The high school football regular season is officially two-thirds complete.
And there have been a number of coaches in the Lansing area that have put their teams in strong positions heading into the final three weeks of the regular season and beyond.
Here’s a closer look at some of the best coaching performances in the area so far this season. The coaches are listed in alphabetical order.
JIM AHERN, LANSING CATHOLIC: The veteran leader has turned around the Lansing Catholic program since his arrival in 2009. The Cougars have made the playoffs every season under Ahern and are a win away from continuing that streak despite the loss of a number of key starters from last year’s team that reached the state semifinals. Lansing Catholic is 29-4 since the start of 2014 under Ahern.
MATT BIRD, GRAND LEDGE: After guiding the Comets to a CAAC Blue title and an appearance in the Division 1 state semifinals last fall, Bird has Grand Ledge enjoying another successful season. The Comets have won five straight since a season-opening loss and sit atop the CAAC Blue standings entering the final three weeks of the regular season. Grand Ledge is 17-2 since the start of 2015.
DAN BOGGAN, SEXTON: After a down year in 2015, the veteran coach has the Big Reds in the thick of the CAAC Blue title race and in contention to return to the postseason. Sexton, which is less than two years removed from a trip to the Division 4 state title game, has won three straight entering its key league contest against East Lansing on Friday. Boggan picked up his 100th career coaching win at Sexton in a Week 4 victory over Jackson.
BRIAN BORGMAN, LAINGSBURG: The Wolfpack have drawn attention with their success in boys and girls basketball in recent years and Borgman now has the football program in that conversation. Laingsburg got off to a 5-0 start this fall, its best start to a season in more than six decades. The Wolfpack captured their first district title in program history last fall under Borgman.
NICK BOUCHER, LAKEWOOD: The fifth-year Viking coach has turned around his program over the last two seasons. Lakewood has a 13-3 record since the start of 2015 and clinched a share of its second consecutive GLAC championship with Friday’s victory over Olivet. That win also has the Vikings in the state playoffs in two straight seasons for the first time in program history. Prior to 2015, Lakewood won a combined 12 games from 2009-2014 and hadn’t had a winning season since 2005.
TERRY HESSBROOK, ITHACA: The Yellowjackets have blossomed into a powerhouse program under the leadership of Hessbrook. Ithaca is perfect once again despite losing several key contributors from last year’s team that won the Division 6 state title. The Yellowjackets have won 89 of their last 90 games and five state titles since the start of the 2010 season. Ithaca’s last regular season loss came in Oct. 2009 to Saint Charles.
JEREMY MILLER, PEWAMO-WESTPHALIA: Since taking over the Pirate program in 2013, Miller has guided P-W to a 39-6 record. The Pirates entered this fall having won at least 10 games in each of their first three seasons under Miller. P-W, which finished as the Division 7 state runner-up last fall, is in position to win a second straight CMAC title after its victory over previously unbeaten Laingsburg last week. The Pirates have been one of the area’s most dominant teams this fall and have outscored the opposition 327-27 during its 6-0 start.
JOHN NOVARA, PORTLAND: The Raiders have had plenty of success under Novara, which includes capturing a state title in 2012. Portland has won 16 of its last 17 games since the start of 2015 and clinched a share of its second straight CAAC White title with last week’s win over Eaton Rapids. The Raiders are three wins away from a second straight perfect regular season.
KYLE ROBINSON, CORUNNA: The second-year coach has guided the Cavaliers to as many wins as they had from 2010-2014 combined. He has a 14-2 career record, including a 6-0 mark this fall, as Corunna enters a key GAC Red contest against unbeaten Lake Fenton on Friday. The 6-0 start is the best for the Cavs since 2002. A win Friday would give Corunna its second straight GAC Red title.
PAT RUSSMAN, PORTLAND ST. PATRICK: The Shamrocks have qualified for the 8-man playoffs for a fifth straight season with their 6-0 start. Russman’s team has allowed just six points this season and will be trying to capture a second Central Michigan 8-man league title when it opens conference play against Webberville this week.
JERRY VANHAVEL, MASON: The Bulldogs lost a significant amount of talent from last year, but have found a way to get out to a 5-1 start and move a victory away from reaching the state playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons. Mason, which is two years removed from its first district title in program history, entered this fall with five seasons with at least eight victories in the last eight years.
ROB ZIMMERMAN, DEWITT: The Panthers have been one of the area’s most successful programs under Zimmerman. DeWitt clinched at least a share of its 11th straight league championship with Friday’s win over rival Haslett. The Panthers had won at least nine games in seven straight seasons entering this fall. DeWitt has won 42 consecutive conference games entering its CAAC Red finale. Its last conference loss was in 2008 to Charlotte In the then-CAAC Gold.