Monday, October 29, 2012

Unusual sights to round one of the state playoffs

There were several strange sights on Friday night, some had to do with what happened on the football field and others were what happened before the football season.

For starters, not seeing Rochester Adams in the state playoffs was one of the great absences that I can remember in recent years. This was the first time since the late 1990's where we did not see a playoff game from the Highlanders. The streak had to come to an end eventually, but it was a very strange sight to see Adams and head coach Tony Patrito missing from the sidelines last week.

Another team that had gotten used to playing after the regular season was finished, but was unfortunately absent in the first round of the playoffs was Walled Lake Central. Head coach Bob Meyer and the Vikings had made several consecutive playoff appearances over the past few years, but unfortunately missed out this season. It was going to be an uphill battle for what was an extremely young Vikings squad, but much like Adams, it was odd not seeing Central playing in week 10.

One strange happening that took place on Friday night was something we haven't seen in a while was Farmington Hills Harrison being sent home after the first round. The Hawks, who won the state title in 2010 and lost at the hands of Brother Rice, the eventual state champion in the third round of last year's state tournament.

All three of these have one thing in common: they're all young. The Highlanders have a number of playmakers returning next year, including quarterback Matt Sokol and running back Clarence Broadnax. The Vikings will have sophomore quarterback Nick Krumm and running back Zach Goor returning next year, while the Hawks will have star junior running back Lorenzo Collins, as well as sophomore quarterback Ryan Brand. While it was a bit of a step back this season for these teams in 2012, expect a big bounceback year for all three squads in 2013.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Elite Eight - First Round Finishers

8. Matt Kosmalski - Walled Lake Northern WR/RB
Kosmalski did a little bit of everything on Friday night as he finished with five catches for over 180 yards and three touchdowns. The Northern senior also rushed for 133 yards on 11 carries to help lead the Knights to their first ever playoff win and into a district final showdown against Catholic Central.

7. Jon Malone - Novi Detroit Catholic Central DB/KR
Malone wasn't only the starter for the Shamrocks on Friday night, he was the finisher as well. After starting the game with a 97 yard kickoff return to help Catholic Central take an early 7-0 lead. Malone then sealed the 21-15 win for the Shamrocks as he picked off a Hartland pass late in the fourth quarter to allow Catholic Central to run out the clock.

6. Ben Line - Oxford RB
Line carried the ball 26 times on Friday night for almost 150 yards as Oxford came up with a first round blowout win over 8-1 Seaholm. Line also tallied four touchdowns on Friday night as he helped lead Oxford into a district final match-up against Brother Rice.

5. Michael Johnson - Auburn Hills Avondale
The Yellowjackets running back helped Avondale get out to a 14-7 halftime lead behind a pair of rushing touchdowns on Friday night. Johnson finished the game with over 170 yards rushing on just 22 carries to lead Avondale past Lahser and into the district finals against Orchard Lake St. Mary's.

4. Brian Walker - Birmingham Brother Rice RB
Walker was his usual overpowering self on Friday night as the junior running back rushed for over 200 yards and three touchdowns as he helped lead the Warriors past a dangerous Port Huron team. Walker's 200 yard night helped the Warriors go over the 350 rushing yards on the night. Big assist from the Brother Rice O-Line.

3. Gerald Gates - Southfield RB
Gates was a one-man wrecking crew on Friday as he rushed for over 200 yards on 32 carries to help lead Southfield past Detroit MLK for the second time this season. Gates also ran for two touchdowns on the afternoon, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter to give the Blue Jays a 22-19 lead.

2. Jermaih Johnson/Brandon Newvine - Pontiac Notre Dame Prep RB/QB
The dynamic duo did everything for the Fighting Irish on Saturday night as the Notre Dame Prep juniors combined for nearly 500 yards of offense to help lead the Irish into the district finals. Johnson was his usual dominant self on Saturday as he rushed for over 220 yards and found the end zone on four different occasions, while Newvine totaled over 250 yards of offense and tossed a pair of touchdowns on the day.

1. Rich Cross - Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes DB/WR
Cross did it all on Saturday afternoon on offense and defense, but he did the vast majority of his damage in the defensive secondary for the Lakers. Cross had not one, not two, but three interceptions to help lead a dominant performance from the WOLL defense. Cross also finished with over 100 yards of total offense and a touchdown which clinched the win for Lakes.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Round 1 Oakland County Football Playoff Picks

Last Week's Record: 8-4   Season Record: 89-32

Birmingham Brother Rice vs. Port Huron
Port Huron is not a team to be taken lightly with quarterback Mark Chapman, but the Warriors have the deeper team and that should show through in the first round. Look for the backfield tandem of Brian Walker and Shonn Powell to wear down the Port Huron defense and take Brother Rice to a round one win.
Brother Rice 35, Port Huron 17

Auburn Hills Avondale vs. Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Avondale was one of the better teams in Oakland County during the regular season, while Lahser seemed to struggle down the stretch in the final weeks of the season. But with a quarterback like Spencer McCourt and a running back like Nate Emery, counting the Knights out is just a bad idea.
Lahser 28, Avondale 24

Novi Detroit Catholic Central vs. Hartland
This is an interesting draw for the Shamrocks, facing a rejuvenated Hartland team that bounced back from a 4-5 record last year and finished the regular season with an 8-1 mark. But Catholic Central isn’t like any other team on Hartland’s schedule this year and look for Anthony Darkangelo and David Houle to make life difficult for the Eagles.
NDCC 42, Hartland 35

Walled Lake Northern vs. Howell
First division title, first conference title, first playoff berth and now the Knights are in search of their first ever playoff win. Northern simply has too much speed for a team like Howell to keep up with and it will start showing through in the second half.
Northern 56, Howell 35

Oak Park vs. Detroit Cody
It’s been a tough two weeks for the OAA White champs, but look for Malik Washington and Co. to get back on track in round one of the playoffs. While the offense had been good throughout the year, don’t overlook this Oak Park defense who shut offenses down with regularity throughout the first seven games of the season.
Oak Park 28, Cody 14

Southfield vs. Detroit MLK
The Southfield offense has been very good over the course of the past few weeks, but with the likely return of wide receiver Brandon Bean could be what puts the Blue Jays over the top. Defensively, Southfield has continued to improve over the course of the past few weeks, and if the offense can match the defense, Southfield can go a long way in the playoffs.
Southfield 21, MLK 14 

Farmington vs. Walled Lake Western
In my opinion, this is by far the best first round matchup in the state. Western has been one of the hottest teams in the state over the course of the past five weeks, while Farmington might be the best 6-3 team in the state. But the Farmington defense and the backfield duo of Connor Mohr and Jordan Degreffenreed could be just enough for the Falcons to move on.
Farmington 24, Western 21 in OT

Oxford vs. Birmingham Seaholm
The Maples didn’t win the OAA Blue with an 8-1 record for no reason. Seaholm has one of the area’s best defenses and over the course of the past few weeks, the Maples offense has been nearly as impressive. Look for the Maples to shut down the Oxford offense while running back Tim List will have a big day to lead Seaholm to the second round.
Seaholm 13, Oxford 6

Birmingham Detroit Country Day vs. Clintondale
Clintondale may be perfect this season, but I’d doubt that it has faced a team quite like Country Day this season. With running back Richie Wilson, quarterback Tyler Weigers and Poet Thomas, the Yellowjackets just have too much fire power for Clintondale to handle as Country Day will be moving on.
Country Day 28, Clintondale 24

Farmington Hills Harrison vs. Fenton
Fenton might be the best in the state when it comes to point differential this year, but Harrison will pose an even bigger and tougher challenge than what Fenton was expecting before the selection show. This game will be close, but with players like Lorenzo Collins, Ed Huckelby and Jake Slobin, the Hawks will have just enough to outlast Fenton.
Harrison 28, Fenton 21

Livonia Clarenceville vs. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
Congrats to Clarenceville for making the playoffs, but this is not the type of matchup it was hoping for. Too much Jermaih Johnson and Joe Kutil for Clarenceville to be able to handle. Onto the second round where another Oakland County team could be waiting for the Irish.
ND Prep 35, Clarenceville 14

Pittsford vs. Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
As I said in a previous post, I believe that the Lakers are headed for Ford Field this fall, and I don’t expect the Lakers to be truly challenged until round three of the playoffs. I’m not saying it will be this week, but expect a big time game winning kick from kicker Spencer Howell at some point during WOLL’s playoff run.
WOLL 35, Pittsford 17

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Four Bold Predictions for Oakland County teams in the State Playoffs

Birmingham Brother Rice and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s will repeat as State Champs
OLSM: There isn’t a more complete team in Division 3 than the Eaglets. On offense, St. Mary’s has its always powerful run game behind one of the best and biggest offensive lines in the state as well as an aerial attack that sneaks up on teams. Defensively, the Eaglets have picked up right where last season’s squad left off as they have quieted just about every offense they’ve faced
Brother Rice: The Warriors have as good of a defense as you will find in the state, regardless of division. With linebackers Jon Reschke and Lucas Cherrocci as well as one of the best defensive lines in the state led by Alberto Sandoval and Sergio Perkovic and a stellar secondary with Jason Alessi and Chris Carter, teams are going to struggle with scoring points against the Warriors. Defense wins championships and that will lead the way for the Warriors.

Clarkston and Lake Orion will meet in the Division 1 State Championship Game
We all know this is a possibility, but there aren’t very many people who believe that this match-up will happen, but these two teams are just too good not to end up in the state finals. Clarkston’s defense has been overlooked all season long because of the running attack, but the Clarkston defense has been fantastic all season long. The Dragons have playmakers everywhere on offense and there aren’t very many defenses in the state that will be able to contain and hold down such a versatile attack.

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes will make it to the Division 8 finals
The Lakers have been a team that has flown under the radar all season long, but has quietly put together a solid 7-2 campaign with their only losses coming at the hands of powerhouse Detroit Loyola and Allen Park Cabrini. WOLL is flying under the radar, and I’m sure that’s exactly how head coach Mike Boyd and Co. want it to be. Look for playmakers like Garrett Ross, Richie Cross, Jake Doetsch and Sal Mastromatteo to help lead the Lakers to Ford Field.

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep OR Birmingham Detroit Country Day will make a run to the Division 4 semifinals
These two teams have been stellar all season long, and unfortunately they are stuck in the same district so they won’t have an opportunity to have a potential Clarkston-Lake Orion type of showdown. Both teams have featured some impressive defense all season long, with some solid play in just about every defensive group. Offensively, these two teams are pretty different, but are capable of making a long playoff run. Country Day’s attack with running back Richie Wilson and Tyler Weigers is as “quick-strike” as you will find, while Notre Dame Prep will wear teams out with running back Jermaih Johnson. Both teams have a very good chance of making a postseason run, but unfortunately one will be going home after round 2.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weighing the odds for some of the 5-4 teams in Oakland County

***PLEASE NOTE: All of these are predictions that I have made on this post are just that, PREDICTIONS ONLY. I do not know  who is in the playoffs or who is out of the playoffs. Just all speculation on my part. I could be right, or wrong on any of these teams listed here.****

Novi Detroit Catholic Central
It would shock me if the Shamrock's aren't one of the 5-4 teams in the area to make the playoffs. The Shamrocks have played one of, if not the toughest schedule in the state and have played well enough to win just about any game outside of a loss to national power, Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller. Some have even gone as far to say that Catholic Central is a lock to make the playoffs and I would have to say that I agree.
Odds: 99.9%

Stoney Creek
The Cougars have been one of the pleasant surprises from Oakland County this year and have played a relatively difficult schedule all year long. Playing teams like Clarkston, Lake Orion and Southfield this season will be a pretty good resume booster, but failing to pick up wins against those squads will hurt.
Odds: 45%

The Colts got out to a blistering fast start to the 2012 season, but were slowed a bit due to injuries and another tough schedule. Much like Stoney Creek, Troy played a tough schedule, but wasn't able to come away with a big time win, which could hurt the Colts in the long run.
Odds: 35%

The Falcons flew under the radar for the most part this season, but playing in the OAA Red eventually caught up to them by the end of the season, as well as playing a cross-town rival, who wanted to play spoiler in week nine. The schedule was tough at times throughout the season, but Rochester simply ran out of time to find its sixth win.
Odds: 35%

The Bears quietly put together a solid 2012 campaign and just made it to a 5-4 record with a week nine win, but like a number of 5-4 teams throughout the state, the Bears might have run into a too little, too late scenario.
Odds: 30%

Royal Oak Shrine
Even after sprinting out to a fast start this season, the Knights we lacking a "signature win." But that all ended last week with an impressive win over a 7-1 Grosse Point Woods University Liggett squad on Friday and that could be enough to send Shrine to the playoffs this week.
Odds: 75%

Madison Heights Bishop Foley
The Ventures have a couple of solid wins on their resume, including a win over Shrine, but do the Ventures have a signature win that could put them over the top? That's the biggest question that could have an effect on whether Bishop Foley is going to be playing next week.
Odds: 50%

The final few weeks of the season have been borderline disastrous for the Eagles with losses coming to rivals WL Northern and Milford as well as Howell in week eight. What looked like a sure thing at one point, is now a giant question mark and with a rough finish to the season, it's pretty unclear as to where the Eagles will be next week.
Odds: 45%

Once again the Bronchos made a late push to try and sneak their way into the playoffs, but did they do enough to get in? Unfortunately, Holly couldn't find a way to pick up just one more win during the regular season to assure themselves of a playoff spot and the Bronchos have just one win over a winning team this year (North Branch) and four against teams with losing marks.
Odds: 48%

South Lyon East
The Cougars, much like Stoney Creek, are one of the feel good stories from the area and just missed out on a sixth win. But the Cougars have played a pretty tough schedule and two of their losses have come by a combined six points this year. But with a schedule that has three or four playoff bound teams on it, the SLE squad might have just enough to sneak in.
Odds: 82%

***If I have left off a 5-4 team from Oakland County, please let me know and I will make the addition to this list ASAP -- Thank You***

Friday, October 19, 2012

Week 9 Oakland County Football Picks

Last Week's Record: 8-5   Season Record: 81-28

Clarkston at Oak Park
It's been a fantastic bounce back season for Oak Park, but the Knights haven't played a team quite like Clarkston yet and there's a reason why the Wolves are currently ranked No. 1 in the state.
Clarkston 38, Oak Park 28

Troy at Oxford
This just might be the most interesting match-up of the week, a pair of 5-3 teams hoping to pick up that sixth win of the season and assure themselves of a playoff spot. But I'll go with the team with the slightly better defense.
Oxford 21, Troy 10

Lake Orion at Farmington
It might be a little different if Lake Orion had won last week, but Farmington will be facing an angry Drangon's squad which means that the Falcons will head into the state playoffs as one of, if not the best 6-3 team in the state.
Lake Orion 35, Farmington 31

Bloomfield Hills Lahser at Hazel Park
You can expect plenty of points from this match-up as two of the better offenses from the area will be on full display. But look for a desperate Lahser team to show up on Friday night and get the sixth and final win to become playoff eligible.
Lahser 45, Hazel Park 42

Rochester at Rochester Adams
Rochester will be desperate for that sixth win, but there aren't many teams that have played better than Adams over the course of the past two weeks and the Highlanders just might end up ruining week nine for the Falcons.
Adams 31, Rochester 28 in OT

Stoney Creek at Southfield
I haven't made too many upset picks this season, but Stoney Creek seems like a team destined to make the playoffs in Brad Zube's first year as head coach. Look for Sean Scullen, Joe Cox and Co. to get the job done and lead the Cougars to the playoffs. Also look for Southfield to make the playoffs at 5-4.
Stoney Creek 24, Southfield 21 in OT

Pinckney at South Lyon East
It'll still be unlikely, but the Cougars will keep their hopes of making the playoffs alive this week to move to 5-4, and just maybe be one of the few five win teams to make their way into the playoffs. Either way, a big step forward for an up and coming SLE squad.
SLE 35, Pinckney 21

Detroit Cody at Walled Lake Central
It's been a disappointing season for the young Vikings, but Nick Krumm and Zach Goor will give the Central faithful something to look forward to for next season.
Central 28, Cody 13

South Lyon at Walled Lake Northern
An unbelievable season for the Knights keeps moving, look for Northern to not only improve to 7-2, but possibly host a playoff game. This is without a doubt a "dream season" for Northern
Northern 49, South Lyon 28

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep vs. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard (At Ford Field)
Surprise, surprise, the Fighting Irish are going for a second straight undefeated season in the Prep Bowl on Saturday. Like I've said on a number of occasions so far this season, picking against Notre Dame Prep is just a bad, bad idea.
NDP 42, AAGR 24

Milford at Lakeland
These two teams have been known for spoiling playoff hopes for one another, but Lakeland is going to end that trend this week behind Dalton Christie and Anthony Waite.
Lakeland 24, Milford 21 (in 2OT)

Orchard Lake St. Mary's vs. Novi Detroit Catholic Central (At Ford Field)
Beating any team at any level in back-to-back weeks is tough to do. Last week, the Shamrocks proved me wrong in a big way, and they'll have to do it again this weekend. Just too much talent on the OLSM sidelines to lose two straight games.
OLSM 21, NDCC 17

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Elite Eight -- Playoff Push

8. Sean Scullen - Stoney Creek RB/DB
Scullen tallied two touchdowns on Friday night, one coming on a 29 yard pass and the second a pass from 44 yards away to help keep Stoney Creek's playoff hopes alive with a win over Rochester. Scullen finished the game with 97 yards rushing and over 150 total yards of offense.

7. Anthony Darkangelo - Novi Detroit Catholic Central RB
Darkangelo did a little bit of everything on Friday night as he broke off touchdown runs of 50 and 60 yards and also threw an 80 yard touchdown pass to Jon Malone to help lead the Shamrocks to a 35-13 upset win over St. Mary's. Darkangelo finished the game with over 150 yards rushing on the night and four touchdowns.

6. Collin O'Donnell - Walled Lake Northern QB
The senior signal caller continues to keep up one of the best statistical seasons in the state this year after throwing for over 220 yards and rushing for 115 more in a 55-52 shootout win over Hartland to clinch the first ever playoff spot in Northern's history.

5. Michael Johnson - Auburn Hills Avondale RB
Johnson tallied over 170 yards rushing on just 20 carries on Friday night as he helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a 37-20 win over OAA Blue foe Bloomfield Hills Lahser. Johnson also scored two touchdowns on the night from nine and 11 yards away for Avondale.

4. Lorenzo Collins - Farmington Hills Harrison RB
Collins helped keep Harrison's playoff hopes alive on Friday night as he rushed for over 140 yards and three scores as he helped lead the Hawks to a 48-13 shellacking of crosstown rival Farmington. Collins used just 20 carries on Friday night to pass the 140 yard mark and help improve Harrison's record to 5-3 on the season.

3. Richie Cross - Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes RB
Cross found the end zone on four separate occasions on Saturday afternoon as he helped lead the Lakers to a thrilling overtime win over Madison Heights Bishop Foley. Cross finished the game with over 150 yards of total offense to go along with his four scores as well as a two point conversion on the day.

2. Ian Eriksen - Clarkston RB
Is there a better workhorse in Oakland County than Eriksen? The junior running back carried the ball over 40 times on Friday night and rushed for over 170 yards and scored the game winning touchdown with 14 seconds left to lead Clarkston to a late comeback win over Lake Orion and and an OAA Red title.

1. Jason Alessi - Birmingham Brother Rice K/PR/DB
Alessi did it all on Saturday afternoon as the senior accounted for 18 of Warrior's 30 points in a narrow win over Cincinnati La Salle. Alessi drilled three field goals on the afternoon, including the game winner from 32 yards away with just eight seconds left to play in the game. Alessi also accounted for a touchdown on Saturday as he got the Warriors on the scoreboard with a 58 yard punt return.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Week 8 Oakland County Football Picks

Last Week's Record 10-2    Season Record 73-23

Clarkston at Lake Orion
Easily this game will be the best game on tap for the weekend. There are too many key match-ups to list in this game, and it could come down to a number of different match-ups to decide the game. But the difference here will be Clarkston running back Ian Eriksen and the Clarkston offensive line who have been brilliant all season long and could make give Clarkston the slightest of edges.
Clarkston 31, Lake Orion 28 in 2 OT

Madison Heights Madison at Madison Heights Lamphere
Nine straight playoff berths for the Eagles who continue to prove every year that they are the real deal. Playmakers everywhere on offense and a solid defense are what will lead Madison to a win this week.
Madison 28, Lamphere 21

Hazel Park at Birmingham Seaholm
Yet another difficult challenge for the Seaholm defense which has proven to be tough enough to slow down Avondale and do just enough to outlast a very good Lahser squad. With the offense taking a noticeable step forward as of late paired with one of the best defenses in the county, the Maples should have just enough to top Hazel Park.
Seaholm 31, Hazel Park 24

Walled Lake Northern at Hartland
The Knights have outscored their opponents 222-52 in their last five games and will be facing an improved and unbeaten Hartland squad. This won't be an easy win for Northern, but there might not be a hotter team in the state, and that should translate into Northern's first ever conference crown.
Northern 42, Hartland 28

Walled Lake Western at Grand Blanc
The Warriors have playmakers just about everywhere on offense and defense which should make life tough for Grand Blanc. But the Bobcats are in a do-or-die situation having already lost three times this season.
Western 31, Grand Blanc 28

Lakeland at Howell
It's been a few years since the Eagles have clinched a playoff berth, but that should change on Friday night behind Anthony Waite, Dalton Christie and Co. Look for a big game from the Lakeland defense as well led by one of the most underrated defensive backs in the county, Beau Wilhelm.
Lakeland 21, Howell 7

Bloomfield Hills Lahser at Auburn Hills Avondale
A battle of two high-powered offenses, Avondale can score in a hurry, but there might not be a more complete offense in the OAA Blue than Lahser, who has one of the better QB-RB duos with Spencer McCourt and Nate Emery.
Lahser 45, Avondale 42

Oak Park at Oxford
This has the makings of a trap game for Oak Park who has continued to squeak out wins over quality opponents, most recently over Harrison. But the Knights continue to find ways to win and until that changes, it's not a good idea to pick against Coach Carter and Co.
Oak Park 35, Oxford 28

Farmington Hills Harrison at Farmington
Speaking of trap games, that could be the case in this game for the Falcons. With Harrison in desperate need of a win to clinch a playoff spot, the Hawks will need to play their best game of the year in order to slow a powerful Farmington ground attack, and that might not even be enough.
Farmington 17, Harrison 14 in OT

Southfield at Southfield Lathrup
The Blue Jays are another team that is in need of a win in a big way. After a rough loss to Rochester Adams, Southfield is now in a win-or-go-home situation and chances are quarterback Tre Walton won't let the playoff hopes die this week.
Southfield 42, Lathrup 21

Rochester at Stoney Creek
Both teams have had nice bounce back seasons this year, but with Stoney Creek needing to win-out in order to assure itself a playoff spot, the Cougars will be more than ready to go on Friday.
Stoney Creek 24, Rochester 17

Novi Detroit Catholic Central at Orchard Lake St. Mary's
Plain and simple, I won't be picking against the Eaglets any time soon. St. Mary's proved me wrong with back-to-back wins over Cass Tech and Brother Rice and will once again look to best a team from a higher division on Friday.
OLSM 35, Catholic Central 24

Ortonville-Brandon at Holly
It's been a bit of a disappointing season for both squads, but by the end of the night, the season will look just a little bit better for the Bronchos.
Holly 38, Brandon 28

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oakland County Football Rankings -- Only 2 more to go

1. Orchard Lake St. Mary's
There might not be a better team in the state of Michigan right now, the Eaglets are playing some of the best football that you'll see right now. After squeaking out wins over Cass Tech and Brother Rice, St. Mary's dominanted Warren De La Salle last week as the Eaglets prepare for a showdown with rival Catholic Central.

2. Clarkston
The Wolves continue to ride one of the best run games in the state behind a dominating offensive line and running back Ian Eriksen. The Clarkston defense, behind Nick Matich, Adam Johns, Tim Cason and Chris Calvano, the Clarkston defense is filled with play makers which makes life tough for just about any offense.

2. Lake Orion
Just how deep is the Lake Orion offense? The Dragons have four (Jacob Miller, Zac Arnold, Chris Leigh, Corey Ester) who have rushed for over 300 yards this season, and all have four or more touchdowns. This is just not an offense that can be stopped, you can only hope to contain them.

3. Birmingham Brother Rice
What more can you say about Brother Rice running back Brian Walker? The junior running back emerged as a true leader on Saturday as he helped lead the Warriors to a come from behind win over rival Catholic Central. With Walker on offense and linebackers Jon Reschke and Lucas Cherrocci leading the defense, the Warriors are in a good position to make it into the "Prep Bowl" in two weeks.

4. Oak Park
The Knights just keep finding ways to win. When it looked like Oak Park would finally suffer its first loss of the season against Farmington Hills Harrison, the Knights came up with a big answer late in the game to preserve their unblemished record. With every win, Oak Park continues to look like more and more of a contender in the state tournament.

5. Farmington
With Jordan Degreffenreed back and healthy and Connor Mohr continuing to have an impressive season, the Falcons locked up yet another playoff spot with a win on Friday. The Farmington defense has continued to be quietly dominant throughout the season behind Mohr, Isaiah Gourdine and Curtis Brunson and that should carry into the playoffs.

6. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
Is there a more underrated quarterback in Oakland County than Joe Kutil? Kutil has helped pace the Fighting Irish offense all season long, throwing for over 600 yards while tossing nine touchdown passes, and with the help of running back Jermiah Johnson, who just went over the 1,000 yard mark for runsing yards this season, which makes the Irish offense very dangerous on a number of levels.

7. Walled Lake Northern
How about the 'big uglies' along the Northern offensive line? For a Northern offense that has already rushed for 2,000 yards rushing this season, the Knight's O-Line has been simply dominant from the start of the season, because of names like Anthony Camarda, Mitch Curl, Graham Weston, Logan Birnie and Corey Williams who have busted open holes for the Northern backs and have kept quarterback Collin O'Donnell upright all year long.

8. Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Yellowjackets running back Richie Wilson just has a nose for the end zone, as he scored five touchdowns for the second straight week on Friday night. Wilson now only trails Clarkston's Ian Eriksen by one touchdown and has over 1,100 yards rushing on the year as well. Don't forget that the 'Jackets also have a dangerous passing attack featuring quarterback Tyler Weigers.

9. Birmingham Seaholm
Everyone knew just how dominant the Seaholm defense was through the first six weeks of the season, but week seven was the offense's turn to show off what they could do as the Maples kept pace with a high scoring Bloomfield Hills Lahser team and eventually edged out the Knights, putting themselves in the driver's seat in the OAA Blue.

10. Walled Lake Western
Western has quietly gotten itself back into a spot where the Warriors could once again find themselves looking for a final four berth in the state playoffs. With an offense filled with speed and playmakers, including junior quarterback Kyle Bambard and a defense that has been one of the most consistent groups throughout the year which is led by safety Josh Jones and linebacker Zach Prokes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Elite Eight -- Game Changers

8. Emmanuel Jackson, Novi Running Back
Jackson might be the most exciting freshman in the state. The freshman playmaker showed off his blazing speed on Friday night as he carried the ball 20 times for 182 yards, including a game-tying 83 yard touchdown run in Novi's upset bid of Northville.

7. Olivia Paquette, Clawkson Kicker
Can you say clutch? Paquette drilled the game winning field goal in double overtime for the Trojans in a narrow win over Warren Lincoln to keep Clawson's playoff hopes alive. Keep an eye on Paquette, who very well could have another game winner or two left in her this season.

6. Alec Spurlock, Waterford Kettering Running Back
Spurlock was dominant on Saturday afternoon as the senior totaled nearly 200 yards of total offense and accounted for the first two touchdowns of Saturday's game against rival Waterford Mott to help snap a 17 game losing streak for the Captains.

5. Jermiah Johnson, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep Running Back
Johnson continues to be one of Oakland County's best kept secrets as the running back rushed for over 200 yards on Friday night on just 16 carries as the Fighting Irish toppled Macomb Lutheran North. Johnson also scored three touchdowns on the night while also having another impressive performance on defense as well.

4. Matt Kosmalski, Walled Lake Northern Defensive Back
Kosmalski was all over the field against in Northern's fifth consecutive win, as the senior recorded two interceptions in the end zone to end two of Lakeland's best scoring drives of the night. Kosmalski also tallied eight tackles on the night and totaled nearly 130 yards of offense and a touchdown as the Knights clinched their first ever KLAA North title.

3. Kyle Bambard, Walled Lake Western Quarterback
Bambard did it all in Friday night's win over rival Walled Lake Central as the junior signal caller finished the game completing 10 of his 16 passes for 265 yards while rushing for nearly 100 yards on the day as the Warriors bested the Vikings for the second straight year.

2. Ian Eriksen, Clarkston Running Back
Eriksen was once again his dominant self on Friday night as ran around, through and over the Troy defense as Clarkston stayed unbeaten on the season. Eriksen finished with nearly 300 yards rushing on the night while finding the end zone on four different occasions for yet another dominant performance this year.

1. Brian Walker, Birmingham Brother Rice Running Back
Walker was a one-man wrecking crew on Saturday night as he helped lead the Warriors all of the way back from a 14-3 deficit to a 20-14 win in Catholic League play. Walker finished the night with nearly 200 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns as Brother Rice improved to 4-2.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week 7 Oakland County Football Picks

Last Week's Record: 8-4     Season Record: 63-21

Walled Lake Northern at Lakeland
Northern quarterback Collin O'Donnell is playing at an unbelievable level as of late, racking up over 1,500 total yards (rushing and passing) and 21 touchdowns (10 rush, 11 pass). With those types of numbers paired with an always improving defense, Northern may be in store for its first division title in school history.
Northern 35, Lakeland 31

Waterford Kettering at Waterford Mott
Waterford Mott might have the most underrated QB-WR tandem in Oakland county with Dakota Kupp and Justice Bolling who continue to show that they are capable of making the big plays, and with running back Alex Moorer, Mott should be looking at back-to-back wins over rival Kettering.
Mott 31, Kettering 21

Walled Lake Western at Walled Lake Central
Western still has its eyes set on winning the KLAA North title, and with a win over Central and a Lakeland win over Northern, the Warriors will have at least a share of the title with Lakeland. Junior quarterback Kyle Bambard and a ton of playmakers on offense should put Western at 4-1 in the KLAA this season.
Western 42, Central 31

Birmingham Seaholm at Bloomfield Hills Lahser
The Maples proved me wrong last week while showing that their defense is the real deal. Slowing down Lahser is no easy task with quarterback Spencer McCourt and running back Nate Emery, but the Seaholm defense should once again show that the Maples are serious contenders.
Seaholm 21, Lahser 14

Berkley at Hazel Park
Yes, Hazel Park was slowed a bit against Country Day last week, but that's going to happen to quite a few teams when the face the 'Jackets. But Hazel Parks offense is still one of the best that you'll find and they'll bounce back in a big way on Friday night.
Hazel Park 49, Berkley 38

Oak Park at Farmington Hills Harrison
Harrison has slipped up a bit over the course of the past few weeks, but the Hawks remain as one of the more dangerous teams that you're going to see. Oak Park remains the team to beat in the OAA White, but it should be cautious that this is a trap game.
Oak Park 21, Harrison 17

Southfield at Rochester Adams
There's no slowing down the Blue Jays right now after a blowout win over a very good Oxford team, and unfortunately for Adams, it just seems like what has been a long season will only get longer on Friday night.
Southfield 42, Adams 31

Novi Detroit Catholic Central at Birmingham Brother Rice
Catholic Central is always improving this season, but they will be facing off with a motivated Brother Rice squad. The Warriors just have too many weapons on offense to keep up with with Walker, Powell and Lacanaria and should eek out an overtime thriller.
Brother Rice 34, Catholic Central 28 in 2OT

Orchard Lake St. Mary's at Warren De La Salle
The Eaglets are a team on a mission this year and have the most impressive wins of the season so far coming over nationally ranked Cass Tech and Brother Rice, and it just looks as if De La Salle is simply in St. Mary's way.
OLSM 42, DLS 21

Troy at Clarkston
The Wolves have been about as good as it gets on both sides of the the football. Everyone knows how good the offense has been behind Ian Eriksen and D.J. Zezula, but the defense has been just as good this year with Chris Calvano and Co. and look for them to put together another solid performance on Friday night.
Clarkston 38, Troy 24

Clawson at Warren Lincoln
Clawson just might be the most underrated team you'll find because of its 3-3 record, but now that the toughest part of the schedule is out of the way, now the Trojans and make their push towards the playoffs.
Clawson 35, Lincoln 21

Farmington at North Farmington
There's no stopping Farmington this year, but North Farmington might be able to put a bit of a scare in the Falcons, but in the end, the Farmington defense will help clinch yet another playoff spot.
Farmington 28, North Farmington 17

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oakland County Football Rankings -- Flying High

1.Orchard Lake St. Mary’s
Many counted the Eaglets out after their season opening loss to Muskegon, considering that they have arguably the toughest schedule in the state. But in the past two weeks the Eaglets have knocked off two state powers in Cass Tech and Brother Rice in convincing. St. Mary’s has made a bit of a statement in the past two weeks and now they’re without a doubt the favorite to repeat as D-3 state champions.

2. (Tie) Clarkston
Aside from a minor bump in the road against Stoney Creek, the Wolves have been nearly unstoppable in 2012 and showed just that in last week’s throttling of Pontiac. With the offense firing on all cylinders, and the defense putting forth dominant performances all year long, the Wolves just might run the table in the regular season.

2. (Tie) Lake Orion
The Dragons, much like Clarkston, have looked almost unbeatable so far this year and there’s no reason to think that Lake Orion can’t finish the regular season unbeaten as well. The two teams are setting up for what will no doubt be a big time showdown at the end of the season.

3. Birmingham Brother Rice
The Warriors ran into the buzz saw that is Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on Saturday night, but make no mistake that the Warriors are still the team to beat in Division 2 this season. With running backs Brian Walker and Shon Powell, along with one of the most improved aerial attacks, the Warriors are still one of the top teams in the state.

4. Oak Park
The Knights have made winning look easy in the second year under coach Carter and have won in a number of different ways so far. The defense looks to be one of the best in the area, while the offense continues to ride the hot hand from week to week regardless of position.

5. Farmington
Farmington continues to prove a point week after week that they are for real, regardless of injuries on either side of the ball and once again came up with a win over Rochester Adams on Friday night. Aside from the loss to Oak Park, Farmington has been nearly perfect all season long.

6. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
The Shamrocks once again flexed their muscle against U-D Jesuit to set up for this Saturday’s showdown against Brother Rice on Saturday. Saturday and the following Saturday against St. Mary’s will prove to be the ultimate test for the Shamrocks down the stretch.

7. Birmingham Detroit Country Day
The Yellowjackets have been quietly dominant on both sides of the football this season. Offensively, there aren’t many teams that can match the type of firepower that Country Day has to offer, while their defense has kept some of the better offenses that you’ll find pretty quiet for the most part.

8. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
The Irish continue to impress behind an offense and a defense that may not be filled with stars, but are some of the deeper units you will find in Oakland County. Not many expected the Irish to be this dominant once again this season, but Notre Dame Prep is proving plenty of people wrong once again.

9. Birmingham Seaholm
The Maples made one of the more impressive statements of Friday night as they shut down a high powered Avondale offense and held the Yellow Jackets to just two points through three and a half quarters on the night. Seaholm has now put itself in the driver’s seat as the team to beat in the OAA Blue.

10. Southfield
The second half comeback win for the Blue Jays over Farmington Hills Harrison proved to be the turning point of the season as Southfield looked almost unstoppable in their huge blowout win over Oxford on Friday. With Tre Walton continuing to become more and more comfortable at his new quarterback position and more receivers stepping up, Southfield is going to put up some serious points in these next few weeks.