Birmingham Seaholm junior running back Sean Emerson carries the ball against Troy Athens on Sept. 16. at Birmingham Seaholm High School.

Birmingham Seaholm junior running back Sean Emerson carries the ball against Troy Athens on Sept. 16. at Birmingham Seaholm High School.

Photo courtesy of Birmingham Seaholm Football

Seaholm football returns to winning form

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published October 12, 2022


BIRMINGHAM — The 2021 Birmingham Seaholm football season was a far cry from the state semifinals team in 2019.

After three-straight playoff trips from 2018-2020, Seaholm (7-0) finished 1-8 last year in an attempt to find a team identity.

Exploding into this season with seven-straight wins, it’s safe to say Seaholm has rediscovered its winning culture.

“Compared to the 2019 team that went to the state semis, we’re very similar,” senior Jack Hulgrave said. “We’re very strict and very focused.”

Seaholm competed in the Oakland Activities Association-White last season against competition such as Clarkston, Rochester Adams and Lake Orion, but switched to the OAA-Blue this year. Seaholm’s last conference title came in 2018, when the team competed in the OAA-Blue.

The experience from last year has led to success in the new division.

“We got a good combination and experience from last year,” Seaholm coach Jim DeWald said. “I know last year wasn’t great, but I think that experience against the bigger schools has really helped us this year.”

Led by junior quarterback Colton Kinnie, Seaholm has averaged 42 points per game this year.

Kinnie has tallied two passing touchdowns and six rushing touchdowns this year, and has taken control of his role this year. With only 11 passing attempts on the year, Kinnie has embraced what Seaholm has developed on the offensive side.

“I think (it’s) his overall understanding of what we’re doing,” DeWald said. “I know we’re not supposed to speak in absolutes, but of all the quarterbacks we’ve had in our system, he knows it better than anyone.”

Kinnie’s twin brother, Granden, leads Seaholm with 369 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns on the year.

Seaholm embodies a true running back by committee mentality with senior Jack Hulgrave (352), junior Kyle Robbins (345) and junior Sean Emerson (216) all rushing for 200 yards or more on the year. Hulgrave and Emerson have each tallied three rushing touchdowns, while Robbins has added five on the year.

Seaholm’s rushing attack, which averages 329 yards per game, has been due in part to its dominant offensive line.

“They completely dominate the ball on both sides,” Hulgrave said.

Seniors Brenden Barrett (DL), John Jokisch (OL/DL), Dylan Buese (DL) and Ben Rosenfield (OL) have manned the trenches for Seaholm.

Seaholm’s defense has allowed only 13 points per game while earning three shutouts this season.

Hulgrave, who leads the team with 38 tackles, said the team carried a different outlook in the offseason.

“After a season like last year, we had to make changes, and we worked so hard in the offseason,” Hulgrave said. “It’s a whole different culture and a whole different mindset.”

Seaholm will finish its season against Farmington and Birmingham Groves, who both carry a 4-2 record this season.

While Seaholm is currently in first in the OAA-Blue with a 3-0 in-conference record, Farmington’s 2-1 in-conference record makes the Oct. 14 game a highly anticipated contest for both teams.

For DeWald, it’s another team — with the same goal in mind.

“We truly emphasize the faceless opponent,” DeWald said. “It’s just execution and execution.”