Here we go again!  Week Four has descended upon us with the muster and gusto of a pre diet Hondo getting his hands on a hotdog.  We are at the point now where the serious contenders are separating themselves from the serious pretenders.  Of course, there are some huge games left for most of the teams, but players and coaches are comfortable with each other and know what to expect.  This kind of familiarity allows the head honchos to open up the playbook a bit more and go for the jugular…when needed.  The slate of action this week includes two very good eight man football teams traveling across U.S. Route 2 for battle of Yoopers.  Let’s move onto the good stuff, alright?

 

Mid-Michigan

Morley-Stanwood (3-0) at Reed City (3-0) (Friday September 16, 7pm)

This is a game I contemplated putting in three different regions.  In the end, I put it in Mid-Michigan because I found other games for the other areas.  So…technically not mid-Michigan, but it will be fine this one time, right?  Quarterback Travis Zajkowski played a nice game last week and although his passing completions didn’t jump off the page (eight of 18), he did gain 239 yards and a toss a touchdown to complete the night.  Tyler Hanks ran the ball 11 times for 78 yards and caught five balls for 146 yards.  On defense, he intercepted a ball to help his squad.  Adam Wheeler caught two passes for 76 yards and scored a rushing touchdown.  This is a very good team who hasn’t lost a regular season game since the 2008 season. 

Reed City beat up on Holton last week.  They won 54-14.  It was much closer than that though.  At one point in the third quarter, Reed City led 14-8, but it started to get out of hand after that when the Coyotes exploded for a 28 point third quarter in the span of two and a half minutes.  They will need all the points they can get against a very good and very tough Mohawk squad.

 

North

Cedarville (3-0) at Engadine (3-0) (Saturday September 17, 7pm) (8 Man Football)

This is the first game this season that I’ve profiled in the land of eight man football.  I’m sad to say that I’ve never been to an eight man football game, but I’m hoping to rectify that soon.  Maybe even this weekend I’ll head out to catch a game live.  Cedarville, who co-ops their football team with DeTour, played in DeTour.  That was the first game in that town since 2004.  Interestingly enough, the only man on varsity who calls DeTour his home town, helped lead his team to victory.  Kaden Barbeaux led the team with 164 rushing yards on 20 carries and scored one touchdown on a 28 yard scamper.  Quarterback Bobby Krackowski passed for three touchdowns on an eight of 15 night for 178 yards.  Two of those went to Matt Hill and the other score was caught by Keith Bouschor.  Cedarville is ranked #1 in the UP 8-Man football poll. 

The Eagle defense was very stout last week in their 48-22 win over Mid-Peninsula.  They forced five turnovers and had 10 sacks.  Victor Collins carried nine times for 85 yards and also had two sacks.  Jeff Dishaw carried seven times for 73 yards and also had two sacks.  Connor Frisch hit Jeff Bomber for a 15 yard touchdown strike and Bomber ran four times for 56 yards.  Bomber also intercepted two passes on defense.  This week will be the home opener for the Eagles of Engadine.

 

Detroit

Rochester Adams (3-0) at Oak Park (2-1) (Friday September 16, 6pm)

The Highlanders of Rochester Adams received a gift this week.  Although they lost the season opener to Clarkston, it was found that they had used an ineligible player and forfeited the game.  Now, they sit at 3-0.  Last week, they played Southfield Lathrup and won 30-6.  Quarterback Tony Annese had a fantastic night.  He carried the ball 11 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns.  When he dropped back to pass, he completed nine of his 13 passes for 96 yards.  Leading rusher was Dave Jagow with 56 yards gained on nine rushes.  He also scored a touchdown.  The win kept the Highlanders in a tie for Oakland Activities Association White Division with Farmington Hills Harrison.

Oak Park is trying to turn around its football program.  That started this summer when they hired legendary football coach Greg Carter.  He has installed a spread offense and is making them believe they can win.  Quarterback Chris Wesley started the scoring on a quarterback sneak.  After falling behind in the second half, running back Malik Washington scored from five yards out to retake the lead 14-13.  This game will be a very tough and hard hitting game between two good teams.  Oak Park is doing the things they need to do in order to be competitive.  Although they might not be state champions this year, look for them to be a team on the rise.

 

West Coast

Portage Northern (2-1) at St. Joseph (3-0) (Friday September 16, 7pm)

It was a tough week for Portage Northern.  They lost to Stevensville Lakeshore in conference play 24-16.  Quarterback Troy Bitterle wasn’t overly sharp when passing the ball; he completed 12 of his 27 passes for 136 yards and an interception.  He did run well though, gaining 150 yards on 22 carries and scoring on a 90 yard scamper.  Spencer Simon caught six of those passes for 84 yards and a score.  This is a very important week for PN.  At 2-1, they are tied for the second best record in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division.  Unfortunately, that loss is against a conference foe.  A win this week over unbeaten St. Joseph will right the ship and put them on course to battle for a conference championship later in the season.

It was business as usual for the Bears of St. Joseph.  They handed the ball off and let the running back do his thing.  Alex Rutherford ran for 148 yards and two scores.  In the first half alone, Rutherford carried on 17 of the team’s 25 plays.  As good as that sounds, penalties slowed them down.  They had nine in the game.  Head coach Gandalf Church is doing a fantastic job after taking over for retired coach Elliot Uzelac.  The schedule doesn’t get any easier from here on though.  That conference is tough and they will need to keep winning if they want to accomplish the stated goal of winning the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference.

 

Capital Area

Okemos (3-0) at Grand Ledge (3-0) (Friday September 16, 7pm)

A few short weeks ago, the Chieftains were at 1-0, headed into a rivalry game with Haslett.  Now, they sit at 3-0 with a huge game against Grand Ledge on the horizon.  In that game two weeks ago, it took overtime but they prevailed.  Senior Johnny Bolas ran for 174 yards and three scores.  Ian Horne scored a TD in overtime and found the end zone again for a two point conversion.  This week, coach Paul Palmer needs to make sure his line is opening holes and protecting the quarterback.  Against a powerhouse like Grand Ledge, you need to be able to do what you do best to give yourself a chance.

Maybe it was because of the rain, but the defense came through for Grand Ledge in a 14-0 win over Lansing Sexton.  They kept Sexton’s top running back from going nuts on them and intercepted two passes to keep Grand Ledge alive.  Running back Josh Bachert ran for 116 yards and two scores on 19 carries.  He said, “It felt great, I got to give it to my blockers up front they were working hard all night and we finally broke one so it was awesome.  We were preparing all week, this was a big conference game and we did what we had to do to get it done and won the game.”  They will need to clean things up this week though.  Miscues and penalties like this past week won’t get it done versus a very good Okemos squad.