Monthly Archives: October, 2012

Playoff Picks: Round 2, whatchou gone do?

We hit on 80 percent of our picks in the opening round. It gets a bit more difficult from here, as the dead weight has been cut loose. If you’re still playing now, you’re a good team.

Division 1
West Ottawa 8-2 @ Rockford 8-2

WO avenged one regular season loss by knocking Grand Ledge out of the playoffs. Now they have the chance to upend the other team that beat them previously. If anything, the Panthers have the more talented personnel. But the Rockford bogeyman is in their head. Ghosts like West Ottawa thought it had a fourth-quarter lead the last time they played but had a 95-yard punt return TD called back for clipping. The Rams always beat them. Until further notice … Winner: Rockford

Division 2
Traverse City Central 9-1 @ Midland 10-0

Coming off an epic victory against Bay City Western, two wins against a Saginaw Valley school may prove too steep a task for TC Central. Midland is ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 2. They pound it out on the ground behind the state’s top lineman, 6-6, 305 Notre Dame-bound senior Steve Elmer, and now the defense is equally sharp with junior linebacker Michael Alexander back in the lineup. Winner: Midland

Lowell 8-2 @ Muskegon 9-1

Old playoff friends meet again. When they played prior, Muskegon won 36-21, but the history between these schools tells us it’s tough to win twice in one season. Both teams want to run. Both are tough to run against. How tough? Muskegon held Lowell to -1 rushing yards in their first meeting. OK. How ’bout the Red Arrows last week, when Northview totaled -70 rushing? With Reed Stormzand healthy, he and fellow senior Zach Huver give the Arrows a tough pair of linebackers. This will be a different Lowell team than the Big Reds remember, with Titan Anderson moving from QB to running back and Kyler Shurlow now under center. But that still hasn’t eliminated Lowell’s turnover problem. Shurlow had an interception and lost a fumble against Northview. In the regular season against Caledonia, Lowell turned it over five times but still managed to win. You just can’t disregard the ball against a team as good as Muskegon, who turned over Kenowa Hills six times last week. Winner: Muskegon

East Lansing 7-3 @ Caledonia 7-3

East Lansing wasn’t supposed to be here, but last Friday gave Lansing Everett its first loss of the season. Both teams are defense-first. First to 14 takes it? Winner: Caledonia

Portage Central 7-3 @ Mattawan 9-1

Gotta like how Trevor Sweeney bears the mantle as The Lake’s No. 1 senior running back. In Mattawan’s first-round game he ran 13 times for 269 yards and 4 TDs in a 66-28 defeat of Battle Creek Lakeview. Mattawan had 600 ground yards as a team. That makes Portage Central’s last week’s total of 333 look downright paltry, except that they faced a much better opponent in Portage Northern. Winner: Mattawan

Division 3
Zeeland West 7-3 @ Grand Rapids Christian 9-1

This game will be a bunch of fun — unless you’re a defensive coordinator. Don’t expect either D to be able to stop the other team’s offense. Zeeland West scores 47 points a game, GR Christian a “meager” 40. A win would provide the Eagles their best playoff run in their history. The school has existed in one form or another since 1920. West is a different story entirely. The Chix have been around for less than a decade but have already won two state championships, most recently Division 4 last year. Winner: Grand Rapids Christian

Hamilton 6-4 @ Stevensville Lakeshore 10-0
Lakeshore’s undefeated team is similar to the hoops squad that made it to the Class B state title game in March, in that there are no superstars, just a bunch of fundamentally strong kids, any number of which can step up in a given game. Hamilton has been too up-and-down to pick here. Winner: Lakeshore

Plainwell 7-3 @ Battle Creek Harper Creek 8-2
Plainwell faces a dangerous opponent. Harper Creek trailed Charlotte in the fourth quarter last Friday before running off four unanswered TDs. Winner: Plainwell

Division 4
Chippewa Hills 7-3 @ Ogemaw Heights 7-3

Maybe Ogemaw Heights should have controversial, media circus homecomings every year? They won that game and every one since, including victories over three playoff teams in that five-game stretch. Winner: Ogemaw Heights

Comstock Park 9-1 @ Grand Rapids Catholic Central 10-0
Catholic Central’s Ryheem Stokes is so good, he’s the best player on the field regardless of where he’s put, and has filled in admirably at running back. CC’s defense has been incredible. Last week’s 14-0 win over Unity Christian marked the sixth time they’ve held an opponent with out a TD. No repeat trip to the semifinals for Comstock Park. Winner: Catholic Central

Grand Rapids South Christian 7-3 @ Dowagiac 10-0
The last time Dowagiac faced a D1 QB in the playoffs, in 2011, Lansing Catholic’s Cooper Rush set a postseason state record with eight TD passes — in three quarters. Don’t call the plumber. That dripping sound is just Sailors soph QB Jon Wassink salivating. An undefeated Wolverine Conference team won’t faze Wassink and company after their 48-0 first-round deconstruction of Paw Paw. Can Dowagiac win one for those schools “Down South,” or is the O-K just that superior a product? Winner: South Christian  

Three Rivers 7-3 @ Williamston 7-3
Three Rivers senior Sam Shutes is one of the best QBs many may not have heard of, and he has an straight up gun. Winner: Williamston

Division 5
Newaygo 8-2 @ Reed City 10-0

Unbeaten RC has been through this already, beating Newaygo 35-7 during the regular season en route to their CSAA title. Funny how his older, 6-5, 230 cousin Jared Holmquist looked like a football player, but Reed City junior Chad Samuels is the actual football player. And he’s become a damn good one. Coyotes’ stingy, physical D gets it done again. Winner: Reed City

Grand Rapids West Catholic 7-3 @ Muskegon Oakridge 10-0
West Catholic has been living sooo dangerously? Oakridge junior Dan Shoop will be the best back West Catholic has seen this season (which is saying something, as I love Comstock Park junior Jake Bush), having run for 1,158 yards and 17 TDs. Not that West Catholic is any slouch in the skill department, with the three-headed monster of soph QB Travis Russell, junior runner Andy Corey and senior receiver David Kuzma. Winner: Oakridge

Division 6
Maple City Glen Lake 9-1 @ Shelby 8-2

Two months ago, Shelby beat North Muskegon 28-15. Two weeks ago, North Muskegon beat Glen Lake 22-14. Glen Lake’s game-breaker, Trevor Apsey, was injured and didn’t play in their pre-district win at Boyne City. Winner: Shelby

Constantine 8-2 @ Schoolcraft 10-0
Schoolcraft won the regular season matchup 42-32. The Eagles did it via skill and speed, with QB Jeffrey Scott throwing for 300 yards and three TDs and small but mighty Benny Clark ran for 200 yards and three TDs. But November football may favor the larger, more physical team. And Contstantine’s Ben Mallo? He’s indeed an hombre malo. Winner: Constantine

Division 7
Mancelona 10-0 @ Ishpeming  9-1

Mancelona’s dream season may be facing a surge of U.P. Power. Winner: Ishpeming

Evart 8-2 @ Lake City 9-1
Both schools are playing for history, as neither has won more than one postseason game in a single season. Check back to the Lake Michigan Football Report, as Evart-Lake City will be our Northern Michigan Game of the Week. Winner: Lake City

Gobles 8-2 @ Pewamo-Westphalia 7-3
Gobles hasn’t seen a receiver quite like P-W’s Lane Simon, a 6-5 junior. Winner: Pewamo-Westphalia

Decatur 8-2 @ Lawton 9-1
Though Decatur matches up well, Lawton won this meeting in the regular season 38-7. Winner: Lawton

Division 8
Central Lake 7-3  @ Johannesburg-Lewiston 8-2

Joberg won’t win by 50 like they did against Hillman. They eeked it out 22-18 when J-L and CL played during the Ski Valley schedule. Winner: Joburg

Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart 9-1 @ Beal City 10-0
Two small school state powers, right next door. Winner: Beal City

Muskegon Catholic Central 7-3 @ Fowler 9-1
MCC’s traditionally tough regular season schedule paid off in the first round, when the beat Vestaburg 61-8. Fowler was similarly dominant in their opener with Baldwin, winning 44-0. While the Crusaders have various offensive weapons like junior running back Alex Lewandowski, senior running back Jessie Anderson, senior QB Zach Campbell and senior tight end Cari Campbell, Fowler prefers the 1980s m.o. with one featured back. And in senior Tyler Koenigknecht, they’ve got a hoss. Winner: Muskegon Catholic

Lake Michigan Prospect Watch: Week 11

Class of 2013

Jake Brown  6-0  205  Sr  QB  Comstock Park
As Comstock’s Park QB, all he’s done is won. He led them to the Division 4 semifinals in 2011, and the Panthers are the O-K Blue champion and into the second round of the playoffs. Oh yeah, those numbers. In the regular season he completed 97o-of-172 passes for 1,132 yards and seven TDs, while running 160 times for 780 yards and 20 TDs. Brown throws maybe the tightest ball we’ve seen all season. And while he’s a running QB, he does most of it as an interior power runner and doesn’t have the breakout speed of a guy who might move to another position in college. Sweetening the deal for recruiters, Brown ranks first in his class academically.

Jake Daugherty  6-3  275  Sr  OL/DL  Big Rapids
He’s the rare high school lineman that plays with aggression and swagger. Big Jake has good speed and is very light on his feet, which is why he plays middle linebacker at 275 pounds. At the next level, he will probably be an offensive tackle because he should add about 20 pounds of muscle mass via the college weight room and training table. On the O-Line, he does a great job of finishing his blocks and plays with good pad level. He’s also a good post player on Big Rapids’ basketball team. Daugherty could be a steal for a college program; if he were at a bigger high school he would be a much more highly recruited player.

Blake Mazur  6-3  250  Sr  DL  Comstock Park
He’s 6-3, 250, and if anything plays larger than that. He plays with a big, wide base and weathers the offensive line’s initial hits. That allows him to be the team’s fourth-leading tackler despite playing defensive end. Mazur also starts as Comstock Park’s left offensive tackle. A D lineman all the way, probably doesn’t have the flexibility or speed for linebacker. GLIAC loves him all the same.

Nate Pupel  6-0  215  Sr  LB/FB  Traverse City Central
He’s the leader of the Trojans’ defense, has great football instincts and is always around the football. In the Trojans’ opening round playoff game last week, Pupel played tailback for the injured TJ Schwannecke. Pupel came up big with 116 yards rushing and 3 TDs to help lead TCC to an overtime win over Bay City Western. His athleticism was on display at our Northern Michigan Football Combine & Exposure Camp in July, placing in the top 10 of the vertical jump, broad jump and pro agility shuttle.  He’s a hard-nosed football player with a knack for making big plays, and should find a home at the next level in the GLIAC.

Dylan Smith  6-2  180  Sr  WR  Kenowa Hills
The career of the most prolific receiver in Kenowa Hills history came to an end last Friday. Fittingly, Smith finished with nine catches for 152 yards and two TDs in Kenowa’s loss to Muskegon. For the year he caught 64 balls for 1,226 yards and 13 TDS, plus two special teams TDs.  He has a mix of what you want in a receiver with size, hands, sharp routes that create openings and the speed that helped him have five games with at least two touchdowns. There’s room to improve with strength and ball security, as in college Smith’s 4.68 speed may have him going underneath more often. He also started at cornerback and rarely left the field.

Nick Steinke  6-3  280  Sr  DL  Watervliet
Steinke stands out in small school ball by benefit of his size alone. He goes both ways for the Watervliet team that was eliminated by Constantine in the opening round of the D6 playoffs. The Panthers’ run a fast-paced no-huddle offense so it’s basically spot duty for Steinke at left tackle. It would be interesting to see how Steinke would fair as a power run blocker, but all their linemen start out on two feet. He is a stalwart at defensive tackle however. Teams run away from him, though against good linemen he doesn’t demand a double-team. Need to see more pop and meanness out of him in there.

Class of 2014

Dayton Wierenga  6-2  210  Jr  DL  Allendale
Allendale was knocked out in the first round of the Division 4 playoffs by Comstock Park. Don’t be surprised if the Falcons don’t make a much longer run in 2013. They return all kinds of talent, including their three leading tacklers — Wierenga, 6-1, 200 junior linebacker Colin Beebe and 5-11, 180 soph linebacker Jon Nielson, plus two promising interior linemen in 6-4, 230 Glenn Geurink and 6-3, 220 Aareon DeWeerd, both juniors. Wierenga not only led the team in tackles, but he and Beebe both finished the season with six sacks apiece. Wierenga plays defensive end for Allendale and projects to the next level as an outside linebacker because of his speed. He doesn’t just get by on being fast, there’s some nice technique for a young player, showing quick hands on his swim move.

2015 Watch

Allendale’s young talent isn’t limited to the defensive side of the ball. In 2013 they’ll also return 5-11, 165 junior QB Haiden Majewski, leading rusher Ethan Hovingh a 6-0, 180 sophomore and leading receiver Nate Couturier, a 5-10, 130 sophomores. Hovingh was injured and didn’t play in October, including the playoff loss to Comstock Park. But Couturier did, and is the kind of playmaker who has to be accounted for at all times. He’s a flyer, and kind of has to be at 130 pounds. As a freshman, he finished second in the 300-meter and fifth in the 110-meter hurdles a t the Division 2 state finals. For this football season, he had 44 catches for 836 yards and 12 TDs, and also had a 90-yard kickoff return.

Nominations for All-Lake Team and POY sought

The first-ever “All-Lake Teams” and “All-Lake Player of the Year” will soon be selected, and we need your input! We will be accepting nominations for the top players in each position and the top player overall in The Lake coverage area. Be sure your voice is heard by submitting your nominees via email to LakeMichiganFootballReport@gmail.com. Please include the following in your nomination:

  • Player First & Last Name
  • School
  • Position
  • Class Year
  • Height / Weight
  • 2012 Season Statistics

Nominations will be accepted through Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Standouts from opening round games

*It was a good weekend to put Alex VanDeVusse on your fantasy team. Grand Rapids Christian’s senior quarterback threw for three TDs and ran for three TDs and the Eagles beat Fruitport 45-6.

*TC Central senior QB TJ Schepperly ran for 234 yards and three TDs on 26 carries in the Trojans’ epic 48-47 2OT win over Bay City Western.

*Muskegon senior John King ran for 196 yards and two TDs and made two interceptions in the Big Reds’ 34-21 defeat of Kenowa Hills.

*In his third start at QB, Zeeland West senior Braden Werley ran 10 times for 194 yards and three TDs as the Dux shocked 9-0 Zeeland East 46-0.

*West Ottawa sophomore James Lacy had a 96-yard TD run as the Panthers’ avenged their regular season loss to Grand Ledge 21-14.

*Another sophomore, South Christian QB Jon Wassink, was 10-for-12 throwing for 152 yards and a TD and ran four times for 54 yards and a TD as the Sailors blanked then 9-0 Paw Paw 48-0.

*Staying with the 10th-grade theme, Caledonia soph Logan Soule had three of the Scots’ six interceptions in their 53-27 win at Swartz Creek.

*When you have a quarterback as talented as Lake City junior Drew Marion, there are myriad possibilities. Like the school’s first-ever playoff victory, which they got 35-28 against NorthPointe Christian. Marion ran the ball 30 times for 203 yards and four TDS and was 14-for-27 passing for 181 yards.

*In undefeated Stevenville-Lakeshore’s 48-28 win over Holland Christian, Zak Drake ran for 168 yards and two TDs and Zach Ellis had 116 yards and three rushing TDs.

*Comstock Park junior cornerback Sam LaRoche picked off an Allendale pass in the end zone to clinch the 14-11 win.

*Decatur QB TJ Cerven threw for 224 yards and two TDs in a 27-14 comeback win over Hartford.

*Reed City improved to 10-0 with a 48-14 win over Manistee. Reed City’s junior QB Chad Samuels ran eight times for 101 yards and a TD.

*Senior linebacker DJ Hunt returned an interception 45 yards for a TD as Dowagiac shut out Otsego for the second straight week 36-0.

*West Catholic senior David Kuzma had two TD receptions in their 18-13 OT, comeback win at previously unbeaten Hopkins.

*Hamilton’s senior QB Nick Kronenmeyer ran 15 times for 133 yards and two TDs while going 9-of-16 passing for 136 yards and two TDs at Edwardsburg for a 42-14 win.

*Devin Mussel ran for two TDS and caught another for Shelby, which doubled up Kalkaska 42-21.

Prospect rankings: Upperclassman tight ends

Class of 2013

  1. Tyler White  6-6  235  Sr  Plainwell  Illinois
  2. Zach Crouch  6-5  235  Sr  Grand Rapids Christian  Central Michigan
  3. Jake Bull  6-7  225  Sr  Hudsonville
  4. Nic Lamica  6-4  215  Sr  Forest Hills Central
  5. Greg Krusniak  6-7  230  Sr  Greenville
  6. Zach Decker  6-5  210  Sr  Schoolcraft
  7. Hunter Folkertsma  6-6  230  Sr  Forest Hills Central
  8. Adam Walma  6-4  220  Sr  Caledonia
  9. Jack Jennings  6-2  218  Sr  Paw Paw
  10. Mike O’Brien  6-3  210  Sr  Maple City Glen Lake
  11. Luke VanEssen  6-4  210  Sr  Kenowa Hills
  12. Reed Stormzand  6-0  205  Sr  Lowell
  13. Amilio Florez  6-4  255  Sr  Fruitport
  14. Patrick Cvengros  6-2  185  Sr  East Grand Rapids
  15. Cari Campbell  6-2  220  Sr  Muskegon Catholic Central

Class of 2014

  1. Jordan VanDort  6-6  290  Jr  Zeeland West
  2. Jake Kaczynski  6-5  240  Jr  Ludington
  3. Drake Baar  6-7  210  Jr  Comstock Park
  4. Elliott Jordan  6-7  230  Jr  East Kentwood
  5. Mike Warren  6-6  220  Jr  Fruitport Calvary Christian*
  • school doesn’t offer football

Prospect Rankings: QBs 2013-14-15

Class of 2013

  1. Michael Custer  6-2  175  Sr  Zeeland East
  2. Trevor Van Tubbergen  6-3  180  Sr  West Ottawa
  3. Alex VanDeVusse  6-1  185  Sr  Grand Rapids Christian
  4. Sam Shutes  6-4  210  Sr  Three Rivers
  5. Jake Brown  6-0  205  Sr  Comstock Park
  6. Jake Cowsert  6-1  175  Sr  Watervliet
  7. Justin Chopp  6-1  180  Sr  Forest Hills Central
  8. Ross Schreuer  6-0  190  Sr  Holland Christian
  9. Jon Marosi  6-5  190  Sr  Grand Rapids Catholic Central
  10. Brady Badder  6-2  185  Sr  Belding

Class of 2014

  1. Jalen Brooks  6-3  195  Jr  Cadillac
  2. Drew Marion  6-2  190  Jr  Lake City
  3. Nick Swore  6-2  185  Jr  Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian
  4. Jake Swander  5-11  175  Jr  Grayling
  5. Haiden Majewski  5-11  165  Jr  Allendale

Class of 2015

  1. Jon Wassink  6-2  175  So  Grand Rapids South Christian
  2. Tyree Jackson  6-1  170  So  Mona Shores
  3. Travis Russell  6-1  160  So  Grand Rapids West Catholic
  4. Corey Redman  6-4  170  So  Boyne City  CMU-basketball
  5. Brandon Childress  6-2  165  So  Baldwin

Game Within The Game: Can’t miss individual matchups

Like GR Catholic Central’s program preaches, on any given down, a player’s contribution is just 1/11th of the whole and whether the play succeeds or fails. But given game situations or personnel matchups, the collision of some 2/22nds can be hard to miss. Here are some playoff games where talented players will have their respective teams going strength-on-strength.

Cody Brainard (Hopkins) vs.
Daniel Green (West Catholic)

Cody Brainard starts at guard, an athletic hitter as a 6-1, 270 senior and crucial to Hopkins’ dominant ground game. He’ll face his toughest test yet in Daniel Green, a 6-0, 290 senior defensive tackle for West Catholic who can overpower or slip past blockers.

Marcus Lambert (Zeeland West) vs.
Spencer Viening (Zeeland East)

These star junior running backs partnered with talented senior backs during the regular season, but now face different scenarios. Viening’s fellow 1,000-yard rusher, senior Josh Blauwkamp, broke his leg in the Zeeland East’s win over Muskegon. Meanwhile Lambert has been going with senior Braden Werley not as another running back, where he gave Zeeland West balance with his tough running between tackles and receiving, but as the ball-handling QB of the Dux’ wing-T. Lambert, 5-11, 185, has run for 1,524 yards and 16 TDs, while Viening, 6-0, 215, has 1,290 yards and 20 TDs on the ground. Lambert is a threat to break a long one whenever he touches the ball, while it’s Viening’s his second time over 1,000 yards. Both play linebacker as well, so will be able to appreciate each other’s work up close.

Heath Hoogerhyde & Justin Krueger (Caledonia) vs.
Max Cummings & Jacob Littles (Swartz Creek)

Cummings and Littles are a prolific receiving combo for Swartz Creek QB Jaylen Schoenfield. They’ve both caught 11 TDs. Cummings has 55 receptions for 1,170 yards. He’s 6-3, 170, but Hoogerhyde has size at 6-1, 210, and the senior has already matched up successfully with big receivers like Grand Rapids Christian’s Drake Harris and Forest Hills Central. He’s made seven interceptions. Krueger is a more typically sized high school DB, a 5-9, 165 senior.

Carter Lee & Trevor Apsey (Glen Lake) vs.
Corey Redman & Malik Smith (Boyne City)

Lee and Redman are the starting quarterbacks, and two-year AAU basketball teammates with Parallel 45. Both are system-oriented, while Lee, a junior, is athletic enough to project to another position in college and Redman, a 6-4, 170 soph, would be mentioned with the other terrific 2015 QB prospects if he hadn’t already committed to CMU for basketball. Apsey, a  5-11, 185 junior, has emerged as one of the top running back prospects in the North. He’s more of a game-breaker, while Smith, like Redman only a sophomore, is more of a move-the-chains runner. Even when Glen Lake was self-destructing in their only loss of the season, to North Muskegon, Apsey provided a bright moment with a 75-yard TD run.

Nick Swore (NorthPointe Christian) vs.
Drew Marion (Lake City)

Two of the Lake’s top five 2014 QB prospects are found in Division 7 of all places, and square off at Lake City. 6-2, 185 junior Nick Swore battled injuries earlier in the year, but he’s healthy and one of the reasons NorthPointe rallied from a 1-3 start to make the playoffs. He’s also a standout defensive back. Other than against Beal City, Marion, a 6-2, 190 junior, has had another strong season. He can beat you with his arm or running the ball.

Northern Michigan Game of the Week: Blazers’ trail leads to Shelby

Kalkaska @ Shelby
It seems only fitting, that for the first week of playoff action the Lake Michigan Football Report features a matchup between teams from the Lake Michigan Conference and West Michigan Conference. Kalkaska goes to Shelby for Friday’s Division 6 pre-district game.

Kalkaska is in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. At 7-2, the Blazers claimed their best regular season mark since 1981. They enter the postseason with momentum, having demolished Elk Rapids 44-7 to claim third-place outright in the LMC.

Kalkaska’s 5-11, 180 senior running back Zach Hill has surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the second time. He can get the tough interior yards but also is a receiver out of the backfield who can tack on some yac. He finished the regular season with 1,069 yards and 15 TDs on the ground with 504 yards and four TDs receiving. Hill also plays safety, where he’s made seven intercetpions, and there’s a playmaker at cornerback too in 6-3, 185 junior quarterback Will Noble. He had two picks against Elk Rapids. Noble also happens to be Kalkaska’s quarterback, in his first season at the position after playing split end as a sophomore. Kaleb House is an intriguing college prospect because he’s a 6-1, 220 linebacker and running back who has scored 11 TDs via running, catching and kick returning. House is joined by another standout junior linebacker, 6-2, 190 Eric Tracey, the team’s leading tackler. While Kalkaska has bigger linemen, it is 6-2, 205 senior Zack Cameron makes it happen at tackle while also staring at lineacker.

Shelby is also 7-2 and a third-place league team, but against better competition in the perennially rugged West Michigan Conference. The Tigers are also coming off a compelling Week 9 win, ending Spring Lake’s playoff hopes 14-8. They are in the midst of a true football renaissance under coach Lorenzo Rodriguez, making their third consecutive postseason appearance. There’s still a long way to go, though. If Shelby beats Kalkaska it would be only their second playoff win.

Shelby has an egalitarian offense. Even still, Devin Mussell is particularly dangerous with four receiving TDs and three more rushing. Nathan Lentz is the ground leader with 574 yards and nine TDs.   Senior QB Spencer Peters , in his first season at starter benefiting from a vet line, can be hit-or-miss, he’s thrown for eight TDS to nine interceptions. But he has the knack for coming through with poise when it matters. Ben Schroeder is Shelby’s stud on D. He had a 20 tackle game against Whitehall. It’s the second time he’s topped 100 tackles for the season.

The winner of Friday’s pre-district game will play the winner of the Boyne City-Maple City Glen Lake tilt. Shelby is the No. 1 seed in the district, Kalkaska No. 4.

Division 3, Region 2, District 1: College Recruit Central

Home to the two best teams in Division 3, 8-1 Grand Rapids Christian and 9-0 Zeeland East, 2011 Division 4 champion Zeeland West and an 8-1 Fruitport squad, when it comes to sheer talent, no district in the Lake Michigan area compares to D3/R2/D1. There are at least five BCS level prospects among the first five upperclassmen, and here are the  top 25 overall college recruits from Friday’s opening round games of Fruitport at GR Christian and Zeeland West at Zeeland East.

  1. Drake Harris  6-4  180  Jr  WR  Grand Rapids Christian  MSU
  2. Spencer Viening  6-0  215  Jr  ATH  Zeeland East
  3. Jordan VanDort  6-6  290  Jr  ATH  Zeeland West
  4. Tommy Doles  6-4  240  Jr  OL  Grand Rapids Christian
  5. Chris Hendricks  6-5  270  Jr  OL  Fruitport
  6. Marcus Lambert  5-11  185  Jr  RB  Zeeland West
  7. Zach Crouch  6-5  255  Sr  TE  Grand Rapids Christian  CMU
  8. Michael Custer  6-2  175  Sr  QB  Zeeland East
  9. Amilio Flores  6-4  255  Sr  DL  Fruitport
  10. Dwayne Barfield  6-1  175  Jr  DB  Grand Rapids Christian
  11. Alex VanDeVusse  6-2  185  Sr  QB  Grand Rapids Christian
  12. Matthew Hall  6-1  200  Sr  LB  Grand Rapids Christian
  13. Alex Korhorn  6-2  275  Sr  DL/OL  Grand Rapids Christian
  14. Braden Werley  5-11  195  Sr  RB  Zeeland West
  15. Josh Blauwkamp  5-10  175  Sr  ATH  Zeeland East
  16. Zach Hill  5-11  170  Jr  WR  Zeeland East
  17. Patrick Banks  5-10  320  DL  Zeeland East
  18. Tyler Smith  6-4  210  Sr  DL  Zeeland East
  19. Joel Schipper  5-11  180  Sr  K  Grand Rapids Christian
  20. Tyler Fehler  6-0  165  Sr  ATH  Fruitport
  21. Jordon Lambert  5-11  185  Jr  ATH  Zeeland West
  22. Jon Pung  5-10  175  Sr  DB  Zeeland West
  23. Davaris Collier  5-10  175  Sr  WR  Grand Rapids Christian
  24. Dakota Gordon  5-8  150  Sr  RB  Fruitport
  25. Sam Kuiper  5-9  155  Jr  RB  Grand Rapids Christian

Lake Michigan Prospect Watch: Week 10

Class of 2013

Michael Custer  6-2  175  Sr  QB  Zeeland East
He doesn’t pile up ridiculous passing numbers because ZE has two 1,000-yard rushers. In that mix, Custer does his job as a high IQ QB who does a good job spreading the ball around and making adjustments and is a huge reason they’re 9-0. His poised belies the fact that his is his first year as the starting quarterback. Custer has stepped up and made big throws when the Chix really needed him, most recently in Zeeland East’s one-point win over Muskegon. Custer completed 21-of-33 passes for 340 yards and two TDs in that one. For the season he’s hit on 103-of-163 throws for 1,421 yards and 17 TDs to only one interception. He’s also run for five TDs.

Zach Shepard  6-1  280  Sr  OL  East Jordan
It was a breakthrough season for a number of Lake Michigan Conference teams. East Jordan wasn’t one of them. But it was through no fault of their center, Shepard, who looks headed towards all-league honors for the second straight season. He’s been terrific as both a snapper and blocker for the Red Devils, with no missed snaps either on offense or special teams. Shepard finished in the top 10 for bench press at our Traverse City combine in July. As good as he is with his technique and strength, Shepard will have to show he’s fast enough to get out and contribute at the second level to keep plays alive.

Johndries Betts-Render  5-9  180  Sr  RB  Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
Reeths-Puffer’s junior offensive line got better and better as the season went on — including a season-ending win against Mona Shores — and Betts-Render was one of the main beneficiaries. He finished the season with 142 carries for 1,163 yards and 16 TDs.

Class of 2014

Spencer Viening  6-0  215  Sr  RB/LB  Zeeland East
There was a lot of talent on the field for Zeeland East’s win over Muskegon. But two players stood above the rest, because they weren’t just big, they weren’t just fast, but they played with a motor and great football instincts — Viening and another junior, Muskegon’s 6-4, 265 junior Kenneth Finley. Viening is a patient cutback runner who you aren’t going to bring down if you try to fool around above the waist. His 69-yard TD had a little bit of everything — speed, power, a spinning evasion and a nose to finish the play. He was just as good from his linebacker position, making the right reads to fill the holes and busting through Muskegon’s highly touted line to make plays in the backfield. Viening was the first one to put a helmet on Jalen Smith when East stymied the Big Reds’ go-ahead two-point attempt with a minute to play.

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