Published September 26, 2012
Dakota football making some noise in MAC Red
By Jon Malavolti firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Jon on Twitter.
Don’t look now, but Macomb Dakota football is back on top.
The Cougars were 3-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division and 4-1 overall at press time after a key 24-6 win over Utica Eisenhower Sept. 21. The victory over the Eagles, last year’s MAC Red champs, put the Cougars in the driver’s seat for this year’s division title.
“It was a big win for our team,” Dakota coach Mike Giannone said. “The win keeps us in first place with only two division games left.”
After dropping their first game of the season, 27-17 to Dearborn Fordson, the Cougars have won every game since, including outscoring their three MAC Red foes Stevenson, Romeo and Eisenhower by a combined 97-34.
Giannone said a pair of changes along the offensive and defensive lines after that Aug. 23 loss have proven positive for Dakota.
“We made two big moves after the first game that I think have helped the most,” the coach said. “We moved Scott Mysara back to the offensive side of the ball where he started every game last year as a sophomore, and Brandon Lozon back to the defensive side of the ball where he played every down as a sophomore.”
Another key for the Cougars’ offense, which is averaging a MAC Red best 32.3 points per game in league play, has been the effort put forth by senior signal-caller Richmon Render.
“The play of our quarterback has been a big factor in what we have been able to do on offense,” Giannone said. “Richmon Render has done some really nice things for us this year.”
On the other side of the ball, Dakota’s defense has given up just 11.3 points per game in the MAC Red, again tops in the league.
“Our front seven have learned how to play together and have given our secondary some help,” Giannone said about the defense.
As for the remainder of the season, the coach wants to see his team improve in a couple of aspects, including “not giving up the big play” and “keeping the concentration level we have had each week at a high level.”
Next up for the Cougars is a MAC crossover contest against Warren Cousino (2-1 MAC White, 2-3 overall) at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at home.
When asked about his goals for the team following the Ike game, Giannone first responded, “Win the MAC Red.”
Dakota can clinch a share of the MAC Red title at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at Utica Ford (0-3 MAC Red, 0-5)
The Cougars’ annual rivalry game with Chippewa Valley (2-1 MAC Red, 4-1), slated for 7 p.m. Oct. 12 at Chippewa, will likely have major division standing and playoff seeding repercussions. The Big Reds’ other remaining division game is a 7 p.m. Oct. 5 home contest against Stevenson (2-1 MAC Red, 4-1).
Dakota hasn’t won the division title since splitting it with Stevenson in 2008. The program last won it outright in 2007.
The Cougars close out the regular season at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at home against Roseville High (0-3 MAC White, 1-4).
The playoffs then begin Oct. 26, and don’t expect Dakota to enter quietly.
The other goal Giannone wants to see his team accomplish?
“Make some noise in the playoffs.”
- 7 DAYS
- 30 DAYS
- Times may be a-changing for Oakland University golf program - Metro Detroit
- Utica Ford boys golf tops at 2015 Evans-Gill tournament - Ray Township
- OAA boys basketball names honor teams - Oakland County
- Troy and Athens softball set to face off for first — and only — meeting - Troy
- Mercy softball stays perfect on the season, wins by mercy twice in doubleheader sweep of Ladywood - Farmington Hills
- New Tower baseball coach sees potential in young team - Warren
- Eisenhower lacrosse has sights set on another MAC Red title - Shelby Township
- Catholic League honors boys, girls hoops teams - Metro Detroit
- Macomb Area Conference names season’s top hockey players - Macomb County
- Center Line baseball to lean on defense and pitching, manufacturing runs - Center Line
- Gasparotto challenging his Farmington soccer squad with hopes of playoff payoff - Farmington
- Roseville High softball coach teaching positivity, joy of the game - Roseville
- Lake Shore softball hopes to build on last season’s run to regionals - St. Clair Shores
- Royal Oak coach rewarded for greatness - Royal Oak
- Roseville High softball coach teaching positivity, joy of the game
- East Detroit baseball out to surprise teams in 2015
- Royal Oak coach rewarded for greatness
- Lakeview baseball expecting good things in 2015
- East Detroit softball looking to stay on the upswing
- Former North soccer standout, Stander, returns to patrol the sidelines
- Royal Oak High soccer back with experience and high goals