Monthly Archives: September, 2012

Weekend standouts

*Belding senior QB Brady Badder had a school-record setting game, throwing for 261 yards and five TDs and running for 98 yards and another TD in a  63-42 win over Lake Odessa Lakewood.

*Mona Shores soph QB Tyree Jackson was 13-of-18 for 276 yards and two TDs in Mona’s 42-14 win over Spring Lake. Asantay Brown was his main target, collecting eight balls for 171 yards and a TD.

*A workhorse running back at EGR you say? Pioneers senior Jahaan Brown carried the ball 35 times for 248 yards and a TD in East Grand Rapids’ 23-12 defeat of East Kentwood.

*It was another strong game for Petoskey junior Chase Ledingham, who ran 12 times for 144 yards and a TD in the Northmen’s 34-8 win over West Branch Ogemaw Heights.

*Grand Rapids West Catholic junior Andy Corey is a wide receiver by trade, but scored two rushing TDs in the Falcons’ 28-0 defeat of Comstock Park on runs of 59 and four yards. He also caught a 21-yard TD.

*Mattawan senior Trevor Sweeney rushed for 192 yards and three TDs on 11 carries, and returned a kick 70 yards for a score, in a 49-27 win against Sturgis.

*Harbor Springs ended its losing streak at 10 games. The Rams played Manistee Catholic tough in the opener, then whupped Frankfort 43-8 . Junior David Walker ran 10 times for 137 yards and three TDs.

*It was a big third quarter for Hartford senior Gareth MacMillan, when he scored all three of his TDs in a 45-8 defeat of New Buffalo.

*Kenowa Hills senior Dylan Smith caught 11 passes for 202 yards and two TDs, and the Knights beat Greenville 28-22.


Eagles arrive: GR Christian looks at home against nationally ranked opponent

A novice power, Grand Rapids Christian, proved worthy upstart to an old school giant Saturday in Cincinnati. Even in defeat to Archbishop Moeller, the Eagles proved themselves worthy of preseason accolades, ultimately falling 42-34 to USA Today’s No. 12 team in the country.

GR Christian set the tone early, as Moeller had a hard time keeping up with their multi-threat, no-huddle offense. The Eagles led 24-14 at halftime. Senior QB Alex Van DeVusse had TD passes to his top three weapons — junior Drake Harris, junior Dwayne Barfield and senior tight end and CMU commitment Zach Crouch. In the first half Van DeVusse was 12-for-24 for 183 and the three TDs. Moeller was able to flush him out of the pocket and disrupt the Eagle’s rhythm in the second half, as Van DeVusse finished 18-of-40 for 282 yards, three TDs, three interceptions. After the intermission, Barfield was sidelined on crutches, Crouch rarely lined up at tight end and Harris had just one reception outside the flats, a leaping grab in traffic over the middle.

Grand Rapids Christian is now 1-1 and will play at dangerous, 2-0 Kenowa Hills on Friday, Sept. 7 then play host to Hudsonville before navigating a brutal O-K White schedule.

Game Notes:

  • Harris was one of three Big Ten commitments in the game. The two others were from Moeller seniors, linebacker Shane Jones, a future Spartan like Harris, and running back Keith Watkins, who will go to Northwestern.  Harris finished with seven catches for 101 yards and 30-yard TD. At 6-4, 185 and the ability to go get the ball, he looked every party the big-time downfield receiver. The aforementioned catch across the middle looked entirely incongruous with anything like the “soft” label some have placed on Harris. Jones keyed a defense that didn’t allow the Eagles much of any running game, and had seven tackles and an interception. Watkins is a dynamic little back who rushed 20 times for 219 yards and two TDs. He took a screen pass for 79 yards and a TD — five Christian players missed tackles — in the opening minute of the second half, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 24-21.
  • There could be at least another Big 10 recruit from this game. Tommy Doles, GR Christian’s 6-5, 245 junior lineman, already has an offer from Michigan, as well as Iowa State, where his cousin, Kyle Lichtenberg, plays on the offensive line. Doles is much different than some of the behemoth junior linemen we’ve already covered this season, like Zeeland West’s Jordan VanDort and Traverse City West’s Connor Hayes. He’s athletic with both quick feet and hands, and balance; excels with technique rather than brute strength. Still, he has a big butt, the frame to add good weight and when he got his heels down even Moeller’s biggest linemen were stoned by Doles. On the other side Doles, the son of long-time Channel 8 sports anchor Jack Doles, played with his hand down in the Eagles’ 3-4.
  • Senior kicker Joel Schipper is a serious weapon for Grand Rapids Christian. He drilled field goals of 48 and 47 yards, and put his kickoffs out the back of the end zone. This season Schipper had made all nine of his PAT attempts.
  • Conversely, Christian’s punt team was tragic. Moeller blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for their first touchdown, then got a piece of another one in the fourth quarter to get the ball back on the Eagles’ 12-yard-line. The ensuing touchdown gave Moeller its largest lead of the game, 42-27, with 9 minutes 22 seconds left in the fourth.
  • Grand Rapids Christian has two future stars on the defensive side of the ball in sophomore lineman Juwan Jarnegan and sophomore linebacker Qi-ante Ewing.

Talented Muskegon shines in Ohio

For Muskegon, the 3.5 hour journey to northwest Ohio was worth every minute.  Muskegon gave up some big plays early, but battled back to win a thriller over traditional powerhouse Sylvania Southview (OH), 40-37. The Big Reds look to back to their “old” form with many college prospects on both sides of the ball. Muskegon rushed for a staggering 409 yards — many of them behind big right tackle Antwan Billings, a potential Division I prospect who may be the most underrated lineman in the state. At 6-3, 275, he will most likely be a guard at the next level but has great reach and a good motor.  Billings showed great versatility in run-blocking and pass-blocking.

The Big Reds showed a talented stable of players in the backfield as well, led by senior quarterback Jalen Smith. Smith looks like former Big Red QB Chris Crawford reincarnated.  He has great command of the offense, and is a perfect fit to run the read option.  Another bright spot was fullback John King, who led Muskegon in rushing with 152 yards on 21 carries and two TD’s. He runs angry and would be a great fit at the DII level with a team favoring a power running game.  He’s being recruited by several GLIAC schools.  The Big Reds’ other backs, Marcus Smith and Javontae Langston, both ran for over 100 yards behind a great senior offensive line.

On defense, Muskegon had a tough time early containing Southview quaterback Valdez Austin, a Bowling Green commit. Big defensive plays late in the game proved to be the difference for Muskegon, including a monumental goal-line stand with less than three minutes to play.  The Big Reds were led on defense by Ronald Jenkins, a Muskgeon Heights transfer who was in the Cougars’ backfield all night. At defensive end, Jenkins caused a big fumble late in the game that shifted the momentum.  Jenkins is another Muskegon player with great potential for playing at the next level.  Anchoring the other side of the defensive line was Kenneth Finley. Finley displayed high-major talent with his ability to get to the quarterback. He also made big plays against the run.  He’s big and fast to the football, and could quickly move up in our 2014 class rankings.

This Muskegon team played with the swagger and aggression reminiscent of its state title teams from a few years ago. After the game, head coach Shane Fairfield summed up the state of his team best. “We’re back to where we were under Tony,” Fairfield said.  “We have a lot of seniors on this team; we’re back.”