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Sterling Heights

Stevenson football coach says team putting it together

Published October 2, 2013

» click to enlarge «
The Sterling Heights Stevenson football team is looking for its fifth trip to the MHSAA state playoffs in seven years. Pictured is Titans senior quarterback Kyle Maxson during a win over Utica Ford II Sept. 13.

STERLING HEIGHTS — After starting the season 0-2 and being outscored 58-0 in those two games, the Sterling Heights Stevenson football team ran off two straight wins to get back to .500 at press time, outscoring the opposition 58-9 over that two-game span.

Titans coach Steve Goralski said better preparation has keyed that turnaround. Goralski, whose team sat at 2-2, 1-1 Macomb Area Conference Red Division at press time, said it took those first two games for the team, in particular the offense, to put things together.

“We had some injuries that forced us to play some guys in positions they’re not used to playing,” Goralski said. “And we, basically, played with nine new guys on offense outside of (senior quarterback Kyle Maxson) and (senior offensive lineman Quintarius Peoples). So it took those first two games for us to kind of get into a rhythm on offense.”

Goralski said Stevenson must maintain that rhythm if it wants to once again qualify for the Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoffs, which begin with pre-district play Nov. 1. The Titans earned a berth to the playoffs in 2012 after a down 2011.

If it qualifies, this would mark Stevenson’s fifth playoff appearance in seven years.

Goralski said the Titans’ offense must continue to improve. He said the team has to be able to run the ball and throw how they can to win games. Goralski said the team is working in two new running backs in juniors Nicholas Turner and Jordan Henry. It took some time for the two backs to get used to the varsity game, and Goralski said both are running very hard right now.

“(Henry) just attacks the line of scrimmage and has great cutting ability. (Turner), it’s the same thing. He always keeps his feet moving and runs hard. He’s keeping his face up so he can see where he needs to cut. That’s the biggest thing with those two kids — start running and keep everything north and south.”

Goralski said the Titans’ offensive line, with four new starters, is learning to move its feet and getting to the right spots to hit their blocks. He said the group is being aggressive now, which is helping the team’s run and play-action pass game.

“(Maxson) is better when we can play action pass and keep things underneath for him,” Goralski said. “So as long as our running game is going, then we’re going to be OK. We have to be able to run the ball.”

Goralski said the goal is still to win the MAC Red and qualify for the state playoffs. He said he understands that road is tougher due to starting 0-2, but added the goals the team set at the outset of the season are still attainable.

“We just had to win and get some confidence. I told the guys we kind of put ourselves behind the eight ball for the playoffs because we already have two losses,” Goralski said. “We have to get six wins. We said we can still get a share of the MAC Red title because we’ve only lost one league game (31-0 to Macomb Dakota Sept. 6).

“There’s still a lot of opportunities for us, and that’s what we’re playing for right now.”

The Titans next hit the field for a matchup against Utica High (1-3, 1-2 MAC White at press time). Game time is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Utica High.

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