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Nick Vlietstra's High School Sports Blog Week 1 Recap, Week 2 Preview

by Nick Vlietstra

We are one week in and all the teams have gotten their feet wet.  The unfortunate part about the first week was the lack of exciting games.  Looking around the area there were a lot of blow outs.  As we look forward to week 2 there should be some better match-ups and now that everyone has played a game they have a real idea where their team's are at and where they need to get to.  Here is a look back at what happened over the first week.

Week 1 recap

SMAC

In the opening week for the SMAC there were a few surprises.  One of those was in Sturgis where Portage Central hammered the Trojans 55-0.  I guess it isn’t so much a surprise in that Portage Central won, but by how big they won.  I thought that would be a pretty good game, but I guess I thought wrong.  Perhaps it is a sign that Portage Central is building on a great bounce back year last season.  Still, give a big tip of your hat to that Mustangs’ defense which held down one of the best quarterbacks in the state to only 82 yards passing.  It isn’t a good sign for Chance Stewart, the big quarterback signing for Western Michigan who was once committed to Wisconsin that he could produce no points on the opening night.  I don’t want to make too much of it, because a quarterback is only as good as all the parts he has to work with.  Still, I thought a quarterback who is that highly thought of would be able to produce some offense on most nights against high school defenses.

For this season Kalamazoo Central will have the bragging rights over their rivals from Loy Norrix.  It is a little strange to have such a big rivalry game on the opening week of the season.  With the way the schedule sets up in the SMAC though, they had to play in either week one or week two.  It was a classic game that was tight throughout, and the Giants were able to pull it out on a late TD.  It makes for a great rivalry game when it comes down the stretch, and it is a good win for the Giants in being able to pull it out. 

Also, a big congratulation to Battle Creek Central.  They won 15-0 on their opening week over Benton Harbor.  Why is that a big deal?  The Bearcats hadn’t won a football game in two years!

Week 2 Games:

Loy Norrix @ Portage Central

Mattawan @ Marshall

Kalamazoo Central @ Battle Creek Central

Portage Northern @ Coldwater

Stevensville Lakeshore @ Gull Lake

Sturgis @ Niles

Lakeview @ Benton Harbor

Wolverine

There were no big surprises, but just wide margin victories in the first week.  In fact the closest game was Dowagiac beating Vicksburg 32-14.  There were three shutouts and some games that got very ugly very fast.  It is early but it is already looking like there is a very wide talent level from top to bottom in the Wolverine.  The top teams in the Wolverine should stay the same (Paw Paw, Plainwell, Edwardsburg and Dowagiac) and they should have their way on most nights against the lesser teams in the conference (Comstock, Allegan, Coloma and South Haven)

Edwardsburg looked like they would have one of the bigger tests in the first week as they hosted Otsego, but they really had very little trouble with the Bulldogs winning 34-7.  Otsego beat Edwardsburg to open last season, but the talent pool in Otsego looks like it might be dwindling and Edwardsburg looks like they could be very tough. 

Week 2 games

Plainwell @ Three Rivers

Edwardsburg @ Vicksburg

Berrien Springs @ Paw Paw

Coloma @ Allegan

South Haven @ Otsego

Dowagiac @ Comstock

KVA

Well, the standings to open the season look about what they look like every season.  Schoolcraft, Olivet, Pennfield and Constantine at the top (and yes Kalamazoo Christian did get a win too).  The top four teams won their opening weeks games by a combined total of 182-46.  Much like the Wolverine there wasn’t any real surprises and the conference seems very top heavy. That’s the way the conference is just about every single year.

Two of those top teams will meet this coming week as Constantine and Schoolcraft renew their rivalry.  Schoolcraft ran the table in the regular season last season which included a week two win over Constantine, only to have their playoff run ended by Constantine in the second round of the playoffs.  Seeing that the top four teams rarely lose to anyone but each other their play against each other is what truly decides who wins the KVA every year.

Week 2 games

Schoolcraft @ Constantine

Parchment @ Pennfield

Hackett @ Galesburg-Augusta

Olivet @ Kalamazoo Christian

Maple Valley @ Delton

SAC

Week one saw all non-divisional match-ups, and aside from one game everyone was still playing within the conference.  With Lawrence now gone to 8 man football it leaves the south division with one less team.  The south dominated the first week’s action winning every game against the north opponents.

The biggest game saw Watervliet hammer Gobles 43-14.  The Panthers strong QB, Jake Cowsert is gone, but that didn’t stop their powerful offense from picking up right where it left off.  They are now led by Luke Traver who was the Quarterback for Hartford last season.  The difference now is that he leaves a power run offense where he didn’t throw the ball much, to one that he will throw quite often.  He attempted 20 passes in his first game.  There were plenty of times last season where he attempted five or less passes in a game.

Week 2 Games

Hartford @ Gobles

Bangor @ Watervliet

Bloomingdale @ Lawton

Fennville @ Decatur

Saugatuck @ Marcellus

Lawrence @ Martin

Players of the week

1. Jake Doll, Paw Paw QB

It was the first game that Doll was given the reigns to the compete offense and he showed why he is the man now throwing for 349 yards and five TDs in a 53-6 win over South Haven.  He also added 48 yards and a TD on the ground to total six total TDs on the day.  Doll was used occasionally in rush packages for the Redskins last season but now he will be getting all of the heavy work and looks like it won’t be a big issue for him.

2. Jacob Allen, Portage Central RB

He had a great season last year and he didn’t miss a beat moving to this season.  Allen rushed for 205 yards and 3 TDs in leading the Mustangs to a 55-0 win over Sturgis.  He could be primed for a great senior season.

3. Jacob Geter, Plainwell RB

It was the varsity debut for Geter but he looked like a seasoned veteran rushing for 184 yards and four TDs in a 45-0 win over Coloma.  Senior RB Ryan Britton got the majority of the carries but Geter showed his break-away speed as two of his TDs were from long distances of 78 and 68 yards.  If he can keep this up Plainwell will have an extremely scary backfield combination.

4. Luke Traver, Watervliet QB

Traver changed schools and changed offenses but he looked like he has been doing this for a while.  He threw for 134 yards and three TDs and rushed for another 129 yards and three TDs.  On top of that he did that against one of the top teams in the conference, Gobles.

5. Justin Hull, Constantine RB

The beast that is the Constantine offense just continues to click no matter who is in the backfield.  Justin Hull takes over in the backfield as one of the top backs.  In week one he rushed for 123 yards and three TDs.  He was one of three Falcons who rushed for over 100 yards in their win over Delton.

Big Games for Week 2

Schoolcraft (1-0) @ Constantine (1-0)

When these two get together it usually turns out to be a great game.  They are two of the top teams in the conference and this game always has conference championship implications on it.  They faced each other twice last season with both games being played at Schoolcraft.  The Eagles won the regular season game on their way to an undefeated regular season.  The Falcons came back in the playoffs though and won again on their way to another long playoff run.  With the first game jitters and miscues out of the way, these two should be primed for a great game.

We know Constantine is going to run and run and run.  They have a new cast of characters in the backfield but what they do never changes.  This game will be decided on a few factors.  First, whether Schoolcraft can slow down the Falcons.  In their regular season match-up last year Schoolcraft was able to do just that and in the playoffs they didn’t.  Secondly, Schoolcraft will need to use their passing game effectively because Constantine does not have a great passing defense.  Schoolcraft has a new QB at the controls and Tom Hurst will need to be smart and will need to play a big roll if the Eagles win this game.

My Pick: Constantine 28, Schoolcraft 20.  The game is in Constantine and their offense appears to be clicking already.  They rushed for over 500 yards in week one against Delton. 

Three Rivers (1-0) @ Plainwell (1-0)

These two both made it to the playoffs last season.  Plainwell should be destined to be there again, and Three Rivers would love to be there.  A big win on Friday night will do a lot to push the Wildcats in that direction.  Plainwell has won this game the last two years.  Last season the Wildcats were able to keep it close but just didn’t have enough to take down the Trojans.  Both of these teams won their first games and did it pretty easily.

Three Rivers now has Alex Cottingham as their QB.  In the past they have thrown it around quite a bit, but only attempted three passes in their game one win over Comstock.  It remains to be seen if that was because there wasn’t a need to (they won 60-0) or if they are planning on relying on the run more this season.  Plainwell has a power run offense and they may have found another beast in the backfield.  They already had Senior RB Ryan Britton who rushed for 97 yards and a TD in week one, but they now also have Junior Jacob Geter who rushed for 184 yards and four TDs against Coloma. 

My Pick: Plainwell 28, Three Rivers 21.  Plainwell is at home and they have the power running attack that will be tough for the Wildcats to stop.  It remains to be seen how good Three Rivers will be this season.  They can take a big step in the right direction if they win this week.

Hartford (1-0) @ Gobles (0-1)

The beginning of the season can be a little bit of a mystery for some teams.  Both of these teams are in that category.  They have had very strong teams in the past, and still can be this year, but they are also trying to replace some big pieces.  Gobles was hammered by a Watervliet team that is now guided by Luke Traver who is the former Hartford QB.  Traver accounted for six TDs in his first game against the Tigers.  Hartford clearly needs to find a way to replace their QB.  Meanwhile, Gobles is trying to replace their great running back Adam Vosburg.  That was an issue for them in week one as their leading rusher was Pierce Vreeland who rushed for only 70 yards.

My Pick: Gobles 26, Hartford 23.  After a week one loss this game means a lot for Gobles.  I would expect Hartford to give the Tigers all they can handle as a 2-0 start would be a great way to go into divisional play.