Monday, August 31, 2009

Week 2 Predictions Part I

Jefferson/Grosse Ile: Well the Red Devils have to be feeling pretty good about themselves after experiencing victory for the first time since 2006. I wonder if they know they haven't beaten this weeks opponent since 2002. I picked GI to finish last in the Huron League but there is no doubt that they are an improved team since last year. They are much more balance offensively this year and their defense appears to be capable of stopping people.

Jefferson was shutout in the 1st half at Tecumseh last week. The 2nd half was a completely different story. The Bears wound up the running game that has made Marc Cisco a living legend. Bryan McCullough was simply brilliant in running for 186 yards on 16 carries while scoring 3 touchdowns. That number of carries could potentially double as the season goes on.

In this game look for the Bears to wear down the home team as the game goes on. The Bears will be way to physical for the Red Devils. Dex Teen will find the running room scarce against the Jefferson defense. This game may be close for a half but look for Jefferson to pull away when they need to. Bears win 35-12.


Riverview/SMCC:
Riverview must still be smarting from last weeks 4th quarter collapse against Crestwood. I really thought that was a game the Bucs would win. I think we may have found out that Jeff Stergalas really has his work cut out for him this year. One thing that Riverview showed last week was the ability to move the ball on the ground, as well as, through the air.

SMCC must feel the same way after Detroit Crockett scored on the last play of the game against the Falcons to steal a victory in a classic high school football game. SMCC ran the ball 93% of the time last week and will probably do the same this week. Special teams produced a score last week on the opening kickoff for the Falcons but they were unable to kick an extra point.

Riverview was able to keep things close last year for a half against SMCC. I don't see that happening this week. The last time Riverview beat SMCC was in 2004 when the Bucs finished 11-1. That was the last time Riverview had a winning season. Look for Jack Giarmo to establish the running game as usual behind the physical pounding of fullback TJ Lovell. Chris LaBeau should be able to find some running room this week after being held to 3.6 yards per carry last week. SMCC wins 40-14.

Week 1 Thoughts

Well, week 1 is done and gone and teams are preparing for their fist league game. I think we learned a lot last week about each of the teams in the Huron League.

Grosse Ile did what they were expected to do and ended their 20 game losing streak. Dex Teen led the Red Devils as thought but it was a solid team effort all the way around.

Flat Rock was pounded by Ida. Joe Conner led the way for the Rams but found running room tough as the Ida defense focused on him all night. The Rams weak spot is their own defense and will that will probably plague them all season long.

Riverview disappointed many with their loss to a less than average Crestwood team. Stergalas clerly has his work cut out at Riverview and this season looks like it may be a struggle.

Milan's performance surprised many this past Friday with a good old fashioned butt whooping of Ypsi High. Either Milan is very good or Ypsi is very bad. It looks like Milan is very good.

Huron did what they were suppose to do. They dominated a poor team. Andrew Mayrand picked up where he left off and looks poised for another great season.

Jefferson looked rusty early on against Tecumseh but Cisco relied on his old friend "the running game". Bryan McCullough looks like he is good as billed after scoring 3 touchdowns.

Airport showed that they are a force to be reackoned with again in the Huron League. Daniel Jones and Jodeci Mays led the Jet offense which should have no problem putting up points this season.

SMCC lost a heart breaker on a last second play in the opener. When is this type of stuff going to stop happening against good teams? The good news is, the Falcons have a great team and will be battling for a league title.

Look for my predictions on week 2 games on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday Night Stars

There were are handful of stars in Friday night football action around the Huron League.

Here are a few of our high school stars:

Bryan McCullough from Jefferson had 186 yards and 3 touchdowns on 16 carries to lead the Bears second half charge over Tecumseh. The Bears won the game 21-8.

Joe Dunn from Milan surprised his coaches with a 250 yard performance on 17 carries. Dunn also scored 2 touchdown's in the Big Red's pummeling of Ypsilanti 49-12.

Jodeci Mays of Airport had 170 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries as he led the Jets to a 30-25 win over Bedford.

Dex Teen helped Grosse Ile snap it's 20 game losing streak by rushing for 149 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in the Red Devils 26-6 win over Detroit Western.

Andrew Mayrand of Huron only threw the ball 10 times in Friday nights 36-14 win over Erie Mason. He completed 5 of those and 3 of them went for touchdowns.

Daniel Jones of Airport rushed for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries. He also threw for 49 yards on 7 for 12 passing in Airport's win over Bedford.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Crockett Wins Thriller at Navarre

Thank you blog fans for encouraging me to go and see the SMCC/Crockett game tonight at the rained soaked Navarre Field.

This may have been one of the most entertaining high school games I have ever witnessed. SMCC opened the scoring by picking up where they left off last year on special teams. While running their tricky reverse kickoff play Mike Howey ran around the left side 85 yards and the Falcons took a 6-0 first quarter lead

The Falcons took a 12-0 lead midway through the 2nd quarter on a Chris LaBeau 3 yard plunge that capped a 85 yard drive. Crockett responded with a 58 yard drive of it's own in the quarter as QB Tony Lippett scored on a 4th and 1 QB sneak from 49 yards out to make the score 12-6 Falcons at the half. The Falcons dominated the first half time of possesion by having the ball on offense for 17:39. Much of the 1st half was played in monsoon type conditions that limited the Rockets spread offense.

The 2nd half started with Crockett taking their opening drive 75 yards in 1:46 culminating with a Lippett pass to WR James White making the score 12-12. SMCC roared right back and took an 18-12 lead with a 55 yard drive of their own. Andrew Lamour used his speed to get around the left side from 23 yards out. With the 2nd half completely free of rain, QB Lippett generated another long drive which resulted in a 40 yard TD pass to Ashton Gaines the 2 point conversion was good and Crockett took a 20-18 lead into the 4th quarter.

The 4th quarter started with the Rockets on their own 3 yard line and they put together their best drive of the night eating up half of the quarter while going 97 yards. Lippett threw another TD pass, this one from 12 yards out to White to take a 26-18 lead with 6:00 minutes to go. The Falcons ensuing possesion started at their own 17 yard line and they ran the ball down Crockett's throat and scored with 1:56 left on a 2 yard plunge by Lamour making the score 26-24 Crockett. SMCC's 2 point conversion try was good on a Mike Howey run. The score was made possible by a pancake block by Robbie Cardella on a would be Crockett defender.

This is where the game gets interesting. Crockett gets the ball back at their own 25 with 1:51 left. Lippett looks to pick up where he left off throwing the ball down the field. With 57 seconds left, SMCC conerback "John John" Qualey intercepts a Lippett pass and the Falcons are back in business at their own 39 yard line. The Falcons start immediately moving the ball down field en route to a possible game winning score. With 26 seconds left a Falcon ball carrier coughs up the football at the Rocket's 36 yard line. Enter Crockett QB Tony Lippett, it simply took the athletic senior 3 plays to go 41 yards down to the Falcon 23 yard line with 2 seconds to play. With one snap left before overtime, Lippett took the snap out of the shot gun and lofted a soft pass to sophomore James White who had gotten behind the Falcon defense again and caught his 3rd touchdown of the game. The Crockett team rushed the field and celebrated as 32-26 winners in a game for the ages.

Most of SMCC's offense came on the ground. The Falcons rushed for 273 yards on 59 carries. Chris LaBeau's 77 yards led SMCC in rushing as 6 players shared the carries. Crockett's Tony Lippett finished the game with some gaudy numbers. The senior was 15-21 for 351 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also had 4 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown. Rumor has it that Lippett skipped the half time speech of Coach Rod Oden and sold 12 popcorns and a slushy at the concession stand and did a halftime routine with the Crockett cheerleaders.

I stick by my prediction that this game would make SMCC a better team for the playoffs. This team was the best the Falcons will see in the regular season. With apologies to Andrew Mayrand from Huron, this is also the best QB the Falcons will see all year as well.

Game Summaries

Milan 49 Ypsi 12

Ypsi didn't record a first down until the 2nd quarter as Milan roared out to a 28-6 half time lead and never looked back. Five different Big Reds scored while Joey Dunn ran for 247 yards and two scores. DeAndre Mitchell scored on a kickoff return.

Huron 36 Erie Mason 14


Erie Mason scored first on a reverse pass in the 1st quarter but Huron scored 5 unanswered touchdowns in the 1st half to take a 36-7 lead. Erie Mason punched one in late in the game to make the final 36-14. Andrew Mayrand threw for 3 TD's and Caleb Tavtigian returned an interception for a touchdown.

Jefferson 21 Tecumseh 8


The Bears fell behind 8-0 at the half but turned up the offense in the 2nd to win a hard fought 21-8 victory. Bryan McCullough scored all 3 of the Bear touchdowns. The Jefferson defense did a great job in the 2nd half to allow the Bears to obtain a come from behind victory.

Ida 34 Flat Rock 13

Flat Rock drew first blood on a Joe Conner 41 yard touchdown run in the 1st quarter. Conner finished with 91 yards but the Rams were plagued by numerous mistakes the rest of the way and the Bluestreaks cruised to an easy victory.

Thanks to Eric P, Dan K, Kenny H, Steven P and OC for their contributions to tonight's game summaries

Huron League Scores

Here are tonight's Huron League Football scores:

Airport 30 Bedford 25

Crockett 32 SMCC 26

Milan 49 Ypsi 12

Huron 36 Erie Mason 14

Ida 34 Flat Rock 13

Grosse Ile 26 Detroit Western 6

Crestwood 22 Riverview 21

Jefferson 21 Tecumseh 8

Jets top Bedford 30-25

Airport was led by Jodeci Mays who carried the load for the Jets offense all night long. Mays had 29 carries for 180 yards and a touchdown. Mays also caught 3 passes for 13 yards and a first down. He had 6 carries of longer then 10 yards including 27 and 45 yarders on the drive that set up Airport's second touchdown.

Airport won the coin toss and Tyler Pluff gave the Jets great field position with a 70 yard kick return to the Bedford 27 yard line. Airport capped the short drive scoring on a Daniel Jones 10 yard pass to Dylan Close. Jones missed the XP and Airport led 6-0.

Bedford's first drive was impressive, but stalled deep in Airport territory after a holding call and a few nice pass deflections by the Jet secondary. Airport took possession and mounted a nice drive that came to an end with a lost fumble at the Mule 11 yard line.

Bedford couldn't get a first down and the Jets were back in business early in the 2nd Quarter. Mays broke runs of 11 and 27 yards to set up Daniel Jone's first scoring plunge from 6 yards out and the Jets lead swelled to 14-0 on Tyler Pluff's 2pt conversion run.

The Mules responded well and scored a TD in the last 2 minutes of the half on a 24 yard touchdown run, but missed the XP wide right. At the half Airport led 14-6.

To start the 2nd half Bedford had their best drive of the night, eating big chunks of yardage on the ground and scoring on 48 yard run. The conversion attempt failed again and Airport's lead shrunk to 2 points. The Jets proceeded to go three and out and punted Bedford into the lead. The Mule return man broke a bunch of tackles and took the punt 70 yards for the go ahead touchdown, and again missed the conversion attempt. Bedford led 18-14.

Airport responded right away with a nice ground game and Jodeci Mays put the Jet's ahead for good with an 11 yard touchdown run. Airport tacked on the XP for a 21-18 lead.

Bedford's next drive stalled quickly and the Jets marched down the field on the back of Jodeci Mays. The Jet drive ended at the Bedford 10 yard line and Bedford's first play on the ensuing drive was a botched play, resulting in a Jet safety. Airport led 23-18.

The free kick brought out the razzle dazzle as the Mule punter kicked the ball directly at an Airport player and the Mules recovered the bal. Trailing only 5 points, it felt like a great finale was on the way, but Airport stuffed the Mules and took the ball back. After a nice punt return by Tyler Baker, Daniel Jones scored from 24 yards out on a nice QB Draw play. Airport led 30-18.

Bedford added a score as time expired and managed to kick the XP through the upright for a morale booster, but the game ended with Airport leading 30-25.

Statistics

Final Score: Airport 30 - Bedford 25
1st Quarter: Airport 6 - Bedford 0
2nd Quarter: Airport 8 - Bedford 6
3rd Quarter: Airport 7 - Bedford 12
4th Quarter: Airport 9 - Bedford 7

Passing
Daniel Jones 7-14, 52 yds, 1 td
Tyler Baker 1-1, 10 yds

Rushing
Jodeci Mays 29-180 yds, 1 td
Daniel Jones 10-63 yds, 2 td
Tyler Pluff 3-30 yds
Derrick Williams 4-8 yds

Receiving
Jodeci Mays 3-13 yds
Tyler Baker 2-21 yds
Dylan Close 2-18 yds, 1 td
Daniel Jones 1-10 yds

Summary and Box Score Information written by Neil Szuch, Head Wrestling Coach - Summit Academy

Submit your picks!

If you have an opinion on the outcome of a game tonight, post it here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

JV Scores

These scores were given to me by some readers.

Erie Mason 28 Huron 20

Bedford 34 Airport 32

Flat Rock 40 Ida 6

Tecumseh 48 Jefferson 6


Milan 28 Ypsi 14

Riverview 20 Crestwood 6

Grosse Ile 37 Gabriel Richard 0



Thanks for contributing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Still looking for help!

I only have five of the games covered for Friday night. I still need someone willing to give me info on the GI, Riverview, and Jefferson games. I'm not asking anyone to write a Pulitzer. I'm just looking for a final score, who scored, some stats and maybe a quick synopsis of the game. I can write the summary myself. I am hoping to have the summaries on the blog by midnight on Friday. Please email me if you are interested. Thanks people! We once again have had over 600 visitors today.

huronleaguefootball@gmail.com

Week 1 Predictions

Grosse Ile/Detroit Western: This is a battle between two teams that currently have 20 game winless streaks. GI looks like they might be a better team this year. Western will continue to struggle in the PSL. The streak is over.......Uh Uh oh Grosse Ile wins! 34-14.

Flat Rock/Ida: Its nice to see these two teams playing again. They have taken a hiatus for 3 years. The Rams think they have a pretty good team. Ida returns 15 seniors. Look for some home cooking in Monroe County. Ida wins 26-19.

Riverview/Crestwood: The Pirate faithful have been waiting for this moment a long time. Jeff Stergalas is finally home and Crestwood will be his teams first victim. Riverview wins 28-13.

Milan/Ypsilanti: Milan has a lot of question marks entering the season. They will find out a lot about themselves against the Braves on Friday night. Ypsi wins 26-21.

Huron/Erie Mason: The Chiefs dropped the JV team it has played the last two years in the opener. It won't matter, Huron scores early and often against the Eagles Huron in a rout 42-13.

Jefferson/Tecumseh: This is a tough opener for the Bears. If they can pull off a win it could set the tone for the season. Unfortunately so could a loss. Tecumseh wins 20-14.

Airport/Bedford: Bedford is still smarting from last years 3 touchdown loss. This should be a great game and could go either way. Airport wins a thriller 35-34.

SMCC/Crockett: This looks like a tough matchup for the Falcons. A loss won't hurt them and a win could really give them confidence. This game will prepare them for a long playoff run. Crockett wins 18-14.

SMCC 2009 Huron League Champs

We have spent the last week working our way from bottom to top in an effort to predict who would win the Huron League. I have been cheered, jeered, booed and praised. None of it really matters including my predictions because high school football doesn't start until Friday night. This blog along with these predictions were just one fan's effort to add to what is one of the greatest times of the year.

SMCC has been a power in the Huron League for the better part of the last 22 years winning 8 Huron League title. Prior to that the school was known as Monroe Catholic Central and the Falcons won 10 league titles in a span of 20 years. No team even comes close to matching the dominance that the Catholics from Monroe have shown.

This years team has been chosen to win the league because they have every thing it takes to win the Huron League. I don't know if they have what it takes to win a state title because I don't know if SMCC has been working on the passing game.

SMCC returns a host of veteran players including 8 juniors who started at one time or another on varsity last year as sophomores. The Falcons have only 13 seniors but will rely on most of them in order to achieve football glory this fall.

Offensively the Falcons will run the ball right at you, although they will use some deception. As many as 5 or 6 backs could carry the load on any given Friday. Fullback TJ Lovell is perhaps the best player in the league. His bruising and determined running style make the Falcons physical. When you focus too much on Lovell, they will hit you with their speed.

Defensively, the Falcons will be led by Lovell at LB, Nick Wilson at DE and Mike Pannone who was an all-league defensive back as a sophomore. Scoring on the Falcons will be tough to do on the ground and teams may have better luck throwing on them instead.

I would be doing a disservice if I didn't mention the coaching at SMCC. Jack Giarmo has been an excellent coach since he took over in 1998. He has gone an impressive 83-39 since taking the position while winning two league titles. Perhaps the most impressive part of Giarmo's tenure has been the special teams play. Year in and year out the Falcons have had an advantage in field position because of their special teams. Last year alone Martellis Simon scored 6 times on returns.

Look for SMCC to finish the league season undefeated at 7-0. I do believe they will be challenged by Airport who skunked the Falcons 21-0 last year. Jefferson has won 2 in a row against their rivals and may have something to say about an undefeated league season. Riveview played SMCC tough last year and Jeff Stergalas should be able to match wits with Giarmo. A game that intrigues me is on September 18th when Huron host the Falcons. Huron will not be able to stop SMCC's ground game but will the Falcons be able to stop the Chiefs?

I see SMCC finishing 8-1 overall this season. I think that loss will come opening night against a Detroit Crockett team that has an excellent run defense and will be able to match the Falcon speed. The Rockets were playoff qualifiers last year and lost to state finalist Detroit Country Day 17-7 in the opening round of the playoffs.

2nd Place Huron League Finish

Well I am down to two teams and I probably need to pick somebody to win this darn thing. Both Airport and SMCC have competed for the league title virtually every year this millennium. SMCC is rich in it's football tradition and Airport has an excellent overall athletic program.

Airport finished last season at 7-3 and finished in a 1st place tie with Milan for the league title at 6-1. Airport was hit pretty hard with graduation but return 22 seniors to the gridiron this fall.

Offensively the Jets will put up points and will center their offense around their QB Daniel Jones and RB Jodeci Mays. The speed that these two possess will really put pressure on opposing team's defenses. Look for Jones to throw enough to keep league foes off balance in order to set up the running game.

Defense has always been a strength under veteran coach Eric Redmond. Airport recorded three shutouts last year. The Jets pride themselves on playing good defense and this year will be no different. Michael Graves and Drew Nava are excellent linebackers who will give opposing offenses fits.

While Airport will be defending their league title this year and should have an excellent team, I can't help but think that SMCC is just a little bit better. Look for Airport to finish 6-1 in the league and 7-2 overall.

Sports Fans

Because this blog was started by a fan of the Huron League. I feel it is important to let everyone know of other entities that promote the Huron League. I ran across a website devoted to sports in the Downriver Area. The site was just started in July and covers virtually every sport that the Downriver schools offer.

My blog doesn't allow me to provide a direct link to the website but feel free to copy and paste it. It will be worth the visit. If you get a chance let those folks know how you found them.

http://www.allsportsdownriver.com/

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

3rd Place Huron League

We are working our way toward the top here in our Huron League predictions. Only around 72 hours until High School football starts here in 2009.

Marc Cisco has had many great teams during his tenure at Jefferson. The Bears always seem to have size but this year will be a little different. Jefferson won't have outstanding size but you can count on them being quick and physical.

Offensively, they may have their best QB in years in senior Mike Oley. Throw in a bruising fullback in Bryan McCullough and the Bears could be better offensively this year. This won't be air Cisco by any stretch but the Bear running game can be tougher to stop when they have a QB who can throw.

Defensively, the Bears must play like they did at times last year. This teams fortunes may lie in their ability to stop their opponents. If they can be opportunistic and force some turnovers, the Bears could surprise many in the league this year.

The Bears always play Airport and SMCC tough. They have beaten the Falcons in back to back seasons so they could have a shot at the league title if they can avoid a slip up against another team in the league. I see that slip coming against a team like Riverview but I can see them potentially knocking off SMCC again. Look for the Bears to go 4-3 in the league and 5-4 overall.

Writers?

If your an aspiring writer or just a Huron League fan and would like to contribute to the blog, please send me an email. We have over 600 visitors a day and would love to include more content. I can only attend one game on Fridays and would love to be able to offer first hand summaries of each weeks games.

Email: huronleaguefootball@gmail.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

4th Place Huron League Finish

With speculation that I would be having the Huron Chiefs predicted for a top 4 finish in the Huron League people having been giving me reasons why I couldn't possibly have them slated there. Well, I do and I will tell you why.

Offensively the Chiefs have the best QB in the league and probably the Monroe County region. They have a 6'5" senior wide receiver who was 1st team All Huron League last year. They have 4 starters back on the offensive line. They have a nice 1-2 punch at running back in Tyler Weclowski and Sterling Wilson. The Chiefs will score points against everybody.

Defense is a different story and probably the main reason I have the Chiefs picked 4th in the league. While their offense set a school record for points last season the defense gave up 29 PPG in the league and that includes a shutout of Riverview. The Chiefs return some talent on "D" and are going to have to stop people if Huron plans on having their first winning season in 30 years.

While Huron will be fun to watch and a 4th place finish would be their best in years, I see them finishing in a 3-way tie with Riverview and Milan at 3-4 for 4th place. Huron should win their two non-league games and finish with a very respectable 5-4 overall record.

So while I have the Chiefs picked for a 4th place finish, technically I don't have them as a top 4 finisher.

5th Place Huron League Finish

We haven't created too much of a ruckus with my picks so far but we still have a long way to go. By the way, only 5 days until high school football in Michigan gets started including the Huron League.

Milan is coming off an excellent season which saw them go 6-1 in the Huron League and 8-2 overall. The Big Reds have an excellent program and tremendous depth which has been developed over the years by Steve Robb. It is hard to imagine that Milan can maintain the success they have had recently and I see them struggling a bit this year because they have to replace so many talented players.

Offensively look for Milan to run a pro style offense with a focus on both the run and the pass until they find out where their strengths lie. I would anticipate the Big Reds to run the ball more as the season moves along in an effort to wear down their opponents late in the game. Milan's strengths have always been speed and depth. Look for that to continue to be the case this year.

The Big Reds will be forced to rely on their defense early on while the offense develops. Thom Box will be a monster in the middle of the defensive line along with Ryan Hasten. Look for Chris LaBelle to be a standout LB for Milan.

Milan had some average years from 2001 to 2004 and I would look for this to be an average year for Steve Robb's team. Most every team in the league is improved from a year ago and I don't see that from Milan. Look for them to finish tied with Riverview at 3-4 in the league and 4-5 overall.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Game of the Week

Looks like I will probably be heading down to Navarre Field to see the Falcons battle Detroit Crockett. Crockett usually has talent that ends up playing college ball. Should be a fun game to watch. SMCC should find out where they stand real quick.

Help!

I'm trying to figure out which Huron League game I should go to this week. Please give me a few suggestions and why. I will be straight forward with everyone. I am not going to the GI/Western game. At this point I am leaning toward Airport/Bedford or SMCC/Crockett.

6th Place League Finish

Things are getting tougher here but anyway I slice it I come up with this order. I know I am going to start getting some slack from people. Please pay close attention to the wins and losses.

Riverview had pretty much experienced football heaven in its first 25 years or so in the Huron League. The last couple seasons have probably been the equivalent of hell for the Pirate faithful. Last years team set a season record for points given up in a season and the Bucs had one of their worst records ever.

A season later Riverview fans are excited about the upcoming season. Mostly because of one man, Jeff Stergalas. Stergalas is everything they are looking for at Riverview; a veteran coach, winning record, discipline, a state championship and home grown. Many in the community think it's just a matter of time before they are back on top.

Offensively look for the Pirates to leave the single wing offense and become more diverse under Stergalas. Look for veterans Andrew White and Mike Tarbutton to provide much of the offense for Riverview this year. On the defensive side of the ball the Pirates will go back to the old school and become a much more physical team. Look for Dennis Brannon and Brad Bosman to lead the way for a defense that gave up 321 points last year.

The biggest thing that will impact Riverview football this year is Stergalas. High School football success requires good coaching and Riverview has that once again. Look for the Pirates to make an improvement this season and go 3-4 in the league and 5-4 overall.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

League Forecast 7th Place

This prediction thing is a little tougher than I thought it was going to be. There are just so many different variables involved. Stergalas, the new coach at Riverview changes the whole landscape of the league. In general, I think most teams in the league will be improved from a year ago with the exception of a couple of teams.

Joe Pruchnicki has turned things around at Flat Rock since his arrival 3 seasons ago. Pruchnicki does an excellent job with what he has and one could only wonder what he could do at a large football school. The Rams have gone a respectable 9-9 the last two seasons. This years team appears to be a little better on paper but finishing where they did last year might not happen. Depth continues to plague the Rams program and that could hurt them late in the season.

The Rams have better size than a season ago and return much of their line. Joe Conner is probably the best Rams RB since Casey Steffen who went on and played at Northwood University. Throw in a 3 year starter at QB in Dan Chickeral and the Rams could score more than the recent past.

Defensively is where the Rams will struggle. Since Pruchnicki arrived the Rams have focused on stopping people. Last year they lacked depth at LB and this year will be no different. The Rams should find themselves in quite a few games. I'm just not sure if they can find a way to win as many as they like.

Flat Rock needs to win that first game of the season against Ida to get off to a good start. If that happens their fortunes may change from what I foresee. Look for Flat Rock to go 2-5 in the Huron League and finish 3-6 overall.

Friday, August 21, 2009

League Forecast 8th Place

Well, you have to start somewhere and work your way up from there. So I will start with 8th place.

Grosse Ile opens the season with a 20 game losing streak. The good news is they open with Detroit Western who matches their 20 loss streak. Something has to give and it will be in the Red Devils favor. GI returns a load of veteran players including 1st Team All Huron League RB Dex Teen. Teen is extremely fast and will be tough to catch once he gets into the open field. The Islanders have some solid returnees on the offensive line in John Korody and Steve Berlinski. A sophomore QB could have some growing pains early in the season.

Stopping people may be another story for GI. They gave up nearly 42 points a game last year. They will have to improve on that if they plan on winning a few games. While the Devils will open with a victory they may not see another the rest of the season. I think it will be hard for them to win a game in the league this year. Huron and Flat Rock walloped them last year and appear to be a little better this year. Cross river rival Riverview appears headed to greener pastures so that will be a tougher game than the recent past. I see a win over Ida late in the season and the Red Devils finish 0-7 in the league and 2-7 overall.

Prediction Time

I figured it was about time I consider throwing together my picks for the Huron League season. I've tried to do my research and will begin with 8th place and work my way forward to the team I think will win the league. Please remember I have to pick somebody for 1st place and somebody for last. If you disagree with me, let me know why and be prepared to back it up. I will make sure your comments are posted.

Thursdays Scrimmages

If you attended a scrimmage yesterday please let us know your thoughts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Huron Scrimmage

With rain dominating the great white north for the next two days. The family and I headed back to civilization in time for me to catch the Huron Chief scrimmage in New Boston earlier this evening.

The Chiefs were hosting Plymouth Salem, Belleville and Melvindale. Salem and Belleville haven't exactly lit the world on fire the last few years on the gridiron but they are considerably bigger schools than Huron. Melvindale is more Huron's size and is probably in a place where Huron would like to be.

Huron showed all three teams that they will have an extremely potent offense this year. The Chiefs have an extremely big offensive line. Andrew Mayrand looked brilliant at times. He threw the ball accurately all night long. Dave Stockert caught virtually every ball thrown his way. Tyler Weclowski showed a rugged running style and Sterling Wilson scored nearly every time he touched the ball.

Defensively the Chiefs struggled, which may not be a surprise since the other three teams liked to spread it out and throw the ball. Huron will not see much of that in Huron League play. With that said, offense fills the seats but defense wins championships. The Chiefs have enough offensive talent to make the playoffs but they will have to stop people if they plan on actually being there.

On a side note: Huron's field looked tore up. Almost like a mud pit. They may want to give that field some TLC soon or they may hold back their own offense.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Scrimmage Focus

Every team in the Huron League will be scrimmaging tomorrow and each of the coaches will be focusing on something. Here on my thoughts on each team.

Milan will need to see how their revamped offensive and defensive lines play in their scrimmage up at Farmington. The Big Reds also need to see who emerges as the QB a week before the first game.

SMCC doesn't have many holes to fill. This will be a good chance for Coach Giarmo to see how the off season weight program has strengthened his youngsters. A bigger stronger team only improves the Falcons chance for a trip to Ford Field.

Flat Rock travels to Marysville and will be looking to improve their timing. The Rams offense is basic and depends on everything being in sync. The Rams may throw the ball a bit in the scrimmage to see where their passing game stands.

Huron hosts their scrimmage and will focus on the running game as they look to take some pressure off of Andrew Mayrand this year. The Chiefs will also focus on defense as that will be the key to a successful season.

Riverview is at home and everything is new for the Pirates. Coach Stergalas will be interested in how the kids are picking up his system. They will also pay close attention to the abilities of their sophomore quarterback.

Grosse Ile needs to find someone other than Dex Teen to provide the Red Devils with some offense. If teams can focus on Teen alone it may be another long season.

Jefferson will probably focus on what they do best, running the ball. The Bears had problems scoring last year at times so they may look to throw it around a bit to see where their at.

Airport will probably do much of the same; work on the running game and pass it enough to see where they stand. Coach Redmond believes in defense and should have a good idea about the "D" after tomorrow's scrimmage.


Stayed tuned for my picks on the Huron League race this year. Those should be coming this weekend.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Great White North

Ok, it isn't white up here but I am up north for the week. Staying in a small cottage just feet from Grand Traverse Bay in Northport is awesome. I'm about a half hour from Traverse City and managed to take in some football today. I made it a point to see the Gladiators from Traverse City St. Francis practice. I have one word people "wow". Their practice was something to behold; organization, purpose and enthusiasm. The Bullough kid is an absolute stud. I am very happy he is headed to East Lansing next year. It also looks like St Francis will be headed to Ford Field again this year.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Family Name

Over the years, SMCC has produced many fine athletic families. There seems to be a never ending line of familiar names than have worn the Falcon green and gold. Every year I look at their roster and it is a whose who of Catholic Central fame.

This year is no different but one name stands out to me and that is the name LaBeau. Chris LaBeau is another in a long line of great CC footballers. He follows in the footsteps of his late father, Fred who played at Western Michigan. His uncle Jim played at Holy Cross in Massachusetts. Another uncle, Tom was a Hall of Famer at Dayton. Yet another uncle, Ron led the state of Michigan in rushing and touchdown’s his senior year. He went on to sign with the University of Michigan before an injury his sophomore year in Ann Arbor ended his football career.

I don’t think anyone expects Chris to be the player that his relatives were at CC but I don’t think it is a coincidence that LaBeau was the QB of a Falcon team last year that resembled a JV team yet was only one game away from Ford Field. LaBeau will most likely switch over to running back this year and don’t be surprised if he helps lead his Falcon teammates to a Ford Field appearance.

Huron League Quarterbacks

We have already talked about the running backs in the league. Now it is time to focus on the quarterbacks. This should be a good year for the position with quite a few successful QB's returning.

Daniel Jones, Airport

Daniel Jones returns as the signal caller for the Jets. The three sport athlete was a dual threat last year and should be equally as lethal this year. Look for him to throw the ball 10-12 times a game as Coach Redmond looks to keep teams honest against the run. Jones' completion percentage was right around 44% but he managed to throw for almost 600 yards in an offense where they run 85% of the time.

Mike Oley, Jefferson

Mike Oley may be the best QB that Jefferson has had in quite some time. Oley is a 6-4 athlete who can fling the ball when called upon and could emerge as a real weapon to go with FB Bryan McCullough. Look for him to throw the ball more than the 79 times that he did last year and to surpass his 489 passing yards.

Andrew Mayrand, Huron

Andrew Mayrand is perhaps the best QB in Huron history. His completion percentage was an impressive 63% and he threw for over 1,700 yards. As mentioned in a previous blog, look for his passing numbers to drop slightly as the Chiefs focus on running the ball a little bit more this fall.

Others to watch:

Dan Chickeral is entering his 3rd season as the starter for Flat Rock.

Michael Howey will probably make the full time switch back to QB for SMCC this year.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scrimmages

Here is a listing I have on the upcoming league scrimmages.

Airport @ Wyandotte Thursday August 20, 2009 6:00 PM

Flat Rock @ Marysville Thursday August 20, 2009 6:00 PM

Jefferson @ Chelsea Thursday August 20, 2009 6:30 PM

Riverview @ Riverview Thursday August 20, 2009 6:00 PM

Huron @ Huron Thursday August 20, 2009 6:30 PM

SMCC @ Gibraltar Carlson Thursday August 20, 2009 6:30 PM

Grosse Ile @ Erie Mason Thursday August 20, 2009 6:00 PM

Milan @ Farmington Thursday August 20, 2009 6:00 PM

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Unsung Team

Marc Cisco has had many great teams while at Monroe Jefferson. His teams have won 7 Huron League Championships and qualified for the playoffs 9 times. Perhaps his best team other than his 1994 State Championship team was a team that never got a chance to play in the State Playoffs.

The 1983 Jefferson Bears won the Huron League and finished the season a perfect 9-0 record. Back then only two teams from each region made the playoffs. The Bears were 3rd in their region and missed the playoffs by the slimmest of margins. It was too bad, many thought the Bears were capable of winning it all. The Bears had an excellent defense led by junior Mike Williams and the offense was led by a punishing running game. The thing that separated this team from many other Bear teams was a the QB/TE combination of Mike Dick and Todd Miletti. Even though the Bears threw the ball less than 10 times a game there was a good chance this combo would hook up numerous times. Miletti ended the season with 576 receiving yards and that Bear season record still stands.

The Bears only had 3 close games that year. A 19-16 affair with rival Monroe Catholic Central, a 19-14 squeeker over an excellent Grosse Ile team and an overtime thriller against an upstart Flat Rock team 20-13. The Bears deserved a shot to be in the playoffs that year and I'm sure Cisco sometimes wonders what may have been if they had been given the opportunity.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Last Year's All Leaguers

There are a handful of players who earned all league honors last year who are returning to play again this year. Keep these players on your radar for the upcoming season.

Offense

RB Dex Teen Grosse Ile
SE Dave Stockert Huron
FB TJ Lovell SMCC
QB Andrew Mayrand Huron
C Nathan Collins SMCC
G Kyle Burkhardt SMCC
T Thom Box Milan
T Sherwood Harris Huron
TE Dylan Close Airport
QB Chris LaBeau SMCC
QB Daniel Jones Airport


Defense

DT Brad Bosman Riverview
DB Mike Panonne SMCC
DT Dustin Morrison Airport
LB Tyler Weclowski Huron
LB Drew Nava Airport
DB Tyler Pluff Airport
DT Phil Vroman Flat Rock
DE Nick Wilson SMCC
DB Caleb Tavtigian Huron

These players were voted to the all league teams by the league coaches last year.

FYI

I am hoping to put the scrimmage info out over the weekend but I don't have all the information on every team. Please help out and leave scrimmage info if you have it. Click on my profile and send me an email if you would please.

Look for a new posting later on this afternoon probably after 4pm. Didn't have time to finish things up at lunch. Busy day in the trenches at my day job.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Huron League Coaches

One of the reasons I think the Huron League is such a good football conference is because of it's coaches. Good coaching in high school football is a must if you want to have a good football program. Let's look closely at the Huron League in that regard. I think it is safe to say that the top four teams in the league are Airport, Jefferson, SMCC and Milan in no particular order. These schools have hard working experienced coaches who know what it takes to win. At this point they have put more time into their programs than the other coaches in the league and that experience shows a majority of the time.

Marc Cisco has been coaching at Jefferson since basically the beginning of time. Actually he has been coaching 43 seasons coming into this one. Cisco was a less than stellar 31-54-3 in his first 10 seasons. Since that time he has had only 8 losing seasons in 32 years and his record includes a 1994 State Championship. Whether you like Cisco's offensive system or not the guys wins games consistently.

Jack Giarmo has been an outstanding coach for SMCC since he took over in the late 90's. Giarmo's first season was a woeful 1-8 but since then the Falcons have been a state power in their division. Once again Giarmo plays a system that isn't flashy but it produces results. SMCC is easily the smallest school in the league but nobody ever looks forward to playing them. I can't help but think that Giarmo will win a State Championship in the near future.

When Eric Redmond arrived at Airport in 1996 did anybody really expect him to turn the Jet program around? The Jets had only had 5 winning season in the previous 40 years. Redmond took his lumps early on going 3-6 in his first two seasons. From then on Airport has basically been a team to be reckoned with in the Huron League. Some will argue that Airport is bigger than every other school in the league but why didn't they win prior to that. Redmond is an experienced coach who constantly puts the time in to make sure his team is the absolute best that they can be.

Steve Robb has been coaching at Milan the past 24 seasons. He has had great seasons, mediocre seasons and a few bad ones. He has built a program in which he puts his trust in his seniors to provide leadership both during the season and during the off-season in which his seniors basically run the weight room program. He constantly has 45 -50 kids on the team and has been a master of the two-platoon system. His teams are always ready to play and are never an easy "W" for anyone.

The other coaches are at different points in their careers when it comes to their respective schools. You have a couple of youngsters trying to build programs and you have a couple of seasoned veterans.

Joe Pruchnicki has been coaching about as long as anyone in the State of Michigan and has had numerous head coaching stops. He has taken a few schools to the playoffs and was a nice find for the Rams when they hired him 4 years ago. It's hard to imagine that someone has a smaller playbook than Marc Cisco, Pruchnicki simply writes the plays on his fingers. Pruchnicki has brought some great experience to Flat Rock and it has resulted in a much more competitive program that has gone 9-9 the past two seasons.

Jeff Stergalas takes over this season at Riverview. Stergalas himself is a product of what many call the "Cradle of Coaches" at Riverview. Stergalas is known for the great success he had at Fordson High School in Dearborn which included a State Championship with the Tractors. It will probably take some time before the Pirates challenge for a league title but the numbers are already up at Riverview and a winning season is probably right around the corner.

Many thought Rick Dorn was crazy when he hired Dan Kalbfleish over at New Boston Huron. The kid was fresh out of college and was a meager 22 years old. Kalbfleish hasn't lit the world on fire record wise since he arrived but who would against this Huron League schedule. He has changed the entire culture at Huron when it comes to football. Last year's 4-5 record was their best since 1978 and the Chiefs scored a school record for points. Kalbfleish is a tireless worker who has all of his kids in the program lifting weights year round. Look for Kalbfleish to be around as long as a Cisco and look for him to start winning. He is doing everything right and just may need a bit more experience in this excellent coaches league.

Many believe that success may not be an option for John Bodner over at Grosse Ile. The Red Devils have had success over the years but many of their athletes flock to the upteen other sports they offer on the island. This should undoubtedly be Bodner's best team he has had but how does a young coach with limited experience be successful in this gauntlet of great coaches? Bodner doubles as the track coach on the island and has been able to get his athletes to run track and play football. If he can establish some depth the wins will eventually come.

We really do have some excellent coaches in this league and a well played brand of football. I think the two go hand in hand. Only a few short weeeks until the first games of the season. I look forward to watching these coaches match wits.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wow

Looks like this blog may be here to stay. We have had over 500 hits in our first 2-3 days. That includes fifteen different states and four countries. One hit came all the way from Turkey. Anyway, if this thing is really going to work I need some input from people. Please feel free to email me with your suggestions. If you want to comment on things you can do do anonymously if you like. I do review all comments, so I won't allow any bashing of teams, players or coaches. I certainly am open to criticism if you disagree with something. So come on people, tell your friends and neighbors who are Huron League fans and we will have some fun with this thing.

Junior Running Backs

This year in the Huron League it looks as if some teams will rely on some junior running backs to lead the way. I will focus on four of them today and all saw significant playing time on the varsity last year.

Leo Pittman, Milan

Pittman is looking like he could be the next great back that Steve Robb has produced at Milan. While the Big Reds have some major holes to fill Pittman will give them a back with both size and speed who will be durable enough to handle a boat load of carries. If Pittman can use his speed to score touchdowns Milan will once again finish in the upper echelon of the league.

Jodeci Mays, Airport

Mays is a smaller back with excellent speed that ran for almost 600 yards last season. Look for him to team up with QB Daniel Jones to provide a potent offensive attack for the Jets once again this season. Mays may not be durable enough to carry the ball 20 times a game but expect him to go over the 1,000 yard mark this season.

Bryan McCullough, Jefferson

This hard running bruiser reminds many of Bear legend Adam Servey. He averaged a workman like 3.6 yards per carry last year. He only carried the ball 79 times but look for that number to triple this year. Look for the Bears to use him to wear down the opponents defense. If Marc Cisco uses Mike Oley to throw the ball down field a bit this year McCullough could find himself doubling that yard per carry number.

Sterling Wilson, Huron

Wilson was the Chiefs leading rusher last year as a sophomore with 345 yards. Look for him to share the ball carrying duties this year with Tyler Weclowski who carried the ball a majority of the time late in the season. Wilson has blazing football speed but durability may be a problem as he likes to hit on the defensive side of the ball from his corner position.

Those four running backs should provide some excitement this fall with even more expected from them down the road as seniors.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Senior Running Backs

The league should have a host of running backs represented by most teams capable of putting up big numbers this year. My focus tonight will be on three seniors who all happen to excel at track.

Dex Teen, Grosse Ile

The senior 100 meter sprint champ and 1st Team All Huron League RB has been one of the few bright spots for the Red Devils during their 20 game losing streak. He is a durable back who is capable of running between the tackles but thrives on the edge and in the open field. The Red Devils will need a great year from Teen if they plan on avoiding another winless season in the league.

T.J. Lovell, SMCC

It's hard to imagine that anybody represents the tradition of SMCC football better than Lovell. The bruising 190lb FB is a workhorse in the weight room and on the field. Lovell scored 16 TD's last year while splitting the carries with rest of the backs. Look for him to carry the ball a little bit more this year with the graduation of Martellis Simon. Lovell was a state qualifier this past spring for the Falcon track team as part of their 4x100M relay team.

Joe Conner, Flat Rock

Who is Joe Conner, you ask? I guarantee the league coaches know who he is. He averaged a healthy 9 yards per carry last year in route to 580 yards as the second back for the Rams last year. The slick and speedy back has a knack for finding the open field. The Rams will be banking their hopes on Conner this season and league coaches game plans will involve stopping him. Conner was also a state qualifier this past spring in the high jump for the Rams.

FYI

Just wanted to float some info for people interested in following the blog here. It is a work in progress and I will be tweaking things including the layout when I have the time. I'm not currently happy with how the site looks but I'm sure most people are more interested in the content than anything.

Please feel free to make comments or to email me if you like. I am open to any suggestions that you may have. I would like to add team websites but it is looking like most schools don't have one. It would be quite a bit of work for me to add teams pages on my own. I would rather just add a link. I will create team pages myself if the interest is there and if people can provide me rosters and schedules.

I'm not looking to make this a job, just a place where Huron League football fans can get some thoughts and insight about the teams, games and season. If you have a schedule for your teams scrimmage please email me. I will throw it in my blog when I have every teams info.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Big Questions

Today was a heck of a day to have the first day of practice this football season. The heat was sweltering and the humidity was high. With that said, I'm sure most of the players and coaches were fired up.

There are some questions looming in my head that have had me thinking. I thought I would throw them out there.

Will Stergalas make an immediate impact at Riverview?

I think most people would say that he will have a positive impact. I'm just not sure how immediate it will be. The veteran coach certainly knows what he is doing and will undoubtedly return the Pirates back to their offensive and defensive roots. The problem is the Pirates lack the type of talent needed to compete right now in the Huron League. Give Stergalas a few years to bring excitement back to Riverview football and put the Bucs back atop the Huron League.

Will SMCC be able to replace Martellis Simon?

Many people have the Falcons picked to win the league this year. They return loads of talent, have a great tradition and have an excellent coach. The Falcons must find a way to replace Simon's knack for big plays and scoring touchdowns. The Falcons rely on balance but Simon scored 17 times last year including 6 on returns. If Giarmo can find a way to replace Simon the Falcons could win the league and make a deep playoff run that may take them to Ford Field.

Is Huron's Andrew Mayrand the real deal?

The Chief signal caller received 2nd team Huron League honors last year along with 1st team Monroe County while throwing for over 1,700 yards last year. The Chiefs return their top receiver in Dave Stockert but Mayrand will miss the acrobatic Blake Claiborne who graduated. Claiborne was constantly double teamed and made Mayrand mistakes disappear with his habit of catching the ball no matter where it was thrown. Mayrand is an excellent QB but look for his numbers to drop this year as Huron tries to establish a run game behind the abilities of Tyler Weclowski and Sterling Wilson.

Well that is enough thoughts for today. Look for more questions to be thrown out there this week.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Practice Start Tomorrow

Hey everyone! This my initial blog for Huron League Football. Practice starts tomorrow and everyone has high hopes. This blog will try and provide as much insight as possible into Huron League football. It will include team previews, predictions, game summaries and league stat leaders. I will occasionally throw in a non-controversial opinion in there every once in a while.

Please feel free to offer any insight on what you would like to see in the blog. I will probably need help gathering info but I am hoping the coaches and AD's will cooperate with me on a weekly basis.

If you have any info on upcoming scrimmages please feel free to email me the info. It should be a great season.