Prep football preview: Macomb Area capsules

Prep football preview: Macomb Area capsules


Prep football preview: Macomb Area capsules


Macomb Dakota runs on the field for their state regional semifinal against Detroit Cass Tech in Detroit on Nov. 16, 2013.

Macomb Dakota runs on the field for their state regional semifinal against Detroit Cass Tech in Detroit on Nov. 16, 2013.

Red Division

Coach’s poll: Macomb Dakota 56; Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 54, Sterling Heights Stevenson 49, Utica Eisenhower 39, Warren Mott 38, L’Anse Creuse North 34

Macomb Twp. L’Anse Creuse North (1-4, 4-5)

Top players: OLB/WR Jake Mitrak, DT Michael Biundo, OL/DT Brian Summers, C/DT Zac Lanzon, MLB Brenden Jackson

Team Strength: Speed, senior leadership.

Outlook: Coach Anthony Kiner expects his team to be one of the top six in the MAC regardless of division. With a veteran quarterback throwing to Mitrak North should be able to move the ball the ball through the air.

Warren Mott (2-3, 5-5)

Top players: CB/WR Tylen Redding; OL/DL Kris Campbell, WR/CB Kyran Daniels, RB/SS Jayvon Wilson, OL/DL Malachi Taylor.

Team Strength: Speed

Outlook: Mott has been competitive in the Red and look to continue that trend. Daniels is a big-time receiving threat while both lines will be manned by Taylor and Campbell. Redding is also a threat at wide receiver.

Clinton Twp. Chippewa Valley (2-3, 8-4)

Top Players: DB/WR Stefan Claiborne, QB Patrick Briningstool, DL Nicco Moroso, OL Jon Anderson, WR Jimmy Czarnik.

Team strength: Senior class.

Outlook: The Big Red shocked Macomb Dakota at the Cougars den in the playoffs and was ousted by a 400-yard rushing performance by Detroit Cass Tech’s Mike Weber. CV will be explosive on offense with veterans Clairborne and Briningstool and should be able to put a lot of points on the board.

Sterling Heights Stevenson (3-2, 7-3)

Top players: RB/DB Jared Cutlip, QB/DB Frank D’Ascenzo IV, OL/DL Dez Lance, DE Jordan Lewis, TE/DE Andrew Loria.

Team strength: Defense, running game

Outlook: Coach Kevin Frederick expects the Titans to run the football with Cutlip and a veteran quarterback in D’Ascenzo. Loria is a decent target at tight end at 6-1 and 215-pounds.

Utica Eisenhower (3-2, 5-5)

Top players: RB Kadari Johnson, RB/C Andrew Szalkowski, CB Brendan Rybicki, OL Damian Ladson, RB Joe Mets.

Team strength: Running backs, offensive line.

Outlook: Coach Chris Smith hopes to eliminate the turnovers that plagued the team a year ago. The Eagles look to soar behind a veteran offense line and a core of running backs led by Johnson and Mets.

Macomb Dakota (4-1, 8-3)

Top players: LB Brendyn Pittman, RB Kiser Carleton, DE Blake Brady, OL Colin Shock, WR Jaylen Hall.

Team strength: Team Speed.

Outlook: The Cougars find out early how good they are by facing two-time defending champion Clarkston in Week1 and Chippewa Valley in Week 2. Coach Mike Giannone returns four on offense and three and defense and said Carleton could become one of the best backs he has ever coached.

White Division

Coach’s poll: Romeo 59, Port Huron 48, Utica 47, Grosse Pointe South 43, Utica Ford 39, New Baltimore Anchor Bay 32.

Grosse Pointe South (3-2, 4-5)

Top players: Jr. RG Pat Nauert, LT Jack Steinhauer, WR Andrew Trost, TB Kavon Scott, Jr. DT Horatio Williams.

Team strength: Offensive line.

Outlook: The Blue Devils are big and strong with Steinhauer tipping the scales at 270 and Nauert 265. Running the football shouldn’t be a problem as South returns seven on offense and four on defense. Jumping to the White Division took a year to get used to now the Blue Devils are ready to take over.

Utica (1-4, 2-7)

Top players: RB Kumehnnu Gwilly, DT Ethan Culberson, LT Jon Goettsch, WR Jason Grohman, CB Ceion Strange

Team strength: Running game.

Outlook: Things are looking up for Utica, which returns three offensive linemen and a running back in Gwilly who rushed for more than 1,900 yards last year. Six starters return on offense and three on defense. Seven new starters on defense must learn in a hurry.

New Baltimore Anchor Bay (1-4, 2-7)

Top players: WR/DB Gabe Studer, OG/NT Reno Giacalone, WR/DB Jared Irwin, OT/DT Jay Young, TE/DE Jake Ellis.

Team strength: Numbers

Outlook: Second-year Coach Mike Powell has eight returning on offense and eight on defense. Sixty players will be on the varsity, which is a good number for the program. The line features Giacalone at 260 and Dylan Rolens at 250 and Young at 280.

Port Huron (4-1, 7-3)

Top players: Jr. Quarterback Deangielo Sanderson Jr., WR Jake Lee, DB Osric Anderson, Jr. DE Tyler Lee, Jr. RB Alex Washington.

Team strength: Senior.

Outlook: The school won the state power-lifting championship so coach Ryan Mullins hopes that will help the team’s rushing attack. Sanderson returns at quarterback with his top target Lee. Jermaine Drake is a senior running back new to the program and should make an impact.

Utica Ford (2-3, 4-5)

Top players: RB/DB Dominick Fiscelli, FB/CB Michael Deroy, DE/TE Sean Russell, CT Jacob Lancucki, WR Jack Studzinski.

Team strength: Depth.

Outlook: Barring injuries Coach Todd Winters said his team is in a position to challenge for the White title, make the playoffs and win a district game. Fielding quality depth at all positions Ford looks to run behind a solid line with Fiscelli carrying the load.

Romeo (4-1, 6-4)

Top players: QB Paul Hurley, TE/LB Mitch Heimbuch, WR/S Brad Tanner, LB/RB Lucas Schimon, OL/DL Ryan Truax.

Team strength: Skilled positions.

Outlook: A couple years removed from the Red Division the Bulldogs look to be contenders again in the White. Hurley is a veteran and leader of the offense while Tanner should be a good target when he’s not handing the ball off toe Schimon.

Blue Division

Coach’s poll: Warren Cousino 53, Roseville 51, Grosse Pointe North 50, Fraser 43, L’Anse Creuse 42, St. Clair Shores Lakeview 31.

Fraser (3-2, 6-4)

Top players: RB Luke Warchol, LB Mike McTigue, RB Dom Mielke, OL/DL Paul Shock, FB/DL Walter Davis.

Team strength: skill positions.

Outlook: Looking to build upon last year, Coach Jon Skladanowski is looking to run the ball with Warchol and Mielke sharing the load while the defense will be led by Shoock and Davis up front.

Roseville (2-3, 3-6)

Top players: QB Evan Gates, OL Zak Hill, DB Jaylen Braxton, WR Dezmon Wright, WR Denzell Armstrong.

Team strength: Passing game.

Outlook: Gates will have two solid targets in Wright and Armstrong to throw the ball to. Hill will lead the offense line while Braxton is expected to be the team’s top defensive back.

Grosse Pointe North (4-1, 6-4)

Top players: TB/OLB Latorris Greer, WR/SS Markael Butler, OG/LB Mark Hamilton, WR/FS Tristin Richardson, TE/DE Dillon Webb.

Team strength: Team speed.

Outlook: Coach Frank Sumbera should have a good season with seven starters returning on defense, six on offense and kicker Kevin Kopiac also back. North has gotten bigger and stronger and Greer should have a breakout year at running back with Richardson and Webb making big catches.

Warren Cousino (5-0, 5-5)

Top players: SS Joe Servitto, WR/CB Jarrold King, TE Matt Jolliffe, RB Karry Debose, OG Alex Devito.

Team strength: Defense.

Outlook: After a great year in 2014 Cousino returns five starters on offense and five on defense. Coach Brad Nettles will rely on the defense to get the team through the early going while Debose is expected to be the main ball-carrier.

Harrison Twp. L’Anse Creuse (1-4, 1-8)

Top players: OL/DL Joseph Lechkun, RB/LB Logan Roda, WR/DB Joe Wakefield, WR/DB Kiren Turner, OL/DL Patrick Backlas.

Team strength: Secondary.

Outlook: Four starters return in the defensive backfield for Coach Don Roda. The big boys up front are led by Lechkun (270) and Backlas (260). “Should be the best team we have had in several years,” said Roda.

St. Clair Shores Lakeview (2-7, 0-5)

Top players: LB Brendan Martinez, WB Adam Paolucci, RB Christopher Wise, LB/RB Kory Majewski, OL/DL Robert Jackson, DL Austin Bauslaugh.

Team strength: Work ethic.

Outlook: Martinez is a three-year starter and will lead the defense while Paolucci will be a first-year starter at quarterback. Look for Wise and Majewski to form a dynamic duo in the backfield while Jackson leads the defensive line.

Gold Division

Coach’s poll: Marysville 57, Marine City 53, Saint Clair 50, Warren Woods Tower 39, Port Huron Northern 37, Sterling Heights 34.

Warren Woods Tower (3-2, 8-3)

Top players: LB/RB Verson Mitchell, LB Jacque Lovejoy, QB Zachary Osowski, OL/DL Tyler Coles, WR C.J. Barnes.

Team strength: Offense

Outlook: Coach Al Gulick has his work cut out trying to replace eight starters on offense and eight on defense. Barnes is the only skilled player with any substantial playing time returning. He’ll be counted on while Osowksi takes the leadership role at quarterback. Linebackers Mitchell and Lovejoy will lead the defense.

Marysville (3-2, 7-4)

Top players: RB Ryan Ellul, OL Jake Woodward, LB Dan Bell, Jr. RB Dante Chrcek, Jr. QB Phil Griffor.

Team strength: Offensive backfield.

Outlook: Coach Mark Caza has high expectations and expects to compete for a Division title with two top-tier running backs and a junior quarterback at the controls.

St Clair (3-2, 6-4)

Top players: DB/RB Riley Gleason, LB/FB Mitch Jackson, DL/OL David Zolinski, DL/OL Darrien Rutledge, TE/DE Antonio Aguilo.

Team strength: Experience.

Outlook: Bill Nesbitt is entering his 11th season at St. Clair and this group expects to run the ball. Eight starters return on offense and defense, but numbers are low and the good players will have to go both ways.

Sterling Heights (1-8, 0-5)

Top players: QB Jacob Cyccone, Jr. RB/DB DeQuan Oliver, Jr. WR/LB Jacob Cadle, FB/LB Christian Yatooma, OL/DL Shane Steinmetz.

Team strength: Returning starters

Outlook: Twelve starters return on a team that won just one game a year ago. It has been since 2004 when the Stallions rode into the playoffs and it appears another year will go by in 2015.

Marine City (5-0, 10-1)

Top players: LB/TE Dennis Fitzsimmon, FS/SE Max Kretzschmar, LB Jacob Headlee, FB Ryan Alexander.

Team strength: Hunger

Outlook: The perennial power is young and inexperienced this year under Coach Ron Glodich. “We’ll be good by the end of the year,” he said. But will it be too late to make the playoffs?

Port Huron Northern (1-4, 3-6)

Top players: OL Mike Mahaffy, OL Nick Miller, LB Patrick McGuffin, QB Billy Fealko, WR Luc Bowman.

Team strength: Seniors

Outlook: Northern will have to stay healthy in order to compete in the Gold. The offensive line will be led by Mahaffy and Miller as improving each week is a must for this team.

Silver Division

Coach’s poll: Madison Heights Madison 59, Warren Fitzgerald 55, Mount Clemens Clintondale 46, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 43, East Detroit 42, St. Clair Shores South Lake 32.

Madison Heights Madison (5-0, 9-3)

Top players: C/DT Trevor Barndollar, G/DT Chase Mitchell, T Brandon Downing, G George Fonkeng, T Mike Kibzey.

Team strength: Offensive, defensive line

Outlook: The defending Division champs gave Ithaca a battle before losing in the state tournament. Key losses have decimated the roster but Coach Drake Wilkins always manages to reload and with a solid line he’ll find the speed to get the job done with a roster of 25.

Warren Fitzgerald (3-2, 6-4)

Top players: QB Stephen Gregersen, SS Delano Bolar, MLB Thomas McCord, WR Bryan Gordon, DE Mike Kizer.

Team strength: Speed, senior leadership.

Outlook: Coach Gary Skop said he has the horses to win the league title and make a run in the playoffs. Gregersen has a talented target in Gordon and McCord will be a stud in the middle of the team’s defense.

Mt. Clemens Clintondale (1-4, 4-5)

Top players: TE/DE Josh Eldridge, OT/DE Kimon Patrick, HB/LB Ju’Juan Clowers, QB/FS Davahn Lewis, HB/LB Jesus Johnson.

Team strength: Senior leadership.

Outlook: The Dragons look to rebound from a bad year in 2014. Seven starters return on offense and six on defense. Running the football and defense will be the keys for Clintondale to return to playoff contention with Clowers and Johnson handling the carries.

St. Clair Shores South Lake (1-4, 2-7)

Top players: CB/WR Antonio Vaughn, LB Jalen Williams, QB Datrell Milling, NG Daijon Desaussure.

Team strength: Passing game.

Outlook: Coach Vernard Snowden will be looking for consistency from his young squad. The passing game will be led by Milling as he tries to buy enough time to get the ball to Vaughn.

Eastpointe East Detroit (3-2, 4-5)

Top players: LB/RB Chris Parks, C/DT Chris Eubanks, T/LB Anthony Duncan, RB/CB Quintez Henderson, OL/DT Brian Coleman.

Team strength: Experience.

Outlook: Things are starting to turn around for East Detroit as it won three games in the Division. “We want to finish .500 and in the top three in our Division,” said Coach Brandon Banks. “We need to play good defense and play to our potential.”

St. Clair Shores Lake Shore (2-3, 4-5)

Top players: RB/DB Colton Randle, QB Brett Engel, SB/DB Jared Selengowski, OL/DB Petey Harr, Jr. WR/FS Brian Gnacke.

Team strength: Skilled positions.

Outlook: How quickly the offensive and defensive lines develop is the key for the Shorians to make a run at the playoffs. Selengowski will run behind an experienced line while Randle will roam the secondary.

Bronze Division

Coach’s Poll: Madison Heights Lamphere 54, Centerline, Warren Lincoln and Clawson 48, New Haven 40, Mount Clemens 37.

Clawson (5-0, 6-4)

Top players: LT Cam Jones, WR Quintin Johnson, Jr. WR Colin McKnight, OLB Tavian Bridges, OLB Jimmy Tomsick.

Team strength: Skill positions

Outlook: The defending champs must replace eight on offense and four on defense but has some solid players returning. Kourtney Manley moves from wide receiver to quarterback. Johnson caught 36 passes for 572 yards and five TDs while McKnight hauled in 24 passes for 229 yards and a TD. Bridges had 93 tackles a year ago.

Madison Heights Lamphere (2-3, 3-6)

Top players: MLB/RB Hunter Ward, WR/FS Job Mayer, Soph. CB/RB James Grams, Jr. OL/DL Keith Causey, Soph. OL/LB Zach Hilliard.

Team strength: Wide receivers, secondary.

Outlook: Lamphere returns seven on offense and six on defense. Coach Jason Charron expects to run the football with Ward and Grams and should have a big year with experience on both sides of the ball.

Center Line (2-3, 3-6)

Top players: RB/LB Daviyelle Lee, WR/DB Alex Genova, OT/DE Jeremy Harshaw, Jr. RB/LB Steven Lucas, Jr. RB/LB Koua Lee

Team strength: Bigger athletes

Outlook: The running game should be in good hands with Lucas and Lee pounding the ball while a strong linebacker core will lead the defense for Coach Ben Torres.

New Haven (1-4, 2-7)

Top players: QB Jordan Carl, C/LB/FB Robert Stieg, RB/DB Jonah Beisel, Jr. LB/TB/TE Tony Hamilton, Jr. OL/DL Dontae Bosco.

Team Strength: Seniors

Outlook: Coach Roland Bell is trying to create a culture change at the school along the lines of the success the basketball team had last year. Beisel plays a ton of positions while Carl will handle the offense.

Warren Lincoln (1-4, 1-8)

Top players: DT Jeremiah Lawson, RB/WR Delvon Hawkins, LB/WR Cory Wilhoite, Jr. OT Xavier Aikens, Jr. FB/LB Josh McWeather.

Team strength: Experience.

Outlook: Lincoln could be in for another long year under Coach Darrius Alexander. While the goal is to win the Bronze title, establishing a running game and stopping the run is a must.

Mt. Clemens (4-1, 4-5)

Team strength: Speed

Outlook: The program likely will take a giant step backwards with Coach Harold Penn gone and inexperienced Quentin Hines taking over a small, undersized roster.

Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry. Be sure that you follow Freep Sports on Twitter (@freepsports) and Instagram and like us on Facebook.


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