Sterling HeightsAugust 27, 2013
Sterling Heights Sentry high school football preview
Utica Ford II’s Robert Wezner, left, and Michael Taylor are pictured during a preseason practice. The Falcons open the season Aug. 29 at Temperance Bedford.
The 2013 Michigan High School Athletic Association football season officially kicks off Aug. 29. Here’s a look at the local teams’ schedules. Listed are home and away games.
Sterling Heights High
8-29 vs. Howell
9-6 @ Macomb Dakota
9-13 @ Utica Ford
9-20 vs. L’Anse Creuse
9-27 vs. Romeo
10-4 @ Utica High
10-11 vs. Chippewa Valley
10-18 vs. Eisenhower
10-25 @ Warren Mott
Utica Ford II
9-6 @ Dearborn Heights Star International
9-14 @ Lutheran Westland
9-21 @ Southfield Christian
9-27 vs. Auburn Hills Oakland Christian
10-4 vs. Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett
10-11 @ Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest
10-19 vs. Southfield Christian**
10-26 vs. Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy
*Team is off due to original opponent (Saginaw Buena Vista) not fielding a team.
**Teams will have a second meeting after neither could find a week eight opponent.
Sterling Heights High Stallions
Last season’s record: 4-5
League: MAC Gold
Returning starters: seven
Sterling Heights High coach Brent Widdows said his team is young on the offensive line, meaning the unit must jell and grow quickly. The team will feature a senior quarterback (Jeff Godbolddo), who Widdows looks to get solid production from. Widdows said he also expects contributions from senior fullback Malik Petway, senior offensive lineman Gabe Hahn, senior kicker Jessie Kluz, sophomore running back Decari Walden and senior wide receiver Jalen Dixon. The Stallions are looking for their first Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoff berth since 2003.
Widdows said his defensive line is full of youth, as well, and he will rely on seniors to lead the way. Seniors lead the Stallions’ linebacking core and secondary. The coach said he expects solid play from senior linebacker Mike Adour, senior defensive back Jimmy Turner and junior defensive end Derrow Sanders.
“We are a very young team on the line and have a lot of first-year starters. We will be relying on our great senior leadership to guide us through the highs and lows of our season. We have great speed, huge hearts, and our guys have committed themselves to the program since the end of last year.
“If we can get off to a good start, there is no telling what this team will and can accomplish.”
Sterling Hts. Stevenson Titans
Last season’s record: 6-4
League: MAC Red
Returning starters: Eight
Stevenson coach Steve Goralski said his squad must limit turnovers if it hopes to make it back to the Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoffs for a second straight year — and fourth time in six years. He said the Titans must establish a running game after losing two backs (Trevon Bauch and Jonathan Griffin) to graduation. Goralski said he’s looking at senior quarterback Kyle Maxson, and senior offensive linemen Quintarius Peoples and Mike Spasovski to lead the offense.
Goralski said Stevenson’s defense, which allowed 18.9 points per game in 2012, must stop the run if it wants to be successful. He said if the Titans are able to stop the run, they will have a chance in every game. Goralski is looking at a trio of seniors to make major contributions on defense: linebacker Sultan Faronbi, defensive end D.J. Sutton and linebacker Dustin Carlin.
“I think we’re pretty optimistic. We’re a bit tougher this year, and I think that’s great. Obviously, we want to do better than last year, and if we do the things we need to do, I think that can happen.”
Utica Ford II Falcons
Last season’s record: 0-9
League: MAC Red
Returning starters: 11
Offensive keys:Ford coach Todd Winters said the most important thing that needs to happen on offense is that the players must stay healthy. He said the unit must also play fast, smart football, and it must protect the football and limit turnovers. Winters is looking for solid play from senior wide receiver Ryan Ausbrooks, senior running back Alex Gauronskas, junior quarterback Sam Shkreli and junior running back/wide receiver Donte D’Andrea.
On defense, Winters reiterated what he said about his offense, saying his defensive players must stay healthy over the course of the season. He added that the group must force turnovers. Winters also said it’s important for defenders to know their alignments in sets and assignments, which will allow Ford II to play fast on defense. Winters is looking for contributions on defense from Ausbrooks (defensive back), Gauronskas (defensive back/linebacker) and senior linebacker Viktor Gegic.
“The (team) is looking to be much improved over last year — offensively and defensively. As with any program, staying healthy, winning the turnover battle and having some bounces go our way will all aid in a successful season. (We) have been invited to three homecoming games this year and are looking to disappoint their hosts. With many weapons, we will be able to spread the ball around (on offense) so opponents can’t load up on any one player.”
Parkway Christian Eagles
Last season’s record: 4-5
League: Michigan Independent Athletic Conference
Returning starters: Seven
Eagles coach Todd Francis said his offensive line needs to get more experience and more depth. He said most of the skill players (running backs, wide receivers) are back, but he is working hard to get some younger players ready to start. Francis is looking for strong play from senior tight end/wide receiver Phil Lapinski, who has garnered attention from Division 1 and 2 NCAA schools. Francis also expects strong play from senior quarterback Noah Allen — a three-year starter and dual threat. The Eagles are looking for their first Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoff berth since 2010.
Francis said he believes his defensive unit will be solid. He said he is working in some younger players on the defensive line, as well. The linebacking core is strong, with Lapinski and senior Nick Halaas anchoring the group.
“The guys are working really hard. The eight seniors are leading the group and being the best we can be. We’re hoping the younger guys pull through, get some experience and have some fun this year.”