Packers crush competition in Brooklyn
Area runners distinguished themselves in the individual competition during Saturday’s Cross Country State Finals in Brooklyn.
Then, of course we have the Fremont Boys team who merely grabbed the State Title for the 9th time in school history, the last being in 2015.
The team score wasn’t even close as the Stripes were led by Nathan Walker who finished 4th at 15:23.9.
All 7 runners finished in the top 100 and 4 were in the top 20 as Conor Somers fired off an 8th place run of 16:01.5 Adam Ward’s16:23.0 placed 18th and Ben Paige came in less then a second later to capture 20th at 16:23.9.
Mikko Vesma ran a 16:40.3 (36th), Joshua Zerfas posted 16:47.0 (43rd) and Colton Best finished at 17:18.7 (100th).
And with the exception of senior Vesma all of the Packer runners who competed Saturday look to be returning to competition next season.
And hopefully returning to the podium once again in Brooklyn.
In the D2 Girls Division Packer Taylor Mater-Gerth ran a 18:57.2 to place 22nd among the 247 runner field. The sophomore’s appearance at State capped off a successful season that included first place finishes at Hill and Bale, the Ludington Invitational, and the Grant Jamboree.
In D4 Girls as expected WMC premier runner Abby VanderKooi blew the field away coming in at 18:11.0 to finish by over a minute ten in front of her closest competition.
Red Devil Lily Crowell sped to a 22:18.1 time (108th) and White Cloud’s Naomi Thompson came in at 23:25.4.(166th).
238 runners competed in the D4 girls division
In the D4 Boys Division Reginald Richmond of White Cloud fired off a 17:03.3 to capture 15th place while Holton’s Graham Resterhouse clocked 18:38.5 (130th).
252 runners participated.
Season ends for Lions Tigers; ‘Hawks, ‘Yotes, Hornets eliminated while Eagles live on to play #11
Montague 55 Newaygo 7
Oakridge 28 Grant 7
Kent City 14 Northpointe Christian 8
Hemlock 34 Morley Stanwood 20
Portland 35 Central Montcalm 0
Kingsley 49 Reed City 36
Fowler 46 Oakland Christian 6
The Panthers dropped a tough match Wednesday night against the visiting league champion Mohawks, ending their season 8-2 in the CSAA, and a 2nd place finish. The scores were 12-25, 18-25, 15-25. The Panther offense was led by Rachel Romero with 8 kills, Emily Bayle with 5 kills, Brooke Billings and Isabelle Rumsey each had 3 kills. Kyra Sayer had 15 assists. Rumsey and Bayle served 3 and 2 aces respectively. Sierra Cechura led with 8 digs defensively, Bayle and Romero each had 7 digs, and Delaney Yates had 5.
While disappointed with not earning a share of the CSAA title the Panthers now set their sights are set on repeating as District Champions at Hart next Monday. The ladies get their final district preparation when they travel to Central Montcalm on Saturday.
WMC plays Saturday for state title
The magical run by the WMC Warriors has delivered the team to the State Finals for the first time since 2011 and given them a shot at their 6th outright state title (shared title in 1988).
“These boys have really come together to do something we haven’t been able to accomplish in a long time,” said Coach David Hulings. “I could not be prouder of this team.”
The team will face second ranked University Liggett out of Grosse Pointe Woods Saturday in Novi, a 3pm matchup between two of the top ranked teams in D4.
On their way to the coveted title game the #4 Warriors have defeated 3 out of the top 5 teams as #1 Calvin Christian, #3 North Muskegon and #5 Dansville each were eliminated by the surging Warrior squad.
Saturday their eyes will be on adding #2 to that list.
We asked senior Brevin Byrne of Fremont if he could give us some insight into the semifinal win and maybe riff a bit about his final season and playing on this title- contending squad.
It was a great game against Dansville, despite the poor weather. They came out strong in the first half and we were able to weather the storm and keep it 0-0 until half time. Coming out of halftime we really controlled the game with a possession style of play building up through the middle of the field. Players such as Nick Moser, Charlie Alfree, and Isaac VanHoeven had excellent combination play to break down their back line.
Finally around 20 minutes left Ashton Leffring won a ball off a throw in and slotted it back from the end line to me about 12 yards out in front of the goal and I finished it with my right foot off the post and in. A few minutes later Micharl Masumpa finished the game off with our second goal of the night.
This season has really been a blessing for all of our team. We are probably not the most talented team to come through WMC in recent years but we simply enjoy it. Everyday we love to go to practice and hangout with our friends. We struggled a little early in the season but a team bonding trip to a Hope College men’s soccer game really brought us together and we decided we really didn’t want our season to end early. I think a big thing for us was that we celebrated like crazy after every game truly appreciating every win because you never know when it’s going to be your last.
For me this season has been extra special as my grandfather, Bill Byrne passed away this September after a long battle with heart issues. He was at every single game we had, cheering and giving high fives to any player that would give him one. I just am glad we can do this to honor him. This season we played Lenawee Christian and I scored two goals and had the assist for us to win 3-2 against a top ranked team and he was so proud and that was one of the last games he was able to see.
I just think it’s special that I’ve been able to get 2 goals in the last two games. I love every kid on the team and wouldn’t change anything for the world.”
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.
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).
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