Tag Archives: High School

Detroit MLK withstands Comeback Attempt and Goal Line Stand against Dewitt

The Detroit Martin Luther King Crusaders seemed poised to dominate the defending Division 3 champions, Dewitt Panthers, in the 2021 high school football swan song and both teams have fans one last ride to remember.

Despite being heavily in control of the momentum and direction of the game, Detroit MLK was on the receiving end of a comeback that could only come from a team playing with the kind of championship confidence that the Panthers brought with them on Saturday night.

The Panthers forced several turnovers and managed to get going offensively behind Mr. Football candidate and Brown University commit Ty Holtz. The effort flipped the script and had them up over the #1 ranked Crusaders, 21-19, at half.

Both teams came out in the second half and an absolute slugfest of Michigan high school football juggernauts ensued the final 24 minutes. The back and forth was finally broken when Crusader quarterback Dante Wright, a favorite for Mr. Football and five-star recruit, led his squad down the field to take the lead, 25-21, late in the fourth quarter.

Dewitt wasn’t done, however, and marched down the field where they were stymied on a fourth and goal from the one yard line that left them just inches short of the end zone and regaining the advantage. Detroit MLK managed to push ahead and gain two first downs that sealed the game and ran out the remaining clock to earn the final state football title of 2021.

Zeeland East Sends Seniors Out with a Win Over Muskegon

Friday night was humming in Zeeland as the Big Reds of Muskegon came to town to face off with the Zeeland East Chix women’s basketball team on Senior Night.

Senior night festivities had no sooner ended than the Chix found themselves in a deficit and serious foul trouble with senior forwards Shelby Ulven and Audrey Dreyer both exiting early in the first quarter.

The Chix tallied more fouls than points in the first quarter and found themselves down 10-5. Zeeland East found their rhythm in the second quarter with juniors Maddie Schuur and Paige Westra helping lead the way offensively. On the defensive end, Zeeland East held Muskegon to just two points the rest of the half while posting eighteen themselves. The teams entered the half with a score of 23-12 and all momentum firmly behind the Chix.

Schuur went on to have another big half after the break, posting another twelve and ending the night with a game high 19 points. Muskegon made a last ditch attempt at a comeback in the fourth quarter but came up short 49-39. The Big Reds were led by senior Kailyn Nash who finished with 14 points and aided by Layla Harris with 12 points. Zeeland East spread the workload around and eight Chix netted points on the night and finished the season with the win over the Big Reds.

The Chix kept the momentum going after Friday night’s victory and won their first game of districts over Holland High School. Muskegon will wait for their opening game of the post season on Wednesday after a first round bye as they face the winner of Grand Rapids Union & Kenowa Hills.

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.

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.

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.

Zeeland East Exacts Revenge on Holland Christian

There is a long-standing cliche trotted out by coaches in locker rooms across the country and in just about all competitive sports.

“The only people that believe we can win are in this locker room.”

The phrase has taken a variety of forms over the years, but always comes back to the same theme: We are the only ones that believe we have a shot. While we can’t guarantee the message was relayed in pregame by first year head coach, Connor Hoke, the Zeeland East varsity girls basketball squad certainly embodied it.

The competitive drive of an athlete and their team allows a bit of irrationality to seep in on occasion, which doesn’t as easily inflict the casual or more objective spectator. However, that irrationality is what makes the games worth playing. Sports can and do often follow a predictable trajectory, but there are those shocking moments, Cinderellas and underdog stories that make us tune in again and again. Tuesday night’s showcase between the Zeeland East Chix and Holland Christian Maroons was such a contest and worth the price of admission.

The Chix welcomed Holland Christian after a short trip across town for a rematch of their matchup just a month earlier, when the Maroons steamrolled their way to a dominating 47-25 victory in Holland. The casual observer would be forgiven for suspecting a similar result would be the odds-on favorite outcome on Tuesday night.

However, the Chix have been gaining significant momentum lately with revenge wins in which the Chix turned the tables for a 12-point swing between games against Unity Christian and a whopping 20-point swing against their bitter rival, Zeeland West.

So it is understandable that East was brimming with confidence despite the odds being stacked in their opponents’ favor. It was apparent that the Chix believed Tuesday would not be a repeat of the prior matchup and were every bit as ready to stun the home crowd as they were to prove recent success has not been a fluke. If Holland Christian thought this game would look anything like their prior matchup, they were quickly dissuaded of the notion.

East opened on an absolute tear after the opening tipoff and jumped to a quick 9-0 lead before Holland Christian coach, Heather Swierenga, called a timeout to calm her team and get the Maroons back on track. The Chix weren’t done yet, though, and Junior forward Audrey Dreyer, a transfer this year from Kent City, dropped a three from the baseline corner to push the opening run to 12-0 and got “The Coop” chirping in the stands the rest of the night.

The Maroons managed to get on the board with a drive by junior guard Hannah Genzink, which jump-started a run of their own. Holland Christian closed out on an 8-0 spree that left the score 12-8 after the first quarter.

Holland Christian opened the second quarter with another driving bucket that extended their unanswered run and pulled them within just two points. That was as close as they would get on this particular blitz before another run by East, led by Dreyer hitting another three point shot, this time from the top of the key, and several blocked shots on the defensive end. The Chix also applied interior pressure on hard takes by juniors Natalie Jarzembowski & Joy VanDam and senior Kennedy Boone-Sauter as well as several threaded passes from junior guard Haley Diekevers. The run pushed things to 17-10 in favor of East.

Once again, Holland Christian proved they would not let the Chix run away with things and delivered a three point shot, followed by back to back steals by junior guard Sarah Snow, which gave the Maroons breakaway layups and tied things up with just under four minutes to play in the half.

The Maroons eventually took the lead at 21-18 with 1:46 left in the half when Hoke called timeout. The decision proved prescient, despite just being down three. A team that believes is a powerful thing and coach Hoke was unwilling to let momentum shift too far unanswered.

East wasted no time after the break and delivered a three point bomb off the finger tips of sophomore guard Maddie Schuur that tied things up at 21-all and ended the Maroons only lead of the night, which lasted just over 10-seconds. Dreyer delivered another block against the Maroon fast break a few plays later and the score held 21-21 at the half.

The second half proved East was still capable of stitching together big runs on the visiting Maroons, but while Holland Christian was able to make comeback attempts throughout the night, the considerable Chix leads continued to be too large a buffer to overcome.

The Chix stretched the score as far apart as 39-26 before their offense cooled and the Maroons were able to claw their way back, eventually bringing it to within three after a deep three point bucket by senior guard Hannah Luurtsema made the score 42-39 with 1:30 left in the game and forced Hoke to call timeout once again.

The Chix employed stall-ball the rest of the way after the break and forced the Maroons to foul. Boone-Sauter hit both ends of the one-and-one to push the score to 44-39. However, the five point margin was quickly cut back to three off a shot in the paint by Maroon senior center Taylor Stygstra. Fans had to be feeling anxious as Zeeland East’s Diekevers missed the front end of the one-and-one, but she was quickly redeemed after a huge offensive rebound by Jarzembowski was kicked the ball back to Diekevers for two points.

A shooting foul on the other end put Maroon senior center Faith Mulder at the line to split two free throws, which made the score 46-42 with just 24 seconds remaining in the contest. Diekevers missed the front end of another one-and-one, but Dreyer pulled down another Chix offensive rebound and kicked it to Boone-Sauter who was finally tracked down, fouled and went to the line for double bonus. If fans hoped they’d be able to breathe a sigh of relief, they’d have to wait another 16.4 seconds as both shots clanked off the iron and Holland Christian took possession down by only four.

While they certainly made fans stress at the end, the Chix were able to stifle the Maroon attack the remainder of the clock and held on for the stunning 46-42 upset. The victory marked a whopping 26-point turnaround from the teams’ first matchup one month prior and gave the Chix on the final home game of the season at The Coop.

Dreyer led the Chix with 12 points and may have also hit a triple-double (points, rebounds and blocks), though we have not yet been able to confirm. The Chix were also aided by 8 points from Jarzembowski and Boone-Sauter.

The Chix wrap up their regular season against Holland HS, who they comfortably beat last month 62-29. Holland Christian ends things at home against Hamilton HS after a previous meeting in which the Maroons secured a 50-27 victory. Both teams look prepared for district play early next month.

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