Lake Area Honors: Week 11

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Connor Hellemans  Sr  K  Hudsonville Unity Christian: If not for a missed extra point, Unity Christian would have been tied with Grand Rapids Catholic Central with six seconds to play. Instead it was 21-20. But Connor Hellemans made amends and nailed a 26-yard field goal and Unity won the first district title in school history.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Luke Sage  6-1  195  Sr  LB  Boyne City: Against a big, physical Calumet team, Sage wore them down with 18 tackles. Boyne City won the Division 6 district final 20-8.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

LaTommy Scott  5-7  160  Jr  RB  Muskegon Catholic Central: All it took was 10 carries for Scott to rack up 202 yards and three TDs in Catholic Central’s 48-13 Division 8 win over Beal City.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Gabe Callery  5-9  175  RB/DB  Traverse City St. Francis: He returned an interception 99 yards for a TD and also ran for TDs of 53 and 25 yards in St. Francis’ 61-12 Division 6 win over Mason County Central.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Shawn Griffith, Constantine: Griffith always has Constantine ready for the second season. They got into the Division 6 playoffs at 5-4 to first beat 9-0 Schoolcraft then 9-1 Watervliet in one of the most entertaining games the Lake Area has seen this year 49-48.

Senior Camp THIS Saturday in Grand Rapids!


Calling all seniors from the Class of 2016!

If you have the passion and potential to play football in college, you won’t want to miss our 2015 Senior Exposure Camp at the MVP SportsPlex in Grand Rapids on Saturday, December 5th! For the fourth straight year, we’ll be giving top prospects the best opportunity to play in front of college coaches and talk with them after the camp! Click the picture or the link below for more details and to reserve your spot today!

Camp Registration Link

Playoff Picks: District Finals

  • Predicted winners are italicized.
  • All games are 7 pm Friday unless otherwise noted.
  • Rankings are from the end of the regular season, and for Lake Area teams only.
  • Last week’s record: 36-6.

Division 1

No. 4 Hudsonville 7-3 @ No. 1 Rockford 7-3: Hudsonville had to pull off an instant classic 42-38 comeback win over EK just to get here, the unofficial O-K Red championship game. One would have to expect another great one here, as two weeks ago Rockford held off the Eagles 28-27. Rockford’s Tyler Bradfield has done a commendable job filling in at QB since then, and there are worse fates than increasing the touches of one of the Lake Area’s most talented players.

Division 2

No. 3 Muskegon 8-2 @ No. 1 Mona Shores 10-0 5 pm Saturday: A rematch from a couple weeks ago when Mona Shores won 21-18 to claim the O-K Black title. While known for all their playmaking athletes, it was the grinding running of Dom Shermeta that carried the Sailors in that one.

No. 8 Byron Center 8-2 @ No. 1 Lowell 9-1: Byron Center flexed its O-K muscle in the opening round with a 34-21 win at Portage Central. MAC coaches need to know about the Bulldogs 6-4 junior receiver Brayden Smith. But this just isn’t the kind of game a Noel Dean team loses.

Division 3

No. 7 Petoskey 8-2 @ Mt. Pleasant 8-2 1 pm Saturday: Petoskey’s program has modeled consistency under coach Kerry VanOrman. The Northmen were 18-28 in his first five seaons then 61-21 with seven playoff appearances since 2008. Now they’re trying to knock out Mt. Pleasant from the district final like they did last year. Their defense, strong all year, will face their toughest test as the Oilers have two MAC commitments at the skill positions. CMU’s Hunter Buczkowski is a load running the ball and WMU’s Kalebb Perry can beat you from QB or catching the ball.

No. 5 Zeeland East 7-3 @ No. 2 East Grand Rapids 7-3: The players weren’t around, but this could be looked at as a grudge match from the 2010 playoffs when EGR pulled out a late but controversial win. The Chix have lost only to the very best — Zeeland West, Mona Shores and Muskegon — and showed talent both up front and on the ends in the Chix’ opening round win over Cedar Springs.

Edwardsburg 10-0 @ No. 1 St. Joseph 9-1: So far so good for Edwardsburg after being bumped up to Division 3, but this could be the game where it catches up to them.

Vicksburg 8-2 @ Coldwater 10-0: It’s all coming together for Coldwater, which last week won a playoff game for the first time in school history, which meant a 10-0 record for the first time in school history.

Division 4

Big Rapids 7-3 @ No. 9 Chippewa Hills 8-2: Take this prediction under advisement, we picked neither team to win last week. Big Rapids has won three straight since losing at Chippewa Hills 26-7.

No. 4 Comstock Park 8-2 @ No. 3 Forest Hills Eastern 9-1: Both teams have senior QBs who can make plays but just as importantly really know how to utilize the talent around them. FHE’s Jack Clark and Comstock Park’s Pat Naughton. Clark is a great high school QB with 37 total TDs while Naughton is the position’s best college prospect in the Lake Area. Terrific matchup, this just seems like Eastern’s year.

No. 7 Benton Harbor 6-4 @ No. 1 Zeeland West 10-0: Benton Harbor’s human interest story is nice, but won’t matter between the lines. This one will be over early.

No., 6 Hudsonville Unity Christian 7-3 vs No. 4 Grand Rapids Catholic Central 9-1 @ Grand Rapids Christian: Catholic Central has won nine straight. The defense just gets better and better, having not allowed more than a TD in the past five contests.

Division 5

No. 1 Grand Rapids West Catholic 8-2 @ No. 3 Reed City 10-0: West Catholic’s postseason pedigree more than offsets any homefield advantage or undefeated swagger for Reed City, and they have outlier talent on the line in senior Carl Myers and in junior receiver Sam Neville.

No. 5 Berrien Springs 9-1 @ No. 4 Buchanan 10-0: Berrien Springs has revenge on the mind. When they met in the regular season Buchanan ended the Shamrocks’ shot at an undefeated season by stoning a two-point attempt for a 21-19 win.

Division 6

Calumet 8-2 @ No. 6 Boyne City 9-1 1 pm Saturday: This district final features two all-state candidates at running back. Boyne City senior Malik Smith has rushed for 1,549 yards and 22 TDs while for Calumet senior Robert Erkkila comes in with 1,336 and 21 TDs.

No. 7 Mason County Central 7-3 @ No. 1 Traverse City St. Francis 10-0: Mason County Central beat Lake City last week 42-19 but could be on the short end of a similar deficit here as TCSF won’t give up big plays like Lake City did.

No. 3 Montague 10-0 vs No. 2 NorthPointe Christian 10-0 @ Comstock Park: Montague didn’t need injured senior running back Cameron Brayman and his 1,470 yards and 19 TDs in the opening round against Delton Kellogg but can’t afford that kind of cushion against NorthPointe. A dominant, athletic, senior QB can take a team all the way at this level and both teams have one, Montague’s Jacob Buchberger and NorthPointe Christian’s Spencer Peterson.

No. 8 Constantine 6-4 @ No. 5 Watervliet 9-1: Despite coming into the postseason at 5-4, Constantine showed the championship pedigree of the program taking it up a notch to avenge a regular season loss to previously undefeated Schoolcraft. they also lost big to Watervliet in the regular season, 55-34.

Division 7:

No. 4 McBain 7-3 @ Saginaw Nouvel 9-1: Nouvel has won nine straight games. McBain may not have seen an athlete quite the caliber of Nouvel’s Jason Russell, who in last week’s win over Lincoln Alcona made eight catches for 254 yards and four TDs.

No. 1 Saugatuck 10-0 @ Pewamo-Westphalia 10-0: Blake Dunn’s supporting cast is stronger than some may give credit and could be just enough for another road win against another undefeated opponent. The Indians whupped previously 9-0 Hesperia last week 42-7, but P-Dub is a different kind of undefeated.

No. 5 Cassopolis 8-2 @ No. 3 Bridgman 9-1: This is a rematch of last year’s district final, which Bridgman won 17-14. The Bees’ defense will need to be swarming against AJ Green, Cass’ senior 1,000-yard rusher. Meanwhile, Cassopolis can’t shoot him but must do something to stop the Sherriff. Bridgman senior Julian Sherriff has run for 1,547 yards and 20 TDs.

Division 8:

St. Ignace 9-1 @ No. 2 Johannesburg-Lewiston 9-1: St. Ignace senior Gage Kreski is the best athlete on the field, an advantage that is just exacerbated with that kind of talent on a Division 8 field.

No. 3 Onekama 9-1 @ No. 4 Frankfort 8-2: The traditional power playing at home holds off upstart Onekama.

No. 1 Muskegon Catholic Central 7-2 @ Beal City 9-1: Catholic Central will go for the Mt. Pleasant City Title after knocking off Sacred Heart last week 49-7.

Lake Area Honors: Week 10

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

CJ Otteman  6-0  180  Sr  QB  Zeeland East: In a terrific Division 4 opener, Zeeland East beat Cedar Springs 43-29. Otteman was 12-of-20 passing for 314 yards and five TDs. One of the scores covered 97 yards to Khylin Barton.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Nate Jones  6-0  210  Sr  LB  Muskegon Catholic Central: Jones had double the touchdowns of Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart in MCC’s 49-7 Division 8 win. And he did it as a linebacker. In the game’s opening three minutes. Jones had two interceptions, and returned both for scores.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Jon Acton  5-9  150  Sr  RB/DB  Onekama: It was Onekama’s first playoff win of the 21st century, blanking Central Lake 27-0 in Division 8. Acton rushed for 207 yards and two TDs on 17 carries and on defense made two interceptions.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Evan Whitmore  6-3  210  Sr  QB  Petoskey: How efficient was Whitmore? In the Northmen’s 34-7 Division 3 win over Sault Ste. Marie he completed 6-of-7 throws for 141 yards and and two TDs. He’s now passed for 25 career TDs, a Petoskey school record.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Elliot Uzelac, Benton Harbor: The Tigers’ opener with Dowagiac was the first playoff game in school history. Which means their 28-7 Division 3 win was the first in school history. Uzelac is a first-year coach at Benton Harbor, but is formerly the head coach at WMU and the Naval Academy.

Playoff Picks: Opening Round

Predicted winners are italicized.

All games are 7 pm Friday unless otherwise noted.

Division 1

No. 2 Grandville 6-3 @ No. 1 Rockford 6-3: The Bulldogs were shutout by Rockford in the midst of a three-game losing streak then ended up sharing the O-K title with the Rams. But that was without Nolan Meekhof, and the best running back in the Lake Area means there’s upset potential here.

No. 3 East Kentwood 6-3 @ No. 4 Hudsonville 6-3: The Falcons find the Eagles on a two-game losing streak, and knock them out of the playoffs again.

Division 2

No. 6 Forest Hills Northern 7-2 @ No. 1 Mona Shores 9-0: Forest Hills Northern may be playing for pride in this one against a Mona team even better than last year’s state runner-up, but the Huskies showed they had a ton of it last week when they deprived Forest Hills Eastern an undefeated regular season.

No. 3 Muskegon 7-2 @ No. 4 Traverse City Central 9-0: This one is for the old heads, a renewal of the Lake Michigan rivalry of the 1960s-80s between two of the state’s most storied programs. In the 21st century version, it’s not that Muskegon is that much faster than Traverse City Central, but how quickly they start playing at the Big Reds’ speed..

Battle Creek Lakeview 6-3 @ No. 2 Lowell 8-1: The Red Arrows haven’t lost a game since August, and it’s not going to happen in October, either.

No. 8 Byron Center 7-2 @ No. 5 Portage Central 8-1: Byron Center lost to Zeeland West 42-13, and could similarly have its collective arms full with Portage Central’s veer offense where Brandon Sturgeon and Theo Kizer pile up yards. There are two very athletic juniors at receiver, and college coaches will want to try and convince Byron Center’s Brayden Smith and Portage Central’s Austin McCullough to forego the hardwood for the pads.

Division 3

No. 8 Gaylord 6-3 @ Mt. Pleasant 7-2, 1 pm Saturday: While they haven’t had the postseason success of smaller neighboring schools like Ithaca and Beal City, the Oilers are battle-tested in the Saginaw Valley and have a monster at linebacker in Hunter Buczkowski and breakout threat at QB in Kalebb Perry.

Sault Ste. Marie 6-3 @ No. 7 Petoskey 7-2: It will be bookends for the Sault, with Petoskey both beginning and ending their season with a loss. It ws 42-14 the first time around.

No. 3 Grand Rapids Christian 5-4 @ No. 2 East Grand Rapids 6-3: Their regular season contest left EGR bitter after squandering a 26-0 lead only to lose 39-33 in overtime.

No. 4 Cedar Springs 6-3 @ No. 5 Zeeland East 6-3, 1 pm Saturday: East’s rep is built as much on losing to quality competition like Muskegon, Mona Shores and Grand Rapids Christian, as it did in beating good competition, as Hudsonville is the only W that made the playoffs. If healthy, Cedar Springs may have the athletes on defense to stymie the Chix’ CJ Otteman to Khylin Barton connection that had 14 regular season TDs, but could struggle up front if junior lineman Patrick DePiazza is out.

Sturgis 6-3 @ No. 1 St. Joseph 8-1: Speaking of QB to receiver combos, St. Joe’s Griffin Baudette to Jordan Brewer is hot right now, which complements a rushing attack with three backs with at least 400 yards and five TDs.

No. 10 Stevensville Lakeshore 6-3 @ No. 6 Edwardsburg 9-0: The streak is now 18 playoff appearances for Lakeshore. Their defense will have to slowdown a wing-T offense so potent that at times it has Edwardsburg looking the Zeeland West of the borderlands.

Vicksburg 7-2 @ Marshall 7-2, 1 pm Saturday: Ryan VanDyke is not coming through that door.

Division 4

No. 5 Whitehall 6-3 @ No. 9 Chippewa Hills 7-2: Between the Aylor Bros. Connection and tough play up front, Whitehall won three straight to make the playoffs.

Big Rapids 6-3 @ Escanaba 5-4: There are road trips, and then there’s this one.

Plainwell 5-4 @ No. 1 Zeeland West 9-0: West isn’t just the favorite in this game, but to win the entire Division 4 field.

No. 8 Wyoming Godwin Heights 6-3 vs No. 4 Grand Rapids Catholic Central 8-1 @ Grand Rapids Christian: Godwin is in the playoffs for the first time in over a quarter century. Three years ago, they had to cancel their season. Now they go up against one of the Lake Area’s bluebloods, coming off yet another O-K Gold title.

Alma 6-3 @ No. 3 Forest Hills Eastern 8-1: FHE should regroup from its first loss, and the O-K conference pedigree should mean they roll here.

Saginaw Swan Valley 6-3 @ No. 4 Comstock Park 7-2: CP’s only losses are to teams that could very well be hoisting hardware championship weekend, Zeeland West (just a 10-point loss and the only game the Dux scored under 40 points) and West Catholic.

No. 10 Dowagiac 6-3 @ No. 7 Benton Harbor 5-4: Elliot Uzelac’s first season as Benton Harbor’s coach coincides with the school’s first-ever playoff appearance. Despite being a five-win qualifier the Tigers play host in the opener thanks to wins over bigger schools.

No. 6 Hudsonville Unity Christian 6-3 @ 7-2 Lakewood: If Unity Christian pulls this off, it will be their first win over a playoff qualifier.

Division 5

No. 6 Grayling 6-3 @ Menominee 9-0: Menominee plays one of the state’s unique schedules, and have come through it cleanly.

No. 7 Manistee 7-2 @ No. 3 Reed City 9-0: As always, Reed City can really run the ball. A second straight district title will be a tough order, as if the Coyotes win they face either West Catholic or Oakridge.

No. 2 Muskegon Oakridge 7-2 @ No. 1 Grand Rapids West Catholic 7-2: These two have shared the Lake Area’s top rank in Division 5 all season. West Catholic is a rare team with the size and athleticism to slow down Oakridge’s go-to target James Cooper.

Hillsdale 6-3 @ No. 4 Buchanan 9-0: Buchanan reached at least 60 points three times during their undefeated regular season.

Olivet 6-3 @ No. 5 Berrien Springs 8-1: Steven Spenner will continue his Chris Spielman impersonation for Berrien Springs.

Division 6

Oscoda 6-3 @ No. 6 Boyne City 8-1: Boyne City senior Malik Smith has run for 1,500 yards and 20 TDs.

Glen Lake 5-4 @ No. 1 Traverse City St. Francis 9-0, 1 pm Saturday: The “other” 9-0 team in TC, St. Francis, beat Glen Lake just three weeks ago 41-7.

Lake City 5-4 @ No. 7 Mason County Central 6-3: It took a season for Lake City to adjust to life without star QB Drew Marion, but after that sabbatical they’re back in the playoffs. Mason County Central was forged in the rugged West Michigan Conference, giving them the edge.

Morley Stanwood 6-3 @ No. 2 NorthPointe Christian 9-0: With a dominant defense that has allowed just over 7 points per game and a dominant QB in senior Spencer Peterson, NPC has state championship ingredients.

Delton Kellogg 5-4 @ No. 3 Montague 9-0: Few saw this coming, with Montague going from a two-win team in 2014 to an undefeated regular season in 2015.

No. 8 Constantine 5-4 @ No. 4 Schoolcraft 9-0: Despite the disparate records, Constantine is the only team to have led Schoolcraft this season, before falling 42-24. Schoolcraft has a weapon in junior QB Ricky Clark, with 2,200 yards and 30 TDs combined passing and running.

No. 9 Lawton 7-2 @ No. 5 Watervliet 8-1: Watervliet scored at least 50 points in their eight wins, largely on the arm of senior QB Blake Kiekenapp who has thrown for 1,800 yards and 28 TDs.

Division 7

Whittemore-Prescott 5-4 @ No. 4 McBain 6-3: It’s baptism by fire for McBain’s sophomore QB Alex Utecht, making just his second start.

Harbor Springs 6-3 @ Iron Mountain 6-3: A stranger to the postseason, Harbor Springs, travels over the Bridge to meet a playoff regular. Iron Mountain has pitched four shutouts while holding opponents to fewer than 10 points per game.

No. 1 Saugatuck 9-0 @ No. 2 Hesperia 9-0: Saugatuck’s Blake Dunn will continue a monster season which thus far has over 3,000 yards from under center with 45 TDs.

No. 7 Gobles 5-4 @ No. 3 Bridgman 8-1: It just continues to get better for Bridgman. Last year the Bees go the first playoff win in school history — against Gobles — and followed that up with the most regular season wins in school history.

No. 8 Hartford 5-4 @ No. 5 Cassopolis 7-2: Cassopolis’ offense is peaking, scoring 137 points in the past two games.

Division 8

Hillman 6-3 @ No. 2 Johannesburg-Lewiston 8-1: If we know one thing about this game, it’s that Jo’burg’s Logan Huff will have double-digit tackles.

Baldwin 4-4 @ No. 4 Frankfort 7-2: Frankfort went undefeated to win the Northern Michigan Football League 2.

No. 5 Central Lake 7-2 @ No. 3 Onekama 8-1: The good news for Onekama, the Portagers went undefeated in the West Michigan D League. The bad news, it was the West Michigan D League.

Sacred Heart 6-3 @ No. 1 Muskegon Catholic Central 6-2: Catholic Central is embarking on a playoff path towards a possible third-straight state championship.

Lake Area Honors: Week 9

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Bryce Fraser  6-0  180  Sr  RB  Forest Hills Northern: He ran 14 times for 183 yards and two TDs, including the game-winner, a 64-yarder in the fourth-quarter. Fraser then made an interception on previously unbeaten Forest Hills Eastern’s ensuing possession as Northern won 24-22.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Chase Tarwacki  6-0  170  Jr  DB  Edwardsburg: The Eddies’ offense was a juggernaut during their 9-0 regular season. They’ll have to do it on both sides in the post-season, and players like Tarwacki look up to the task. He led with 10 tackles a defense that made two fourth-down holds in a 52-20 win over Sturgis.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Brady Luttrull  5-10  155  Jr  QB  Muskegon Oakridge: Oakridge comes into the playoffs having last beat Orchard View 41-13 as Luttrull completed 16-of-28 passes for 311 yards including five TD throws of 26, 25, 18, 17 and 14 yards.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Mitch Hoffman  Sr  QB/K  Harbor Springs: Hoffman kicked a 24-yard field goal with three seconds to play as Harbor Springs held on to beat Charlevoix 22-20. The win guaranteed the Rams their first playoff appearance since 2000..

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Ryan Oshnock, Forest Hills Northern: The Huskies looked impotent in week 6 when they lost All-Lake QB Jason Martin to a broken foot on the first play of the game against Cedar Springs. While that ended Northern’s chances at an undefeated season, they eventually regrouped under Oshnock and in the final game of the regular season put an end to Forest Hills Eastern’s bid for a perfect regular season of its own, winning 26-24. FHN has now qualified for the playoffs in each of Oshnock’s two seasons.

Lake Area Prospect Watch: Week 10

Class of 2016

Derek Boone  6-4  225  Sr  OL/DL  Watervliet: He’s a two-way starter for Watervliet’s Division 6 state qualifier. Though he may not have scholarship size for it, Boone is plenty big eough for left tackle in the SAC. He’s a good athlete who consistently gets out onto linebackers. Should be a popular MIAA recruit along with another Watervliet lineman David Curl.

Jake Boonstra  6-4  285  Sr  OL  Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills: He’s one of the biggest centers in the Lake Area. He plays that to his advantage, and Boonstra figures out how to move his man. He goes hard in the running game and can plant to pass protect. Mobility and athleticism may impede and D1 aspirations, but he is one of the top 10 senior offensive linemen in the Lake Area.

Lake Area’s Top 25 2016 Offensive Linemen

  1. Jacob Cerny  6-5  290  Sr  Traverse City West  Illinois
  2. Michael VanHoeven  6-5  305  Sr  Paw Paw  Eastern Michigan
  3. Keegan Golder  6-5  270  Sr  Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
  4. Juanye Johnson  6-3  275  Sr  Muskegon
  5. Derices Brown  6-2  280  Sr  Muskegon
  6. Trenton Fincher  6-8  305  Sr  East Kentwood
  7. Mike Bourdeaux  6-3  270  Sr  Muskegon Mona Shores
  8. Jake Boonstra  6-4  285  Sr  Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills
  9. Kyle Augustine  6-3  320  Sr  Gaylord
  10. James Haverkamp  6-6  260  Sr  Grand Rapids Christian
  11. Nick Brown  6-7  240  Sr  Muskegon Mona Shores
  12. Evan Macauley  6-2  280  Sr  Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern
  13. Ian Woodruff  6-2  270  Sr  Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern
  14. Ben Hoerle  6-4  280  Sr  Grand Rapids Christian
  15. Karson Murley  6-1  290  Sr  Lowell
  16. John Lipscomb  6-3  305  Sr  Grand Rapids Catholic Central
  17. Braden Schrotenboer  6-6  235  Sr  Zeeland East
  18. Andy Rietveld  6-6  305  Sr  Saugatuck
  19. Jake McDowell  6-2  290  Sr  Lawton
  20. Ryan Rearick  6-2  255  Sr  Grand Rapids South Christian
  21. Dylan Olplinger  6-1  260  Sr  Muskegon
  22. Alex Galovan  6-2  225  Sr  Plainwell
  23. Josh Ezinga  6-2  245  Sr  Grand Rapids South Christian
  24. Patrick Koning  6-2  250  Sr  Kalamazoo Hackett
  25. Cameron Wright  6-3  290  Sr  Grant

Simeon Smith  6-6  205  Sr  WR  Kalamazoo Loy-Norrix: Intriguing preferred walk-on to Michigan who has some Matt Trannon qualities at that height, but not the physicality or toughness. With his frame and the willingness he’s shown to block downfield, we have Smith ranked as a tight end though he may end up at receiver for U-M. He’s more than just a big target, as Smith doesn’t move awkwardly and can make a man miss.He also plays defense, returns kicks and was also in kick coverage for Loy-Norrix.

Class of 2016 Tight End Rankings

  1. Keidren Davis  6-5  230  Sr  Grand Rapids Union  Toledo
  2. Simeon Smith  6-6  205  Sr  Kalamazoo Loy-Norrix  Michigan
  3. Taylor VanDyke  6-3  215  Sr  Cedar Springs
  4. Chris Veenstra  6-6  235  Sr  Wyoming
  5. Jackson Ammon  6-2  235  Sr  Rockford

Class of 2017

Walker Christoffersen  5-9  175  Jr  ATH  Muskegon Catholic Central: He did it under the radar last season for Fremont, was a revelation at last spring’s Lake Michigan Football Report combine (4.6 40, 3.98 pro agility, 33 1/2″ standing vertical), and this fall has proven he’s not just big stats on an average team or a workout warrior. As part of the Crusaders’ potent three-back attack along with fellow juniors Logan Helton and LaTommy Scott, he’s particularly dangerous catching the ball, like his two TD catches in MCC’s playoff-clinching win against Ravenna. Explosiveness and versatility — running back, receiver, defensive back — should help coaches see past Christoffersen’s speed as his recruitment ramps up.

Jack Mandryk  6-1  175  Jr  ATH  Hudsonville: When Mandryk broke his wrist in Hudsonville’s season-opening win against Holt, the Rams lost not just their top big-play threat on offense, but their leading tackler from 2014 when Mandryk did it as a sophomore from his safety position. He’s back, playing with a cast that limits him to just offense, as the Eagles’ QB. You don’t run on your wrist, so Mandryk’s 4.5 speed hasn’t gone anywhere. He run for three TDs in Hudonsville’s one-point loss to Rockford, including one of 61 yards in the third quarter that was one of the top runs in the Lake Area this season.

Lake Area Team Rankings: Final

Division 1

  1. Rockford  6-3
  2. Grandville  6-3
  3. East Kentwood  6-3
  4. Hudsonville  6-3
  5. Grand Haven  3-6

Division 2

  1. Muskegon Mona Shores  9-0
  2. Lowell  8-1
  3. Muskegon  7-2
  4. Traverse City Central  9-0
  5. Portage Central  8-1
  6. Forest Hills Northern   7-2
  7. Caledonia  5-4
  8. Byron Center  7-2
  9. Grand Rapids Northview 4-5
  10. Wyoming  3-6

Division 3

  1. St. Joseph  8-1
  2. East Grand Rapids  6-3
  3. Grand Rapids Christian  5-4
  4. Cedar Springs  6-3
  5. Zeeland East  6-3
  6. Edwardsburg  9-0
  7. Petoskey  7-2
  8. Gaylord  6-3
  9. Vicksburg  7-2
  10. Stevensville Lakeshore  6-3

Division 4

  1. Zeeland West  9-0
  2. Grand Rapids Catholic Central  8-1
  3. Forest Hills Eastern  8-1
  4. Comstock Park  7-2
  5. Whitehall  6-3
  6. Hudsonville Unity Christian  6-3
  7. Benton Harbor  5-4
  8. Wyoming Godwin Heights  6-3
  9. Chippewa Hills  7-2
  10. Dowagiac  6-3

Division 5

  1. Grand Rapids West Catholic  7-2
  2. Muskegon Oakridge  7-2
  3. Reed City  9-0
  4. Buchanan  9-0
  5. Berrien Springs  8-1
  6. Grayling  6-3
  7. Manistee  7-2
  8. Parchment  5-4
  9. Kalkaska  5-4
  10. Grant  3-6

Division 6

  1. Traverse City St. Francis  9-0
  2. Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian  9-0
  3. Montague  9-0
  4. Schoolcraft  9-0
  5. Watervliet  8-1
  6. Boyne City  8-1
  7. Mason County Central 6-3
  8. Constantine 5-4
  9. Lawton  7-2
  10. Niles Brandywine  5-4

Division 7

  1. Saugatuck  9-0
  2. Hesperia  9-0
  3. Bridgman  8-1
  4. McBain  6-3
  5. Cassopolis  7-2
  6. Decatur  5-4
  7. Gobles  5-4
  8. Hartford  5-4
  9. Harbor Springs  6-3
  10. Pine River  4-5

Division 8

  1. Muskegon Catholic Central  6-2
  2. Johannesburg-Lewiston  8-1
  3. Onekama  8-1
  4. Frankfort  7-2
  5. Central Lake 7-2

Lake Area Honors: Week 8

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Dom Shermeta  6-0  220  Sr  RB  Muskegon Mona Shores: In the biggest game in the Lake Area, Shermeta had 171 yards and two TDs on 25 carries as Mona Shores held off Muskegon 21-18 to claim a share of the O-K Black title.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Jacob Buchberger  6-1  185  Sr  DB  Montague: Buchberger didn’t show much empathy to his Muskegon Oakridge counterpart, making three interceptions in Montague’s 36-29 OT win. His third pick ended Oakridge’s final possession of overtime and won the game. His second interception prevented what would have been the winning score for Oakridge in regulation.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Malik McIntyre  5-10  185  Sr  RB  Berrien Springs: He carried the ball 32 times for 198 yards and a TD in Berrien Springs’ two-point loss to Buchanan.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Camden Summers  Jr  QB  Grayling: Grayling earned a playoff berth with a 48-35 defeat of Benzie Central. Summers threw for 393 yards and six TDs and ran for 132 yards and a TD.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Todd Kolster, Grand Rapids Catholic Central: This is the second of Kolster’s two-year stints with the Cougars. The first tenure included a state championship in 2010. That would be looking a long way ahead for the 2015 edition. But they have claimed one championship already, the O-K Gold after beating Middleville 35-7. In their last season in the Gold before moving to the O-K Blue, CC, 7-1 overall, should do it in undefeated still this week against South Christian.

Lake Area Prospect Watch: Week 9

Class of 2016

Christian Bos  5-10  165  Sr  Hudsonville Unity Christian: Prototype wing-T back who will eventually break one for 65-yards up the middle. Bos is a 1,000-yard rusher for playoff-bound Unity Christian. Smooth cut-back runner between tackles who will get physical with or without the ball when he has to. Doesn’t have the physique of go-to college running back, he’ll likely make his way as a cover and return man.

Pat Naughton  6-2  210  Sr  QB  Comstock Park: The Panthers have now made the playoffs six straight seasons. They’ve had just two QBs during that span, Jake Brown, now at Michigan Tech, then Naughton. The latter is a true-to-the-times shotgun wristband reader who is on pace to throw for 5,000 career yards, and has earned even more respect this season playing with a beat up ankle. He’s a much more efficient passer this season, with favorite targets Nick Turowski and Monterio Smith. Naughton has such a rapport, and is really able to spot it to Turowski. Good athlete who runs for the down marker not out of panic. Can step up in the pocket to complete throws and will also stand in and follow through while being hit. Coaches will have to determine actual arm strength. He’s the best senior QB in the Lake Area.

Top 10 Senior QB Prospects

  1. Pat Naughton  6-2  210  Sr  Comstock Park
  2. Spencer Peterson  6-5  220  Sr  Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian
  3. Jake Martin  6-0  190  Sr  Forest Hills Northern
  4. Ryan Stevens  6-2  175  Sr  Lowell
  5. Lucas Fotis  6-2  190  Sr  Grand Rapids Christian
  6. Jacob Buchberger  6-1  185  Sr  Montague
  7. Evan Whitmore  6-3  210  Sr  Petoskey
  8. Dante Razzano  6-2  190  Sr  Edwardsburg
  9. Jon Olsson  6-3  190  Sr  East Grand Rapids
  10. Wade Buckman  6-6  210  Sr  Holland

Jean Pierre Nkolo  6-3  220  Sr  DL  East Kentwood: We were high on him last year with real flashes in condensed playing time. Nkolo rarely comes off the field now, as he moves up and down EK’s D line on both short and long yardage situations, and also starts offensively at left tackle with Trenton Fincher injured. His usage rate speaks well to how JP’s taken to the coaching. Still looking to define himself as a player, a calling card, so continue to like his potential.

Kurtis Schultz  6-3  225  Sr  DL  Grand Rapids West Catholic: He’s the lithe counterpart to West Catholic’s other defensive end and offensive tackle, Carl Myers. Schultz is both a run blocker and run stopper. Plays in both three- and four-man fronts. Not as patient as Myers containing runners. Quick hands and shows speed whether getting to loose balls or pursuing upfield.

Monterio Smith  5-10  180  Sr  RB  Comstock Park: He’s as dangerous as any back in the Lake Area when you get Smith the ball and some space. Adds double damage as he can beat tacklers one-on-one while remaining patient for blocks even as plays develop downfield. Versatile, CP will use him on straight go routes and he can make over-the-shoulder catches. You don’t have to take him out for power yardage, as Smith can accelerate and cut between tackles.

Chris Veenstra  6-6  245  Sr  DL/TE  Wyoming: Wyoming has the Lake Area’s fastest player, senior Michael Williams. He had the game-winning, 65-yard TD against Forest Hills Northern. That was only the Wolves’ second loss but they’ve fought hard all year in the O-K Bronze and Williams has some help. Veenstra is one of the Lake Area’s high-return sleeper prospect. The length and motor immediately stand out. He’s raw, but has great measurables and where he starts to separate is how hard he plays, the buy-in and contributions offensively, defensively and on special teams. Throws himself into blocking assignments and when it comes together just unloads. As he sharpens his technique and routes,Veenstra intrigues at a bunch of positions.

Class of 2017

Jake Bouma  6-3  200  Jr  QB  Grandville Calvin Christian: He had a huge day in Calvin’s win over Kelloggsville, completing 24-of-47 throws for 376 yards and five TDs. He was due, a month before NorthPointe Christian picked off Bouma five times. To even it out tells you a bit about the kid right there. Bouma will certainly get looks in the spring and summer as he has the frame for it, and will get his reps with how Calvin Christian plays.

Sam Neville  6-3  195  Jr  WR/DB  Grand Rapids West Catholic: Very similar to Muskegon junior Jacorey Sullivan, as they move so well and close on the ball covering a bunch of space with long strides and wingspan. Neville knows how to use his body catching balls on slant routes and shows an extra gear with quick acceleration out of wide receiver screens. He and senior Conner Nemmers are ideal targets for Gaetano Vallone, the Falcons’ talented sophomore lefty QB. Another trip to Ford Field for West Catholic and it’s easy to see all kinds of college camp invitations coming his way.

Turner Ruby  6-4  285  Jr  OL  East Kentwood: Likely a guard in college, he’s EK’s right tackle. The Falcons also use Ruby as a tight end to down block in short yardage situations. He’s a competent, methodical run blocker who tends to play high. He competed well against one of the Lake Area’s top pass rushers two weeks ago, Gabe Bauman, who gave Ruby some trouble with wingspan, repertoire, second effort and hashline-to-hashline speed.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 68 other followers