Farmington is poised to improve this year after returning three starters on the offensive line and closing out the 2021 season on a four-game win streak.

Farmington is poised to improve this year after returning three starters on the offensive line and closing out the 2021 season on a four-game win streak.

Photo provided by Jason Albrecht

West Oakland County football preview

West Bloomfield remains at top, Bloomfield Hills battles new conference

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | C&G Newspapers | Published August 24, 2022

 An experienced receiver core and offensive line will be key factors for Birmingham Seaholm as it looks to raise its 2021 win total.

An experienced receiver core and offensive line will be key factors for Birmingham Seaholm as it looks to raise its 2021 win total.

Photo provided by Jim DeWald


Birmingham Brother Rice
Last season’s record: 8-4.
League: Catholic League Central Division.
First game: vs. Macomb Dakota High, 4 p.m. Aug. 25.

Continuing its six-straight playoff appearance streak into 2022, Brother Rice carries an interesting roster this season.

Headlined by Maryland commit and senior running back Nolan Ray, Brother Rice’s offense will have junior quarterback Blake Marrogy take control of the offense. Marrogy started for the junior varsity team last season.

A big question mark for Brother Rice is who will be on the receiving end of Marrogy’s throws with senior Nikalai Korzeniewski, junior Max Orozco and junior Ryan Gorcyca all expected to have a role in the receiving game.

“It’ll probably be our most challenging area,” Brother Rice coach Adam Korzeniewski said.

Senior Henry Garrity is poised for another dominant season at the tight end position.

Boston College commit and senior defensive lineman Eryx Daugherty will lead the defense alongside junior linebacker Alex Birach and senior linebacker Andre Cade II.

Birmingham Groves
Last season’s record: 2-7.
League: Oakland Activities Association White Division.
First game: vs. North Farmington High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

Groves struggled to catch a rhythm in 2021 as it snapped its eight-year playoff appearance streak, but senior leadership should improve the chemistry heading into this season.

Seniors Malachi Coleman (DT) and JoshWoods (LB) will lead a defensive unit that returns seven starters from last year’s squad. Alongside Woods and Coleman will be junior Zach Rogers (FS), senior Jackson Crane (LB), senior Elias Kendra (LB) and junior Braden Hall (DL).

Junior quarterback Cayden Hardy will have an efficient amount of time to work behind an experienced offensive line in senior Morgan Goldberg, senior Alex Koellner, sophomore Avery Gach and senior Isaiah Tomazin.

Birmingham Seaholm
Last season’s record: 1-8.
League: Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.
First game: at Bloomfield Hills High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

Snapping a three-straight winning season streak in 2021, an inexperienced Birmingham Seaholm team looks to show what it can bring to the table in 2022.

Junior quarterback Colton Kinnie will command the huddle, while junior wide receivers Kyle Robbins, Sean Emerson and Jack Lewis look to serve as the primary targets.

Senior Jack Hulgrave and juniors Granden Kinnie and Brock Hartwig will handle the carries for Seaholm.

Seaholm’s trenches will be a key factor this season as seniors Ben Rosenfield, Dylan Buese, Brendan Barrett, John Jokisch and Zach Miketa will anchor up front.

While inexperience was its downfall last year, a mixed bag of juniors and seniors could be exactly what Seaholm needs to succeed this season.

“I think they’re more confident; they’ve seen different schemes and defenses,” Seaholm coach Jimn DeWald said. “I think confidence is the biggest one.”

Bloomfield Hills
Last season’s record: 9-1.
League: Oakland Activities Association White Division.
First game: vs. Birmingham Seaholm High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

Bloomfield Hills took a giant leap forward last season as its nine straight wins to open the season solidified a playoff spot for the program.

Its offensive and defensive output were balanced all season until a loss to Detroit Catholic Central in pre-districts, but that was in the OAA-Blue.

Bloomfield Hills’ success has placed them in the OAA-White with Rochester, Harper Woods and Southfield A&T all making their way onto the schedule.

With the jump in conference, it will be up to senior quarterback CJ Jackson to command the offense. Senior wideout Aaron Zekman and senior tight end Ahmad Taylor will anchor the offensive skill positions.

Taylor, senior defensive end David Hollins and senior safety Jack Freisen will control the defensive unit for Bloomfield Hills.

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood
Last season’s record: 3-6.
League: Catholic League Intersectional 1.
First game: at Livonia Clarenceville High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

Back-to-back losing seasons have been a cause for concern with Cranbrook-Kingswood, but senior leadership should be the focal point of this year’s team.

Senior tight end John Kersh and senior defensive linemen David Wu and Alex Smith will be leaders on their respective sides of the ball.

Cranbrook-Kingswoods faces an early test against Livonia Clarenceville week one, who bested Cranbrook-Kingswood in its opener in 2021.

Detroit Catholic Central
Last season’s record: 8-3.
League: Catholic League Central Division.
First game: vs. Clinton Township Chippewa Valley High, 7 p.m., Aug. 25.

Catholic Central’s pair of win streaks throughout the year eased the pain of an opening loss to Chippewa Valley and midseason loss to Catholic League rival Warren De La Salle.

Catholic Central returns an array of senior talent in Brady Blakita (WR), Baechler Houser (MLB), Brayden Courser (MLB), Jack Davis (FS), Spencer Lyons (RB), Zion Tinnon (OL) and senior Evan Haeger (RB).

Detroit Country Day
Last season’s record: 7-4.
League: Independent.
First game: vs. Detroit Loyola High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

A mix of junior talent and senior leadership will be the reason behind Country Day’s success this season.

The Country Day offense returns its star junior running back Gabe Winowich and will receive heavy contributions from sophomore quarterback Chase Dawkins and senior wide receiver Gabe Zeldes.

Junior linebacker Aiden Bergin leads Country Day’s defensive unit, while senior cornerback Thomas Jackson and senior linebacker Graham Doman add experience to the defense.

Last season’s record: 4-5.
League: Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.
First game: vs. Ypsilanti Lincoln High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

While five-straight losses to start the season made it difficult for Farmington to punch its playoff ticket, Farmington showed a completely different side of its team winning four-straight to close out the year.

Senior quarterback Dom Pesci will command an offense that averaged just under 35 points per game in its final four matchups.

Farmington’s offensive line will return three starting offensive lineman in seniors Gavin Miller, Steven Crager and Mecca Brooks.

Senior defensive back Aaron McCray will lead the Farmington defense, but will get some looks offensively as well.

“He’s a kid we look to kind of move around on defense and sprinkle in on offense as well,” Farmington coach Jason Albrecht said.

North Farmington
Last season’s record: 3-6.
League: Oakland Activities Association White Division.
First game: at Birmingham Groves High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

A 3-0 start had the history-making  possibility of North Farmington’s third-straight playoff appearance being the first ever in school history, but six straight losses to end the season wasn’t what Farmington was looking for.

On the flip side, North Farmington held a fourth-quarter lead in five of its last six games, so there’s a bright spot for the 2022 season.

Junior quarterback Ryan Shelby and wide receivers Mill Coleman and Daemon Eubanks lead a high-powered offense that averaged 30 points per game last season.

Sophomore Brendon Rice (DE), senior Noah Rioux (LB), senior Jayden Taylor (DB) and senior Anderson Sculati (LB) lead a defense that’s poised for a breakout season.

If North Farmington’s defense can balance out with the offense’s capability, North Farmington will be a threat in the playoffs.

Last season’s record: 5-5.
League: Kensington Lakes Activities Association West Division.
First game: vs. Belleville High, 7 p.m. Aug. 26.

While Novi seemed unable to find its rhythm in 2021, the senior leadership this season should be a key factor behind the team’s success.

Seniors Cole Shires and Niko Krall headline the tailback and linebacker position for Novi while seniors Andrew Abler (TE), Preston Phimister (DT) and Colin Masterson (WR) will add a veteran presence on each side of the ball.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s
Last season’s record: 6-5.
League: Catholic League Central Division.
First game: vs. Rochester Adams High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25

A 4-0 St. Mary’s was firing on all cylinders early in 2021, but then conference play happened. St. Mary’s dropped three-straight against Warren De La Salle, Birmingham Brother Rice and Detroit Catholic Central and is making sure it doesn’t make that mistake again.

St. Mary’s will have a tough opener against Rochester Adams as the offense looks to improve on last year’s 22 points per game efficiency.

Walled Lake Central
Last season’s record: 0-9.
League: Lakes Valley.
First game: at Waterford Mott High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

For Walled Lake Central, it’s all about ending its 26-game losing streak.

They came within a touchdown in two contests last season but are still seeking their first win since a 38-37 win over Waterford Kettering on Oct. 12, 2018.

Walled Lake Northern
Last season’s record: 4-5.
League: Lakes Valley.
First game: vs. South Lyon East High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

Northern ended its season with two straight wins and will look to continue that momentum into 2022.

Northern will play an identical schedule to its 2021 campaign and will be led by juniors Jayden Crespo (DT), Drew MacKool (WR) and Nolan Logue (RB).

Walled Lake Western
Last season’s record: 7-4.
League: Lakes Valley.
First game: at South Lyon High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

As Walled Lake Western looks to carry momentum over from its successful 2021 season, a pair of University of Minnesota commits look to end their high school careers on a high note.

Seniors Drew Viotto (QB) and second team all-State Darius Taylor (RB/WR) headline Western’s high-powered offense, while juniors Damar Jackson (RB) and Gavin Noonan (WR) look to contribute at a high level this year.

Senior defensive back Darrell Jones leads Western’s defensive group.

West Bloomfield
Last season’s record: 10-2.
League: Oakland Activities Association Red Division.
First game: vs. Sterling Heights Stevenson High, 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

While winning the OAA-Red league title in 2021, West Bloomfield’s one weakness was Rochester Adams.

In its eighth straight playoff appearance and 10-win season, West Bloomfield’s only losses came to Adams in its season opener and regionals matchup.

West Bloomfield’s explosive offense is led by University of Michigan commits Semaj Morgan (WR) and Amir Herring (OL). Morgan was a first team all-State selection in 2021.

Grand Valley state commit and senior running back Ken Jones will be a focal point in the skill positions alongside junior quarterback Reqez Nance and senior athlete Deonte Pipppen Jr.

The defense carries two Division I commits of its own in first team all-State junior defensive end Brandon Davis-Swain (Notre Dame) and senior defensive back Lorenzo Williams (Western Michigan).

Junior defensive back Jamir Benjamin and senior defensive back Adrian Epps forefront the secondary, while junior Kari Jackson, junior Montele Johnson and senior Robert Harris solidify the linebacking core.

With the majority of its starters on offense (eight) and defense (seven) returning, West Bloomfield has a little more comfort going into its brutal six-game stretch of Sterling Heights Stevenson, Harper Woods, Stoney Creek, Clarkston and Rochester Adams.