Mick McCabe’s top-25 teams: Nos. 6-10

Mick McCabe’s top-25 teams: Nos. 6-10


Mick McCabe’s top-25 teams: Nos. 6-10


Novi Detroit Catholic Central's Alex Bock runs for a big gain against Birmingham Brother Rice. The Shamrocks tied for first in their division and won a district title.

Novi Detroit Catholic Central’s Alex Bock runs for a big gain against Birmingham Brother Rice. The Shamrocks tied for first in their division and won a district title.

All players are seniors unless noted. (2015 records in parentheses.)

6. Novi Detroit Catholic Central (9-3)

Top players: OG/DT Blake Bueter, DE/TE-OT Jackson Ross, DE/TE Jack Morris, sophomore QB Austin Brown, LB/RB Tyler Morland, junior FB Cameron Ryan, OG William Butler.

Coach: Tom Mach, 41st season (357-96).

Overview: Smash-mouth football is the norm at CC, but with the passing abilities of Brown, the Shamrocks might be a bit more diversified. The offensive line, featuring Bueter and Ross, will open holes for Morland and Ryan, who were effective last season. The only problem is a challenging schedule that includes powerhouse Cleveland St. Ignatius.

Related: Breaking down Catholic League

7. Rockford (8-4)

Top players: Junior QB Jason Whittaker, junior C Cody Carone, FB Nick Isley, OT Matt Baker, OLBs junior Paul Reinke and Cole VanSetters, DBs junior Mark Remetma and Josh Patterson.

Coach: Ralph Munger, 37th season overall (306-94), 24th at Rockford (219-64).

Overview: There is a nice blend between juniors, four of whom started as a sophomores, and seniors that should mean the Rams will not miss the playoffs for the first time since 1994. Whittaker started eight games last season and is a solid passer. Carone and Baker are cornerstones for a good offensive line. The Rams again will play stingy defense, led by Reinke and VanSetters.

8. Canton (10-3)

Top players: RB Markus Sanders, OT David Gunnis, TE Brennon Pelland, junior LB Lou Baechler, junior DB Colin Troupe, DT Jake Warner.

Coach: Tim Baechler, 26th

season overall (190-66), 19th at Canton (155-46).

Overview: The Chiefs came remarkably close to playing in the Division 1 state championship game last season, losing a 48-41 semifinal shoot-out to Cass Tech. Canton, in its full-house backfield, spreads the ball around to its three backs, but Sanders was able to run for 2,495 yards last fall. Gunnis and Pelland lead a tough offensive line, and the Chiefs will be equally tough in the trenches defensively.

Related: Breaking down Kensington Lakes league

9. Clarkston (7-3)

Top players: LB Nick Stallworth, QB J.T. King, junior DB/RB Michael Fluegel, C Carter Gale, WR/DB Tyler Retford, DBs Jake Buchman and Kyle Genter.

Coach: Kurt Richardson, 31st season (232-82).

Overview: The offensive line and the secondary will be strong for the Wolves. A dependable line will be important to King, who makes the switch from DB to QB. Fluegel also will help King by giving Clarkston a reliable running attack.

Related: Breaking down the OAA

10. Hudsonville 7-5

Top players: DB/QB Jack Mandryk, LB/RB Dalton Ager, DT/C Lane Potter, DE/TE Bryce Akins, junior RB/LB Jake Hoekstra, junior DE/TE Hunter Stearns.

Coach: Dave Lidgard, 30th year at Hudsonville, seventh as head coach (32-29).

Overview: The Eagles will be attempting to end Rockford’s stranglehold on the OK Red title. Mandryk is a multidimensional QB who can beat you in a lot of ways, and he is even better on defense. Hudsonville’s strength will be a defensive front seven capable of competing with anyone in the state.

Related: No. 1 Detroit Cass Tech

Related: No. 2 Walled Lake Western

Related: No. 3 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s

Related: No. 4 Muskegon

Related: No. 5 Macomb Dakota

Related: Top 25 teams: Nos. 11-15

Related: Top 25 teams: Nos. 16-20

Related: Top 25 teams: Nos. 21-25

Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or mmccabe@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.


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