Author Archives: Jacob Szetela

Kent City Fends Off Morley Stanwood in Opener

Friday night brought fans their first taste of high school football this fall in a CSAA matchup between the visiting Kent City Eagles and the hometown Morley Stanwood Mohawks.

The Eagles managed to hold the Mohawks out of the end zone after a long drive in the first quarter that stalled with a strong goal line stand.

The Eagles were subsequently the beneficiaries of several short fields after repeated defensive stops, but failed to capitalize on the excellent field position with multiple fourth down passes falling incomplete.

A final defensive effort kept the Mohawks buried in their own territory and forced a punt in the closing seconds of the first half and took both teams into halftime with a scoreless tie. Despite the initial Mohawk drive, the Eagles managed to hold the Mohawks to just 61 yards in the opening half.

The score would not remain tied, however, as Kent City sophomore running back, Mason Westbrook, barreled in for a touchdown early in the third quarter. The Eagles capped off the score with a two point conversion to make the score 8-0.

A few series later, Mason Westbrook went down with an apparent leg injury midway through the third quarter and was sidelined to receive attention from trainers and coaches.

Sophomore QB Kyler Larson also went down shortly after and forced an Eagles timeout with under a minute left in the third quarter. Both returned to action after the Kent City defense stifled the driving Mohawks once again; this time taking advantage of a fumbled snap.

Kent City answered with a drive of its own, but was also almost derailed by a fumble before being recovered by Kent City. The Eagles gained 6 yards on the play and a few plays later, sophomore running back, Webb Longcore, sprinted into the endzone on a second and goal play. Giving the Eagles their second touchdown of the evening. A penalty pushed the two point try to the 7-yard line, but sophomore quarterback, Kyler Larson, was able to scamper through a small hole up the middle and gave the Eagles the 16-0 lead.

The Mohawks responded on the kickoff with a determined return by junior Levi Schuberg that gave them position at the 40 yard line. The drive extended once again, but ended with an interception on a highly lofted ball tossed by junior quarterback, Aaron Moore, that enabled Eagles DB, Kyle Monterusso, to step in and take the pass the other way with just under 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

In the end, the visiting Eagles stifled Mohawk attempts to get on the board and posted the 16-0 shutout to start the season.

HS Football Makes its 2020 Debut Tonight

When the class of 2020 graduated and athletes walked off their respective fields, diamonds and courts for the last time a bit earlier than planned, many had to assume their senior year would be among the most unique in history. Six months later, the argument could be made that the class of 2020’s swan song was mostly “normal.”

Tonight, thousands of Michigan football players will take to the field in helmets and pads. Only this year, those accoutrements will be accompanied by another piece of gear: masks.

As the 2020 high school football season kicks off we will all watch and hope it provides the athletes and fans some sense of normalcy in a tumultuous and tenuous situation this fall.

Stay tuned for our coverage of the CSAA conference matchup between the Mohawks of Morley Stanwood and the Eagles of Kent City.

Michigan to Host Dueling Visits from Presidential Candidates this Week

Michigan will receive visits from 2020 hopefuls, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, this week.

The former vice president arrives to deliver remarks at 1:15 pm today in Warren, MI and the president will hold a rally for supporters in Freeland, MI tomorrow at 7 pm.

The visits mark the kickoff of what is sure to be a busy push by both parties in the Mitten State between now and election day. Michigan was a hotly contested race in 2016 and appears to be tightening once again as discontent towards democratic Governor Whitmer’s coronavirus response has reinvigorated republicans and some independents. 2020 also appears poised to test whether years of anti-Trump sentiment can hold long enough and strong enough to flip the state that went red just four years ago.

Stay tuned for our coverage of both candidates and their remarks this week and throughout election season.

Governor Whitmer Refuses Widespread Calls to Open New Sectors

Governor Whitmer announced Wednesday that no determination would be made regarding the reopening of gyms, theaters, bowling alleys and high school sports.

Whitmer insinuated an announcement would be coming in the next few days, though she gave no indication what data or science would be available or different to make a new determination.

In the meantime, Michiganders continue to wait for relief and answers, as athletes take the field again this afternoon across the state with no new information.

Governor Whitmer to Hold Press Conference: Fate of Gyms, Theaters and Sports Expected to be Addressed

Governor Whitmer has scheduled a press conference this afternoon at 2:30 pm. A day after theaters, gyms owners and athletes across the state hoped to hear good news, it appears their wait may be coming to an end.

The announcement was expected yesterday afternoon, but the governor and other officials announced that no decision had been made at that time.

Today’s press conference seems most likely to give an answer in either direction and many expect that gyms, theaters and indoor high school sports will be able to resume following Labor Day weekend. Stay tuned for more coverage of the governor’s press conference this afternoon.

New Reporting Suggests Many Positive Coronavirus Cases May Not Be Contagious

Reporting by the New York Times last week highlighted a possible answer to the unique presentation of the coronavirus in human subjects.

Since March, most governmental steps have largely been based on the believed ever-present threat of asymptomatic spread of the virus. Information pouring in from across the globe during the rapidly developing situation created a bevy of responses to fears that were later alleviated or amended.

Americans stopped washing their groceries, landscapers were allowed to work and new evidence may suggest that pervasive asymptomatic spread may be next in line to be cooled by better evidence and understanding of the threats posed by covid-19.

Fears of asymptomatic spread in Germany began after an article was published and later retracted in the New England Journal of Medicine that highlighted spread from a Chinese visitor to the country. It later came to light that researchers had not spoken to the Chinese visitor directly regarding whether she had been experiencing symptoms. She had. The Germans interviewed by the researchers commented that they did not think she had been and the foundation for one of the greatest elements of our response was seeded: contagious asymptomatic spread.

This possibility was particularly frightening and caused states and nations across the globe to test with far greater sensitivity than would be the case with other viruses. It also spurred governmental orders for mandatory universal masking, self-quarantine, social distancing, school closures, statewide lockdowns and many other measures which have largely diverged from traditional viral mediation techniques; primarily, vaccinate & stay home if you are sick.

Instead, widespread belief that the virus could be carried unbeknownst to an individual, while still being contagious, has led to some of the most unique responses in modern history.

We’ve been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus — that’s all. We’re using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making. It’s really irresponsible, I think, to forgo the recognition that this is a quantitative issue.”

Dr. Michael Mina, Epidemiologist, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, New York Times

However, new reporting supports what some critics have been clamoring about since the spring, namely that PCR testing (the testing method responsible for the lion’s share of tests run in the U.S. and around the globe) has utilized a far greater sensitivity and lower viral threshold for diagnosing a positive test than may be useful for determining public policy.

French Epidemiologist Didier Raoult remarked last spring (further reading) that he believed an appropriate threshold of 33 was necessary to detect the virus at contagious levels. Instead, many states have opted for far more sensitive thresholds of 37 to 40. That may not seem like much to a layman, but in practice, these differences in sensitivity skew the number of active and even contagious cases by 40 to a staggering 90%.

In other words, if a state registered 100 positives tests, as little as 10 may be currently active or contagious level infections depending on that state’s chosen testing threshold. Though his assertions were dismissed nearly 6 months ago and his support for hydroxychloroquine became controversial as the Trump administration began to publicly support hopes of the drug being used in treatment, the tide seems to be turning his way.

These findings may explain several phenomenon surrounding our early speculation regarding the virus. First, it may suggest an answer to the question of why this virus appeared peculiarly unique in its ability to linger in the body and deliver positive tests weeks to even months after symptoms had subsided in some or never arrived in many others.

This may be a reason to take other recent news coverage of outbreaks on college campuses with a grain of salt as well. The assumption has been that these outbreaks stemmed from students’ return to campus after just a single week at college, but may in fact be casting a clearer picture of community infection from a month or more before kids returned to school.

In short, the tests may be so sensitive that they pick up trace amounts of the virus, even when subjects are neither sick, nor actually contagious. Furthermore, subjects may not be asymptomatic in spite of the virus, but because of such low viral loads that symptoms and contagious levels never develop. Thus, it may be that the long perceived uniqueness of Covid-19 is more of a feature than a bug, resulting from the way governments and public health officials have approached, tested and handled it from the onset.

In the case of other viruses, viral loads must be present in significant amounts to return a positive test. Positive tests in those cases often overlap very strongly with contagious levels of the given virus. It has been widely assumed, as witnessed in the measures undertaken by states across the country, that a positive Covid-19 test should be understood to mean that a person is contagious.

Protocols have recommended that the positive individual and those they have recently come in close contact with for 15-minutes or more should self-isolate for 14 days.

These elements of coronavirus response have, in turn, continued to drive fears of an invisible contagion, hitchhiking without symptoms in some and attacking with deadly brutality in others. While these presumptions have underscored the nationwide coronavirus response since the spring and “15 days to slow the spread” turned to 6 months of lockdowns, shutdowns, social distancing, masking and more, that mentality may be changing.

In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explained, “We’ve been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus — that’s all. We’re using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making.” Dr. Mina continued by explaining that a yes or no is insufficient given the sensitivity of our PCR testing for coronavirus and suggests that the viral load is far more important than our response has suggested. “It’s really irresponsible, I think, to forgo the recognition that this is a quantitative issue.”

These findings come on the heels of information released from the CDC that details just a 6% rate of covid-19 fatality death certificates listing covid-19 singularly under cause of death and an average of an additional 2.6 underlying causes of death among the other 94% of cases. While many cases certainly developed additional comorbidities as a result of covid-19 infections, specifically pneumonia, the average of 2.6 additional causes of death per case and a median fatality age in line with normal United States life expectancy at 78 years old, data is increasingly supporting the belief that the virus poses far less risk of fatal infection to those without significant health issues or of an advanced age.

While some critics may see this as justification for their long-held skepticism, these trends appear to be a positive swing in our understanding of the virus and that is something we should all welcome.

Shocking Development out of the Big Ten Conference

Just two days after the Mid-American Conference announced it would forego fall sports and instead choose to reschedule games to the spring, the Big Ten Conference appears poised to cancel fall sports as well.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Big Ten has voted to cancel fall sports and most shockingly of all, Big Ten football. This comes on the heels of a statement from the Big Ten that seemed to offer some hope by allowing practice in helmets for the time being, though the release left future developments shrouded in some uncertainty.

While the move may not seem entirely surprising giving the current climate surrounding Covid-19 responses, momentum seemed to be heading in the other direction with marquee players such as Justin Fields (Ohio State), Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and others starting a hashtag campaign making their desire to play this fall clear.

Unlike smaller conferences, such as the MAC, which may benefit players having the opportunity to showcase their talent nearer to the NFL draft next spring, it seems that such a move by Power 5 schools will most certainly mean that top tier NFL talent will forego any rescheduled timetable. First round locks, such as Fields and Lawrence, appeared primed for at least one more run as college stars and instead will likely miss their final amateur seasons.

This story is still developing and we will keep you updated on any news as it breaks.

Mid-American Conference Postpones all Fall Sports

The Mid-American conference and its three Michigan member schools (Central, Eastern & Western) have announced that fall sports will be cancelled this fall and rescheduled to the spring.

The move comes just days after it was announced that Western University would maintain its lucrative matchup with Notre Dame. However, with most member schools losing their Power 5 contests and budget constraints put on programs playing games without fans, the MAC decided it would be best to postpone and hope for better opportunities to play in the spring.

While larger conferences benefit from tv deals, larger brand sponsorships, apparel sales, etc. the Mid-American conference, and football specifically, require a combination of Power 5 windfalls and fans in the stands to recoup costs of running programs.

We will provide updates as we become aware of any developing details. We now wait to see if this creates a cascade into other conferences and programs or if Notre Dame will have time to find a new opponent without casting another wave into schedules across the country.

Western Michigan Football Maintains Game at Notre Dame

UPDATE: All Mid-American Conference fall athletics have been postponed to spring and WMU’s game versus Notre Dame has been canceled. – Aug. 8, 2020

Notre Dame agreed to terms with the ACC to compete in conference play this season, but will maintain its non-conference game with the visiting Broncos of Western Michigan University. The game is set to be played on September 19 and will generate much needed funds for the Mid-American Conference squad and their athletic department.

The Broncos will be looking to play spoiler to the College Football Playoff hopeful, Fighting Irish, as they rake in the spoils of the marquee matchup of their schedule to the tune of 1.175 million dollars.

The game will provide WMU with funds sure to be in short supply in the 2020-2021 athletic calendar and an even more profitable marketing stage for the university. The Fighting Irish are sure to make the benefits of the matchup a tough pill to swallow between the uprights, as they return a promising Heisman candidate in senior quarterback, Ian Book.

Notre Dame (11-2 in 2019) opens their season against Duke University (5-7 in 2019) and Western Michigan (7-6 in 2019) looks to take a big first step in their Week 2 matchup against Cincinnati (11-3 in 2019) after losing two separate opponents in their Week 1 slot from conference cancellations.

Michigan & Michigan State Football Announce Updated Schedules

Michigan Football

  • OCT 10: BYE
  • NOV 14: BYE

Michigan State Football

  • OCT 10: BYE
  • NOV 14: BYE
  • NOV 21: Nebraska – LINCOLN, NEB.

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