Monthly Archives: October, 2016

Lake Area Honors: Week 10

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TC Central linebacker made a crucial pick in the Trojans’ biggest game of the season.

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Matt Ellis  Sr  RB  Grand Rapids Christian: When GR Christian and Zeeland West meet in the postseason it’s always entertaining. While they didn’t combine to top 100 points like in 2012, the Eagles’ win came down to a winning score with 18 seconds to go in this D3 opener. Ellis had nine carries for 195 yards including TDs of 78 and 72 yards.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Grand Rapids West Catholic: Have to give it to a unit after what the Falcons did to commence the defense of the Division 5 crown. For the fourth time in the playoffs in as many years they beat Lansing Catholic holding a Cougars offense that had topped 40 points for the past month to a sole TD 28-6. LCC junior QB Michael Lynn III came in highly regarded in the Capital Area but ended up with enough interceptions to match the numeral in his name including one returned 36 yards for a TD by West Catholic’s Sam Neville.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Ricky Clark  Sr  QB  Schoolcraft: He didn’t let a repeat of last year, when Constantine upset Schoolcraft, occur, leading them to a D6 district final with a 40-28 win. Clark threw for 226 yards and four TDs and ran in a pair of scores for unbeaten Schoolcraft.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Jordan Fisher  Sr  LB  Traverse City Central: He made the crucial fourth-quarter interception against Traverse City West. It set up the Trojans’ winning score to beat their crosstown rival 13-12. They advance in Division 2 to play Lowell.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Randy Vanderveen, Rockford: In his 20th season as the defensive coordinator for HOF coach Ralph Munger, Vanderveen continues to shut ’em down in one of the state’s ultimate grinder leagues. The latest victim was Hudsonville as a week after giving up two TDs losing the Rams gave up just one to Hudsonville this time to advance in the Division I playoffs 24-7. They held the O-K Red’s most explosive running QB, Hudsonville senior Jack Mandryck, to 32 yards on 20 carries.

Prospect Watch: Week 10

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“Boyne Tough” Jacob Ager has emerged as one of the Lake Area’s top 2018 linebacker prospects.

Class of 2017

Phil Paea  6-4  300  Sr  OL/DL  Berrien Springs: It’s never been an easy thing for a Lake Area prospect to get a U-M offer as the program historically favored Detroit and Ohio. For every  glaring exception like Drake Harris, there are those like Desmond Morgan, Ben Braden, David Harris, Rob Renes or Terrance Taylor that have gotten a chance and delivered. Paea is a physically dominant small school prospect who remains somewhat raw but should contribute to the Harbaugh Experience as an upperclassman. Against Berrien Springs schedule, he’s so athletic he looks like an overinflated fullback on offense, and linebacker on defense. A terrific run blocking guard who delivers with power on multiple hits per play.

Chase Tarwacki  6-0  180  Sr  DB  Edwardsburg: He’s missed some time with a groin injury with the undefeated Eddies. They’ll need him for their D3 playoff opener against Hamilton and dangerous sophomore running back Trenton Lane. Tarwacki is good in flow, where he’s able to hit smaller runners, wrap up the bigger ones. Looks more quick than fast, though can pile up yards on kick and interception returns.

Class of 2018

Jacob Ager  6-1  220  Jr  LB  Boyne City: He was all-league on the offensive line as a sophomore, and showed his athleticism and versatility this year starting at mike linebacker and h-back. While not a savant back there like his predecessor 2x All-Lake LB Luke Sage, Ager makes smart reads himself and is a good open field tackler. As you’d expect given his offensive line background, he delivers some nasty hits coming around the ends opening things up downfield for Ramblers runners. Should be a popular GLIAC recruit.

Class of 2019

Logan Miller  6-5  270  So  OL  Allendale: One of two key underclassmen starting for Allendale’s prolific offense, Miller at left guard and freshman Owen Burk at running back. Miller surprises with his quickness and moves well trapping. He had the finishing Block for Burk’s first TD in Allendale’s win over West Catholic to win a share of the O-K Blue title. The Falcons will have both their tackles back next year for their senior season, but could see Miller ending up there eventually. Needs to work on pad level, strength at point of attack.

Bryce Neff  6-2  235  So  OL/DL  Gaylord: There were underclassmen starting at both left tackles in Traverse City West’s win over Gaylord, West’s Andy Schollett and Neff for the Blue Devils. Neff also started at defensive tackle, and was Gaylord’s starting right tackle as just a freshman. On offense, Neff showed his versatility as he was able to get a hand on smaller speed rushers, and in one series when matched up against the Lake Area’s No. 3 2018 lineman got low and moved Ryan Hayes for a nice run gain. He showed decent wheels when pursuing the ball in West’s backfield. Good all-around player who is kind of a tweener now but has time to grow.

Lake Area Honors: Week 9

 

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Watervliet senior QB Cameron Rendo concluded the regular season with a seven touchdown performance.

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Zac Saltzgaber  Sr  QB  Byron Center: In what was the O-K Green championship game agaisnt Unity Christian, Saltzgaber ran for 259 yards and five TDs and threw for 103 yards and one score as Byron Center beat the Crusaders 40-19.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Jacob Milward  Sr  LB  Gobles: He came up huge in a 14-13 overtime win against Delton Kellogg with four sacks and an interception.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Cameron Rendo  Sr  QB  Watervliet: He rushed for five TDs while throwing for 270 yards and two TDs in a blowout of Bangor.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Danny Passinault  So  QB  Traverse City St. Francis: Playing for the NMFL Legends Division title against Boyne City, Passinault threw for two TDs and picked off a pass as unbeaten St. Francis blanked the Ramblers 22-0.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Dave Lidgaard, Hudsonville: By beating Rockford 14-7 Hudsonville forced a three-way tie for the O-K Red title with Grandville and the Rams, the Eagles’ first time atop the Lake Area’s strongest league since 2007. It’s deja vu for 8-1 Hudsonville as they host Rockford in the playoff opener.

Prospect Watch: Week 9

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Muskegon sophomore Ali’Vonta Wallace has emerged as the Lake Area’s top college prospect in the 2019 class.

Class of 2017

Michael Brown  6-1  195  Sr  DB/WR  Grand Rapids Catholic Central: Plays quicker than his 4.6 speed as knowledge is king for the vet betting right against the run and making plays in coverage. It’s a dangerous proposition throwing Brown’s direction he can lull a QB in then suddenly be all over the ball and going the other way. On offense he’s a physical receiver who doesn’t go down easy. He won’t be able to dance around at the next level so can improve his initial speed. Should be a popular guy as signing day approaches as he could conceivably make the linebacker switch like Asantay Brown has done at WMU.

Aaron Clark  6-3  230  OL/DL  Spring Lake: It’s been a predictably rough debut for Spring Lake, coming from the Lakes 8 to the O-K Blue. Clark doesn’t have the strength and explosion of the Lake Area’s elite linemen but MIAA likes his versatility starting both ways as a center and D end with a college future more likely as the former. Greatest asset is his motor.

Levi Finley  6-4  270  OL  Mattawan: Plays mostly guard also center and even some tackle in short yardage situations. Given that versatility it will be interesting what college fitness level and coaching do for him when not able to just get by on size so often.

Class of 2018

Bryant Kieft  6-3  190  Jr  LB  Watervliet: Versatile defender for the Vliet, lining up as a hand-down D end in three- and four-man fronts or inside at linebacker when stacking against the run. Six tackles for loss and a pair of sacks on the season. Kieft has strong hands getting off blockers and finishing plays. At camps coaches will want to see him in coverage and what he’s going to do against shadow-casting tackles.

Jalen Shaffer  6-1  205  Jr  LB/RB  Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian: In his second year as a two-way impact in what is a surprisingly talented O-K Silver. Shaffers’s a three-down back who produces between tackles, uses his size as a blocker and can catch the ball in the flats. Defensively has quick feet but coaches will want to know if he has the fluidity to cover. Fullback/H back/Tight end possibility at next level.

Jacob Wohlgemuth  6-5  300  Jr  OL  Wyoming Kelloggsville: Part of the top line in the O-K Silver that has size in Wohlgemuth, 6-4 265 senior Jacob Heminger, 6-2 290 junior Ben Garcia and the best executioner of the group senior guard Donovan Spencer who could have a college future at linebacker. Wohlgemuth is a gap closer at D tackle whose greatest value is on the offensive line where college coaches like his background as a three-sport athlete who also plays basketball and throws in track and field.

Class of 2019

Ali’Vonta Wallace  6-1  210  So  LB  Muskegon: Haven’t seen a more promising sophomore in the Lake Area this season. A rare underclassman his size who is just as competent in coverage as he is dangerous blitzing. The Big Reds line up Wallace all over and let him make plays. He had what would be a good season for many players in week 5 against Reeths-Puffer, with three interceptions. Wallace could be Muskegon’s top non-lineman prospect since Ronald Johnson.

Class of 2020

Alex Doke  5-11  255  Fr  White Cloud: Big boy rumbling out of the power I. Fullback and D end dominated Baldwin both ways last Friday with 152 yards and a TD on 10 carries and 11 tackles.

Lake Area Honors: Week 8

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Senior Brady Luttull is a third-year starter at QB for Muskegon Oakridge.

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Sam Neville  Sr  WR  Grand Rapids West Catholic: In a hard-hitting defensive masterpiece, Neville was the outlier with a 90-yard TD in the fourth quarter as West Catholic pulled away to beat Catholic Central 20-3. He also made a first-quarter interception.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Demarion Smith  Jr  DB  Wyoming Kelloggsville: The cornerback had two interceptions, returning one for a TD, in a win over Belding. He also caught a TD pass as Kelloggsville improved to 7-1.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Brady Luttrull  Sr  QB  Muskegon Oakridge: He shook off an early interception to lead Oakridge back from a two-score deficit to Montague midway through the fourth quarter with TD runs of 1 and 70 yards. Oakridge won the game, and thus the Western Michigan Conference title, the 31-28. Luttrull ran for 179 yards and threw for 149 yards.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Fitz Doud  Sr  LB  Traverse City Central: The Trojans’ defense kept them in the game at Birmingham Brother Rice before finally taking their first loss of the season in triple overtime 20-17. Doud made 20 tackles including 2 1/2 behind the line of scrimmage.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Mark Chapman, Sparta: It was a sign of things to come, and just how far Chapman’s first Sparta team has come, as they beat his former school, Comstock Park, 41-13, to improve to 4-4 on the year.

Prospect Watch: Week 8

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Hudsonville senior Jack Mandryk is the top duel threat quarterback in the O-K Red.

Class of 2017

Eric Dithazy  6-5  270  Sr  OL  Forest Hills Northern: A third-year starter, the second at right tackle, where he’s protected one of the best QBs in the Lake Area, Jake Martin, now a receiver at U-M, and for the past year senior Chase Morrello who last week threw for 220 yards and ran for two TDs in a win over Cedar Springs. A rare effective run and pass blocker at the high school level, Dithazy has the frame and wingspan college coaches covet, and has committed to CMU. FHN’s nastiest blocker might be a running back, however, senior Connor Bruinius, who is going to the University of Detroit for lacrosse.

Jack Mandryk  6-1  185  Sr  QB/DB  Hudsonville: Caledonia had no answer for him last week as Mandryk ran for 237 yards and five TDs. Mandryk is a terrific high school QB because he has vision in traffic and then the speed to break out and finish the deal. He’ll likely be a GLIAC recruit as a safety, where Mandryk closes well and had made three picks this season.

Lawrence Mickowski  6-1  290  Sr  OL  Traverse City West: The Titans’ starting center gave Cadillac’s line all kinds of problems. He’s so wide that he’d get onto the Vikings smaller, quicker linemen before they could get around him. Had good technique and rarely let his hands wander. West’s first TD came running right behind Mickowski.

Kelvyn Valdez  6-3  185  Sr  WR  Wyoming Godwin Heights: First-year coach Carlton Brewster has opened up the Wolves’ offense, to the benefit of two college prospects who have emerged in Valdez and junior QB Susu Davenport. Valdez visited MSU last week. Their numbers would have him as a walk-on candidate. But this is at least a MAC talent. He has the rare gift of running entire routes at full speed. Can catch over the shoulder on the fly or going across the middle. Uses his size and a nose for the ball to help out Davenport on 50/50 or under-thrown balls.

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Cadillac junior Jacob Kochanny will get getting MAC looks for the offensive line.

Class of 2018

Jacob Kochanny  6-4  250  Jr  OL  Cadillac: Jack Ford is at CMU and this could be Cadillac’s next MAC lineman. He’s a two-way starter who is at his best moving the pile from right guard. Flexible and quick off the line. Maybe over eager, as Cadillac’s line got baited into a false start when Traverse City West had 6-1, 290 senior Lawrence Mickowski looming over them as a blitzing linebacker. That was one of two penalties that doomed Cadillac’s opening drive. Kochanny also spent some time helping out the tackle against TC West’s end Ryan Hayes, the No. 2 2018 lineman in the Lake Area after No. 1 overall prospect Antwan Reed of Muskegon. It would be interesting to see how Kochanny would fare against Hayes one-on-one and in space, the kind of chance he’ll likely have this summer as colleges will want to see if his athleticism can translate to tackle. It would also be fun to see him in an uptempo offense because of his fitness level, but the Vikings are certainly not that.  Cadillac is 5-2 and will be even better next year as Kochanny will be one of four returning starters on the line along with junior QB Kegan Brooks, who had a 24-yard TD run against West.

Class of 2019

Andy Schollett  6-4  210  So  OL  Traverse City West: When you have a 10th-grader starting at left tackle for TC West, historical evidence makes one take note. This is the school that currently has linemen with MSU, Pitt, Illinois and the Bengals. It’s still a long way off for him, but watch out next year with a year of strength, from which comes the confidence.

Lake Area Honors: Week 7

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Three Rivers’ Tyson New averaged a TD per quarter against South Haven.

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Tyson New  Sr  RB  Three Rivers: He ran for 148 yards and four TDs in a 38-6 win over South Haven.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Oscar Puebla  Sr  DL  Zeeland West: His third-quarter. fumble recovery set up the TD that put the game out of reach for Hamilton. West won 42-24.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

David Thompson  Sr  ATH  Ravenna: He’d been starting QB, but switched to RB and WR against Whitehall. It paid off, as Thompson caught four passes for 167 yards and a TD while running 14 times for 133 yards in a crucial one-point win against Whitehall.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Davis Eyth  Jr  RB  Gaylord: Making just his second start, Eyth carried a veteran workload for Gaylord rushing 39 times for 206 yards and all of the Blue Devils’ TDs in a 21-14 defeat of Petoskey.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

James Meerman, Coopersville: The late coach, who passed away in 2015, was honored by Coopersville which has named their stadium after him. Meerman won 177 games and led Coopersville to three state championship games.

Registration now open for 2016 Senior Exposure Camp in GR on December 4

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Prospect Watch: Week 7

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Senior receiver Sam Neville may have West Catholic poised for another state title run.

Class of 2017

Ricky Clark  6-0  190  Sr  ATH  Schoolcraft: This third-year starter was incredible as a junior, when he threw for 1,670 yards and 24 TDs while running for 770 and nine TDs, and is even better as a senior. Last week against Lawton, Clark ran for two TDs, threw for two TDs and returned kicks for two TDs. Has vision and playmaking chutzpah when running the ball. What he has over his father Benny, a state record rusher at Ravenna who played at WMU, and brother Benny, who starred at Schoolcraft before him, is Ricky’s size. Put him at receiver at the next level and he could convert like the next Brandon Childress or Corey Willis, CMU receivers who were star QBs at Baldwin and Holland.

TJ Dymond  6-4  270  Sr  TE/OL  Portage Central: He’s similar to Zeeland West’s Conner Chupailo, the huge half of dual tight ends used mostly as an extra blocker, but then will catch a defense off guard and rumble for extra yards after the catch. Dymond also proved his worth on special teams when he blocked a would-be game-tying field goal to beat Battle Creek Lakeview in overtime.

Riley Fairfield  6-4  200  Sr  ATH  North Muskegon: Class C all-state basketball star whose tweener status has limited his hardwood recruitment. Fairfield could be the next Tyler Conklin if he buys all in for football. Basketball talent is apparent with his hands and instincts for the ball on offense or defense. Makes a nice target for North Muskegon’s pair of 10th-grade QBs. Tough, rugged kid, not a hoops prima donna. Has been a four-year impact player in the Lake Area’s strongest small school league.

Sam Neville  6-3  200  Sr  WR  Grand Rapids West Catholic: Similar in size and ability to a player we profiled here last week, Muskegon’s JaCorey Sullivan, two big physical receivers who play championship-caliber football. While Neville’s 4.7 speed doesn’t wow recruiters, look a little deeper in the numbers and you’ll find a pro agility time of 4.16 seconds, tied for the fourth-fastest at last spring’s LMFR combine. Makes his coin with West Catholic QB David Fox, like Neville a top 10 uncommitted Lake Area senor, from crossing routes, taking advantage of Neville’s size, call to duty despite contact, and balance to get yac after the hit.

Andrew VanHoven  6-4  275  Sr  OL  Portage Central: He’s the right tackle on a big, talented Portage Central line where his most value is down blocking in the veer offense. Best physical attribute is his straight-line speed as VanHoven can keep up well into the second level and blot out linebackers. The Mustangs run the ball with two tight ends, so hard to gauge him as a pass blocker. Against the highest ranked team and prospect he’s faced this season, VanHoven didn’t have equally quick, strong hands nor the nasty streak of Traverse City Central’s Ben Sherwin, but competed and helped PC move the ball.

Bryce Robinson  6-2  275  Sr  DL  Stevensville Lakeshore: He’ll line up as both a D tackle or end for Lakeshore, with his college potential leaning towards the former. Not like the lithe end rushers one often associates with Lakeshore linemen, he’s rounder and more rambunctious. Plays with momentum.

Nick White  6-0  245  Sr  OL/DL  Forest Hills Central: Doesn’t have ideal collegiate dimensions, but this third-year starter is one of the best pure high school linemen in the Lake Area. Powerful at the point of impact. Plays with an incredible motor punching holes from right guard. Speed down the line when on defense. Good special teams value.

Class of 2018

Brandon Rake  6-6  225  Jr  OL/DL  Whitehall: The small school answer to Jenison junior lineman Dan VanOpstall, who is a top 10 overall prospect in the 2018 class.Rake is the starting right tackle on a strong Whitehall offensive line that has senior running back Joseph Dowdell contending for All-Lake Area honors. While he needs to add a lot of weight, to his credit he doesn’t play small — it would be foolhardy to call anyone who played in the week 6 Oakridge-Whitehall battle soft. Improving technique after physically dominating at the JV level. If he can maintain his speed while getting stronger, becomes a very interesting prospect.

Class of 2019

Peyton Young  6-4  310  So  OL/DL  Muskegon Oakridge: It was baptism by fire for this young left tackle opening the season against Muskegon Catholic Central and their quick, athletic linemen. But when he does get his hands on a smaller player watch out, a bullying ensues. And Oakridge hasn’t lost since and is massive on the edges with Young and 6-7, 310 senior Garrison Curry at right tackle. The former is similar to his fellow sophomore lineman and Muskegon neighbor Anthony Bradford, the Big Reds right tackle profiled here last week, in that they both play with an edge and toughness usually found in more veteran members of the trenches. Makes plays on size, energy end toughness, with technique to come.

Class of 2020  

Leroy Quinn  5-11  210  Fr  RB/LB  Muskegon Oakridge: A varsity-ready body and football ability. There have been games where Quinn has led Oakridge in both rushing and tackles. Quinn was averaging 10 yards a carry before the rain-drenched grinder with Whitehall. He’s had an 88-yard TD run and 67-yard TD catch.

Lake Area Honors: Week 6

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Kelvyn Valdez  6-3  185  Sr  WR  Godwin Heights: One of the top uncommitted 2017 prospects in the Lake Area, Valdez caught three passes for 142 yards and two TDs against Kelloggsville.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Matt Loney  Jr  DB  Frankfort: He made two interceptions, the last extinguishing a Glen Lake drive with 4 minutes to play, as unbeaten Frankfort topped the Lakers 26-21. Loney also had a TD as the Panthers qualified for the playoffs.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Blake Dunn  Sr  QB  Saugatuck: He’s already been honored in that space. But it’s hard to deny Dunn after what he did in 6-0 Saugatuck’s shutout of Eau Claire. He started the game with a 92-yard kickoff return for a TD. Every time Dunn ran the ball, which was five, he scored a TD, including one of 94 yards. He also threw for a TD and recovered a fumble.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Gabe Callery  Sr  RB/DB  Traverse City St. Francis: He had six carries for 146 yards and two TDs, caught another TD and made an interception in St. Francis’ playoff-berth clinching blowout of Grayling.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Craig Tibbe, Hudsonville Unity Christian: The only coach in school history, since they began playing in 2003, Tibbe has his best team in 2016. None other has started 6-0, which the Crusaders reached with their shutout of Holland Christian.