On a cold night at Thirlby Field, Traverse City West was on fire — on offense and defense. The Titans racked up nearly 400 yards of total offense en route to a 40-11 win over Cadillac. This game marked Cadillac’s first loss of the season. Offensively for West, quarterback Donny Cizek was a cool customer with a perfect completion percentage at halftime and three touchdowns. His favorite targets were fullback Geordon Carter, running back Griffin Forrester, and wide receiver Tyler Johnson. Johnson has good size, solid speed, and is a very good route runner. There could be a place for him at the next level. Up front for the Titans, Connor Hayes, again, was dominant. He’s not overly athletic, but he’s a mauler and plays with really good pad level. He could actually play center or stay at his current guard position in college. He’s a BCS recruit, following in the footsteps of recent TC West grad and current Oregon sophomore lineman, Jake Fisher. The Titans’ offense was spectacular in the running game and the passing game.
Cadillac managed to hang with the Titans early on, largely in part to their two Division I tackles Jack Ford and Riley Norman. Ford is a lunchpail type of lineman who is fundamentally sound and plays to the whistle on every snap. CMU is getting a true workhorse. Norman is a beast and plays with an attitude — in a good way. At 6-7 and nearly 300 pounds, this track & field scholarship commit for Michigan State could be a future NFL’er if he decides to try football for the Spartans. The other standout on offense for the Vikings was quarterback Jalen Brooks. Brooks, a junior, rushed for 268 yards including an 80-yard TD run. He’s getting looks from Division II schools at the QB position, but could sneak into a MAC school if continues to improve as a pocket passer. Watching Brooks harkens comparisons to former CMU great Dan LeFevour.
Putting a stop to the Vikings’ offensive efforts was middle linebacker Derrick Diver. Diver did everything besides take the tickets and pop the popcorn. He’s a throwback linebacker that plays sideline to sideline, making bone-crushing hits. He’s a leader and the heart and soul of West’s defense. Diver is drawing interest from Division I and Division II schools. Memo to all of those schools: offer this kid a scholarship now. You won’t be disappointed. Diver can flat out play. The other defensive standout for TC West was sophomore cornerback Zach McGuire. With really good size (6-1, 180) and good speed, he has potential to become a Division I prospect. McGuire has good cover skills and is a ballhawk.
In the end, TC West’s depth proved to be too much for Cadillac to handle as the Titans pulled away with a big victory. But don’t count Cadillac out just yet. They will be one of the top teams heading into the Division 4 playoffs, but tonight belonged to the Division I Traverse City West Titans.