Tri County 46 Lakeview 0
Coach Phil Butler:
"Overall we played pretty well. We have some things to clean up. It felt great being back on the field with the band, cheerleaders, and fans. Nothing better than Friday night lights. Proud of our guys for fighting through the elements and finding a way to get through. We had some great effort and emotion tonight."
Tyler Tompkins led the Vikings on the ground with 9 carries for 176 yds and 2 TDs.Trent Behrenwald also crossed the goalline twice piling up 148 yards on 13 carries and Nale Lovell went for 68 yards on 8 attempts and scored a TD,
Hayden Figely added a 36 yard pick-6 on defense.
The Vikes will look to make it 2 in a row when they host Chip Hills on Friday.
Comstock Park 55 Grant 6 (Thursday)
Park scored twice to jump ahead 14-0 in the season opener for both schools but Nathan Lang took a kickoff and eluded tacklers while sprinting for an 85 yard touchdown run to keep the Tigers in the game.
But not for long
The Panthers simply ran away from their hosts finding the endzone another half dozen times in a row to cruise to the non-con win.
Brady Jacobs led all Tiger runners with eight carries for 83 yards.
Treyton Railling anchored the defense posting six tackles while Gage Scholtens, Chase Geers, Zach Barnhart and Chase Kazemier, each finished with 4.
It doesn’t get any easy for the Tiger team as perennial conference powerhouse Reed City comes to town Thursday to open league play.
White Cloud 33 Shelby 6
Hart 44 Holton 20
Manton 26 Hesperia 6
Plenty of penalties and teeming with turnovers
Story and photos by Lola Harmon-Ramsey
Fremont 6 – Ludington 20
The first game of the regular football season saw the Fremont Packers hosting the Ludington Orioles. With Fremont’s new track complex finally finished and sparkling in the 84 degree sun-shine, the young Pack took to the field with a lot of enthusiasm to finally play a “normal” game.
The Packers started the game kicking off to the Orioles who returned the ball to the 27. Ludington quarterback Trey Forfinski then began the affiliation with running back Stephen Weinert for a handoff and running game, which was their signature play of the evening. Fremont defensive back Garett Hanshue, linebacker Owen Vandenberg, and linebacker Michael Romero consistently stopped those handoffs with standout tackles.
Fremont was able to hold the Orioles off on downs and took over on Ludington’s 27 yard line, but after their turn of downs, the game remained at zero. After a few more back and forth possessions the Packers turned over the ball with a bobbled interception with Ludington’s Levi Laman ending up with the ball. With 32 seconds left in the first, another tackle by Fremont’s Romero ended the quarter with no score.
The Orioles started the second quarter with more hand-off running plays, which were met by a strong Fremont defensive line. Eventually, the running game by quarterback Forfinski produced a touchdown for Ludington. The Orioles tried a fake kick and tossed a pass for the 2 point conversion but were unsuccessful making the score 6-0 for the Orioles.
The Packers offense returned to the field and struggled with an incomplete pass, some penalties, and a personal foul, moving them back to the 46 yard line. A pass from Fremont’s Alex Gleason to Owen Vandenberg was incomplete and the next pass resulted in an interception by Ludington’s Nathan Gilchrist to give the ball back to the Orioles with 2:16 left in the half.
On Ludington’s first pass, Fremont’s Garett Hanshue intercepted the ball to give the possession back to the Packers before halftime, but after a series of plays, the Pack were out of downs and Ludington had the ball again. Finishing out the half was a dominating tackle from Fremont’s lineman, Noah Baker.
The halftime entertainment was supplied by the Fremont Marching Band, which, after the retirement of longtime band director, Mark Breza, is under the new direction of Hannah Smith. This year’s drum major is Rebecca Rodriguez who led the band and color guard with a series of songs from “Batman.”
The second half began with the Packers receiving the ball and quarterback, Alex Gleason moving the ball down the field with some running plays. Kyler DeKuiper then took over the quarterback position with a pass to Vandenberg, which picked up another Packer first down. Gleason and DeKuiper continued to change up the quarterback slot and the offensive line helped the effort by drawing a false start from the defense to get the Pack closer to another first down. A subsequent holding call on Fremont pushed the Pack back further. Penalties abounded for both teams, but a wayward pass from Fremont ended in another Oriole interception by Levi Laman. The Orioles had a few carries to move them to their five yard line but a fumble saw the Packers taking over at the very end of the third quarter.
Fremont started the fourth with an incomplete pass to bring out the Packer kicking team. An impressive kick from Fremont’s Michael Romero put the Orioles down the field but a trick play and shovel pass between Forfinski and Weinert ran the ball down the field closer to their end zone. Forfinski’s pass to Wilson Gunsell resulted in another touchdown for the Orioles and an extra point from Miles Wilson made the score 13-0 with 8:46 left in the game.
Fremont made quick work of the kick-off with a catch from Gleason who then ran for 45 yards. Kyler DeKuiper had a solid pass to Gabe Curtice for a touchdown. The extra kick was incomplete and the Packer’s trailed 6-13. Ludington continued their scoring streak with one more touchdown from Weinert with 4:22 left in the game.
Fremont was unable to convert any more downs and the game ended with a final of 6-20.
Fremont is a relatively young team with just four seniors on their roster. The passing game of sophomore Kyler DeKuiper will be exciting to see progress. The lineman on this roster are almost all sophomores but learning from the experience and grit of seniors, Colby Wright and Noah Baker. Running back, Justin Dirheimer and tight end, Michael Romero, both juniors, have the ability to make plays and score points.
The Packers will be home again next week when they host the Big Rapids Cardinals at 7:00pm.
The Eagles' stadium is a thing of true beauty. The lines on the track haven't even been painted yet. Tonight was the home opener for the season, and the first ever game in the newly renovated stadium. The Lions were hoping to come in and steal some of that magic, but it wasn't in the cards.
The first half was all Lions. All the way. Had the game ended at halftime, the crowd would have been greatly disappointed with the zero points and many turnovers by the home team. The Lions fans, on the other hand, would have been ecstatic to see their young team with a new head coach putting together such a solid night of football.
Newaygo could do no wrong. Quarterback Remington Gracik was connecting with receivers on both sides of the field; running backs were slipping through holes in the line with precision; the defense was hitting hard and causing turnovers that were wearing on the Eagles.
So whatever Bill Crane, the Eagles' head coach, said to his team in the locker room on this hot, muggy night that got them going was exactly what they needed to hear. Kent City came out an entirely different team, and the crowd could feel it. The roar grew with every play. Momentum had shifted and there was nothing the Lions could do to stop it.
With 4:30 left on the clock the Eagles found themselves up 20-19, having closed the gap and capitalized on every Lion mistake. Mason Westbrook ran time after time, right then left, then back to the right. His line gave him room and there was no stopping him.
Two catches in to the drive and the Lions seemed like they had found a way through their second half slump. The passing game was opening up opportunities. But it was one pass too many that did them in. Gracik looked far up field and threw but Kent City's defense had read the play. Interception for the Eagles. Game over.
Coach Crane got doused with ice cold water for the victory on the first game ever played on the new field and a promising start to the brand new season.
Cloud, Pack, Tigers & Panthers compete in the Hesperia Baker Woods Invitational.
Wednesday turned out to be one of the hottest days of summer with humidity pushing up the heat index to triple figures.
But if you run cross, you know that weather is bound to be one of your primary obstacles from time to time. And on this day harriers from four local schools took to the always rugged course in Hesperia and made it to the finish line.
Nicely done athletes.
We are impressed.
From Coach Atwood:
“Congratulations to the cross country team on their sizzling performances at Hesperia on August 25th. The boys beat the heat and all the other small schools to bring home the championship trophy and 7 medals. The girls team brought home 4 medals in the process of working hard to finish with a third place team score. Medal winners were Kobe Canning (21:08.59), Nate Ciolk (21:36.5), Carson Foondle (21:40), Coleson Cruzan (21:41.5), Kaleb Canning (22:32), Malachi Graves (23:07.09) , Christian Ringler (23:50.3), Jolena Deaton (32.50.9), Allie Rodriguez (43:49.3) Cecelia Miller-Rodriguez (44:18.5), and Lillie Keith (51:05).
From Coach Somers:
“We haven’t run at the very tough (rivals Branstrom) Hesperia course in close to 8 years so this was a new experience for all of our runners. Due to the high temperatures we tried to run most of the race at tempo effort to avoid any heat issues. The kids did a pretty good job with that and still performed well.
“Taylor Mater (Sr) led the girls in their first official race of the season placing 3rd. Taava Johnson (Sr) placed 7th with steady running. Underclassmen Elise Pfeiffer-23rd (So), Rachel Maddox-25th (Fr), and Lauren O’Malley-35th(So) rounded out our top 5. Haley Spangler was our other varsity finisher. The girls team is young and inexperienced so we are excited to see them grow over the course of the season. Girls in the top 25 earned medals. The girls placed 3rd with 84 pts.
“The boys team is also quite young and inexperienced with some strong upperclassmen just like the girls. 3 Seniors led the way for the team, Conor Somers 1st, Gavin Schuler 3rd, and Brennan Schuler 8th. The future of the program packed it up with freshmen Gabe Jones 17th, Carter Sherman 19th, and Cole Lowery 20th. Johnny Christensen (So) rounded out our top seven, and Blake Taylor (Fr) earned a medal by placing in the top 25. The boys placed 2nd with 45 pts.
“The boys and girls have some time gaps they need to cut down and I am seeing some great work ethic in the younger runners, so we hope to see those gaps close up a little over the season.”
Brodie Delamater (20:37.8), Kyle Brege (23:51.39), Jack Noble (24:13.59), Oscar Mendez (24:16.8). Tyler Delamater (28:11.59), and Blake Wirts (32:22.9) crossed the finish line for the Tiger Boys team.
Finishers on the Tiger Girlsteam were Avary Losee (33:39.7), Raven Wirts (34:27.9), Avery Geisen (34:34.3), Cyanne Schuitema (38:17.8), and Jacklyn Rodriguez (40.48.59).
Andrew Sherburn (25:49.4), Bowen Robinson (33:42.7), and Vicente Cruz (34:50.59)
High school gridders take to the field Friday
4 of the 6 teams in our coverage area have new coaches. The other 2 began their program last year amidst the cancelled, then moved to spring, then moved back to fall, numerous forfeits, cancellations and everyone's in the playoffs but some can’t play due to quarantine 2020 season.
This is likely the swan song in the CSAA for Fremont, Holton and Hesperia who seem to be on target to join what will be a 2 division West Michigan Conference next season.
But that’s next year. This year everyone is still ensconced in the CSAA and everyone is starting the season 0-0.
Check back next week.
How about the rest of the CSAA members?
In the Gold Reed City is always tough having won or shared the title 9 of the past 10 seasons. The lone crownless season was 2019 (the last non COVID season) when the Hornets of CM shook off the previous year’s 0-9 mark to claim the top spot. Big Rapids finished strong last season Chip Hills won a couple of late season games and Tri County took a 3 game losing streak into the postseason then advanced twice before being knocked out by the Oakridge team that previously eliminated both BR and CH. The Eagles then lost to GRCC who won their 4th state title in the last 5 years.
The Silver has been a 2 team race for most of the recent seasons as Kent City and Morley Stanwood have battled for the top spot. Lakeview is coming off a rough year going 0-5 on the field and 0-2 in forfeits.
This week’s games:
Newaygo at Kent City
The Lions open the season on the road with a new coach in Mike Allison who arrives from Alma College where he coached tight ends and the O-line.
Last season Newaygo finished 2-5 with one of those victories courtesy of a forfeit by Grant, only the second time since 1950 the M-37 rivals failed to meet on the field.
Conference play begins the following week with a home opener against Central Montcalm
Kent City finished 5-2 running off 5 straight wins before bowing to Orchard View in their regular season finale and falling to Clare in the tourney. They won’t get a chance to avenge the loss to the Cards on the field in week 2. OV has dropped football due to lack of numbers and will forfeit the contest.
Ludington at Fremont
Year 2 for Coach Jason Carpenter as the Pack will welcome the Orioles to their newly refurbished athletic complex. Fremont went 2-5 including putting on an offensive explosion in their victory over Chip Hills and taking a forfeit win over Big Rapids. They will host the Cardinals on the field in week 2 in the conference opener. The O’s posted a 5-3 mark including a 41-22 win in Fremont.
Comstock Park at Grant
Another first year coach, Michael Stephan, arrives from the Hope College staff to take the reins of the football program in Grant. The Tigers finished 3-4 last year but one loss was a forfeit to Newaygo. The Panthers went 1-6 in the bruising OK Blue under a new coach last season.
The following week the Tigers open their conference schedule against Reed City at home. The Coyote program has won 72 of their last 75 conference contests. One of those 3 losses was to Grant. Just saying.
Shelby at White Cloud
The Cloud returned to the gridiron last season after cancelling in 2019 due to a lack of players. They won 2 games by forfeit last year but haven’t had a victory on the field since 2017.
Coach Joe Gorman is in his second year at the helm and will face a Tiger program that has won just twice in their last 55 games.
After another non-con game against Lee the Cloud will open the Silver season on the road in Hesperia September 10th.
Hart at Holton
The Red Devils finished 3-5 last season including a tourney win. They also will be seeing a new coach on the sidelines as Alex Smith takes over the program after serving as defensive coordinator at Spring Lake and GR Christian.
Hart ended the season at 1-6 and in 2 games against WMC rival Montague were outscored 130-0,
The Devs will host Coleman the following week before starting conference play against Morley Stanwood on the road.
Hesperia at Manton
Dave Smith who spent 8 years on the sidelines at Ravenna brings his playoff experience to Hesperia.
The Panthers, who finished 4-3 after losing to perennial powerhouse Pewamo Westphalia in the playoffs, begin the season on the road with a trip to Manton to face the Rangers of the Highland Conference. The Ranger program has won just once in their last 20 games.
After a trip to St. Louis to swim with the Sharks in week 2 the Panthers will open Silver play at home when the Cloud comes to town.
Posing with the new state-record Chinook salmon, caught Aug. 7, 2021, are Capt. Bobby Sullivan of Icebreaker Charters; Luis Ricardo Hernandez Martinez, of Ortonville, who caught the fish; Jay Wesley, Lake Michigan Basin coordinator with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources; and Scott Heintzelman, the DNR's Central Lake Michigan Management Unit supervisor. (NOTE: The scale pictured in this photo is from a local bait shop; the weight shown here is not the state-record weight. The official weight, 47.86 pounds, was measured on a certified scale by the DNR fisheries biologist.) Photo courtesy DNR
Chinook Salmon tops 47 pounds
From our friends at Michigan DNR:
Using a Moonshine raspberry carbon spoon lure this past weekend, an angler from Ortonville, Michigan, turned in a new state-record fish!
Luis Ricardo Hernandez Martinez was troll fishing with Capt. Bobby Sullivan of Icebreaker Charters on Lake Michigan near Ludington early Saturday morning, Aug. 7, when he caught a Chinook salmon weighing in at 47.86 pounds and measuring 47.5 inches.
“I never expected a catch like this would happen,” Martinez said. "It’s possible for anyone if I can do it! I would like to extend a great ‘thank you’ to Capt. Bobby, as it was he who made this catch possible for me.”
Captain Sullivan added, “Luis did an amazing job, executing perfectly everything I asked him to do in order to bring this fish in.”
This record breaks the previous state-record Chinook salmon – 46.06 pounds, 43.5 inches long – caught in 1978 by Ray Essex, of Grand Rapids, out of the Grand River in Kent County.
The new state-record Chinook salmon was verified by Jay Wesley, Lake Michigan Basin coordinator with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, with Scott Heintzelman, the DNR's Central Lake Michigan Management Unit supervisor, also present.
Michigan’s state-record fish are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight, and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist.
To view a current list of Michigan state fish records by species, visit Michigan.gov/StateRecordFish.
For more on planning a fishing adventure, visit Michigan.gov/Fishing
By Ken De Laat
Photo by Randy Kuzawa
In an early June column I tempered the pessimism expressed a month earlier about our beloved Tigers. After that dreadful start the team seemed to find itself a bit and has continued to play some pretty good ball since.
They’re not there yet by any means. 2 months ago we opined that the team would not be playing in October and that has proven accurate. Once the hole is as deep as the one they dug to open the season the climb out is too far to elicit any expectations of a miracle finish. Even if the team were to go on an improbable streak like the 35-5 record they began ‘84 with, they would likely fall short of even a wild card spot.
The recent 7 game win streak was fun and stirred memories of when the team would regularly produce similar runs but it was sandwiched by a pair of 4 game skids and good teams rarely endure such slides. Good teams flat out know how to win and deliver the goods more often than not.
In summary, the hitting is sporadic and prone to a plethora of strikeouts, the bullpen remains suspect most days, the young starters are still learning while they watch baseballs clearing the fences behind them, and the best infield glove can look dreadful at the plate.
But as we said in June they’re gritty gamers, a team more fun to watch than they have been for years. And the players who earlier had even die hard Tiger fans frequently look at the names on the back of their unis and say “Who?” have begun to establish themselves. Haase, Baddoo, Schoop, Grossman, the Castros and others have developed fan bases though only one name continues to produce instantaneous recognition as well as the clear majority of replica shirts found in the stands.
A .500 season would be impressive and a second place finish might not be out of the question given the clear sign that Cleveland has cashed it in (when you trade your leadoff guy to the team you’re chasing...well…).
Many current Tigers are not the names that will produce a championship caliber team in the coming years. There are younger, more talented players being seasoned to take their place. Many on this team will be wearing other uniforms or relegated to a backup role as Torkleson, Greene, Dingler, and others arrive to claim their spots in the lineup.
In the meantime I’ll look forward to the next 2 months.
Particularly September when the callups give us all a sneak preview of coming attractions.