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August 27, 2013

Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider High School Football preview

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The Roseville High football team is looking for its first MHSAA state playoff berth since 2011. Pictured is Panthers’ Matt Fowler carrying the ball during an Aug. 22 scrimmage against Southfield Lathrup at Lathrup.
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 time information, along with site information for the neutral site contests, call the host school prior to game time.

Roseville High

8-29 @ East Detroit
9-6 vs. Warren Cousino
9-13 @ Warren Mott
9-20 vs. Anchor Bay
9-27 @ Grosse Pointe South
10-5 vs. Utica Eisenhower
10-11 @ Port Huron
10-18 @ Utica High
10-25 vs. Macomb Dakota

East Detroit High

8-29 vs. Roseville
9-6 @ St. Clair Shores South Lake
9-13 vs. Madison Heights Lamphere
9-20 vs. Warren Woods Tower
9-27 vs. Marine City
10-4 @ Clinton Township Clintondale
10-11 vs. Madison Heights Madison
10-19 vs. Warren Fitzgerald
10-25 @ Clawson

*East Detroit plays its home games at Eastpointe Memorial Park

Prep football teams will be back on the gridiron beginning Aug. 29. Here’s a rundown of each local team, including returning starters, offensive and defensive keys, and what each coach is expecting from their squad.

For all the previews from our local teams, including Fraser High and Lutheran North, visit our website at www.candgnews.com and click on the Sports link.

East Detroit High Shamrocks
Last season’s record: 2-7
League: MAC Silver
Returning starters: Seven

Offensive keys:
Second-year East Detroit coach Branden Banks said it’s vital that the Shamrocks’ offensive line open up running lanes for the team’s backs. Banks said having a strong running attack could potentially lead East Detroit to its first Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoff appearance since 2010. Banks said he’s looking for contributions from junior quarterbacks Ryan Chezney and Davante Hall, senior center Dacrrle Jones and senior tailback Khalil White.

Defensive keys:
Banks said the play of East Detroit’s defensive line, and stopping the run, is crucial to the team’s success. Banks said he’s looking for strong play from senior defensive back Jaylen Parker, junior linebacker/defensive end Matt Perry, senior linebacker Dajuan Watson and senior safety/specialist Ronell Holmes.

Coach’s outlook:
“We want to be competitive with all of the teams in our league. We know the teams in our league run the ball a lot, so we have to stop that. We want to win some games, too. We had talent last year and we struggled a bit, so it’s a matter of putting everything together.”

Roseville High Panthers
Last season’s record: 1-8
League: MAC White
Returning starters: Two

Offensive keys:
Roseville coach Mel Richendoller said he’s working in about 10 new starters on offense, so it’s important for new starters to pick up plays early on. He said building continuity as a unit is vital, as well, because he understands it can be difficult lining up with someone you’ve never played with. Richendoller said he’s looking for solid contributions from senior quarterback Tray Kern and sophomore running back Michael Evans.

Defensive keys:
Just as he stated about the offense, Richendoller said his defense must pick up concepts quickly if the Panthers are to rebound from a down 2012 campaign. Roseville had qualified for the Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoffs three consecutive years before last season. Richendoller said he doesn’t plan to throw a lot of different concepts at Roseville defenders, but he wants to ensure the players are able to run each play well.

Coach’s outlook:
“We’re looking to have a better year that we had last year. We want to make sure the players get better every week and we want to compete.”

Warren De La Salle Pilots
Last season’s record: 5-4
League: Catholic High School League Central
Returning starters: Six

Offensive keys:
De La Salle coach Paul Verska said taking care of the football and developing the offensive line will be vital to De La Salle’s offensive success this season. Verska is looking for contributions from senior quarterback Giovanni Rescigno, senior running back Sam Badalamenti, senior offensive lineman Stephen Garrity, senior wide receiver Brent Morris, and senior wide receiver Carter Wilson. Last season was the first time De La Salle missed the Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoffs since 2005.

Defensive keys:
Verska said stopping the opposition’s ground game and limiting big plays are musts if the Pilots hope to have a strong season. Verska said he expects strong play from senior linebacker Jared Wangler and senior defensive back Mario Agosta.

Coach’s outlook:
“We will be young, but look forward to developing our youth throughout the season.  We have one of the most difficult schedules in the state, which really minimizes our room for error but creates a great opportunity for our program. 

“We had a tremendous commitment to the off-season workout program.  We hope that the effort and enthusiasm showed in the off-season will carry into the fall.” 

Sterling Heights Parkway Christian Eagles
Last season’s record: 4-5
League: Michigan Independent Athletic Conference
Returning starters: Seven

Offensive keys:
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 who is a dual threat. The Eagles are looking for their first Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoff berth since 2010.

Defensive keys:
Francis said he believes his defensive unit will be solid. He said he 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.

Coach’s outlook:
“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.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.