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Football

Published January 20, 2016

C&G Newspapers

WARREN/CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Scott Merchant, who Jan. 15 accepted an offer to succeed Paul Verska as Warren De La Salle football coach, has decided not to take the job and remain at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley.

De La Salle officials late Jan. 19 released a statement saying that Merchant contacted school administrators to make them aware of his decision. In the statement, De La Salle officials say Merchant, after much thought and discussions with his wife, decided not to accept the offer.

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Published January 15, 2016

WEST BLOOMFIELD — It’s the second year in a row that West Bloomfield High football coach Ron Bellamy has received the award, and it’s one that he happily shares with the entire program.

Bellamy was named the Region 16 Coach of the Year.

“The coaches on the staff, the players, those guys put in the time,” Bellamy said. “My name is on it, but it represents our entire football program.”

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Published January 15, 2016

WARREN — Scott Merchant has been chosen to succeed Paul Verska as Warren De La Salle football coach.

UPDATE: Merchant Jan. 19 declined the offer

De La Salle officials released a statement on the hire the afternoon of Jan. 15.

“We are thrilled to have a coach of (Merchant’s) caliber coming to De La Salle,” Pilots Athletic Director Brian Kelly said.

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Published January 13, 2016

In her professional career, Betty Wroubel said she never experienced a worse day than Jan. 12.

Wroubel, the longtime athletic director at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, confirmed that the school “opted not to renew our membership” in the Catholic League next year after a resolution could not be reached in terms of the football team, which plays in the AA Division, playing a crossover game with a Central Division team in 2016.

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Published January 7, 2016

WALLED LAKE — Another great season, and for the third time in his career, Mike Zdebski had some personal hardware to prove it.

After guiding the Walled Lake Western football team to a 12-1 record and a spot in the Division 2 state semifinals, Zdebski was one of 52 coaches throughout the state named Regional Coach of the Year.

Zdebski took home the award, which is voted on by fellow coaches in the region, for his season in Region 12.

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Published January 5, 2016

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Brian and Sam Blanzy have been playing football together since they were children.

The twin brothers played youth football for the Grosse Pointe Red Barons before eventually moving on to play together at Grosse Pointe South.

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Published December 16, 2015

MADISON HEIGHTS — When the job first became available, there wasn’t much interest on his part.

But the longer he considered it, the more James Rogers contemplated the opportunity to lead a program and the ability to guide young men, it was something he had to jump at.

And on Dec. 14, Rogers was officially introduced as the new head coach with the Madison Heights Madison High football program.

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Published December 11, 2015

MADISON HEIGHTS — He was the driving force behind a consistent winner on the gridiron.

And then, just days before the second round of the 2015 postseason, his time was over.

For the first time since his tenure with the Madison Heights Madison High football program came to an end, coach Drake Wilkins spoke about his career with the team and the district, saying, among other things, “It was a great experience.”

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Published December 8, 2015

After not receiving a scholarship to play college football at one of the “big schools,” Southfield-Lathrup graduate Colin Parks said he was discouraged and questioned whether or not he would play at the next level.

But when a college he said he had never heard of came calling, Parks said he felt “wanted.”

That school was Albion College, and having recently completed his senior season as a running back for the Britons, Parks reflected on his collegiate experience.

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Published December 4, 2015

C&G Newspapers

OAKLAND COUNTY — It was two relative newcomers and an old faithful at the top of the Oakland Activities Association football standings. 

With the season over and state champions crowned, here’s a look at how the OAA played out and the players who earned All-Association honors. 

Red Division
West Bloomfield High football reigned supreme in the division.

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Published December 3, 2015

C&G Newspapers

The season is over for the 36 football teams in the Macomb Area Conference.

Romeo High was the most successful of the MAC teams, as it captured a Division 1 state championship following a 41-27 win over Cass Tech Nov. 28 at Ford Field.

MAC officials have released the All-Conference teams for 2015, along with naming the MVP, Coach of the Year and Sportsmanship award winners.

Here is a list of the All-Conference players in each division, along with each individual award winner.

Also listed are the final divisional records of each MAC team.

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Published November 28, 2015

This has become the standard, a ridiculous yearly expectation set by so many teams that  have walked this walk and conquered this journey before.

Here yet again, on the final day of the season and on the biggest stage of the year, was the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s football team.

For the seventh time in the past nine years, the Eaglets were at Ford Field playing for a state championship.

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Published November 25, 2015

In his lengthy coaching career, this was a first.

And George Porritt was talking about the blizzard-type weather last Saturday, not finally beating East Grand Rapids.

But, under snowy, snowy conditions, the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s coach guided his guys to a 14-7 victory against EGR in a Division 3 semifinal, snapping a five-game losing streak that included three losses in state championship games against the Pioneers.

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Published November 25, 2015

WALLED LAKE — When a final win-loss record bears just one setback in the column on the right, there’s certainly something to be celebrated.

Of course, the sting of that loss is a little harsher when it comes just one win shy of a state championship game.

That’s the reality of the Walled Lake Western football program, though, and the 2015 season.

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Published November 23, 2015

Berkley High assistant football coach Brady Blackwell didn’t know of the tribute to his father until he walked into the locker room.

There, he saw the players putting a new sticker on the lower left side of their helmets that read “RB.”

The initials stood for Ray Blackwell, and players were honoring him, and the Blackwell family, just hours after his funeral and some five days after his Aug. 23 death from heart failure.

“It was quite a shock and surprise. I couldn’t believe it,” Brady said.

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Published November 21, 2015

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The snow, the cold and Noah Sargent.

It was a dangerous trifecta the Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day football team faced Saturday afternoon.

One the Yellowjackets never figured out.

For the second year in a row, County Day had its season come to a close in the Division 4 semifinal round, falling to Flint Powers Catholic 21-14 at West Bloomfield High despite leading 14-0 at halftime.

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Published November 19, 2015

With the strides each program has taken on the football field in recent years, reaching this stage of the season was somewhat of an expectation.

Preseason polls, rankings, chatter and reality suggested that Walled Lake Western and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s would be title contenders in 2015.

And somewhat predictably, the two dominant squads have been just that.

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Published November 19, 2015

BEVERLY HILLS — It’s an opponent that’s “solid all the way through,” as Dan MacLean put it Thursday afternoon.

And it’s an opponent standing between the Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day football team and a trip to Ford Field.

“It’s going to be a great challenge,” MacLean said of Saturday’s Division 4 state semifinal against Flint Powers Catholic, a 1 p.m. start at West Bloomfield High. “That’s a very good football team.”

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Published November 18, 2015

Online Only

The final three from the Catholic League.

We’re now roughly one week away from Thanksgiving, which means the remaining football teams are exactly one win away from Ford Field.

The Detroit Catholic League remains well represented, with three teams still in the hunt as the semifinals are set to launch.

All games are Saturday at 1 p.m.

Division 3
Orchard Lake St Mary's (10-1) vs. East Grand Rapids (9-3) at Howell High
-Yes, these are the same two teams that met five times from 2007 through 2010.

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Published November 17, 2015

BERKLEY — Its playoff run came to an end, but Berkley High football coach Chris Sikora was quick to remind his players that they will forever hold a special place in the Bears’ program.

Berkley fell to Livonia Franklin 38-6 Nov. 13 in a Division 2 regional final, but not before setting a school record for wins and claiming the program’s first district championship.

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