Breaking down the Downriver football conference

Breaking down the Downriver football conference

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Breaking down the Downriver football conference

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Allen Park's James Jr. Whiteford sacks Taylor Kennedy's Patrick Jackson during first-half action in the Prep Kickoff Classic on August 28, 2015 at Wayne States Tom Adams Field in Detroit Michigan.

Allen Park’s James Jr. Whiteford sacks Taylor Kennedy’s Patrick Jackson during first-half action in the Prep Kickoff Classic on August 28, 2015 at Wayne States Tom Adams Field in Detroit Michigan.

All players seniors unless noted, 2015 records in parentheses.

Coaches’ Poll: Allen Park 96; Wyandotte 87; Gibraltar Carlson 73; Trenton 62; Woodhaven 58; Melvindale 53; Southgate Anderson 41; Lincoln Park 37; Taylor Truman 24; Taylor Kennedy 17.

Allen Park (10-2, 8-1)

Team strength: Senior leadership, experience.

Top players: QB Antonio Mangiapane; CB/HB Ryan Fish; TE/DB Alexander Hinojosa; WR/S Tyler Beachnau; OG/DT Carlos Agnes

Outlook: First-year Coach Tom Danosky knows what to expect because he played and has been an assistant coach in the program. “Team chemistry has come a long way with this group over summer and I believe playing together will be a strength,’’ said Danosky. The Jags expect to be balanced on offense.

► Breaking down the Macomb Area Conference
► McCabe’s top-25 players: Nos. 16-20

Trenton (9-2, 8-1)

Team strength: Experience

Top players: RB/DB Dontel Hampton; C/DL Ean Purcell; QB/DB Connor Charping; WR/QB/DB Kenny Styles; WR/DB/K Trevor Goodman; OL/DL Christian Short.

Outlook: This team must mature quickly because of graduation losses. Purcell tips the scales at 290 and Short weighs in at 240. Depth at certain positions could be an issue.

Wyandotte (8-3, 7-2)

Team strength: Skill positions; depth

Top players: Jr. WR/DB Kendrick Stanley, OL/DL Julian Ezell; Jr. WR/DB Andrew Murasky; Jr. RB/LB Allen Woodward, Soph. WR/DB Cam Garrison.

Outlook: Ron Adams’ Team 118 has size, speed and depth and should be a playoff threat. Ezell is expected to have an All-State kind of year and Stanley is expected to be really good. Adam Groat and Richie Miller are battling it out for the starting spot at QB. The trio of Stanley, Murasky and Garrison can get to the end zone.

Lincoln Park (6-4, 6-3)

Team strength: Team unity.

Top players: WR/S Devon Carson; Jr. QB/S Elijah Cross; Jr. OG/NT Sylvon Wrey; Jr. OG/DE Elijah Adams; Jr. OG/DE Matthew Welch-Phillips; Jr. C/DL Tony Medal; HB/LB Will Bujacki; OT/DT Jordon Hottum.

Outlook: Good size and some speed has the team optimistic. Wrey is 255, Welch-Phillips 250, Adams 290 and Medal 275. Hottum is no baby at 285, so size won’t be a problem.

Gibraltar Carlson (5-4, 5-4)

Team strength: Intelligence, chemistry

Top players: Jr. QB/WR/OLB Jaylan Franklin; Jr. TE/OLB Matt Harmon; OL/DT Jonas Manning; WR/DB Lance Nitzkorski; Jr. DB/RB Jacob Shoemaker.

Outlook: Franklin is 6-5 and 205 and is a great athlete. “We are a young, intelligent team that is selfless and love to play for each other,’’ said Coach Kent Sikora. We have a lot of players who have had success at the lower levels.’’

Melvindale (4-5, 4-5)

Team strength: Athleticism and physicality

Top players: QB/WR/DE Koby Boynton; WR/DB/KR Treshon Alexander; Soph. RB/DB/KR DaRaun McKinney; TE/WR/LB Justin Allen; OL/DL Jeff Wilson.

Outlook: A large senior class has nine returning on offense and eight on defense, which could mean a big year for the team and Coach Jason Carriveau. Speed, strength and toughness will help. “The question is do we have enough mental toughness to handle adversity that will undoubtedly strike during the season,’’ said Carriveau.

Southgate Anderson (3-6, 3-6)

Team strength: Experience

Top players: RB/WR/S Ross Bogart; FB/LB Michael Baker; WR/CB Jacob Leija; WR/S Ramiro Rodriguez; C/DL Tony Lozano; OL/LB Travis Harris.

Outlook: Coach Mitchell Dobek said the team needs to focus on being competitive each day. “Expectations will be focused 100% on effort,’’ said Dobek. Staying healthy while many players go both ways will be important.

Woodhaven (3-6, 3-6)

Team strength: Offensive and defensive lines

Top players: RB/S Jalen Wellons; DB/RB Raequan Castelow; QB/DB Ales Theisen; Jr. OL/DL Joe Barney; OL/DL Josh Barney.

Outlook: The team returns both lines and should be strong up front. The Barney’s both weigh 270 and should open up some holes. Several players in the backfield are back so Coach Keith Christnagel is optimistic.

Taylor Kennedy (1-8, 1-8)

Team strength: Defense

Top players: OL Kevin Williams; Soph. WR Savion Gray; Soph. DB Keyon Chambers; Jr. QB Tyler Lawrence; TE Thomas Caulfield.

Outlook: Kennedy will be faster and stronger and will rely on its defense early in the season. Youth is everywhere, but the sophomores are expected to hold their own.

Taylor Truman (0-9, 0-9)

Team strength: Skill position.

Top players: RB Dajon McGregor; QB Martonio Lawler; LB Dallas Butler; Jr. LB Raynard Curry; OL Brandon Denby.

Outlook: The Cougars will run the T-formation on offense with senior right tackle Tyler Goodwell anchoring the offensive line. Truman led in the fourth quarter in six games last season, which has been a point of emphasis during the summer. The defense should be much improved.

► Related: McCabe’s team No. 5: Macomb Dakota
► Related: McCabe’s top 25 teams: Nos. 21-25

Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or pafarrell@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.

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