X Country State Finals Saturday
Fremont team joined by Mater-Gerth; Holton, Cloud send two apiece
While The Fremont Boys team will be striving to bring home a state title when the hit the course in Brooklyn Saturday 5 other local runners will be competing for personal honors as well.
Juniors Nathan Walker, Colton Best, Ben Paige, Adam Ward and Joshua Zerfas will be joined by sophomore Connor Somers and senior Mikko Vesma as the Packers go up against a field of 26 other teams in their quest for Division 2 glory.
Other area runners in the Boys Division 4 race include junior Graham Resterhouse of Holton who placed 10th at Regionals and senior Reginald Richmond of White Cloud who finished 7th.
In the Girls race Fremont Sophomore Taylor Mater-Gerth ran to a 4th place finish at Regionals to qualify for a trip to Brooklyn. She will be joined by D4 runners Lily Crowell a Red Devil junior and junior Naomi Thompson of White Cloud. Thompson finished 10th at Regionals and Crowell came in at 14th.
Pigskin Playoff Preview
Lions & Tigers facing big tests in pre-district play
By Ken DeLaat, N3 Sports
Note: All games listed begin Friday November 1 at 7pm.
Newaygo (6-3) at Montague (7-2)
The West Michigan Conference this season had no ties for any final place in the standings. The teams from 1st to 8th respectively won 7,6,5,4,3,2,1,0 conference games. The best team beat all of the others, the second best beat all but the first the third beat all but the first two, etc. etc. etc.
The WMC is also perhaps the toughest conference in the region boasting top tier programs that have gone deep into the second season and engraving more than a few state titles on its resume.
The Wildcats finished third in the WMC losing to Oakridge and Ravenna. They outscored the 3 teams resting in the bottom tier of the conference 199-6 and pasted Reed City in the opener 42-0.
But more impressive was last week's win over Portland. The Cats outlasted a Red Raider squad in a matchup of teams that got to within one win of a state title last year and each with their eyes on a return appearance at Ford Field.
I like the Lions a lot. They have a good coaching staff, some talent, and while a bit enigmatic at times they showed tremendous heart in their victory over Reed City. And even though they’re playing at Montague both losses for the Wildcats came at home.
North Muskegon had Montague on the ropes before falling short and they were the only team to put up more than a couple of scores on their defense. I’m sure Coach Van Essen’s crew has paid some extra attention to the film from that one.
The Lions need to find a big play or two and maybe force an early turnover to keep the often creative offense of the hosts in check.
And they will need every ounce of the heart they played with when they faced the Coyotes.
Grant (7-2) at Oakridge (9-0)
The Eagles are another pedigreed WMC team who ran up the numbers on the weaker teams.
4 of their 9 wins were by 8 points or less and these were against the better teams on the schedule.
Grant is one of those better teams on the Eagle schedule.
The Tigers came within 13 points of an undefeated season. Their defense has been outstanding and when Kent City scored three times last week it was only the second time all season the opposition has found the endzone more than once,
It’s likely Oakridge will get there more than once. They have a good offense and more so they are one of those programs who know how to close games out. Especially at home.
Coach Geraghty and his staff have done a great job with this team and while the defense stirs the drink the Tigers have shown they can score...unless they’re playing in Remus, apparently.
The last two times Grant made it into the postseason Oakridge dispatched them handily. A win over the Eagles would be huge for the Tiger program.
Northpointe Christian (6-3) at Kent City (6-3)
The Eagles go up against an old OK Silver rival. They’ve faced 4 playoff teams and lost 3 of those. The ‘Stangs had 3 playoff teams on their schedule and went 0-3,
Kent City is at home.
Whoever comes out of this one with a victory gets the winner of North Muskegon/Pewamo Westphalia. The PW Pirates have been to Ford so often they should start getting mail there.
Morley Stanwood (6-3) at Hemlock (7-2)
The Tri Valley West conference has 5 teams. All five are in the playoffs. The Hemlock Huskies (in our world their nickname would be Poison) aren’t the best in the TVCW but the conference doesn’t have a worst. The ‘Hawks need to bring their A game and keep in mind this is the team that halted Ithaca’s 66 game conference winning streak.
Yes, we said 66
Merely a decade’s worth.
Central Montcalm (7-2) at Portland (7-2)
Tough initial game for the Gold champs but their two late losses took away home field and pitted them against a rugged group of Red Raiders (see Newaygo/Montague).
Reed City (6-3) at Kingsley (9-0)
The Stags have taken teams apart all season. They average 45 a game and no team has finished within 2 TDs of them. The Coyotes are a good team. Kingsley lost in the Regionals to conference rival TC St Francis. They avenged that loss in the regular season and are on target to make a deep run once again. Winner gets the survivor of Grant/Oakridge.
Oakland Christian (7-2) at Fowler (8-1)
My LSC (Lifetime Spousal Companion) the ever patient Ms. Lil is an alumnus.
Last year when the Eagles didn’t make the playoffs it was the first time they sat home two seasons in a row since the early 80’s.
The storied CMC program is back after a nearly unblemished season but for a bit of a stumble against the perennial powerhouse P-W Pirates their longtime arch-rival.
Fowler always seems to get these matchups with one of the top non public schools in the playoffs but the Lancers aren’t the MCC Crusaders of a few years ago who blasted past them on their way to a pair of state titles and the Eagles are playing in front of a Spicer Field crowd larger and louder than generally found at a D-8 school.
I know. I’ve been there.
Playoffs. From the minute the season ended in 2018, teams were preparing for this moment, when teams would be selected for the playoffs with a chance to win the coveted State Title on Ford Field.
How are teams chosen? It is a long, arduous process. For a full explanation, go to https://secondhalf.mhsaa.com/All-News/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/8604/Inside-Selection-Sunday-Mapnalysis-19
and read about the current system. According to the MHSAA, 2020 will bring a heap of changes to how teams are selected.
Only Grant and Newaygo earned the right for week 10 from Near North Now's coverage area.
Grant will head to Oakridge to face an undefeated team in the first round in the Division 5 matchup. In the regular season Oakridge put up 70 points against Hart and 77 against Shelby. Their offense runs the show.
Newaygo faces off against 7-2 Montague on the Wildcats' field for a fierce Division 6 matchup. In August Montague played Reed City, their only mutual opponent, and blanked them 42-0.
For a complete listing of all pairings, Divisions 1-8, go to https://www.mhsaa.com/sports/football/pairings
Fremont Harriers rule Regionals; Girls place 6th
Photos by Mike Paige
Next stop Brooklyn.
The Packer Boys cruised to a regional title and an invitation to the state finals behind a stellar performance by top finisher Nathan Walker who busted the 15 minute mark by nearly 8 seconds crossing the finish line at 14:52.8.
The Packers grabbed 6 of the next 10 spots and only the 3rd place finish by Joseph Farley of Petoskey held off a Packer sweep of the top 6 spots.
Conor Somers (15:37.03) took second, Ben Paige (15:53.63) fourth, Adam Ward (16:01.33) fifth, Josh Zerfas (16:02.92) sixth, Mikko Vesma (16:23.54) seventh, and Colton Best (16:30.64).
Grant placed 10th in the 14 team field led by Aaron Zimmer (1726.85) who placed 31st and Reece Welch ( 17:55.11) coming in 41st.
The event was hosted by Benzie Central Hgh School in Benzonia.
The Packer Girls ran to 6th place led by Taylor Mater (18:33.23) who placed 4th overall and qualified for the state meet.
The entire Packer team finished in the top 50 with Annika Tuls (20:48.26) coming in at 33rd, Leah Converse (20:57.44) 35th, Erin Norton (21;05.58) 37th, Morgan Best (21:14.54) 40th, Taava Johnson (21:52.04) 47th, and Lauren Boerger (21:53.47) 49th.
Samantha Fryling (23:41.92) was the top finisher for the Grant Girls followed by Gracie Bearup (24:00.43).
All results here:
The Panthers defeated Cedar Springs in a tight (2-1) match, to finish first yesterday in their own annual awareness event. Championship game scores were 25-18, 22-25, 15-13.
Hesperia defeated White Cloud in the semi- finals (2-1) While the Red Hawks defeated Tri-County in the semi-final match on the opposite side of the brackets. Both Cedar and Hesperia went into the finals, 4-0 on the day, leading to an exciting finals match.
Kill leaders on the day Rachel Romero, Emily Bayle, and Brooke Billings with 24, 22, and 21 kills respectively. Kyra Sayer had 63 assists on the day. Bayle had 20 aces, Romero 17, and Sayer 11 aces. Defensively, Brooke Billings has 4 blocks, Delaney Yates, Isabelle Rumsey, and Sayer each added 3 blocks for the Panther defense. Bayle and Romero led with digs 23 and 19 digs respectively.
With one week of regular season to play, the Panthers are 33-8-1 overall, and 8-1 in the CSAA Silver. The match-up on Wednesday, October 30th, against the 9-0 Morley Stanwood Mohawks, will give the Panthers an opportunity to share in the CSAA Title, which would be a first in school history for girls volleyball.
“The 8th Annual Volley Against Violence Campaign was a great success! Thanks to a great community and awesome helpers of this event! Over $2,500 was raised and will be matched .50/$1.00 from the FACF. We also have t-shirts, bracelets, Fremont event, and a canvas night left to add to the total!”
All tournament team 2019, chosen by officials! Left to right, Rylie Richards (Marion), Kassie Yuncker ( Chippewa Hills), Taylor Doyle (Tri-County), Jhordan Miller-Rowe (Pentwater), Emma Reyburn (Newaygo), Emily Bayle (Hesperia), Grace Pavelka (Cedar Springs), Alexis Strait (White Cloud), Haley Wightman (Walkerville).
Friday Football Report
While the Lions and Tigers will be watching Sunday to see where they play game 10 the season came to an end for the Packers, Panthers and Red Devils.
Kent City and Morley from the Silver will also be playing on as will the Gold Champs of Central Montcalm and Reed City one of 3 teams finishing in a tie for second in conference play.
Hesperia 44 Shelby 7
The Panthers ended an up and down season on a high note with a road win over the Tigers.
Hesperia scored in four plays to start the game 6-0 and Shelby (after a short kickoff) answered back with a TD and the PAT kick to take a 7-6 lead.
It would be short lived as the Panthers would March right down the field and score again to take a 14-7 lead that they would never relinquish as they finished with 470 total yards of offense including 410 on the ground.
Logan Pearson led the rushing attack with 168 yards on 14 carries including a pair of touchdowns.
Logan Balkema has a stellar all around game with 93 yards on 9 carries and connected twice on passes for 49 yards including a 20 yards TD pass to Kaiden Robbins.
Johnny Majersky also scored twice on the ground finishing with 54 yards on 7 carries. Majerski also got into the air game with a pair of passes including one that found freshman Armondo Escobedo for an 11 yard TD.
Balkema finished with 14 tackles, many of them text book tackles, as he was all over the field, in his final game as a Panther.
“We were really motivated tonight, by some of the stuff we were hearing.,” said Coach Bolles. “e finally put it all together and left it all on the field,”
“ I’m extremely proud of my kids, especially my seniors for going out on top.”
The Panthers finished the season 3-6
Lakeview 22 Fremont 0
The Wildcats scored on an interception halfway through the first quarter and it was all they needed as the visiting Packers failed to score for the first time since their opener.
The hosts scored twice more and Fremont finished the season without a win to extend the school’s current skid to 14 games.
Tristen Marfia gained 82 yards on the ground for the Pack and Cody Andree twice connected with Christian Kennedy who also notched a completion with a pass to Carter Dunbar.
Kyler Kolk led the defense with 9 tackles and Dennis Zacharias added 5.
Grant 28 Kent City 21
Grant and Kent City faced off tonight in the regular season finale. Both neighboring schools entered the night with 6-2 records and both teams were looking for a win to help with their respective playoff seeding.
Grant opened the scoring in the 1st quarter after Kent City fumbled inside their 10-yard line. Orion Evans scored a 7-yard touchdown run after Grants offensive line opened a huge hole on the first play of the drive. Kent City responded on the next drive, marching 68 yards to tie the score at 7. Grant rattled off the next 21 points to take a 28-7 lead. Kent City battled back to cut the deficit to 28-21, but the Tigers defense, as they have done all year, rose to the occasion and keep the Eagles from scoring late, holding on for a 28-21 victory.
Offensively the Tigers amassed 202 yards rushing on 38 carries. Junior Brendan Keelean lead the Tigers with 103 yards rushing on 10 carries. He added a 14 touchdown pass to Junior Brett Long. Orion Evans added 70 yards on 13 carries, including touchdown runs of 7 and 10 yards. Senior Billy Ostyn added a 41 yard TD pass to Long with :28 seconds left in the half.
Defensively the Tigers were led by Junior Isiah Powell with 11 Tackles, 1 for loss. Junior Trevor Lowry added 9 tackles, 1 for loss. Brett Long contributed 9 tackles, 2 for loss. Sophomore Brady Jacobs and Senior Jarrett Railling added 8 tackles each. Orion Evans was a “take away machine” tonight with 2 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery.
This game was vital for playoff seeding for both schools andCoach Geraghty called tonight a “total team effort” for Grant.
“We knew Kent City was a well-coached team that knows how to win late in the season”. The offense gave us a lead tonight, the defense did exactly what they had to do to seal the victory”.
“I’m proud of these kids, I’m proud of these coaches and I am happy for this community”.
Grant finishes their regular season at 7-2 while Kent City stands at 6-3. Both schools await Sunday nights MHSAA Playoff Pairings show to find out where they will play in round 1.
Newaygo 54 Saranac 13
The Lions roared into the postseason with a runaway romp over their hosts from Saranac. David Gonzales rambled for 243 yards and 3 TDs while Brenden Brechting piled up 132 and a TD on the ground and tossed a pair of scoring shots to Jacob Jibson and Wismar. Brechting went 6-10 on the night for 144 yards.
Newaygo sped to an early lead and reached intermission holding a 34-6 advantage.
Jake Klekotka tallied 2 rushing TDs while leading the Lions in tackles.
The Lions finish the regular season at 6-3 and will learn Sunday who,where and when they will play next week. They already know the what and why and this week will work on figuring out how.
Tri County 40 Holton 0
The Vikings finish the season at 4-5 while Holton wne 1-8 with the only win a forfeit over White Cloud.
Beal City 21 Morley Stanwood 14
Alma 27 Big Rapids 7
Millington 41 Central Montcalm 18
Reed City 52 Pine River 6
Freeland 25 Chip Hills 21
On To The Semi’s!
Warriors keep rolling in SO win
Photos by Randy Riksen, LocalSportsJournal.com
It took 2 halves 2 overtimes and some shootout heroics but the WMC team kept their magical season going with a win Thursday night.
It has been a smooth ride through the playoffs for the team as keeper Jameson Goorman and the Warriors defensive play have shut down the opposition leading to a ride into the Regional finals. Their run was fitting a team ranked #4 in the state.
But Thursday they would be facing the #1 team in D-4 when Calvin Christian came into town.
The Squires hadn’t lost since August 21st and after slipping by an upset minded Northpointe Christian in Districts they dispatched Potters House and Leland a pair of conference champs to get here.
The Warriors were playing on their home turf and their coach had referenced the strong bonding the group had formed during the season and particularly through this tourney run.
“For a regional game you could not have asked for two more talented teams and two teams that played with tremendous heart,” said Warrior Coach Coach David Hulings.
Calvin broke the scoreless tie at the 13 minute mark on a Matt Muller goal. The Squires held the 1-0 lead through intermission and 17 minutes into the second before Brevin Byrne got a low shot past the Squire goalie to knot the match at 1 where it stayed until the end of regulation.
Two overtimes later the score remained the same.
“Calvin seemed to control most of the overtimes and we were playing conservative. We thought we had a good chance in the shootout with our shooters and our keeper. Jameson had to make some great saves just to get us in the shootout, but he was not done for the night.”
In the shootout Brandon Fles, Byrne, Charlie Alfree, and Isaac Van Hoeven pounded in their shots while Goorman came up big twice to erupt a large home crowd and send the Warriors to Kentwood for a shot at playing in the state finals.
This “band of brothers” will face the winner of Saturday's match between Dansville and Kalamazoo Hackett.
Football Preview Week IX
Final week of the regular season with playoff positions on the line for some while others look to end the season on a high note. The Lions, Packers, Panthers and Vikes finish on the road while the Tigers and Devils will serve as hosts.
Newaygo (5-3) at Saranac (2-6)
Three of the 8 Central Michigan Conference teams will be in the playoffs.
Saranac isn’t one of them.
The team from western Ionia County is coming off a 52-28 win over Potterville. Impressive, except the28 points the 0-7 Vikings put on the board against Saranac in the game were 7 more than the 21 they produced in their first 6 games.
The Lions need this to grab a guaranteed spot in the postseason and barring a letdown after the emotional win over Reed City combined with fatigue from the hour and a half bus ride and a sudden metamorphosis by a Saranac defense that has yielded over 300 points they should be watching TV this Sunday to see who they play in their 10th game.
Kent City (6-2) at Grant (6-2)
Both teams are already in the postseason and this could be an intriguing matchup with each looking to build some momentum heading into game 10. The Eagles can score a lot of points against teams that lack a strong defense but their ‘O’ can sputter a bit when facing the likes of the undefeated Cards of OV or the steamrolling ‘Hawks of Morley.
Add Grant to those two in terms of defensive ability. Of their 8 previous opponents only one made more than a single trip into the endzone.
The Eagles were on their way to the playoffs last year when they dispatched the Tigers in the regular season finale. This is only the 4th home game for Grant and they have delivered big time for their fans avenging a loss from last season in each of the first three.
A win Friday would make it four.
Fremont (0-8) at Lakeview (3-5)
The Packers are hoping to get off the schneid and maybe build a little mo for next year and this is a very winnable game. The Wildcats aren’t pushovers by any means and earlier this season they gave a strong Morley team all they could handle, but…
If the Pack can keep it close and not yield those early big play scores that have plagued them all season they could halt the bleeding at 13 games and give the outgoing seniors an early graduation gift.
If not, it’s almost basketball season.
Tri County (3-5) at Holton (1-7)
The Vikes have had an up and down season but they are a good football team and almost took down the Gold champion Hornets last week. The Red Devils have had a tough season to say the least. They have been undermanned all year and the injury bug seems to linger over this squad. Holton gives up a lot of points and TC has the type of offense that can strike quickly.
Hesperia (2-6) at Shelby (1-7)
The Tigers beat Hart last week. It was their first win since a season ending squeaker over a winless Panther team 2 years ago the only other win in the past 46 games for the Pirate program.
Coach Bolle’s team hasn’t scored since September but those three losses came against two conference champs (OV, MS) and Silver runner-up Kent City. If Balkema can find Majerski for some big plays and the D keeps the Tigers in check the Panthers can finish with a W.
Warriors Advance 3-0
Fremont’s Byrne delivers 2 assists in regional win
And then there were 8.
After putting together an outstanding regular season that included a Lakes 8 title West Michigan Christian has torn through the tourney leaving no prisoners in their wake.
Four games and four shutout victories for the Warriors and Tuesday the Norsemen of North Muskegon became the latest team to be blanked 3-0. The win left WMC as one of 8 teams remaining in the hunt for a state championship, a quest that continues on Thursday when they face Calvin Christian at home in a match that is scheduled to begin at 7pm.
Warrior Coach David Hulings:
“Tonight was such a great game and our boys came together in harmony. We have been playing with such unity and passion for the last couple of weeks and are gelling at the exact right time. The captains have worked hard all season to bring this group into a band of brothers and that hard work is really paying off right now.
“The scoring started on one our first set pieces of the game in the ninth minute,. Brevin Byrne sent a great ball to the back post. Our senior captain, Brandon Fles, went for the header and it skimmed past him. He then hit a shot going away from the goal, twisting, turning and placing the ball in the top of the net. After coaching this game for over 30 years, I thought I had seen everything. That was the most amazing shot I have seen and only Brandon can move his body the way he did to make that shot.
“That one goal led stood for most of the half until we made a bad defensive error in their box and gave away a well earned PK by North Muskegon. Jamison Goorman made a huge save on the PK that was not just a save to keep NM off the board, it seemed to solidify our resolve to keep the sheet clean.
“In the second half, we didn’t seem to want to score and did a lot of protecting a 1-0 lead until the 21st minute when Brevin got another assist by sending a nice ball into Charlie Alfree. Charlie did a great job of simply finishing simple, but placing his shot well, something Charlie has been working on all season.
“The last goal came in the last minute of the game. Owen Varnado did a great job of not allowing their team to stage for a long flighted ball out of their defending third. His hard work and left footed cross was put away by Alfree for Charlie’s second goal of the game. Charlie got the goal and made the nice run to the back post, but Owen did a lot of hard work to simply disrupt their distribution of the ball. The young sophomore did a great job to finish off our game.”
Standing in the way of a trip to the semi-finals in Kentwood to face the winner of the Dansville/Kalamazoo Hackett contest are the Squires of Calvin Christian.
This will be a classic matchup of two strong, state ranked programs as #1 Calvin makes the trip into Warrior country to face #4 WMC.
“We look forward to the challenge, added Coach Hulings. “ They have great speed and great confidence and have allowed only 8 goals all season while scoring over 80.”
“We will have to bring our best game to keep this run going.
The Warriors are now 16-2-3 on the season.
A Long Awaited Return To The Top
Packer Volleyball nails down conference title; play benefit tonight
A Tuesday night victory over Chippewa Hills gave Fremont the conference crown for the first time in 13 years.
Rhiannon Pafford, Natalie Jamieson, and Kaitlynn Bennett paced the offense with 11, 8, and 6 kills respectively. Defensively Kennedy Christoffersen led with 15 digs, followed by Rhiannon Pafford with 11 and Calla Miller who finished with 10.
Bri Webber led the Pack in serving collecting a pair of aces and 11 service points.
Tonight, Wednesday October 23rd, The team will be hosting their Volley Against Violence night where they will take on the varsity football team and the winner will take on the staff of Fremont High School. The action starts at 7pm.