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Hazel Park, Madison Heights

August 27, 2013

Madison-Park News Football Guide

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Madison-Park News Football Guide
Coach Drake Wilkins looks on during a recent Madison football practice. The Eagles won a Macomb Area Conference Silver Division championship last season and will have their first opportunity to defend their title Aug. 29, when they are scheduled to host Center Line at 7 p.m.
Game on

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. Neutral site games will be marked with an asterisk. For game information, along with site information for the neutral-site contests, call the host school prior to game time. For a complete list of all the schedules, visit www.mhsaa.com

Hazel Park Vikings
8-29 @ Madison Heights Bishop Foley
9-6 vs. Birmingham Groves
9-12 @ Berkley*
9-20 vs. Royal Oak
9-27 @ Ferndale
10-4 vs. Birmingham Seaholm
10-11 vs. Auburn Hills Avondale
10-18 @ North Farmington
10-25 vs. Grosse Ile

* The game against Berkley is scheduled to take place at Anderson Middle School.

Madison Heights Bishop Foley
8-29 vs. Hazel Park
9-6 vs. Warren Michigan Collegiate
9-13 vs. Harper Woods
9-20 @ Royal Oak Shrine Catholic
9-27 vs. Waterford Our Lady Of The Lakes
10-4 vs. Riverview Gabriel Richard
10-12 @ Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood
10-18 vs. Allen Park Cabrini
10-25 TBD

Madison Heights Lamphere
8-29 vs. Clinton Township Clintondale
9-6 @ Warren Woods Tower
9-13 @ East Detroit*
9-20 vs. Warren Fitzgerald
9-27 vs. Marysville
10-4 @ Warren Lincoln
10-11 vs. St. Clair Shores South Lake
10-18 @ Madison Heights Madison
10-25 vs. Center Line

* East Detroit plays its home games at Eastpointe Memorial Park.

Madison Heights Madison
8-29 vs. Center Line
9-6 @Warren Fitzgerald
9-13 vs. Warren Woods Tower
9-20 @ St. Clair Shores South Lake
9-27 @ Sterling Heights
10-4 vs. Mt. Clemens
10-11 @ East Detroit*
10-18 vs. Madison Heights Lamphere
10-25 vs. New Haven

* East Detroit plays its home games at Eastpointe Memorial Park.

Madison Heights Madison
Last season’s record: 8-2
League: Macomb Area Conference Silver Division
Returning starters: Seven

Offensive keys:
The Eagles are expected to have running back Juan Johnson back in the fold after missing a good portion of last season with an injury. Coach Drake Wilkins thinks having Johnson in the backfield could be a game-changer for the Eagles.

“(As) long as he stays healthy, we’re a completely different team,” he said. “He opens up a lot more opportunities when he’s on the field.”

Quarterback Matthew Crews and tight end Kyle Baldwin are expected to help shoulder some of the offensive load for Madison.

Defensive keys:
According to Wilkins, the Eagles are “pretty solid” on defense. You can count the experience Madison is returning on the defensive side of the ball as a reason for his optimism.

“Our two returning defensive ends are back, so kind of the cornerstone of the defense,” he said. “Two of the linebackers are returning. We just need to play basic football — be consistent with our tackling.”

Coach’s outlook:
Last season, the Eagles won the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division and made the postseason for what Wilkins thought could be the ninth consecutive season.

Wilkins thinks the Eagles can once again compete for a division title, and he is hoping to avoid injuries.

“I have a nice nucleus of kids,” he said. “Just need to stay healthy. Our numbers are low, as usual. They’ve always been low. As a result, every year we get to the playoffs, we’re not the same team we were in week three or four. We’re so banged up and beat up that it’s hard to maintain a high level of performance in the state playoffs. It really kind of depletes a team. That’s really the key, more than anything.”

Madison Heights Lamphere
Last season’s record: 4-5
League: Macomb area Conference Silver Division
Returning starters: Nine
Offensive keys:
Coach Jason Charron considers the offensive line to be one of his team’s strengths, which he would like to see result in plenty of open lanes for running back Trevor Guilmette.

“We have a returning running back, so I think we can have a good, strong running game that’s going to propel our offense,” he said.

Defensive keys:
Keeping his defense on the field for shorter durations could be a key to how things go on the defensive side of the ball. Charron is looking for more three-and-outs from his defensive squad, and he offered some thoughts as to how his squad can go about doing just that.

“I think just getting 11 guys to the ball, playing consistent and being aggressive is going to be a key to our defensive scheme,” he said.

Coach’s outlook:
Winning a league title is the Rams’ top goal, and Charron has some ideas as to how they can go about putting themselves in a position to do that.

“We’re going to do that by working hard, playing fast, playing disciplined and being focused,” he said.

Hazel Park Vikings
Last season’s record: 4-5
League: Oakland Activities Association Blue Division
Returning starters: Eight
Offensive keys:
Coach Scott Guthrie will be looking to running backs Gary Tyner and Joe McKinley to help lead the Vikings’ offensive attack this season. Guthrie offered some ideas as to what can help Hazel Park maximize its potential on the offensive side of the ball.

“I think we need to not turn the ball over, not have penalties and control the line of scrimmage.”

Defensive keys:
Guthrie cited controlling the line of scrimmage as a key to the Vikings’ success on the defensive side of the ball, as well.
“We’ve got to win the war in the trenches, and that goes on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job against the pass.”

Some of Hazel Park’s key defensive weapons could be Antonio Hussey (linebacker), McKinley (linebacker) and Tyner (cornerback).

Coach’s outlook:
The learning curve that some of the newer players on the squad go through could go a long way toward determining where the Vikings sit in the standings, come the end of the season. And while Guthrie can’t know for sure how things will end up playing out, he expressed optimism that Hazel Park will be competitive in most of the games it plays.
“I think we’ll compete,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll win some of (them). But our goal is to compete in every game we play.”

Madison Heights Bishop Foley
Last season’s record: 5-4
League: Catholic League Intersectional Division
Returning starters: Eight
Offensive keys:
While winning battles at the line of scrimmage may be right near the top of most coach’s wish list, talent at skill positions isn’t a bad luxury to have, either, and Foley coach Sean Cobb may have just that in his inaugural season.

“My biggest keys will be that I’ve got some pretty good skill position players,” he said. “My quarterback will be key — that’ll be Brendan McMahon. I’ve got two fullbacks (Stephen Redding and Alex Williamson) — two big, bruising guys.
I’m hoping for good things from them, too.”

The play of Nick Gwisdalla, David Balaze, Piotr Lewalski and Brian Wille could also play a big role in helping the offense click.

Defensive keys:
Given that, according to Cobb, Foley is short on numbers, some of the key players on offense are also expected to be defensive contributors. And with players seeing action on both sides of the ball, Cobb has given some thought as to what it is likely to take to have success.

“It’s going to take good conditioning prior to the season, which we are working on,” he said. “With them going both ways, I’ve got to have them well-conditioned.”

Coach’s outlook:
According to Cobb, the more he sees of his players, the more he likes them. And while he expects that his squad will be competitive, that expectation comes with a contingency.

“Just like anybody else’s football team, if there are injuries to key players, it’s going to be a tough road to haul,” Cobb said. “We’ve just got to stay healthy.”