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Friday, September 24, 2010

Week 5 games and highlights...

Here are all the scores from Friday night, as well as the Ubly-Harbor Beach game story and the roundup...

USA 58, Bad Axe 6
BCAS 37, EPBP 20
Reese 20, Cass City 12

Ubly 38, Harbor Beach 6
Brown City 48, Mayville 0
Sandusky 28, Marlette 13

North Huron 28, Peck 6

Vassar 56, Memphis 12
Deckerville 52, Saginaw Buena Vista 32
Arenac Eastern 28, Kingston 16

CPS 55, A-Fairgrove 28
Owen-Gage 30, Jackson da Vinci 28

Ubly knocks off Harbor Beach, 38-6
HARBOR BEACH — Ubly coach Bill Sweeney subscribes to the theory that the best defense is a good offense.
The Bearcats proved that on Friday night for their Greater Thumb East showdown with Harbor Beach in a dominating 38-6 victory.
Ubly set the tone in the first quarter, electing to take the ball into the driving west wind that was gusting nearly 50 mph at times. The offense was as relentless as the wind, taking over eight minutes off the clock.
Bret Cleary’s 1-yard dive capped off a 17-play, 80-yard drive. Tyler Peruski, who got the bulk of the carries on the drive, punched in the 2-point conversion to make it 8-0 with 3:39 remaining.
“When you’re running T football, and you’re trying to control things, if they don’t have the football, they can’t win,” said Ubly coach Bill Sweeney. 
“I know people think it’s bland, but if they’re not on offense, they can’t win.”
Sweeney has been involved in games with high winds before, and he was prepared for this one. 
“We got the ball in the first half, and we just wanted to plug along,” he said. 
“I’ve coached in four games where the wind was this much of a factor. It’s so important to just hold on to the ball and not try to do too much.”
Added Harbor Beach coach Troy Schelke: “Ubly managed the wind a lot better than we did.”
Harbor Beach couldn’t get anything going on its first drive. The Pirates attempted to convert a fourth down at midfield, but failed.
Ubly responded with another impressive drive. This time, it was 10-plays, 52-yards, finished off by a Peruski 14-yard scamper.
The Bearcats also converted a pair of fourth downs during the drive.
Schelke thought his players were still reeling from Ubly’s first possession.
“When a team controls the ball like that, it’s a tough deal,” he said. “I thought that first series we competed. But once we got behind, we got a little down.
“We have to learn not to do that. One drive shouldn’t be the end of the game. Our young guys and our seniors have to learn to keep playing the game even under very tough circumstances.”
Added Sweeney: “We preach four or five yards and a cloud of dust, and we have to react to what they’re doing defensively.
“It’s pretty demoralizing is what it becomes.”
Ubly finished the half with touchdown runs from Bryan Nash (20 yards) and Peruski (28 yards) to take a 30-0 lead.
The first-half numbers were staggering. The Bearcats ran 34 plays compared to just 11 for the Pirates, who failed to get a first down.
“They ran 11 plays in the first half, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Sweeney said. “I thought it was a superb team effort against a quality opponent.”
Harbor Beach finally showed some spark to begin the second half as it came through with a 10-play, 60-yard drive, finished off by a Derek Pfaff 4-yard run.
“We’re trying to learn how to play Harbor Beach football, which is running the ball,” Schelke said. “It’s too bad we couldn’t get that going until it was too late.”
The Bearcats answered right back as Austin Drake called his own number from two yards out. He connected with Jason Kaufman on the 2-pointer. 
After some early season struggles with inconsistency, including turnovers and penalties, Ubly is beginning to look like the team Sweeney thought it could be.
“We’re so young, and it just took us a while to get our feet wet,” he said. 
“I’m very pleased with how they’re coming along, but it’s a week-to-week thing. As much as we get confident with how well we’re doing, we just have to stay grounded.
“The kids have to realize we’re not the teams of the past — we’re this year’s team.”
Ubly clinched a share of the GTE title with the win. A victory next week at home against Bad Axe will send the Bearcats to the playoffs for a 10th straight season.
“It’s weird to be in the fifth week and talking league title already,” Sweeney said. “Without that extra team in the league, it kind of changes the whole complexion.
“It’s a good feeling. Hopefully, we take care of business, get into the playoffs, and get some home field games if we can get them.”
Harbor Beach will hit the road again for the fifth time in six weeks as it travels to play Marlette.
The Pirates are hoping to get three more wins over their final four games to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
“We have to learn as much as we can from this game and get ready for Marlette,” Schelke said. “We still have a solid team. We just have to play more consistently all the way around.
“We at least have a chance this year. Our young guys have to learn how to win at the varsity level, and our veteran guys have to gain a little more confidence.
“We still have to work a little to get past those mental blocks.”

North Huron 28, Peck 6
KINDE — North Huron snapped its three-game losing streak in a big way here Friday night against Peck.
The Warriors racked up 353 yards of offense, led by the offensive line of Eric LesPerance, Tony Murawski, Matt Finan, Mike Cregeur and Evan Dhyse.
Forrest Maxwell gained 131 yards on 18 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. Mike Schramski added a score on the ground, as well. 
Erik Dhyse tossed for 137 yards and a touchdown while Kevin Rice caught five balls for 86 yards and had a score.
Tyler Preston was a perfect 4-of-4 on PATs.
Schramski had 14 tackles (six solo) to lead the North Huron defense. Rice and Erik Dhyse each added 12 tackles. Zach Ahearn and Tom Fischer each had eight stops while Cregeur had seven tackles.

BCAS 37, EPBP 20
PIGEON — Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port led 14-0 after one quarter against Bay City All Saints, but the Cougars took the lead at halftime and went on to beat the Lakers.
BCAS quarterback Drew Janer rushed for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on a halfback gadget play when he hauled in an 18-yard TD reception.
For the Lakers, Tim Warack scored on runs of 10 and 13 yards while Evan Gascho added a 27-yard TD. 
Overall, Warack had 50 yards on 10 carries for the Lakers while Walter VanHouten added 42 yards and John Eile 29 yards.
The Lakers had 176 yards on the ground and 30 yards passing. BCAS had 276 yards rushing and 108 yards passing.
The Lakers saw their 14-0 lead turn into a 22-14 deficit at the half. BCAS led 28-20 heading into the final quarter.

Reese 20, Cass City 12
REESE — Two fourth-quarter touchdowns sparked Reese over Cass City. The game was tied at 6 entering the final quarter before the Rockets got a 49-yard TD run from Spencer Buchinger and a 36-yard score from Kyle Yaklin. 
The Red Hawks scored on an 8-yard dive from Alex Varney with 3:48 to play, but never got the chance to try to tie it again.
Varney led Cass City with 89 yards on 23 carries. Austin Osentoski added 19 carries for 87 yards, including a 13-yard scoring run.
Buchinger had 101 yards and two TDs for the Rockets. 
Overall, Reese had 315 yards while Cass City had 249 yards.
Defensively, Brandon Stine had eight tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a sack for the Red Hawks. Varney added seven stops while Josh Jensen and Mitch O’Dell had six tackles each.

Owen-Gage 30, Jackson da Vinci Institute 28
OWENDALE — On Homecoming, Owendale-Gagetown senior Clyde Rhodes scored with less than one minute to play to lift the Bulldogs to the win.
Jackson da Vinci scored with less than two minutes to play to take a 28-24 lead. 
But a long kick return and a pair of penalties gave the Bulldogs the ball deep in Jackson da Vinci territory late. A few plays later, Rhodes cashed in for the game-winning score.
Jordan Kain rushed for 165 yards and one TD for the Bulldogs while Hunter Champagne added 152 yards and another score.
Rhodes added two catches for 55 yards and one other score. He also had 14 tackles on defense and an interception. Mike Harp chipped in nine tackles and another interception.

USA 58, Bad Axe 6
BAD AXE — Chris Harper scored three touchdowns, helping Unionville-Sebewaing Area pound Bad Axe and spoil Homecoming.
USA led 20-0 after one quarter and 44-0 at the half.
Harper scored on runs of 2, 3 and 17 yards for the Patriots. Tim Canfield added a 3-yard run and an 80-yard punt return. 
Tyler Dick, Joe Sigmund and Dan Rieck also scored for the Patriots.
Bad Axe’s lone score came in the third quarter on a 30-yard pass from Austin Harris to Derek Susalla.
Dick rushed for 93 yards for USA. 
Dakota Gangler had 13 tackles, including a pair of sacks.

Brown City 48, Mayville 0
BROWN CITY — Nathan Primeau rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns in leading Brown City over Mayville.
Overall, the Green Devils rushed for 393 yards while holding Mayville to 93 total yards.
“We needed to get our confidence back this week with a win,” said Brown City coach Scott Banks. “Our defense was much improved this week against the pass. We knew Mayville liked to throw the ball and our pass defense the past few weeks has not been very strong. The kids work hard this past week at practice to improve and were much better.
“We need to continue to improve next week and get ready for Sandusky. It is their Homecoming and we know they will be fired up...”

Some photos from the Harbor Beach vs. Ubly game...

Iskow hitting his stride at Ferris State

Here's a story which is running in Saturday's Tribune about 2008 Bad Axe graduate Brad Iskow...

BIG RAPIDS — There was never any doubt about Brad Iskow’s unique combination of size and speed when he played four years of football for Bad Axe.
The question always was where to best use his ability.
Now, after four years of juggling positions in high school, the 2008 Bad Axe graduate has finally found a home at defensive end for Ferris State University.
In fact, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound sophomore has started the first three games this season for the Bulldogs. And it looks like he’s going to be a defensive cornerstone for the next few years for a program hoping to become a perennial contender in the super-competitive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“Brad has played very, very well for us,” said Ferris State defensive line coach Whitney Bell. “He’s grown so much from last year to this year. We have some high expectations for that young man. It just seems like he’s more comfortable at the position. He seems to be more relaxed and understands what he has to do.”
Iskow was a four-year standout for the Hatchets, but never found a position he could call his own. As a freshman and sophomore, he bounced around the offensive and defensive lines. As a junior, he made the move to tight end. As a senior, he split time at fullback and linebacker.
All that moving around made it tough for Iskow to excel at any one position.
“You have to remember that he never played the (defensive end) position in high school,” Bell said. “It was going to take some time to pick things up at this level. It’s not an easy position to play.”
Iskow says a year’s experience at one position has made a big difference.
“I think this year I have made a huge improvement over last year,” he said. “Things just seem to be clicking a lot faster for me. I feel like I am more fluid.
“In high school on defense, it was just like, ‘OK, go chase the guy with the ball.’ It’s so much different in college. You have your own specific job you have to do to make the defense better.”
So far this season, Iskow has 12 1/2 tackles, including 3 1/2 for losses and one sack. Iskow’s best game came in Week 2 against Saginaw Valley State when he had six tackles, including a sack, in the Bulldogs’ 21-17 upset of the 16th-ranked Cardinals.
Overall last season, Iskow had 22 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
A typical game week at Ferris State starts with a Sunday film session and weights. Monday is an off day, followed by Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practices. Friday is reserved for travel, more film sessions and meetings. 
 Iskow credits Ferris State’s stringent weight training program for his gain in strength and stamina. Bell, whose motto is ‘live in the weight room,’ also is Ferris State’s strength and conditioning coach. Iskow says he’s gained roughly 40 pounds since high school.
“I feel like I am more physical and a lot tougher this year,” he said. 
Bad Axe coach Dave Rowland isn’t surprised at Iskow’s college success.
“We always kind of thought Brad was going to be a special player,” he said. “The way he’s played so far at Ferris and what he’s done only confirms that. He’s a great kid. And the Bad Axe program is proud of his accomplishments...”
Bell says he sees Iskow making even bigger strides as the season goes on.
“He rushes the passer very, very well,” he said. “And he’s become so much more physical.
“I think he has to work on his overall knowledge of the game. But that’s something all young players need work on. 
“But he’s such a big man. His body hasn’t even reached its potential yet. When it does, look out...”
Iskow endured a 1-10 campaign last season with the Bulldogs, who lost their final 10 games of the year. Ferris State is off to a nice 2-1 start this season, capped by a 34-28 win over Ohio Dominican last week. Tonight, the Bulldogs host Tiffin University. 
“As a team, we’ve made a big improvement from last year,” Iskow said, “After losing those 10 straight games last year, we kind of came into this year with a chip on our shoulder. Beating Saginaw Valley was a great win for us, especially since they were nationally ranked.”
Iskow is looking forward to the next two-plus seasons with the Bulldogs.
“Honestly, I don’t know what I would do over here without football,” he said. “Football is such a big part of it now. If I wasn’t playing, and was just sitting around in my room, I think I’d be getting pretty fat.”
Iskow is the son of Jo and Mark Manenti and Leonard and Jill Iskow.

2008 Bad Axe graduate Brad Iskow is starting at defensive end for the Ferris State University football team.
Ferris State defensive end Brad Iskow (95) makes a tackle against Saginaw Valley State University earlier this year.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Week 5: Time to talk league titles, playoffs

UPPER THUMB — Believe it or not, we’re already past the midpoint of the high school football season.
And that means it’s time to start talking league championships and possible playoff teams.
This week, instead of the usual Week 5 preview, we’re going to dive into the area’s three leagues and see which teams are headed up and which teams are headed down.
Here we go.

Greater Thumb East
Obviously, the big matchup Friday night takes place at Harbor Beach where the 3-1 Pirates host 4-0 Ubly in a battle of GTE unbeatens.
Because of the odd scheduling this season, this will be the Bearcats’ fourth GTE contest while it’s just the Pirates’ second league game.
Ubly, in fact, can clinch at least a share of the GTE championship with a victory. The Bearcats could then grab the outright title with a win over Brown City in Week 7.
Nevertheless, this game will be an excellent marker as to where these two teams stand.
The Pirates surprised a lot of people — including me, yes, — with their 31-7 shelling of Brown City last week.
In that game, Harbor Beach took advantage of five Brown City turnovers, scoring 31 unanswered over the final three quarters.
Defense ruled for the Pirates. They limited a decent Brown City running game to 117 yards on 44 carries. 
Offensively, quarterback Sean Sorenson was Harbor Beach’s main playmaker. Sorenson scored on runs of 3 and 5 yards, and tossed a 12-yard TD pass to Ryan Maurer and had a 54-yard scoring hook-up with Aaron Ginther. 
While the Pirates rushed for just 164 yards, Sorenson completed eight passes for 178 yards.
This is where, I think, Harbor Beach can take advantage against the Bearcats. 
Ubly, this year anyway, seems vulnerable against the pass. The Bearcats gave up nearly 200 yards via the pass against Sandusky in Week 2, though did improve the following week against a talented Marlette team.
If the Pirates are going to hang with the Bearcats, they must be able to throw the ball and loosen up the Ubly defense. 
I still think Ubly will eventually pull away from the Pirates late in the fourth quarter and win, but Harbor Beach — because of its defense — will hang around and make it tough.
The other interesting game in the GTE pits 2-2 Marlette visiting 2-2 Sandusky.
Both teams have been up and down this season, and both desperately need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Both teams have solid offenses. The winner might have to get into the 40s.
The other GTE game this week is 2-2 Brown City at 0-4 Mayville. 
The Green Devils have been a hard team to figure out so far this season. They pushed Cass City to the limit in a 7-6 setback in Week 2, but then they were wiped out by Harbor Beach last week.

Greater Thumb West
The GTW has a pair of quality matchups this week.
At Cass City, the 3-1 Red Hawks host 4-0 Reese.
The question for the Red Hawks is can they bounce back from a tough overtime loss to Unionville-Sebewaing Area last week?
Cass City had that game in its grasp, but let the Patriots off the hook with some shoddy defense in the game’s final minute.
I expect them to be fired up because it’s Homecoming, but the Rockets have too much firepower on the offensive end.
What’s going on with Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port you ask? Well, I am not sure either.
After opening the season with a promising road victory at Carrollton, the Lakers have dropped three straight games, including last week’s disappointing 24-14 setback at home to Marlette.
Now, the 1-3 Lakers host dangerous Bay City All Saints (2-2) on Friday.
BCAS quarterback Drew Janer could have a field day against the Lakers’ defense. EPBP is big, but not that quick. If Janer gets by the front six, he’s probable gone.
The other GTW matchup pits 3-1 USA visiting 0-4 Bad Axe.
The Patriots will have the best athletes on the field, and should be able to handle the Hatchets.
USA’s improbable march will get a stern test in the coming weeks. The Patriots travel to Vassar next week, followed by the annual Pioneer Sugar Bowl with Reese at home in Week 7. They close out the season with Sandusky and Harbor Beach.

North Central Thumb League
The only NCTL game this week takes place at North Huron where the 1-3 Warriors host 0-3 Peck.
After a brutal schedule to start the season, North Huron gets a reprieve this week before heading north to Mio-Au Sable in Week 6. 
Non-league games this week include 2-2 Vassar at 1-3 Memphis, 4-0 Deckerville at 2-2 Saginaw Buena Vista, and 2-2 Kingston at 1-3 Arenac Eastern.
Of note, the Eagles are one of just eight undefeated teams in Class D. 
The ironic part about this is that Deckerville usually has a very high playoff point total. But this year, because the Eagles have played three NCTL teams, they rank last in the unbeatens with just 42.000 points. 

Here are my picks for the week. Last week, I was a so-so 12-3...

USA at Bad Axe – After consecutive hard-fought wins over EPBP and Cass City, the Patriots will get a little easier victory over Bad Axe.
SCORE: USA 40, Bad Axe 12

BCAS at EPBP – As much as I'd like to take the Lakers, they haven't shown me enough on offense.

Reese at Cass City – Cass City will be ready to go on Homecoming, but the Rockets will spoil the party.
PICK: Reese 31, Cass City 20

Ubly at Harbor Beach – This is Harbor Beach's first home game of the season. It will be close at the half, but the Bearcats should pull away late.
SCORE: Ubly 34, Harbor Beach 15

Brown City at Mayville – A must-win for the Green Devils.
SCORE: Brown City 35, Mayville 8

Marlette at Sandusky – A very intriguing matchup. The Redskins will win a shootout.
SCORE: Sandusky 45, Marlette 35

Peck at North Huron – North Huron's Homecoming will be a victory.
SCORE: North Huron 40, Peck 18

Vassar at Memphis – The Vulcans will take out their frustrations on the Yellowjackets.
SCORE: Vassar 50, Memphis 12

Deckerville at Saginaw Buena Vista – BV is better than it has been in the past, but not THAT better.
SCORE: Deckerville 48, Saginaw BV 8

Kingston at Arenac Eastern – Arenac Eastern's three losses have been by a combined score of 136-6. Kingston steals one on the road.
SCORE: Kingston 21, Arenac Eastern 16

Bowling Green at Michigan – Let's hope the Wolverines put this one away quicker than they did against UMass.
SCORE: Michigan 40, Bowling Green 20

Northern Colorado at Michigan State – Letdown Alert. A big win. A recovering coach. MSU better be aware.
SCORE: Michigan State 31, Northern Colorado 17

Central Michigan at Northwestern – The Wildcats are a pretty good team.
SCORE: Northwestern 28, CMU 10

Alabama at Arkansas – Probably the Tide's toughest test of the season. I think Arkansas can win, and it might hold a lead for a while, but Alabama is good. Real good.
SCORE: Alabama 31, Arkansas 22

Lions at Vikings – What better way for Brett Favre to get back into the groove than to go up against the Lions pitiful secondary. Favre might get sacked 7 times, but I bet he throws for over 300 yards.
SCORE: Vikings 28, Lions 14

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

MSU tickets go to...


Congrats to Fletch Lives, who was a nifty 17-3 overall this past week and is the winner of the Week 4 Tribune Sports Blog Football Contest.
Fletch Lives gets 2 tickets to this Saturday's football game between Northern Colorado and Michigan State at noon at Spartan Stadium.
Fletch Lives missed just Northwood vs. Northern Michigan, Iowa vs. Arizona and Harbor Beach vs. Brown City.
Fletch Lives, email me at and we will see what we can do to get you those tickets.

Here are the overall standings through Week 4. We have several people using Anon as a screen name... Please pick another name so we know who is who!!

NCTL Alum 221
dan gentner 212
Horseshoe 202
JEH34 200
Chiuk Czlek 199
coachestake 198
twocentsworth 193
rockefeller 192
willowrun 192
DA Green 187
thumbtailgater 183
spartyon 173
Fan77 181
halfwayed 178
oldtymer75 176
gary hunkins 174
jillms22 171
brad 162
justchimingin 155
kellen bickel 153
peter 145
dan rutkowski 144
john woycik 141
james harris 139
budman_48413 129
chadwingert 124
Lakers65 103
Jesus 100
Fletch Lives 90
epbp92 80
Bossick 65
kentzebra 65
anon 2 64
anon 4 60
anon 6 58
anon 1 57
anon 3 57
Thumbdude 54
anon 5 50
anon 7 50
papa smurf 53
jcreguer 50
shane o'connor 49
kbechtel 46
pure thumb 29
Braylonisnumberone 23
EagleDad#2 18
jymcheck 17
bodeen 17

Thanks to everyone who plays. And thanks for your patience on the standings. It's not hard to do, but it does take some time.

Week 5 Blog Football Contest

Here are the games for Week 5 of the Tribune Sports Blog Football Contest...

Last week's winner is upcoming. That person gets 2 tickets to this Saturday's MSU game against Northern Colorado. That is a $100 value. Thanks to my Sparty connection for the tickets.
I owe ya.

To this week's games...

2 pointers
USA at Bad Axe
Brown City at Mayville
Peck at North Huron
Vassar at Memphis
Deckerville at Saginaw BV
Kingston at Arenac Eastern
Bowling Green at Michigan
Northern Colorado at Michigan State
Central Michigan at Northwestern
Eastern Michigan at Ohio State

5 pointers
Reese at Cass City
Alabama at Arkansas
South Carolina at Auburn
Oregon State at Boise State
West Virginia at LSU

10 pointers
Ubly at Harbor Beach
Marlette at Sandusky
SVSU at Northwood
Lions at Vikings

TIE BREAK – Ubly at Harbor Beach total points