2019 Football Preview: Hazel Park High

2018 Record: 4-5

By: C & G Sports Staff | Madison - Park News | Published July 26, 2019


Last season’s record: 4-5
League: Macomb Area Conference Silver Division
Returning starters: 14
First game: 7 p.m. Aug. 29 at Center Line High
Offensive keys:
Coach Kyle Rowley wants to “loosen” defenses up with a solid running attack and then “dink and dunk” with the team’s receivers.

One of the players who can help is running back Jayshun White.

Rowley said Hazel Park has four “great” receivers, including Nate Hardeman.

After leading the offense as a sophomore quarterback last season, Matt Diaz is expected to return to that role this year.

Rowley said the big question is how his offensive line will play.

“Got some good size, but not a lot of experience,” Rowley said. “We got a couple young guys who really need to step up and get after it this year.”
Defensive keys:
Rowley said Hazel Park is going to “fly around” on defense.

“We’re really athletic in the back end,” Rowley said. “We’re playing a 4-2-5, so a lot (of) athletes on the field.”

Cornerback Ryan Ramsey and outside linebacker Davion Penn could play big roles on defense.

Much like on offense, the defensive line’s maturation will be key and who will “step up and take advantage of that role.”
Coach’s outlook:
After being affiliated with the Oakland Activities Association for more than 20 years, Hazel Park switched to the MAC, which means new opponents.

“I don’t know much about those teams,” Rowley said. “Just (because) you watch a little bit of film, you don’t really know. Just looking forward to competing, putting our best foot forward every week. We’re looking forward to the challenge; it’s a great conference.”
at Center Line High (6-4) — 7 p.m. Aug. 29
When the programs last faced off in 1977, Hazel Park came away with a 19-6 win. Last season, Center Line qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
at St. Clair High (9-3) — 7 p.m. Sept. 6
With records dating back as far as 1950, the programs have never played one another. St. Clair scored more than 50 points five times last season.
vs. Marine City High (10-3) — 7 p.m. Sept. 13
Since 1990, Marine City has made the playoffs in all but three seasons. Last year, the Mariners made it as far as a Division 5 semifinal.
at St. Clair Shores South Lake (3-6) — 7 p.m. Sept. 20
This is the first meeting between the programs. The Cavaliers lost their last five games of the season last year.
vs. Warren Woods Tower (9-2) — 7 p.m. Sept. 27
The only game played between the programs came in 2017, with Tower coming away with a 31-0 win. Last year, the Titans won their first eight regular-season games and scored more than 50 points in five of those contests.
at New Haven High (0-8) — 7 p.m. Oct. 4
Last year, the Rockets scored 12 points the entire season and were shut out in all but two games.
vs. Marysville High (4-5) — 7 p.m. Oct. 11
Prior to the last two seasons of not making the playoffs, Marysville had qualified for postseason play in eight of nine years.
vs. Madison Heights Madison (13-1) — 7 p.m. Oct. 18
Hazel Park is 2-0 against Madison, with the last game between the programs coming in 2003. Last season, the Eagles’ only loss came in the D-7 state championship game.
at Clinton Township Clintondale (3-6) — 7 p.m. Oct. 25
Clintondale beat Hazel Park 30-14 in the only game played between the programs in 2017. Last season, Clintondale gave up more than 35 points in six of its games.