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Friday, April 1, 2011

The Rhodes Less Traveled

As a freshman, Owen-Gage’s Clyde Rhodes had
no chance at playing college football. 4 years later,
he’s proved the critics wrong, inking with Concordia

Paul Adams has the story...

OWENDALE — Football is measured by numbers.
Number of bench press reps, 40 times and so on. Although the numbers are helpful tools used to predict how a player will fare, they don’t always tell the full story. 
When Clyde Rhodes was an underclassman for Owendale-Gagetown, he hoped to one day be a starter. Through hard work he achieved that, eventually becoming a defensive player of the year for the Bulldogs.
Even though he showed vast improvement, he never thought it would be enough to take him to the next level.
Friday, Rhodes realized his goal as he signed his letter of intent to play for Concordia University in  Ann Arbor. 
“It’s kind of unreal,” said Rhodes. “You hope and you want to do, but when you finally hear that it’s real, it feels awesome.”
Rhodes described himself as five-foot-nothing, about 120 pounds soaking wet when he was a freshman and sophomore.
He heard it all from the critics.
“People have been telling me my whole life, ‘You’re too little, you’re too slow,’ stuff like that,” he said. “Even some of my close friends told me I couldn’t do it. It just makes you work harder and harder. I used that as motivation.”
Owen-Gage coach Jason Pierce said Rhodes’ first years on the team were a little rocky, with some slight problems.
“When he was younger, he was lippy, to put it nicely,” said Pierce. “But he learned from the older kids and he tried to work harder to be with them.”
From that work with the leaders of the team, Pierce and his coaching staff began to see progress in Rhodes.
“It was his junior year that me and the other coaches knew that his heart was going to get him somewhere,” he said. “As a freshman and sophomore, he was kind of just on the team. But as a junior, he became a player. And that was because of his heart and drive.”
Pierce, a former college player at Eastern Michigan, has seen players with much more ability, but lacking the drive.
“You can bench press all you want, but you can’t measure heart,” he said. “There’s guys all over college who weren’t the best players on their teams, but they made it to college through their motor.”
Rhodes will get a chance to be part of a budding tradition at Concordia. The football program just completed its first season, going 5-2.
Concordia is a member of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, which is made up of 10 schools from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.
For Owen-Gage, Rhodes was primarily a linebacker. At Concordia, he will play a hybrid — safety/linebacker.
Rhodes is one of the few players left at Owen-Gage that played both 11-man and 8-man football. He said playing linebacker in 8-man is more challenging, and will help him in his transition to the collegiate level.
“Going from 11-man to 8-man, you can see a lot of differences,” he said. “The defense is a little harder, you have to be faster off the ball to make the right reads because you don’t have those three other players.”
Added Pierce: “Defensively for 8-man, especially at Clyde’s position of linebacker, we asked him to cover a lot more area and gaps than he would have in 11-man. He has to cover more ground with less time, so I think it has prepared him for the next level.”
Rhodes is still getting used to the idea of playing at the next level, but he thinks he’s ready for the challenge.
“My coaches have taught me and helped me through a lot of stuff,” he said. “I think I will be ready. It will be great. I think it will be pretty cool.”
Rhodes is the son of Clyde Rhodes Sr. and Lynn Rhodes. 

Owen-Gage football player Clyde Rhodes signed his letter of intent to play for Concordia University on Friday. He was joined (from left) by Owen-Gage football coach Jason Pierce, his mom Lynn Rhodes, and his dad Clyde Rhodes Sr. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New classes for some schools

Classifications for Michigan High School Athletic Association elections and post-season tournaments in traditionally classified sports (A, B, C, D) for the 2011-12 school year have been announced, as well as the enrollment breaks for post-season tournaments set up by divisions.
 Classifications for the upcoming school year are based on a second semester count date, which for MHSAA purposes was February 9.   The enrollment figure submitted for athletic classification purposes may be different from the count submitted for school aid purposes, as it does not include students ineligible for athletic competition because they reached their 19th birthday prior to September 1 of the current school year and will not include alternative education students if none are allowed athletic eligibility by the local school district.
 After all the counts are submitted, the 760 tournament-qualified member schools were ranked according to enrollment, and then split as closely into quarters as possible.  For 2011-12, there are 189 schools in Class A; 190 schools in Classes B and D; and 191 schools in Class C.

Effective with the 2011-12 school year, schools with 952 or more students are in Class A in MHSAA post-season tournament competition.  The enrollment limits for Class B are 466 to 951; Class C is 216 to 465; and schools with enrollments of 215 and under are Class D. The breaks decreased 15 students between Classes A and B, and 2 students between and Classes B and C; and Classes C and D.
 The new classification breaks will see 14 schools move up in class for 2011-12, while 23 schools will move down.
 Schools were recently notified of their classification.  MHSAA Executive Director John E. "Jack" Roberts said that schools may not subsequently lower their enrollment figure.  However, if revised enrollment figures should be higher and indicate that a school should be playing in a higher class, that school would be moved up.

Schools have the option to play at any higher classification for a minimum of two years, but must exercise the option by April 15 for fall sports, August 15 for winter sports, and October 15 for spring sports.
 MHSAA tournament sports conducted in traditional classifications for 2011-12 are Basketball and Girls Volleyball.  Football will use traditional classifications to determine playoff points.
 Sports which will compete in nearly equal divisions are:  Baseball, Bowling, Girls Competitive Cheer, Lower Peninsula Cross Country, Lower Peninsula Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Skiing, Softball, Lower Peninsula Swimming and Diving, Lower Peninsula Tennis, Lower Peninsula Track and Field, and Wrestling.   The MHSAA Representative Council voted at its March 25 meeting have Lower Peninsula soccer compete in nearly equal divisions, a change from the policy in place since 2000, where 20 percent of sponsoring schools were placed in Division 4 and the remaining schools divided equally into Divisions 1, 2 and 3.  Visit the respective sports pages on the MHSAA Website beginning Thursday (March 31) to review the divisional alignments.

The divisions and qualifiers for the MHSAA Football Playoffs will be announced on Selection Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011.

A complete list of school enrollments used to determine classifications for the 2011-12 school year can be found on Enrollment & Classification page of the MHSAA Website. (Here is a direct link to the page --

Here is a complete list of the schools changing classification for 2011-12 (Note:  This list does not include schools opting up in class/division for tournaments, which can be found on the Administrators page of the MHSAA Website):

Moving Up From Class B To Class A
Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Detroit Central
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern
Richland Gull Lake

Moving Down From Class A To Class B
Benton harbor
Detroit Kettering
Detroit Northwestern
Hazel Park
Warren Lincoln

Moving Up From Class C To Class B
Allen Park Cabrini
Dearborn Advanced Technology Academy
Detroit Frederick Douglass
Ferndale University

Moving Down From Class B To Class C
Delton Kellogg
Madison Heights Madison
Mt. Clemens
River Rouge
Tawas Area

Moving Up From Class D To Class C
Auburn Hills Oakland Christian
Beal City
Detroit Winans Academy

Moving Down From Class C To Class D
Eau Claire
Taylor Trillium Academy

New Post-Season Eligible Tournament Schools in 2011-12
Britton-Deerfield Schools (Class C)
Detroit Trombly (Class C)
Detroit Aisha Shule-WEB DuBois Prep Academy (Class D)

Schools With Double Classification
Harper Woods HEART Academy (Class C-Girls; Class D-Boys)
Detroit Michigan Health Academy (Class C-Girls; Class D-Boys)
NOTE-Both schools have 75 percent or more students of one gender

Enrollment Breaks By Classes – 2011-12
(Number of schools in parenthesis)

Class A  -- 952 and above (189)
Class B  -- 466 to 951 (190)
Class C  -- 216 to 465 (191)
Class D  -- 215 and below (190)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2010-11 All-Trib Girls Hoop Team

UPPER THUMB — They’re solid, but not superstars.
They’re hard workers, but not hard to work with.
They’re a group of eight players representing seven schools in four conferences.
They’re the members of the 2010-11 All-Huron Daily Tribune Girls Basketball Team — Harbor Beach junior Tori Kraft, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port senior Taylor Comment, Cass City senior McKensie Parrish, Cass City junior Logan Rowell, Port Hope senior Kayla Gust, Owendale-Gagetown junior Christin Harris, Caseville senior Rebecca Janke and Deckerville senior Shashauna Sampson.
Kraft and Comment are co-captains of the squad, which is voted on by area coaches and the Tribune’s sports staff.
Also, Owen-Gage’s Doug Hyatt earned Coach of the Year honors.

Kraft was arguably the area’s best all-around player this season before an injury sidelined her for the final few games of the year.
To that point, the 5-foot-9 junior guard/forward averaged 16 points, 8.4 rebounds 5.6 assists, 3.6 steals and 2.9 blocks per game for the Pirates.
“Tori was not only looked on to score, but also rebound and distribute the basketball,” said Harbor Beach coach Jim Tamlyn. “She also is a good defender and our leader on and off the floor.”
Kraft went for double figures in 16 of the 18 games she played in, tossing in over 20 points four times. 
Kraft, a two-time All-Tribune selection, was a first-team All-Greater Thumb East pick this season.

Comment, a 5-8 point guard, helped the Lakers stay in the race for the GTW title right to the final few games of the season.
Comment averaged 12.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals. She became more of a ball distributor this season, setting a single-game assist record with 14 against Bay City All Saints. She also broke the single-season assist record with 105 in 22 games.
She still also was among area leaders in three-pointers and free throw percentage.
Comment also ranks among the school’s all-time scorers with 623 career points. 
A two-time All-Tribune selection, Comment also was a first-team All-GTW pick this season.

Like Kraft and Comment, Parrish is a repeat All-Tribune selection.
The 5-3 guard was a menace on both sides of the ball for the Red Hawks.
“She’s a tough, tough competitor,” said Cass City coach Lloyd Schinnerer. “She always was assigned to the opponent’s best guard. And she improved her three-point game from a year ago, as well as her free throws.”
Parrish averaged 9.9 points, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals this season. Her top scoring effort came in a 20-point outburst against BCAS, draining three three-pointers and hitting 9-of-12 from the foul line.
Parrish also earned first-team All-GTW honors this season.

Parrish had a superb complement in the paint with teammate Rowell, a 5-11 forward/center who saved some of her best play for the latter part of the season.
“Logan started slowly this year, but the final two-thirds of the year she was much more aggressive scoring and rebounding,” Schinnerer said.
Rowell’s best game might have been the district opener against Bad Axe, when she poured in a season-high 27 points, including 9-of-10 from the foul line. She also had a 23-point, 14-rebound effort against Kingston late in the year.
Overall, Rowell averaged 10 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks.
An honorable mention All-Tribune pick a season ago, Rowell was a first-team All-GTW selection this season.

Gust excelled under first-year Port Hope coach Marilee Schock, averaging 11 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals.
“I have coached many student-athletes over the years, but consider it to be a privilege to have coached Kayla,” Schock said. “She is what we all want our student-athletes to model. She is a leader that is willing to do whatever it takes for her team to be successful.”
Gust was among area leaders in three-pointers and free throw percentage. She drained three or more three-pointers in five games, including a 19-point, four three-pointer effort in the districts against Caseville.
Gust, a second-team All-Tribune pick last season, was a first-team All-North Central Thumb League North Division selection this year.

Like Gust, Janke, a 5-6 guard/forward, was a second-team All-Tribune pick a season ago for Caseville, but made major improvements in her play in 2010-11.
 She was the only player in the Tribune coverage area to average a double-double, going for 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. She also averaged 1.8 assists and 2.6 steals.
“She’s one of the most versatile players I have ever coached,” said Caseville coach Brian Siegfried. “She can play every position on the floor and gives 100 percent every time she steps on the court.”
She had season-highs of 26 points against Port Hope and 20 rebounds against Owen-Gage. 
“Rebecca has tremendous court presence,” Siegfried said. “She makes adjustments on the fly and is a leader on the floor.”
Janke also earned first-team All-NCTL North Division honors this year.

Sampson is one of the NCTL’s top all-around female athletes, having earned all-league honors in basketball, volleyball and track.
This season, Sampson, a 5-4 guard, helped guide the Eagles to a Class D district championship, averaging 10.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 3.2 steals.
“Shashauna was our sparkplug,” said Deckerville coach Pat Oswald. “She can take you to the hole, or she could spot up for a three-pointer. Don’t let her size fool you. She liked to drive inside amongst the bigs.”
Sampson, a first-team All-NCTL South Division pick, also was among the area leaders in free throw shooting at over 70 percent.

Harris, a 5-8 forward, became one of the area’s most electrifying scorers for the Bulldogs. Her marquee performance came late in the season when she went off for 35 points, including eight three-pointers, in a NCTL North Division title-clinching victory over North Huron.
Harris averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bulldogs.
“She stays after practice every night and works hard,” said Owen-Gage coach Doug Hyatt. “She also works with sixth- and seventh-graders on Saturday mornings.”
Harris led the area in three-pointers, dropping in three or more 10 times during the regular season.
An honorable mention All-Tribune pick a season ago, Harris earned first-team All-NCTL North Division honors this year.

Hyatt’s Owen-Gage team wasn’t expected to contend for a title this season, but the Bulldogs wound up securing a share of the NCTL North Division crown for the first time since 2002. Later, the Bulldogs won a Class D district title — the first time in 28 years that Owen-Gage won league and district championships in the same season.
Owen-Gage finished 13-9 overall.

The All-Tribune second team is made up of Bad Axe’s Taylor Breault and Justine Morneau, Deckerville’s Mandy Nichol, EPBP’s Kayla Deering, North Huron’s Sara Clancy, Owen-Gage’s Amanda Muntz and Kayla Montreuil, Port Hope’s Kristen Kowaleski, Ubly’s Jessica Gracey and Unionville-Sebewaing Area’s Miranda Fuerst.

CO-CAPTAIN – EPBP’s Taylor Comment
CO-CAPTAIN – Harbor Beach’s Tori Kraft


COACH OF THE YEAR – Owen-Gage’s Doug Hyatt