Center Line, WarrenAugust 21, 2012
Warren Weekly: A look at local prep teams as gridiron season nears
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.
Center Line Panthers
Last season’s record: 2-7
League: Macomb Athletic Conference
Returning starters: Eight
Coach Jim Carlisle, in his first year with Center Line, is looking to his offensive line to shine this season. He said linemen average 6 feet 1 inch tall, 295 pounds. He said the team also has very good speed at the skill positions.
Carlisle added that he’s looking for solid contributions from running back Jerome Dina, offensive tackle Josh Leo, wide receiver Duane Sommers, running back Nawar Isho, offensive guard Spene Raxter, and quarterback A.J. Favazza.
Center Line scored 13.2 points per game last season.
Carlisle said depth and size on the defensive line will help that unit, adding that he has eight players in the rotation who average 6 feet 2 inches tall, 320 pounds.
He wants the defensive unit to play aggressively, adding creating turnovers will be vital.
He’s looking for strong play from defensive tackle Terrance Woods and linebacker Zack Evans.
Center Line allowed 35.4 points per game last season.
“I think we have a very talented team with a great desire to succeed. We have had a great summer workout and weight lifting offseason, with five players benching more than 300 pounds and eight players benching more than 250.
“Numbers in the program have increased by 70 percent, 32 varsity players and 25 on JV. There’s been a great transition in learning new systems on offense and defense. We’re looking forward to an exciting year.”
Warren Cousino Patriots
Last season’s record: 6-4
League: Macomb Area Conference White Division
Returning starters: 12
Coach Mike Powell, in his 13th year, believes the performance of his skill players will play a huge role in Cousino’s success.
He said he’s looking for solid play from running backs Lawrence Austin and Darnel Parham, offensive linemen Anthony Jazvac and Zach Wiederhold, wide receiver Tony Aldridge and tight end Charlie Wilson.
The Patriots averaged 23.3 points per game last season.
Powell said having skilled players on defense is vital to his team’s success.
Players expected to contribute include linebackers Austin, Parham, Aldridge and Wiederhold, and Wilson, a defensive back.
Cousino allowed just 13.2 points per game last season.
“We have some good skill position players returning. Our concern will be how our offensive and defensive lines come together.”
Warren Fitzgerald Spartans
Last season’s record: 3-6
League: Macomb Area
Conference Silver Division
Returning starters: Five
Second-year coach Ken Briere said the play of his offensive line is vital to Fitzgerald’s success. The Spartans will start four new offensive linemen in 2012 who will have to learn the scheme. Fitzgerald runs a pro-style offense.
Briere said the Spartans have depth at the skill positions as a result of strong competition for spots during practice. He said he’s confident Fitzgerald’s skill players will have success.
Players to watch include running back Tyler Norton, quarterback Cody Haberek, wide receiver Angelo Oglesby, tight end Curtis Robinson and offensive lineman Aaron Kimball.
Fitzgerald averaged 18 points per game in 2011.
Players carrying out their assignments on defense will be key. Briere said that it’s vital for players to not get caught on blocks.
“It’s very important that we’re the hammer and not the nail,” he said.
The Spartans will utilize multiple defensive looks in an attempt to keep opponents on their toes, Briere said.
The second-year Fitzgerald coach said he expects linebacker P.J. Garwood (a returning All-Conference selection), defensive back Earl Kaigler, free safety Warner Nelson, and Robinson (linebacker) to stand out on defense.
“We have pretty good players in the skill spots on offense, so if we can get our offensive line going, I think we can have a good year. Of course, we’re not very deep rosterwise, so we need to stay healthy, but that’s a problem everybody else has, too.
“If we can stay healthy and stay together as a team, I think we’ll be good. Fitzgerald kids will always be ready to play.”
Warren Lincoln Abes
Last season’s record: 2-7
League: Macomb Area
Conference (Bronze Division)
Returning starters: Nine
First-year head coach Mike Bainbridge said he’s adding some shotgun sets to Lincoln’s Wing-T offense. He said he hopes the additions help to open the field up and aid the Abes’ running attack.
Bainbridge added avoiding injuries would be key, as Lincoln is “low on numbers.”
The coach added that the Abes are talented at the skill positions and experienced on the offensive line, which should help the ground game.
Quarterback Darius Totty, who played strong safety as a sophomore, and running back Jamell Poydros are expected to shine on offense.
Bainbridge said the Abes will employ multiple defensive sets, citing the 4-4 and 5-3 varieties.
He said play of the defensive front four will be vital, adding the defense is young but experienced, as several junior starters saw plenty of playing time as sophomores last year.
Bainbridge said he’s relying on the front seven to lead the defensive unit.
Defensive tackle Brandon Mitchell and defensive end Anthony Homesly should be standouts.
“I’ve told the players and other people that we’re not going to focus too much on our record — even if we go 8-1 or 9-0.
“I just want us to compete every day in practice and in each game every week. I want us to play hard and have a chance to win every game.
“We’re definitely going to fight each week.”
Warren Mott Marauders
2011 record: 7-4
League: Macomb Area Conference
Returning starters: Eight
Coach Tom Milanov, in his 13th year, said his team must strive for smooth execution and limit errors.
He added playing smart football over the course of the season is vital for Mott’s success.
Milanov said he expects offensive tackle Haris Vrabac, wide receiver Ken Goins and fullback Matt Debski to lead the offense.
The Marauders averaged 23.2 points per game last season.
More than scheme, Milanov said intense pursuit and passion for playing football, defense in particular, will be key. Milanov said he wants all 11 players swarming the football on every play.
The longtime Mott coach is looking for linebackers Jack Steel and Goins, along with defensive end Debski, to stand out on defense.
The Marauders allowed 17 points per game last season.
“I think it will be a hotly contested division with just about any of the six teams having a legitimate chance to win the championship. Our team must work toward great unity and have a great focus on our goals.”
Warren Woods Tower Titans
Last season’s record: 1-8
League: Macomb Area Conference
Returning starters: Six
Coach Mike Mahar, who comes to Tower after serving as offensive coordinator at Fraser High, is implementing a new, run-first offense.
The first-year coach said how quickly the players pick up the scheme would be key, as will shoring up fundamentals of blocking.
Quarterback Danny Newton will lead the offense, Mahar said, and is expected to be a key contributor for the unit.
The Titans scored 14.4 points per game last season.
Tower will also have a new-look defense.
Mahar said the team will run more of a read-and-react defense, adding that he will spend a lot of time working with the players on the basics of lining up correctly pre-snap and tackling.
The coach is looking for contributions from two players he dubbed as “extremely physical,” in strong safety Chuckie Vorrhees, who moves into the defensive backfield after playing linebacker, and middle linebacker Gary Smith.
Last season, Tower allowed 32.9 points per game.
“This year is about changing the culture and learning how to work. We have worked hard this offseason talking about family and team. The coaching staff has been really pleased with the work ethic of the players, and we are looking forward to the season.”
Warren De La Salle Pilots
Last season’s record: 9-3
League: Catholic High School League
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
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.”
- Last 7 Days
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- Bay City Western gets run in sixth inning, holds on to beat Brother Rice 1-0 in D-1 final - Birmingham
- Troy High wins D-1 soccer title, Marian falls in D-2 - Bloomfield Hills
- Brother Rice baseball team set to face Howell High in Division 1 semifinal - Birmingham
- Ruppenthal dominates as Brother Rice advances to Division 1 state final - Birmingham
- Liggett wins D-4 state title in extra innings - Grosse Pointes
- Warren Mott upends Warren De La Salle in D-1 baseball pre-district - Warren
- Bloomfield Hills Marian wins first district title in 10 seasons - Bloomfield Hills
- Bats come to life in sixth inning as St. Mary's baseball team advances past Andover - Bloomfield Hills
- LACROSSE: Local teams see varying results as state tournament begins - Warren
- Price boasts about Stoney Creek softball after his girls claim division title - Rochester Hills
- Mercy uses five home runs to claim second consecutive district title; Rice, St. Mary's and Troy also advance - Farmington Hills
- Wixom St. Catherine tops Royal Oak Shrine in district final - Royal Oak
- Warren Mott upends Warren De La Salle in D-1 baseball pre-district
- Price boasts about Stoney Creek softball after his girls claim division title
- Rice, Cranbrook and Bloomfield United battle for lacrosse crowns
- Clawson High girls soccer gives itself chance at third straight title
- Lathrup baseball claims fourth OAA Gold title in last seven seasons
- Bloomfield Hills Marian wins first district title in 10 seasons
- Southfield gymnast wins two gold medals