Published November 9, 2011

SOUTHFIELD — When Southfield High football earns a spot in the playoffs, the Blue Jays make sure to take advantage of it.

For the third time in four years, Southfield High football is a Division 2 district champion.

“We’ve made the most of our opportunities these last four years,” Southfield coach Tim Conley said. “That’s something we strive for, to have a wooden mitten in our trophy case. So far, so good.”

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Published November 2, 2011

Fraser High football fans are smiling again.

Sure, the Ramblers didn’t play in the postseason, but they took some key steps in the right direction.

Fraser finished the season 4-5 overall, winning its last two games of the season.

The four wins —against Warren Woods Tower, Center Line High, East Detroit and Fair Haven Anchor Bay — are the most for the program in a decade. Fraser went 5-4 in 2001 and 2000.

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Published November 2, 2011

MADISON HEIGTHS — The first hit came in the backfield, just moments after he hauled in the quick screen pass.

The next one, occurring right at the line of scrimmage, spun him entirely around.

The third came from the side, maybe a yard or two downfield and would surely spell the end to this play.

At least that’s what everyone around Jack Wangler seemed to think.

Yet, as the defense eased up a bit, the speedy receiver dashed 49 yards, stumbling just briefly before finally being dragged down inside the 10-yard line.

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Published October 28, 2011

C&G Newspapers

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Utica Eisenhower defeated Macomb Dakota 35-0 in an Oct. 28 District 2, Region 3 opening-round matchup at Swinehart Field in the Division 1 state football playoffs.

“We really balanced everything out,” Ike coach Bob Lantzy. “I think we’re at a good point in our season right now.”

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Published October 27, 2011

SOUTHFIELD — During the week leading up to playing rival Southfield-Lathrup, Southfield High football coach Tim Conley needed to say little to motivate his team.

On the line were bragging rights and a berth into the playoffs.

“We were just really focused. Of course it’s a big game, because it’s a rivalry game and we wanted to make the playoffs,” Conley said. “We just came out focused, had a great week of practice, and it was really easy to motivate the kids for a game like this.”

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Published October 26, 2011

DETROIT — Entering Ford Field on a sunny and warm fall afternoon, the Royal Oak Shrine football team was unbeaten and riding a wave of confidence months in the making.

Exiting Ford Field on a dark and cool fall evening, the Knights are a one-loss team refusing to let any of that confidence subside, no matter what the past couple of hours had produced.

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Published October 20, 2011

TROY — Their destinations are all ready set for following the game, which means when Troy High and Troy Athens meet at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at Athens, the contest is purely for bragging rights.

“The only thing at stake right now is pride,” Troy coach Gary Griffith said. “They’re already in the playoffs, and we’re already out. It’s our last opportunity to rally the troops and try to play a good football game.”

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Published October 20, 2011

ROYAL OAK — He’s been coaching for decades, the past 19 years at Royal Oak Shrine alone. So when John Goddard elevates any aspect of his current team above any else he’s worked with, well, you know something special is going on.

And that’d be one way to describe the Knights’ 2011 season thus far.

“You have to enjoy this. I mean, I’m having as good a time with this team as I ever had,” Goddard said last week. “It’s such a great group of guys.”

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Published October 14, 2011

C&G Newspapers

WARREN — Warren Cousino got a big win thanks to a big night from its ground game.

The Patriots locked up the Macomb Area Conference White Division title and a state playoff berth thanks to six rushing touchdowns in a 42-6 victory over Utica Ford II Oct. 14 at home.

“Our kids played really, really good,” Cousino coach Mike Powell said. “I’m very proud of our Patriots. Bottom line is, we’re back in the playoffs and we’re really excited about that.”

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Published October 6, 2011

MOUNT CLEMENS — The journey has been long.

Those involved, whether from the field, the sidelines or the stands, saw the difficulty and the struggles firsthand.
In all reality, there’s little way to disguise, or ignore, the path that’s been tread to this point.
But it’s the road now paved that has all of those involved with the Mount Clemens High football program excited for what could be, and in ways, what already has been.

Quiet simply, the Bathers are “battling” again.

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Published October 5, 2011

ROSEVILLE — As the final third of the regular season gets under way, the Roseville High football team is exactly where it wants to be.

With two crucial league games and a crossover contest remaining, the Panthers control their own fate.

Roseville was 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the Macomb Area Conference White Division with a game played after press time at Warren Mott Sept. 30.

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Published October 5, 2011

BEVERLY HILLS — A 13-point lead had come and gone.

In less than two quarters’ time, what had the makings of the season’s first victory slipped through chilled and rain-soaked hands on a windy Thursday night.

It had been a tough week for the Southfield Christian football program, and by all accounts, this could have been the moment where the proverbial white flag of surrender was waved.

But it wasn’t.

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Published October 5, 2011

MADISON HEIGTHS — A quick scan across the practice field on a normal Monday afternoon provides an easy opportunity to look right past a certain player.

Standing next to the team’s linemen, he hardly fills their shadows.

Warming up with the skill-position players, his appearance is that of a junior varsity player who mistakenly wound up on the varsity field.

But once the ball is snapped, once the actual football portion of practice or a game commences, Juan Johnson becomes a force that is impossible to miss.

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Published September 28, 2011

Football is often loosely associated to war. Clichés and comparisons such as “battles in the trenches” are sometimes haphazardly tossed around.

The two couldn’t be more different.

“A lot of people compare football to war,” Chippewa Valley coach Scott Merchant said. “There’s no comparisons — we’re playing a game.”

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Published September 28, 2011

Firsts are vital in football.

First to the ball. Getting a first down. First to score. First off the line of scrimmage.

Being first can be make the difference in winning and losing, and of course, finishing in first place.

That’s why East Detroit’s 33-26 victory over Warren Lincoln Sept. 16 is such a big deal, as it was the Shamrocks’ first win of the season.

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Published September 26, 2011

Through the first four games of the season, St. Clair Shores South Lake’s football team has been perfect.

The Cavaliers have scored 104 points and not allowed a single one. They’ve won all four games, including two in the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division and the most recent coming against intracity rival St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.

But perfection on paper doesn’t translate to the onfield performances by South Lake, something coach Steve Senters is anxious to smooth out as the season enters the second half.

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Published September 23, 2011

MADISON HEIGHTS — If Drake Wilkins had any fear that the Madison Heights Lamphere football team was going to ride its emotion from last week into the Sept. 23 battle with his Madison Heights Madison High football team, well, his fears we’re calmed very early and quite often.

Madison senior Danny Larkins returned the game’s opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, and the Eagles never looked back, rolling past the Rams 42-12 for their third win in three weeks.

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Published September 23, 2011

C&G Newspapers

Troy Athens and Rochester High put on a show for the Rochester fans Sept. 23 during homecoming.

Athens survived 21-13 to go to 4-1 overall.

“It was a tough win and Rochester is a tough team,” Athens coach Josh Heppner said.

The Red Hawks defense caused eight turnovers, including three in the fourth quarter with Rochester deep in Athens’ territory each time.

“That’s what kept us in the game,” Heppner said.

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Published September 21, 2011

LATHRUP VILLAGE — He threw a pass, caught a pass, rushed in for a touchdown and returned a fumble 42 yards for a touchdown — all in one game.

But making plays at numerous positions on both sides of the ball has been something of the norm for Southfield-Lathrup senior Jamal Lyles.

“He’s that talented,” Lathrup coach Stephon Thompson said. “You have to be careful, because some kids are a jack of all trades, but a master of none. But this kid truly can do a lot of things.

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Published September 15, 2011

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — In all, just 19 total points were scored, and in the end, just five separated the Clinton Township Clintondale and the Port Huron High football teams in 2010.

Having seen his team play three games in 2011, and knowing what he does about the current squad at Port Huron, Dave Schindler expects a very similar game at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 when the two teams meet for the second fall in a row.

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