Madison Heights Bishop Foley football players take part in a practice session earlier this year. The Ventures have outscored their opponents 103-52 in the first two weeks of the season.

Madison Heights Bishop Foley football players take part in a practice session earlier this year. The Ventures have outscored their opponents 103-52 in the first two weeks of the season.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Foley football off to a winning start

By: Mark Vest | Madison - Park News | Published September 12, 2018

 Bishop Foley senior Matt Brady carries the ball at a recent practice. Running the ball has been a key part of Foley’s success. Senior Kendel Taylor has rushed for more than 600 yards in three games.

Bishop Foley senior Matt Brady carries the ball at a recent practice. Running the ball has been a key part of Foley’s success. Senior Kendel Taylor has rushed for more than 600 yards in three games.

Photo by Deb Jacques

MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Bishop Foley is off to a 3-0 start and has outscored its opponents 135-58.

The Ventures opened their season with a 42-32 win against Detroit Public Safety Academy Aug. 23, before going on to beat Detroit University Prep Science & Math 61-20 Aug. 30.

The Ventures then beat Burton Bendle 35-6 Sept. 7. This week is Foley’s toughest test yet. The Ventures take on Clarkston Everest (3-0) at 7 p.m. Sept. 14 on the road with the top spot in the Catholic High School League Intersectional 2 on the line.

Last year, the Ventures lost their first four games of the season and finished at 3-6 overall.

Brian Barnes is in his second season as Foley’s coach, and he has noticed a difference between this year and last.

“You can tell that we’ve put some time in the weight room,” Barnes said. “It’s nice to get a full offseason of workouts and training in. The guys have been tremendous.  … We like what we have going forward.”

What can also be nice is having a roster with depth and experience.

“It helps that we’re a little more experienced than we were last year,” Barnes said. “Our roster’s a little bit bigger than before. We’ve got a lot (of) different guys that contribute in different areas. So, we’re able to rotate some guys on the defensive line a little bit, give them some reps. And then in the secondary, same kind (of) thing. We’re able to rotate guys in. We don’t feel like there’s a gigantic drop-off from our first group to our second group.”

Teams that win six or more games in a nine-week regular season automatically qualify for the playoffs, which is something the Ventures haven’t done since 2013.

But as important as winning its first two games could be for Foley in regard to trying to position itself to make the playoffs, perhaps even more significantly, it can make going to practices and games a whole lot more fun.

“The kids enjoy coming to practice,” Barnes said. “From a coaching perspective, we’re not (going to) try to change anything. We’re still just trying to get better each day, but there’s definitely a little more life to it.”

Senior Kendel Taylor contributed to Foley’s winning start, as he rushed for more than 600 yards through the first three games.

He referred to Barnes as a great coach and said, “The culture has changed on our football team.”

“We’re actually excited to go to practice,” Taylor said. “Not like, ‘Oh, we have to go to football practice.’ It’s more like we want to go to practice; we (want to) get better and want to keep winning games.”

With Foley getting off to such a good start, Barnes said people are excited and that the student body has been wonderful.

And although leading a football program isn’t always stress free, Barnes has had some pretty good times himself coaching at Foley.

“It’s been wonderful,” Barnes said. “I see myself being here for a long time. … I love doing it. I love being here. I plan on being here a while.”

Racking up some more wins could help improve his mood even further.

“I’m quite excited,” Barnes said. “The hard part is now we go on the road for a couple games, and that’s a challenge in itself. And then we’ll have to see how we react to it. Then we see some good football teams and good football coaches. So, just (going to) have to let it play out, see how it goes.”