Eastpointe, RosevilleAugust 22, 2012
Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider: A look at local prep teams as gridiron season nears
It’s finally here.
High school football season has arrived. And to help you get familiar with all the local teams, we present our annual football preview, chock full of information to review right up until the first kickoff.
Check back in the paper and online throughout the season for more football coverage, including photos, game previews and recaps, team and player features, rankings and picks.
And don’t forget to follow along with us on Twitter and Facebook for live updates from select games.
Eastpointe East Detroit Shamrocks
Last season’s record: 1-8
League: Macomb Area Conference Silver Division
Returning starters: Four
First-year coach Branden Banks is installing the Wing-T offense at East Detroit. Banks said it’s key for the Shamrocks’ offensive linemen to learn the scheme quickly because the success of the set depends on that group.
Banks said the three players who will be featured in the new offense — quarterback Austin Geoffry, and running backs Tyrell Yharbrough and Vince Jordan — will be standouts.
Yharbrough is a returning All-Conference selection.
East Detroit will run a base 4-3 defense under Banks. He said the play of the defensive line will be crucial, adding the team is young in several spots. Twenty-five of the 37 players on the Shamrocks’ roster are freshmen and sophomores.
Banks, East Detroit’s third coach in three years, said safety Romell Holmes should shine on defense. Yharbrough, who plays defensive end, along with Jordan (linebacker) and defensive end Rico Poole, should make plays, as well.
“It’s going to be a tough year, but we’re going to compete every week. We’re working in so many new players this year that I can’t really say what I think we’ll do recordwise, but I know we’re going to compete and play hard.”
Last season’s record: 6-4
League: Macomb Area Conference White Division
Returning starters: Five
Coach Melvin Richendollar, in his 13th year with Roseville, said the strength of the team’s rushing attack will determine its success.
Running back Jalen Milledge will lead the ground attack.
Richendollar said he also expects solid contributions from quarterback Darnell Wilson, fullback Lamar Harris, tackle Ray Williams and guard Ryan Devooght.
Roseville averaged 19.8 points per game last season. In the team’s six wins, it averaged 26.6 points.
Richendollar said the play of his defensive backfield is vital if the Panthers want to have a solid season and expects cornerback Tyree Jones to lead the unit.
Roseville allowed 13.9 points per game last season — good for fifth in the entire Macomb Area Conference.
In their six wins, the Panthers surrendered a total of 20 points.
“We’re looking forward to a successful season.”
A league title would be the first since the Panthers joined the MAC White in 2010.
Macomb Lutheran North Mustangs
Last season’s record: 4-5
League: Catholic High School League AA Division
Returning Starters: 12
New coach Ryan Wesley expects “really good line play” from the Mustangs’ front five and tight ends.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to grind the ball down the field,” the coach said. “We need them to be our strength. We’re ready to pass at any time, but our goal is that our running game will wear teams out.”
North has an experienced quarterback in junior Will Kruse, who enters his third year with the varsity. His weapons include a “strong, fast” running back in junior Trevor Mason and a “quick, athletic” receiving corps led by junior Jonathan Taykowski.
Wesley said the key on defense is matching up physically with their opponents week in and week out.
Leading the way on this side of the ball is another player entering his third year on varsity in senior strong safety David Craig. Junior Vince Petitta joins Craig in the secondary, where they’re expected to do “great things.” In front of them are a trio of linebackers in Trevor Mason, Seth Majeski and Jonah Taykowski. Wesley described the group as being “aggressive at getting to the football.”
“Enthusiasm is high right now, and we hope that continues through adversity,” Wesley said during the preseason. “Our playbook is completely in after two days of practice, and even though we’ll do some tweaks here and there, we’ve got everything we need except competition. I think the kids are hungry and ready to go.”
Warren De La Salle Pilots
Last season’s record: 9-3
League: Catholic High School League Central Division
Returning starters: 14
Depth will be key for a De La Salle team that has made the Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoffs nine of the last 11 years.
Coach Paul Verska projects he’ll have a roster of 65 players, including nine returning offensive starters and eight others who have the potential to make an impact on that side of the ball.
The Pilots will run multiple offensive sets, according to Verska, and will be led by quarterback Shane Morris, a 2013 University of Michigan commit.
Verska also expects key contributions from running back Josh Cox (a Central Michigan University commit), wide receivers Cordell Crosby, Brent Morris and Mario Agosta, and offensive linemen Andrew DiFranco, Kyle Anderson and Chris Desrosiers.
De La Salle averaged 25.5 points per game last season — 31.7 in wins.
The Pilots will run a version of the 4-3 defense, designed to adjust to every offensive formation and defend the run or pass.
Five starters return to anchor the unit, and Verska has tapped four others who can make an impact on the defensive side of the ball.
Defensive players to watch include linebackers Jordan Avgousti, Allan Jefferson, Joe Fisher and Sam Badalamenti. Cox, who plays in the defensive backfield, is expected to contribute, as well.
De La Salle’s defense allowed 17.8 points per game last season.
“We went 9-3 last year, and I think we should be improved in 2012. We have a great senior class and return nine starters on offense and five on defense.”
Warren Michigan Collegiate Cougars
Last season’s record: 11-1
League: Michigan Charter School Conference
Returning starters: Nine
Coach Alfredo Calderon said his group must stay healthy if it hopes to duplicate, and
surpass, last year’s success.
Michigan Collegiate lacks depth, according to Calderon, with nine playing on both sides of the ball, and is working in a new quarterback, so avoiding injuries will be key. Michigan Collegiate returns four of five starters on its offensive line.
Calderon said wide receiver Teo Redding, a player with a verbal commitment to Bowling Green who Calderon dubbed one of the best wideouts in the state, should excel this season. Wide receiver Brian Jones and running back Parish Jordan will be counted on, as well.
In the 2011 regular season, the Cougars scored at least 35 points in every game.
Health and avoiding injuries is key for Michigan Collegiate’s prospects on defense, according to Calderon. He added focusing on sure tackling will be a sticking point, too.
The defense — and the team as a whole — is fast, but not as speedy as previous teams. The unit is physical, aggressive and hard working, as well, according to the coach.
Linebackers Jamel Smith and Kevin Stitts, along with defensive lineman Arimus McKinney, anchor the defense.
The Michigan Collegiate defense recorded five shutouts last season.
“Our goal is always a state championship. We play in Division 6, and I think we can accomplish that. We have a tough schedule this year, and we play some schools that are a lot bigger than us, but we have really good players.”