South Lake coach looking for progress

By: Jason Carmel Davis | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 11, 2017

 South Lake players run sprints during a practice. The Cavaliers’ next game is against Warren Fitzgerald at 7 p.m. Sept. 15 at home.

South Lake players run sprints during a practice. The Cavaliers’ next game is against Warren Fitzgerald at 7 p.m. Sept. 15 at home.

Photo by Sean Work

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Prior to the start of the 2017 season, St. Clair Shores South Lake football coach Vernard Snowden made it clear that this year’s team would be much different from the previous two he’s coached since taking over in 2015.

Those squads — which made two trips to the state playoffs and in 2016 won the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title — were filled with veteran players and leaders who could keep teammates in line and morale high. This year’s team is a bit different.

This year’s version of the Cavaliers is young and inexperienced, Snowden said. The team returned just five starters (one on offense) and lost 11 for various reasons, including graduation and transfer.

That has led to South Lake getting off to a 0-2 overall start, and a 0-1 mark in the MAC Silver, at press time. The youth has shown in both contests: a 16-6 season-opening loss to St. Clair Shores Lake Shore and a 44-24 Week 2 loss to Madison Heights Madison. The Cavs’ Week 3 game against St. Clair Shores Lakeview, which was also 0-2, took place Sept. 8, after press time.

“This is a rebuilding year for us, and we’re going to take it in stride,” Snowden said. “As long as we progress over the course of the season, it’ll be a success.”

South Lake thus far was averaging 15 points per game. The team averaged 47.2 points per game last fall and 42.5 in 2015. The Cavs defense through two games was allowing 30 points per game — the highest of Snowden’s tenure.

Senior defensive backs Kam Richardson and Antonio Goines, and junior Jeremiah Vines anchor a secondary that is the strength of the South Lake defense, Snowden said.

This season represents South Lake’s first 0-2 start since 2009. South Lake last season faced all seven of the remaining teams on its schedule and went 5-2 in those games.

Even with all the changes within the program and early-season struggles, Snowden remains optimistic.

“We’re young and inexperienced, but we’re athletic and we’re going in the right direction,” Snowden said. 

South Lake’s next game is against Warren Fitzgerald at 7 p.m. Sept. 15 at home.

UPDATE: South Lake fell to Lakeview 22-12.