collins who again cleared the 200 yard plateau with a 218 yard performance in the Hawks’ win over Lake Orion.

Mark Cargle, Kezlow “Squirrel” Smith and Jeff Johnson, are a huge reason as to why Pontiac is one win away from making the playoffs after a slow 2-3 start to their season. The three headed monster, rolled their way to 216 yards in Pontiac’s win over Farmington.

North Farmington’s backfield tandem of Jacquis Woods and Kevin Miller have been key for the Raiders in their return to the playoffs this season, and that was the case again as the duo combined for about 250 yards on the night, clinching a playoff berth for North Farmington.

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep has been dominant all year long, as the Fighting Irish have gotten out to an 8-0 start. A big reason: the running game. Behind Shane Frakes and Jacob Romeo, the Irish continue to roll with the two combining for nearly 230 yards in their beat down of Pinconning.

Walled Lake Central quarterback Zac Leimbach is well known for what he can do with his legs, but on Friday he showed that he can throw the ball around too, throwing for 130 yards, but still rushing for 196 yards as well.

Kirk Thomas is quickly becoming one of the top dual threat quarterbacks around, as the Walled Lake Northern quarterback threw for 261 yards while rushing for 50 yards bringing the Knights to within one win of clinching their first playoff berth.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Week 8 Football Predictions

Last Week's Record: 16-6     Season Record: 95-30

Farmington Hills Harrison at Lake Orion
Lake Orion has been playing better against some quality opponents as of late… However, those opponents aren’t Harrison.
Harrison 42 Lake Orion 24

Grand Blanc at Walled Lake Western
Like I said before, in their win over Walled Lake Central, Western really made me a believer last Friday. A 7-0 record, and maybe an 8-0 record at the end of Friday.
Western 29 Grand Blanc 24

Rochester Adams at Troy
The Highlanders have had a rough go in recent weeks, but mainly because they’ve played some tough opponents. Adams gets back on track in this one.
Adams 35 Troy 21

Oxford at Clarkston
Prescott Line and the Oxford O-line have been dominant all season long, and because of just that, I’m going with the upset… But the Wildcats wont have it so easy in this one.
Upset Special #1 Oxford 38 Clarkston 35 in 2OT

Farmington at Pontiac
The Falcons have been a pleasant surprise all season long, and the Falcons will continue to be just that with a playoff berth with win #6.
Farmington 28 Pontiac 23

Birmingham Seaholm at Ferndale
Another feel good story, primed for a playoff berth, Seaholm just has way too many weapons for the Ferndale defense to keep in check.
Seaholm 38 Ferndale 28

North Farmington at Bloomfield Hills Andover
North Farmington should return to the playoffs, but Andover is very capable of playing spoiler in this one.
N.F. 24 Andover 21

Berkley at Hazel Park
Berkely continues to be in the middle of close battles, and this one shouldn’t be any different.
Berkley 28 H.P. 23

Owosso at Birmingham Groves
A bit of a misstep last week, but expect Groves to get back on track this week, and in turn, a return to the playoffs.
Groves 35 Owosso 21

Lansing Waverly at Holly
The Broncho’s defense has been impressive in a number of ways all season long, and why stop now?
Holly 21 Waverly 7

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep at Pinconning 
A perfect regular season is more than within reach for the Fighting Irish with the weapons at quarterback Dan Durkin’s disposal.
N.D.P 35 Pinconning 14

Linden at Ortonville Brandon
Brandon has been flying under the radar at 5-2, and should be getting some more attention once the playoffs come around
Brandon 28 Linden 17

South Lyon at Livonia Churchill
South Lyon has been another team that has flown under the radar all season long, but have been consistently getting the job done both ways.
S.L. 24 Churchill 14

Brighton at Walled Lake Central
Zac Leimbach and Co. are probably looking to make a statement after a tough loss last week.
Central 35 Brighton 24

Milford at Walled Lake Northern
Northern quarterback Kirk Thomas has looked nearly unstoppable this season, if Milford cant slow him down, it’s going to be all Northern
Northern 35 Milford 28

Hartland at Waterford Kettering
Kettering running backs Alex Spurlock and Justin Santana just might be primed for a big game this week.
Kettering 17 Hartland 10

Pinckney at Lakeland
Chuck Sanders is becoming more and more of a go-to guy for the Lakeland offense, expect a monster game out of the junior.
Lakeland 38 Pinckney 21

Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s at Novi Detroit Catholic Central
If you’re a fan of high scoring games, this probably isn’t the game for you. A battle of what could be two of the top five defenses in the state.
CC 14 OLSM 7

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oakland County Football Top 10 - Week 8

10. Birmingham Brother Rice
A couple of tough, narrow losses to rivals, Saint Mary’s and Catholic Central, has thrown the Warriors off track. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Brother Rice will get it all straightened out next week, there’s too much talent on this squad to lose a third straight.

10. Walled Lake Central
The Vikings, also had a tough loss last week, falling to rival Western with less than 30 seconds left in the game. But much like Brother Rice, the Vikings will rebound, because of the talent they have on both sides of the ball.

9. Farmington
Farmington’s success this year has been based on big time players making big time plays, and that hasn’t changed all season. With guys like Jordan DeGreffenreed and Bryan Green on offense, the Falcons offense looks nearly unstoppable at times.

8. Southfield
Last week was a tough loss for the Bluejays, but to be fair, any time a team is given the challenge to stop Prescott Line, it’s probably going to be a tough week. But this team has big time player across the board, so last week will probably be soon forgotten.

7. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
Quarterback Dan Durkin has the Fighting Irish offense looking nearly unstoppable, pair that with a defense that has been dominant for the most part all season and you’ll see why Notre Dame Prep is unbeaten this season. This team is legit.

6. Lake Orion
The Dragons seems to have it all for the most part. With the offense looking like the best it’s been since last season’s title run, and a defense that’s getting better with each passing week, Lake Orion is looking primed for yet another deep playoff run.

5. Walled Lake Western
After their late comeback win over rival Central, I am officially a believer. The Western defense kept an explosive Central offense to just 11 points last week. These guys are for real and continue to prove just that every single week.

5. Oxford
Prescott Line has been getting a ton of attention this season, and rightfully so. But let’s not forget about the Oxford offensive line, these guys have been dominant in the trenches and as big of a reason as any that the Wildcats are once again in the playoff hunt.

4. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
If there were any doubters of the Eaglets, they’re probably gone now. Back to back wins over very good opponents and the Eaglets are looking as good as they’ve been all season. One reason: the defense has been flat out dominant in just about every game so far.

3. Clarkston
There’s not much more that you can say about the Wolves. Offensively, they’re continuing to put up some serious points while on defense, most teams are going to need some luck to score off of these guys. They haven’t missed a beat yet.

2. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
The Shamrock defensive line just might be the best in the state, across the board, these guys just continue to get the job done. Running the ball against them is no easy task, and a big reason as to why these guys have yet to lose a game.

1. Farmington Hills Harrison
Well, once again, there’s no surprise here. The Hawks are continuing to run over opponents as they patiently wait for the playoffs to get here, and while they wait, they continue to find sources of offense from just about everywhere.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

(Thursday's), Friday's (and Saturday's) Finest

I'm putting it in stone right now, Oxford running back Prescott Line WILL win the Mr. Football award at the end of the season. He's that good. 391 yards and six touchdowns on 44 carries against Southfield. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! By far the top player in the state in my mind.

It's like a never ending line over at Farmington Hills Harrison, as sophomore Lorenzo Collins has become the latest breakout player for the Hawks as the sophomore running back went over 200 yards on the ground on Thursday night. Oakland County needs to be on the lookout for the next 2+ years, because guy is scary good.

One word to describe Walled Lake Northern senior quarterback Kirk Thomas... CLUTCH. There is very little that can phase this guy, as he went for nearly 300 total yards and four scores, including the game winner as time was running down against rival Lakeland.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Holly's Johnny Williams is a "prime time performer" plain and simple. The junior quarterback came up big on Friday night, doing it with his arm and his legs as he came close to going over the 300 yard mark to put Holly just one win short of their second consecutive playoff appearance.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the combo of Grant Neimiec and Spencer McInnis are as good if not better than any backfield duo in the county. The Saint Mary's tandem again went over the 100 yard plateau as Neimiec ran for 140 yards while, McInnis went for 120 yards on the night.

Jordan DeGreffenreed and Bryan Green are about as exciting as it gets. Green rushed for well over 100 yards on Thursday while DeGreffenreed found the end zone three times. It's tough to stop one of these guys, to stop both of them... It's near impossible.

Brandon Thornton, just burst onto the scene on Thursday, going off for 215 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns, as Ferndale forced Birmingham Groves to wait another week to try and clinch a playoff spot.

Pontiac's three headed monster of Kezlow "Squirrel" Smith, Mark Cagle and Jeffrey Johnson are a lethal offensive trio, all three going over the 100 yards in their win over Troy. Stopping the Phoenix offense with the three of them in the lineup in near impossible.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Week 7 Football Predictions

Last Week's Record 10-3;   Season record 79-24

Walled Lake Central at Walled Lake Western
Western has a perfect record this season, but Central will be by far their biggest test to this point. The Vikings offensive line and defense has overwhelmed opponents during their five game winning streak, and I expect the streak to reach six.
Central 35 Western 24

Ferndale at Birmingham Groves
Keon Collier has been the key for the Falcons all season long and he’ll be the key to clinching a playoff berth on Thursday night.
Groves 34 Ferndale 19

Farmington Hills Harrison at Rochester Adams
Harrison seems to only be getting strong with each passing week. It should be an interesting match-up of two top quarterbacks in the county.
Harrison 42 Adams 21

Auburn Hills Avondale at North Farmington
Tempted to go with the red hot North Farmington squad, but I’d seriously doubt that the Yellowjackets would lose three straight games.
Avondale 24 N.F. 21

Lakeland at Walled Lake Northern
There are few teams as explosive on offense as Northern, and I question if Lakeland can keep up if this game turns into a shootout.
Northern 49 Lakeland 28

Berkley at Birmingham Seaholm
Plenty of offense on both sides in this one, but Seaholm might have just a bit more on defense than Berkley in this one
Seaholm 41 Berkley 35

Hazel Park at Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Now the Lahser defense looks like they’re back in full swing now. Hazel Park’s offense will be a big test for the Knight’s defense, so it should be an intriguing match-up.
Lahser 24 Hazel Park 20

Warren De La Salle at Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
The Eaglets defense has been overlooked all season long, and this would be a good game for them to come up big again.
OLSM 14 De La Salle 13

Macomb Lutheran North at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
The Fighting Irish have made their six wins this season look pretty easy so far, and I’d expect win number seven to look just as easy as well.
N.D. Prep 35 Lutheran North 10

Lapeer West at Holly
Junior quarterback Johnny Williams might be the most underrated quarterback in the state. And he will give Holly the advantage on Friday.
Holly 31 West 21

Melvindale ABT at Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest
Speaking of outstanding junior quarterbacks, Lutheran Northwest’s Nathan Drews is as accurate of a passer as there is in Oakland County. Period.
Lutheran Northwest 34 ABT 16

Pinckney at Milford
The Mavericks made quite a statement in their beat down over Howell, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another statement being made this week.
Milford 38 Pinckney 10

Northville at Novi
Novi is in a must win position from here on out. Look for Derek Ince and Co. to keep the Wildcats playoff hopes alive for another week.
Upset Special #1 Novi 30 Northville 24 in OT

South Lyon at South Lyon East
Both teams are headed in the right direction, but South Lyon looks like they’re a step ahead on their cross-town rival this season.
South Lyon 24 SLE 14

Clarkston at Royal Oak
The Wolves have just been rolling since the start of the season. While their “actual” record says 4-2, these guys have yet to lose a game on the field.
Clarkston 42 R.O. 17

Troy Athens at Lake Orion
Very tempted to take the upset in this one, but Lake Orion seems to have it all together right now and there’s little that will slow them down.
Lake Orion 31 Athens 28 in OT

Pontiac at Troy
Pontiac’s stable of running backs will prove to be the difference in this one. Just too many guys that need to be stopped out of the Phoenix backfield.
Pontiac 28 Troy 24

Southfield at Oxford
I’ve gone back and forth on this pick for a while now. But I’m finding it harder and harder to pick against the duo of Colin Goetz and Prescott Line. This game is must-see if you’re in the area.
Upset Special #2: Oxford 28 Southfield 23

Oak Park at Southfield-Lathrup
Oak Park has had their share of rough patches this season, but they are still as dangerous as any in most weeks.
Oak Park 38 Lathrup 12

Waterford Mott at Waterford Kettering.
I’ve been waiting for a big breakout game for Kettering running back Justin Santana, and this is as good of a time as any for the senior to bust out.
Kettering 24 Mott 13

Birmingham Brother Rice at Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Last week the Warriors fell short in their bid to get coach Al Fracassa his 400th win, and will likely have to wait another week, going up against the vaunted Shamrock defense.
C.C. 21 B.B.R. 17

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes at Royal Oak Shrine
With guys like Harry Cooney and Raymond Brown on the Shrine offense, there’s very little teams can do to slow the Knights down, but don’t discount the Lakers though.
Shrine 27 WOLL 24 in OT

Oakland County Football Top 10 - Week 7

10. Oxford
With running back Precott Line, there is no game the Wildcats can’t win this year. You might know the ball is going to Line, but chances are that you’re not going to stop him. Freshman quarterback Glacier Wallington is getting better with each passing week.

9. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
I’m not sure what’s been better this season, the Fighting Irish offense or their defense… regardless both have flat out dominated this season. Shane Frakes and Jacob Romeo might be the best 1-2 punch out of any backfield in the county.

9. Troy Athens
There’s not much more that the Red Hawks can do to convince people that this team is for real. But the ultimate test will come for the Red Hawks this week against Lake Orion. It should be interesting to see how Athens can match with Lake Orion.

8. Birmingham Brother Rice
The Warriors only losses of the season have come because of a bit of tough luck. But the defense continues to look very strong week after week, but don’t forget about the offense either, they can put up some points in a hurry.

7. Walled Lake Central
This team is starting to look similar to last year’s edition of the Vikings that made it to the state semifinals. The Vikings secondary continues to improve while the offense remains in good hands with senior signal caller Zac Leimbach capable of breaking off a big run every single time he touches the ball.

7. Walled Lake Western
The Warriors have had a near perfect balance of pass and run on offense, but the big story for the Warriors this season has been their defense, capable of shutting down just about anyone they play.

6. Lake Orion
The Dragons are now where everyone expected them to be, just too much talent on both sides of the ball for this team to not be a contender in the OAA. The overall team speed is starting to prove to be the difference for Lake Orion when it matters most.

5. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
Quarterback Dan Clements has stepped into the position nicely this season and seems to be doing more each week for the Eaglet offense. But the defense has stolen the show this season, allowing 10 points or more just twice this season.

4. Clarkston
The Wolves might have the most underrated backfield around, with quarterback Mitch Baezinger and running back Joey Goss who give defenses problems on a game in game out basis and I doubt that will change any time soon.

3. Southfield
One word to sum up this squad… DANGEROUS. There is no stopping this team on either side of the ball. Their offense is a lock to make several big time plays while their defense has the capability to flat out shut down the opposing offense.

2. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
If you fall behind to the Shamrocks, good luck getting back into the game because this defense has been the definition of dominance all season long. Catholic Central is starting to look similar to the state title team from a few years ago.

1. Farmington Hills Harrison
What more can you say about this team… Seriously? The offense is explosive and the defense is scary good. There’s not much more that can be said to describe just how good the Hawks are this season.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rivalry Week Part 1

The final week of the regular season is the big rivalry week in Oakland County, but week seven  of this year has its fair share of rivalry match-ups as well

Walled Lake Western at Walled Lake Central
This game not only has the normal rivalry implications, but the winner will likely take home the KLAA North crown. Central has been at the top of the North division for the last couple of years while Western, who is undefeated this year, heads into this game with an unblemished record. Both teams are at the top of their games right now so this is one to watch.

Birmingham Brother Rice at Novi Detroit Catholic Central
The biggest storyline in this one will be Brother Rice head coach Al Fracassa will be going for win number 400 for the second straight game, but there are a couple of more things to watch this week. The Brother Rice defense has been good, giving up right around two touchdowns per game while the Shamrock defense has been nothing short of spectacular, allowing less than a touchdown per game this season. But don’t sleep on either offense as both teams are explosive as anybody in the backfield with their running games.

Lakeland at Walled Lake Northern
The “Battle of Bogie Lake” has a little bit of extra incentive for the winning team this year. With both teams heading into the game with a 3-3 mark, the winner of this game not only gets the usual bragging rights but it keeps their playoff hopes alive, while the other will have its playoff hopes dashed for another year. Look for a match-up of the quarterbacks, Lakeland’s Casey Palanca and Northern’s Kirk Thomas.

Waterford Mott at Waterford Kettering
A match-up of two teams that are in the middle of a rough patch as both enter this week without a win to this point. The difference in this game for both teams to be able to slow the others playmaker. Mott’s quarterback Evan Underdown and Kettering running back Justin Santana, whichever defense can limit the others playmaker best will likely win this one.

South Lyon at South Lyon East
Both of these teams seem to be steadily improving year after year. South Lyon East quarterback Cam Thomas can get it done in a number of ways, running or throwing, he poses a threat to every defense. South Lyon’s defense is fresh off of two big time performances, shutting down Livonia Stevenson and dominating the high powered Novi offense last week.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Friday's Finest - Defensive Minded

Walled Lake Central defensive back Matt Rostek was in full blown Darrelle Revis mode on Friday night, leading a Vikings secondary that only allowed one completion all night not to mention taking an interception in for six points as well as scooping up a fumble and taking it back for six as well.
The Clarkston defense is as good as any this year, and proved once again on Friday night as the Wolves completely stymied the Rochester offense last night, in their 28-0 shut out win. 
Just how good is the Notre Dame Prep defense? On Friday night the Fighting Irish pitched their third shutout of the season and have only allowed 35 points all year. That's how good they are and with a defense like that, they're just going to keep rolling.

Just when everyone has their attention turned to the dynamic Lake Orion offense, their defense makes a statement of their own. The Dragons defense stopped a very potent Troy offense on Friday night and held them to just seven points in their 17-7 win.

One word to describe Walled Lake Western RB/LB Brent Zdebski - Workhorse. He’s a sure bet to get at least 25 touches a game, but this guy can run the ball and take a hit, but also deliver the hit when playing defense.

It’s not very often when you come across a running back that is a sure bet to run for over 200 yards and make his way into the end zone multiple times. But that’s exactly what Prescott Line has done this year and did it yet again in Oxford’s thrilling overtime win over Rochester Adams. Line ran for 252 yards and three touchdowns, one of which was the game clincher in overtime.

What more can you say about Birmingham Groves running back Keon Collier? This guy is as electrifying of a runner as you'll see all year long. When the ball is in his hands, nothing but good things will happen for the Falcons. Collier ran for 190 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in Grove's beatdown of Avondale.