Sterling HeightsSeptember 18, 2012
Experienced backfield, offensive line paces Utica Stevenson football
By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer
The fact that the Utica Stevenson football team is averaging nearly three times as many points as it did last season has more to do with experience than scheme, according to coach Steve Goralski.
Goralski, whose Titans sat at 2-1, 1-1 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division at press time, said experience in key spots on offense has led to Stevenson tallying 34.7 points per game through three games. The Titans scored just 12.8 points per contest in 2011.
“We were really young last year. We had a quarterback who played defensive back and who had never played quarterback before. Now, our offense is led by two senior running backs and two senior offensive linemen,” said Goralski, speaking of running backs Trevon Bauch and Jonathan Griffin, and offensive linemen Adel Oro and Ryan Hines.
“We haven’t changed the way we play. We just have guys who have gained valuable experience.”
The inexperience played a role in Stevenson finishing 1-8 in 2011, which saw the Titans miss the postseason for a second straight year.
Turnovers and an inability to sustain drives led to the disappointing finish for a program that battled its way to a Michigan High School Athletic Association state runner-up finish in 2009.
Stevenson employs a junior quarterback — Kyle Maxson — but a running-centric offense takes pressure off Maxson and doesn’t call for him to carry the offense, according to Goralski.
Running the football effectively was one of Goralski’s keys to the season. He said he understands a solid running game can open up an offense and keep a defense guessing.
“Everything myself and the other running backs get, we owe it to our offensive line,” said Griffin, a second-year varsity player. “The line makes things so much easier for us, so we’re able to get yards and keep the ball moving.”
Employing a strong offensive line can also lead to big plays in the passing game, as witnessed by Maxson’s two big touchdown throws — 27 yards and 54 yards — in Stevenson’s 49-0 win over Utica Ford II Sept. 7.
“He’s going to make some mistakes now and then, but he’s always been a quarterback, so being able to run the ball makes things a little easier on (Maxson),” Goralski said. “We’re able to control the ball much more than last season, too.”
Oro, in his second year with the Titans, said players coming together in the offseason has played a major part in the offense’s renaissance. He added he believes that bond is necessary if any team is going to succeed.
“You need so many things to click on offense from so many different positions. You have to be close as a group or things won’t work,” Oro said. “And we have better skill players who can go out and make plays.”
Only one-third of the way through the season, Stevenson’s offense is a major reason why the Titans have already doubled their win total from last season. Goralski has bigger goals in mind, though. He said he would like his Titans to be 5-1 going into their final three contests: at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (Oct. 5) and Utica Eisenhower (Oct. 12), and a home season finale with Warren Mott Oct. 19.
If that goal is reached, Stevenson would need to go just 1-2 in those last three games to qualify for the state playoffs.
“We’ve all worked so hard,” Oro said. “We’re going all out this year.”
The Titans’ next game is against Romeo High, set for 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at Romeo.
- Last 24 Hours
- Last 7 Days
- Last 30 Days
- Mercy softball confidence soars as playoff time draws ever-so close - Farmington Hills
- North, South and Liggett tennis teams earn spots in state finals - Grosse Pointe Farms
- All three local schools qualify athletes for track and field state finals - Grosse Pointe Farms
- Berkley baseball team eyes division crown for second straight year - Berkley
- Roseville baseball team focused on district title - Roseville
- Brother Rice rolls past Catholic Central to claim league title - Birmingham
- Bishop Foley defends Catholic League title with win over NDP - Madison Heights
- Sterling Heights native, Albion College pitcher, earns MVP honors - Sterling Heights
- Dakota girls basketball’s entire graduating class receives college scholarship - Macomb Township
- Stoney Creek outlast Sterling-Mott Unified in boys lacrosse playoff opener - Rochester Hills
- LACROSSE: Local teams see varying results as state tournament begins - Warren
- Fraser boys track and field wins MAC championship - Fraser
- Local gymnast qualifies for Junior Olympics - Harrison Township
- North Farmington baseball team improves to 14-3 with 5-2 victory against Pioneer - Farmington Hills
- Club rugby programs become more visible in area - Metro Detroit
- Stoney Creek graduate taken No. 1 in NFL draft - Rochester
- De La Salle lacrosse team navigating its way through tough slate - Warren
- Walled Lake Northern lacrosse wins city championship - Walled Lake
- Troy softball team sweeps Athens in postseason preview - Troy
- Local gymnast qualifies for Junior Olympics
- Walled Lake Northern lacrosse wins city championship
- Club rugby programs become more visible in area
- Roseville High girls soccer looks to improve under second-year coach
- De La Salle lacrosse team navigating its way through tough slate
- NDP soccer continues strong season with victory against Bishop Foley
- Ferndale High golf off to strong start