Category Archives: Sports

Big Ten Network Unveils New Logo and Brand Identity

Rebranding Campaign Launches With Start of 2020 Big Ten Football Season

CHICAGO, Ill. – Today, the Big Ten Network unveiled a new logo and brand identity with the kickoff of the 2020 Big Ten football season. The transformation is intended to provide brand consistency and highlight the network’s position as the home for Big Ten Conference events, news and storytelling.

“Since the Big Ten Network was created in 2007, our mission has been to serve as THE destination for fans and alumni on all things Big Ten,” said Big Ten Network president, François McGillicuddy. “The new look leans heavily on the iconic “B1G” mark, which has come to represent the athletic and academic success of our 14 Big Ten universities, and underscores the nature of who we are and what we do.”

The new network logo, as well as numerous school and sport-specific variations, will be implemented across all linear and digital platforms, including game broadcasts, studio shows, social media platforms, original programming and marketing applications. The logo was created by Pentagram, which also developed the Big Ten Conference logo.

The rebrand was developed in conjunction with both the Big Ten and FOX Sports, as well as external feedback encompassing research focus groups across multiple cities in the Big Ten. As part of the overall campaign, Troika will also produce a Big Ten Network brand campaign, launching with this 30-second spot on Friday, Oct. 23.

A revamped Big Ten Network+, featuring live streams of non-televised events and replays of televised events, is scheduled to launch in the coming weeks. One immediate change fans will notice this fall is the introduction sport-specific packages. Users are now able to choose a subscription based on sport in addition to the existing school-specific and league-wide options.  

Kent City Rolls In Showdown with Lakeview Volleyball

JV and Varsity programs both garnered victories over visiting Lakeview High School volleyball. The night was capped with the Eagles completing the clean sweep of the Wildcats and digging deep into the rotation on “Dig Pink” night, which featured both teams sporting special pink jerseys with Kent City’s bearing the names of loved ones impacted by cancer.

The Eagles travel to Cedar Springs on Saturday before closing out in home games against White Cloud and Comstock Park before beginning their post-season run.

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.

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.

Michigan & Michigan State Football Announce Updated Schedules

Michigan Football

  • SEP 5: PURDUE – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • SEP 12: MINNESOTA – MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.
  • SEP 19: PENN STATE – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • SEP 26: RUTGERS – PISCATAWAY, N.J.
  • OCT 3: MICHIGAN STATE – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • OCT 10: BYE
  • OCT 17: INDIANA – BLOOMINGTON, IND.
  • OCT 24: OHIO STATE – COLUMBUS, OHIO
  • OCT 31: WISCONSIN – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • NOV 7: MARYLAND – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • NOV 14: BYE
  • NOV 21: NORTHWESTERN – EVANSTON, ILL.

Michigan State Football

  • SEP 5: MINNESOTA – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • SEP 12: MARYLAND – MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.
  • SEP 19: NORTHWESTERN – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • SEP 26: PENN STATE – PISCATAWAY, N.J.
  • OCT 3: MICHIGAN – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • OCT 10: BYE
  • OCT 17: OHIO STATE – COLUMBUS, OHIO
  • OCT 24: RUTGERS – PISCATAWAY, N.J.
  • OCT 31: IOWA – IOWA CITY, IA
  • NOV 7: INDIANA – BLOOMINGTON, IND.
  • NOV 14: BYE
  • NOV 21: Nebraska – LINCOLN, NEB.


MHSAA Releases Updated Guidelines for Fall Sports

As students prepare to enter the 2020-2021 school year and athletes ready themselves to participate in early-season practices and tryouts, the MHSAA has a released their updated guidelines for fall sports programs. The full text of the release is below.

Dear MHSAA Community,

The Representative Council met this morning to discuss fall sports.  Here is a summary of the action taken.

  • Approved a “phased-in” approach to fall athletics.
  • Eliminated scrimmages in all fall sports; the only occasions where students from different schools would be together is for official games, matches, meets and competitions.
  • Finalized the fall sports guidance documents for the safe return to activity.  This guidance includes general information along with sport-specific directives for students, coaches, staff, officials and media members.  Spectator guidance will be added once those number of individual limits are finalized by the Governor’s office.  These documents are posted at mhsaa.com on each sport page and comply with all Executive Orders from Governor Whitmer.
  • New competition limits in all fall sports were approved to limit the number of teams and individuals at any one competition site.  The concept is fall competition will take place as locally as possible with no large-scale events, invitationals or tournaments.  See the fall sport-specific guidance documents for these limits.
  • Allowed all low-risk sports to begin practice and competition as scheduled on August 12.  This includes golf, tennis, cross country and swimming.  Swimming can begin indoor practice and competition once pools are opened  with capacity limitations being followed.
  • Allowed moderate-risk sports of soccer and volleyball (pending the opening of school gyms) to begin practice as scheduled on August 12 but to delay competition.  Decisions on competition timelines (to start or to delay further) would be made on or by August 20.
  • Delayed the start of football practice with full player pads and equipment until Monday, August 17.  The week of August 10 shall only include practice sessions that consists of conditioning, physical training and skill work but without player equipment other than helmets.  This week of acclimatization (August 10-16) is similar to the allowed summer activities with helmets, only, that have been ongoing since June.  Decisions on competition timelines (to start or to delay further) would be made on or by August 20. 

The MHSAA will continue to be nimble and flexible in these uncertain times.  The Council will be meeting regularly and we will continue to provide updates and possible modifications based on the most current information, directives from state government and health department officials and member school feedback.

Thank you.

Mark Uyl
MHSAA Executive Director

Top Prospects 16U-Houseman Takes 1st of 64 Teams in Byron Center

The Top Prospects 16U-Houseman softball team battled back from a 6th inning deficit in the tournament quarterfinal to pull things even with two 2-run homers (Emma Houseman & Kylie Gould) heading into the final inning. The squad pulled ahead in the final inning and carried that momentum into back to back shutouts in the semifinal and tournament championship game as the bats kept humming and the team rode the strong arm of pitcher, Cierra Laska.

The effort placed them in the top spot of the 2020 Blue Chip Summer Slam tournament out of an astonishing 64 teams that packed into 8 diamonds over the course of four days during Fourth of July weekend. They finished the weekend with a record of 8-1.

Kent City Completes Season Sweep of Morley Standwood to Win District Final

Just under a year ago, the Kent City Eagles competed in a post-season matchup in which they controlled things most of the way until poor free throw shooting allowed the visiting team to overtake them in the final minute.

That team was eventual state champion Pewamo-Westphalia, and while there is no guarantee the regional win would have given Kent City the same results, they certainly are justified in wondering what could have been. This year, the Eagles welcomed Morley-Stanwood to The Nest for the teams’ third matchup of the season and the District Championship on the line.

In a scene that was very reminiscent of a season prior, the Eagles led the Mohawks all night but left an opening at the end as free throws missed the mark in large numbers.

Morley Stanwood made great strides from an earlier season showdown at The Nest when the Kent City Eagles shot the lights out and ran away with a lopsided victory. The Mohawks were not dismayed and closed the gap between the teams to 10-points in the second matchup a few weeks later and just 6-points in the district final. The game got as close as 3-points in the final few minutes of play.

The tale of the night was undoubtedly the second consecutive game where the Eagles struggled from the field.

In the district semi-final, Kent City managed to get solid looks, but continually failed to turn those chances into points. Friday night looked very similar. The Eagles were able to work the ball through their offense and get open shots, but continued their cold streak and allowed the Mohawks to stick around until the final seconds ticked away.

Both games proved Kent City can win even when its shots aren’t falling. The Eagles can win games on the defensive end when needed and that is something they will once again need to do to advance this coming Tuesday.

The Mohawks end the season 19-4 with 3 losses coming against Kent City. They graduate a host of seniors, but will also return a number of impact players for the 2020-2021 season. The conference battle between the two schools should be back in full force next season and basketball fans are sure to be in for a treat when they meet again.

The #3 ranked Kent City Eagles advance to the round of 32 to face #1 ranked and defending state champion, Pewamo-Westphalia. The matchup marks the third consecutive year the two squads will face off in a post season contest with each year coming a round earlier than the last (2018 – round of 8, 2019 – round of 16, 2020 – round of 32). The teams will meet this Tuesday at Morley Stanwood High School.

Stay tuned for our preview of the game and opinion piece on some improvements that need to be made by the MHSAA.

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