Football

All-East: Eisenhower's Max Wittwer helps the Eagles soar

So what will Max Wittwer remember most about his record-setting season at Utica Eisenhower?

Max Wittwer carries the football.

Max Wittwer carries the football.

The relationships he built with the upperclassmen.

“The thing I’ll remember most has nothing to do with football,” said the junior quarterback. “I’m going to remember all the bonds I made with my team. Honestly, I can say from the bottom of my heart that this was the best year of my entire life. I made so many lifelong friends and I’m just extremely thankful to have been a part of this Eisenhower team.

“The team this year had so much chemistry. We loved each other. We played for the guy next to us. We loved each other to death.”

Macomb Area Conference opponents and Division 1 playoff foes hated the Eagles (12-1).

Related: Detroit Free Press All-East football team
Related: Jack Provencher leads Utica Eisenhower over Macomb Dakota, 42-7

Wittwer was named the MAC Red most valuable player, and he earned the award by leading a record-setting offense.

Entering the Division 1 semifinal against Cass Tech, the Eagles’ offense had lit up the scoreboard like never before.

Through 12 games the Eagles:

  • Scored a record 509 points, scored a record 72 touchdowns and averaged a record 42.5 points per game.
  • Ran the ball 469 times for 3,369 yards, also a school record.
  • Averaged a record 413 yards per game.
  • Totaled a record 4,966 yards.

“Max is an outstanding leader and an outstanding quarterback,” said Coach Chris Smith. “He has the ability to make quick reads against the defense and distribute the ball. He makes our offense run.

His numbers after the Cass Tech loss read 88 completions in 141 attempts for 1,677 yards and 21 TDs. He threw just four interceptions. A dual-threat QB, Wittwer ran 108 times for 819 yards and nine TDs.

Smith gave Wittwer the keys to the offense as a sophomore and after some growing pains the youngster thrived.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better season,” said Wittwer. “My sophomore year I was a little shaky. I was young. I really didn’t know what to expect. I think it was getting used to the speed and getting used to how much bigger the other guys were. Once I got used to that and the playbook I was pretty set. The experienced help me through my junior year.

“It took me awhile to get used to that leadership role when I was a sophomore. I think it was about Week 4 or 5. We had a big win over Chippewa (Valley), and I thought I was settling into my role. I owe that to the coaches.”

Smith laid more on him this season.

“He added a lot more stuff to the playbook throughout the year,” said Wittwer. “He added stuff based on who we were playing. As I got older they started adding more and more plays.”

Not short on confidence, Wittwer doesn’t mind being on center stage and he believed the team was capable of an outstanding season.

“I’d say right after my sophomore and I saw how many people were showing up in the weight room and saw how many people were seriously committed this year I knew we were going to have a very successful team. Based on the results and the end of our season I think we made our mark.”

Coach of the Year: Smith, the former Eagle and Michigan State Spartan, has built a solid program at Ike. Eisenhower won the MAC Red and went undefeated before Saturday’s semifinal loss to Cass Tech. Smith has led the program the last five years and has been in the program as a player and coach 20. Has compiled a record of 38-16 in five years.

“This was a great team to coach and be around,” he said. “The coaching staff prepared this team to play each and every week and the players really bought into playing this game for the right reasons. They were loose in practice, had fun but worked at getting better every day. I really loved the fact the players played each play with heart and toughness and most of all for their teammates. Our senior leadership was a reflection on the way the other players approached everything.”

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