Clinton Township Chippewa Valley football players line up during a recent scrimmage. The Big Reds enter the season as the defending Division 1 state champions.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley football players line up during a recent scrimmage. The Big Reds enter the season as the defending Division 1 state champions.

Photo by Deb Jacques

2019 Football Preview: Chippewa Valley

2018 Record: 14-0

By: C & G Sports Staff | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 15, 2019

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Last season’s record: 14-0

League: Macomb Area Conference Red Division

Returning starters: Eight

First game: 7 p.m. Aug. 29 vs. Saline High at Wayne State University

Offensive keys:
With quarterback Tommy Schuster having graduated after helping lead the team to the Division 1 state championship last season, former receiver Josh Kulka is expected to take the majority of the snaps for Chippewa this year.

He can expect to receive some protection from an offensive line that coach Scott Merchant said is big, physical and strong.

The line can also play an important role in another way.

“We feel really good about our run game going into the season,” Merchant said. “Got some new guys at receiver, and obviously Josh is new at quarterback, but they’ve been coming along nicely so far this summer.”

Offensive linemen Brendan Barbu, Charles Wesley, Donovan McBride and Alex Lanzon could be big factors for Chippewa this year. Other players who could play key roles are running backs Myren Harris, Carde Johnson and Antwaine Gunter, along with receivers Corey Anderson II and Quillen Howze.

Defensive keys:
Defensively, Merchant said Chippewa is a lot more inexperienced.

“So, we have to get the guys in the right spots, get (them) coached up, and then make sure we have the right 11 guys out there,” Merchant said. “We have a lot (of) kids that have been waiting their turn behind some good players that have been working hard. I think they’re excited for their opportunities to get out there and play.”

Myles Harris and Johnson at safety, Wesley at defensive tackle, Gunter in the secondary, and Jaillen Howze and Devarious McGraw at linebacker are some of the players Chippewa fans can look out for.

Coach’s outlook:
Although Merchant said the defending D-1 state champs “may be a little bit different than last year,” he thinks the team will be OK.

He expects there to be a lot of tough, close games, and he thinks it will come down to how Chippewa closes out those contests.

“We (want to) compete for the MAC Red championship,” Merchant said. “If you can win a MAC Red championship, you can win a state championship. That’s our goals.”

vs. Saline High (11-2) — 7 p.m. Aug. 29 at Wayne State University
Chippewa beat Saline in last year’s opener 31-26. Saline’s only other loss last season came against Clarkston High in a Division 1 semifinal. Clarkston went on to lose to Chippewa in the state final.

vs. Roseville High (6-4) — 7 p.m. Sept. 6
With a 42-0 win last season, Chippewa improved to 10-2 all-time against Roseville. The Panthers have qualified for postseason play two years in a row.

vs. Utica Eisenhower (6-4) — 7 p.m. Sept. 13
Chippewa snapped a five-game losing streak against Eisenhower last year with a 45-24 victory during the regular season and a 34-7 win in the playoffs. The Big Reds are now 8-35 in the all-time series.

at New Baltimore Anchor Bay (3-6) — 7 p.m. Sept. 20
With a 42-6 win last season, Chippewa has won its last 11 games against Anchor Bay.

vs. Macomb Dakota (8-3) — 7 p.m. Sept. 27
The Big Reds have won the last four games played between the rivals, getting regular season and playoff victories in each of the last two seasons. Dakota has a 19-12 lead in the series.

at Warren Mott (7-3) — 7 p.m. Oct. 4
With a 49-21 win last season, Chippewa has beaten the Marauders three consecutive times and five of the last six meetings. With the exception of one season, Mott has qualified for the playoffs every year since 2006.

at Sterling Heights Stevenson (4-5) — 7 p.m. Oct. 11
Chippewa earned its fifth consecutive win against the Titans with a 37-23 victory last season. Stevenson is 23-14 all-time against Chippewa.

vs. Romeo High (6-4) — 7 p.m. Oct. 18
Chippewa beat Romeo for the second consecutive time last year, coming away with a 41-34 victory. Romeo has qualified for the playoffs every year since 2004.

vs. Utica High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Oct. 25
Last season, Chippewa won 49-0, which made it 16 straight wins against the Chieftains. In the last two games played between the programs, Chippewa has outscored Utica 93-0.


Schedule provided by and historical data provided by