2019 Football Preview: Utica Ford II

2018 Record: 3-6

By: C & G Sports Staff | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 26, 2019


Last season’s record: 3-6

League: Macomb Area Conference White Division

Returning starters: Six

First game: 7 p.m. Aug. 29 vs. Rochester Hills Stoney Creek

Offensive keys:
Ford coach Tony Smith said this year’s team is young, so he’s hopeful that offensive players can grasp concepts quickly. Junior quarterback Josh Byers will lead the Falcons attack. Meanwhile, seniors Jalen Lowery (fullback), Taveon Thompson (receiver) and Brendan Anderson (lineman) are expected to make major contributions.

Ford was held to under 150 points last year for the third time since 2012. The team hopes to reach the postseason for the first time since 2015.

Defensive keys:
As on offense, Smith hopes the Falcons defense picks up the playbook quickly. Seniors Evan Plets (defensive back) and Austin Mayer (linebacker), along with Lowery (defensive line), Thompson (secondary) and Anderson (linebacker), will anchor the unit.

Ford allowed 23.3 points per game last season, which was the program’s second fewest in the last decade. The Falcons have finished under .500 for three straight years. The program has never had four consecutive losing seasons.

Coach’s outlook:
“This year we’ll be young and inexperienced,” said Smith, who is in his second year leading the program. “We only have 11 seniors. Those guys are going to be the primary leaders of the group. It’s going to have to be a growing experience. We have to keep getting better as a group. We’ll be more talented than last year — we’re just young.”

vs. Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (3-6) — 7 p.m. Aug. 29
Ford and Stoney Creek will meet to open a season for the third straight year. The Cougars have won the previous two matchups, including a 24-5 win in 2018.

vs. Grosse Pointe South (8-2) — 7 p.m. Sept. 6
South beat Ford 28-0 last season, dropping the Falcons to 5-7 in the series. Ford’s last win against South came in 2005.

at Utica High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Sept. 13
Ford improved to 19-9 against Utica with a 34-6 win last season. The triumph stopped a two-game skid for the Falcons against the Chieftains. Last season, Utica had its worst finish since 2001.

vs. Macomb L’Anse Creuse North (4-5) — 7 p.m. Sept. 20
The Falcons lead the series with the Crusaders 8-2, though it was North with the 20-3 victory last season.

at Fraser High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Sept. 27
Ford beat Fraser 24-8 last season to take a 13-12 series edge. The Ramblers were held to 15 points or less in their first seven games and started 0-7 last season.

vs. Macomb Dakota (8-3) — 7 p.m. Oct. 4
Ford is 1-15 all-time against Dakota. The Falcons’ lone win over the Cougars came in 2006 — when Dakota went 13-1 and won the D-1 state title.

at Grosse Pointe North (1-8) — 7 p.m. Oct. 11
It’s the rubber match between Ford and North. Both teams have seven wins each in the series. The Falcons downed the Norsemen 47-14 last season.

vs. Warren Mott (7-3) — 7 p.m. Oct. 18
Ford won the first four games in its series with Warren Mott. The Marauders have won the last five, including a 35-7 decision in 2018. Mott has advanced to the playoffs eight straight years. Ford’s last playoff trip came in 2015.

at Utica Eisenhower (6-4) — 7 p.m. Oct. 25
Ford and Eisenhower have ended the last three seasons against each other — all Ike wins. The Eagles beat the Falcons 42-19 last season. Ford is 10-30 against Eisenhower and has lost 10 straight in the series.