Thursday, September 30, 2010
Southfield, Brother Rice on the brink
The last two years have been very good years for the football teams at Southfield and Birmingham Brother Rice, with each making deep runs into the state playoffs. Southfield got to the Division 2 state semifinals two years ago and to a regional final last year, while Brother Rice made it to the state semifinals in Division 2 this past year.
Kosmo thought each would be among the best teams in the county this year, which makes it hard for the K-Man to believe that each could be out of the playoff picture by the end of this weekend.
Both teams enter with 2-3 records needing to win out in order to get the six wins necessary to qualify automatically for the state playoffs (some teams do get in at 5-4 depending on how many points they have).
Worse, each team faces an unbeaten squads this week. Southfield has to travel to Farmington on Friday, while Brother Rice plays Orchard Lake St. Mary's at Berkley on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The Bluejays and Warriors will no doubt be desperate teams, but whether that's enough to avoid a fourth loss already this season will be seen this weekend.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Marian vs. Mercy rivalry ready to resume
Kosmo hasn't talked about volleyball very much on this blog this year, but there's a big reason to do so now because of what is taking place on Thursday.
For the first time this year, state and county powers Birmingham Marian and Farmington Hills Mercy will meet on the court.
The two are the best in the area and should be plenty familiar with each other. The Mustangs and Marlins certainly saw enough of each other last year when they met five times, including in the Class A state semifinals in Battle Creek.
Marian won all the games en route to its first ever state championship.
Originally, the game was supposed to be played at Mercy, but has since been switched to Marian. The teams will meet later in the year at Mercy, then possibly in the Catholic League playoffs and state semifinals.
Kosmo would love to call this a rivalry, but that means each team has to win some games. Until Mercy steps up and beats Marian, then it'll be hard to call it a rivalry.
- In addition to volleyball, Birmingham Marian and Farmington Hills Mercy could well be battling it out for county supremacy in swimming when the annual county swim and dive meets takes place on Saturday at Waterford Mott. Mercy enters as the favorite, but are expected to be challenged by Marian and Novi. Birmingham Groves and Birmingham Seaholm could be darkhorse contenders as well.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Good times at Holly
If there is one athletic program that usually flies under the radar in Oakland County, it's Holly.
Whether it's because of the northern location or the fact that teams usually aren't up to standard record-wise, not much attention is usually placed on athletics at Holly.
Right now, that's about to change, since Kosmo feels plenty of attention deserves to be placed on the athletic program.
The football team all of a sudden looks as if it will have a chance to earn its second playoff berth in school history (the first was in 2006).
After an 0-2 start, Holly upset Flint Metro favorite Linden in Week 3 to start a three-game winning streak. With a weak remaining schedule, the Bronchos can get to the necessary six wins.
In addition, the boys soccer team is in the hunt for a league title, and the tennis team still continues to dominate the league.
In other words, it's good to be a Broncho right now.
— Kosmo usually hates the cliche of "throwing out the records" when teams play, but that could theory will likely apply this Saturday when Birmingham Brother Rice plays Orchard Lake St. Mary's at Berkley.
Yes, Brother Rice is 2-3 and struggling, while St. Mary's is red-hot at 5-0. But given the pride of the Warriors and the history of this rivalry, Koz would still be surprised if this wasn't a close game.
Monday, September 27, 2010
A little basketball news during football season
Not to get too far off the beaten path since it is the heart of football season, but Kosmo did recently come across some interesting basketball news a few days ago. Kosmo was told by a prominent spy that Pontiac won't have senior guard Juwan Moody on its team this year.
Evidently, Moody and his family decided to move to Arizona. Moody was a sharpshooter who along with senior Anthony Adams would've given the Phoenix one of the best backcourt tandems in the area this winter. However, Pontiac usually has plenty of talent in the pipeline, so Koz is sure others will step up.
The big issue here as far as Kosmo is concerned is with Moody's transfer itself.
It's his third high school in four years after he started at Orchard Lake St. Mary's.
Kosmo isn't sure what exactly the situation is, but hopefully it's not a case of Moody being unhappy and looking for greener pastures elsewhere.
Situations aren't going to be perfect for a player. But instead of pouting, quitting or leaving, players should just stick it up and work harder to improve themselves.
If this is indeed the case with Moody, and Kosmo isn't sure it is or not, what's he going to do in college if certain things aren't tailored for him? Is he just going to keep transferring? What about in the real world? Do players like that just think they can bounce from job to job because they're not pampered to?
It usually is bad news when players don't stick it out. Hopefully it does work out for Moody in Arizona and for Pontiac as a team this winter.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
An OP jinx?
Much has been made over the years about a jinx to those who appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but sadly, Kosmo is noticing there might be a jinx for getting some good publicity from the Oakland Press as well.
Kosmo will start with the fact that the boys soccer teams at Troy Athens and the football team at Birmingham Brother Rice, the No. 1-ranked team in the preseason previews for those sports, are struggling right now.
Athens is just above .500 despite having 10 starters back, although the good news for the legendary coach Tim Storch and his crew is that the real season doesn't begin until next month when the state playoffs arrive. There's plenty of time to fix things.
The same can't be said for Brother Rice, which is 2-3 and needs to beat both unbeaten Orchard Lake St. Mary's and Novi Detroit Catholic Central in the next two weeks to avoid a fourth loss.
Not only that, but Kosmo noticed that a day after a feature story ran on Rochester senior volleyball player Erin Leppek, the Falcons were swept in a match by Farmington.
The good news is that being on the front page of the OP sports section didn't bother the football team at Rochester, since the Falcons continued their good play with a 35-14 win at Troy Athens.
— Kosmo was sad to see Ortonville Brandon suffered an overtime loss to Fenton, the first loss of the sesaon for the Blackhawks. Kosmo has a feeling Brandon was looking ahead to this week's showdown with unbeaten Lapeer East. The only way for Brandon to make up for what happened this past Friday is to play a great game at East.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Mergers will hurt
While eating breakfast in his cave on Friday, Kosmo noticed a fine article by spy Paul Kampe on the swimming rivalry between Bloomfield Hills Andover and Bloomfield Hills Lahser.
The thing that struck Kosmo the most was something that he suspected and feared, that Andover and Lahser will be merging into one high school in a couple of years.
This continues an unfortunate trend, one that's obviously a byproduct of the horrible economy.
In the past four years, the two high schools in Royal Oak and Pontiac have merged, and in addition to Bloomfield Hills, it's likely that Southfield and Southfield-Lathrup will merge into one high school in the next couple of years.
Kosmo understands the motive of school districts for doing so in these tough times, and realize they might not have any other choice.
Still, merging schools hurts in multiple ways.
First and foremost, teachers and other staff members lose jobs. It also takes away roster spots on athletic teams because there are obviously fewer spots available and more competition.
So what do kids do when they can't play sports?
Kosmo hopes they take up some other extracurricular activity, because he shudders to think what they'll do with their free time if they don't do anything after school as a result of being cut from an athletic team.
Coaches will also lose jobs and opportunities to mentor kids, and parents will have to take on more responsibility to ensure their kids learn the life lessons sports offer.
Merging schools might be a necessary and financially prudent option one for many districts, but it has and will continue to have its prices.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
How time flies
The weather on Tuesday may have been warm and sunny, but one look at upcoming prep events seems to signal that cold weather is around the corner, because postseason events for fall high school sports are already on the horizon.
The first sign is Wednesday when the annual Oakland County Division I girls golf tournament will be held at Pontiac Country Club.
As main spy Keith D. wrote in Tuesday's Oakland Press, it's the start of the final stage of the season where all the important tournaments take place, such as league, regionals and the state tournament.
Not too far off is league tournaments and regional tournaments for boys tennis teams, while girls swimming will hold its annual county meet a week from Saturday on Oct. 2.
Right behind that will be the county cross country meet on Oct. 9.
Enjoy all the good weather while you can, because as evidenced by the all the important events coming up for fall sports, it won't be here for long
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sad times in Royal Oak
Way back in the day, it was common for two of the county's best football teams annually to be Royal Oak Kimball and Royal Oak Dondero.
Both were deep, tough-minded, disciplined and talented teams that nobody wanted to play on a given Friday.
All of which makes it heartbreaking for Kosmo to see what's going on with the combined Royal Oak High School (Dondero and Kimball merged a few years ago). This is by no means a way of bashing the kids at Royal Oak, head coach Dave Potter or the coaching staff.
All are busting their tails, are fine individuals and should be commended for how they carry themselves.
It just seems right now, the premier talent, depth and mojo is gone from high school football in Royal Oak.
The Ravens have lost 23 consecutive games spanning the last couple of years, and there's a 99.9 percent chance it'll be 24 when powerful Lake Orion visits on Friday.
Kosmo can point to several possible reasons for the decline, most notably the changing dynamic of the Royal Oak community the last 20 years.
Many families who lived in the area migrated to north Oakland County, a big reason why there's now one combined school with over 1,600 kids as opposed to two high schools with over 3,000 kids like Kimball and Dondero were back in the 1980's.
Royal Oak in general is simply a popular place now for singles, young adults and older adults not interested in starting a family.
That's not to say there aren't big families in Royal Oak, but there are just a lot less than there used to be.
It's not the worst thing in the world, because Royal Oak is one of the state's most popular places to visit and to live for post-college graduates.
Sadly though, one thing that's suffered as a result is the quality of football at the high school, a disappointing sight Kosmo isn't sure will get better soon or not.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Big coaching news at Adams
For the last seven years, Chuck Van Robays has helped build the Rochester Adams baseball program back to the prominent level it was at in the mid 90's, when Van Robays was a catcher on teams that went to the state finals in 1995 and 1996.
Now, Van Robays has decided to move on.
In a somewhat surprising development, Van Robays stepped down as head coach a couple of weeks ago.
He and his wife are expecting their first child in January and he works full-time training players at the Varsity Shop Training Center in Bloomfield Hills.
As a result, the amount of time he likes to put into the baseball program at Adams would've been affected, so he decided to step aside.
It's sad news for Adams because Van Robays is one of the best young coaches in the area in any sport.
He helped lead Adams to a 51-17 record the last two seasons and an appearance in the Division 1 state quarterfinals this past June.
The good news for Adams though is that he leaves the baseball program in terrific shape for whoever replaces him.
Adams is just the latest baseball coaching opening in the county. Royal Oak, Troy and West Bloomfield are also looking for new coaches.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Good start to school year for Catholic Central
The 2009-10 school year produced something Kosmo never thought he would see in high school athletics.
Amazingly, even for an athletic program with so much tradition and history of championships, Novi Detroit Catholic Central captured six athletic state titles a year ago.
That's right, six.
Catholic Central won state championships in football, wrestling, cross country, bowling, hockey and golf, and winning so much hardware in one school year might never happen again.
At least Kosmo thought so.
As it turns out, with the start the Shamrocks are off to in fall sports, maybe this will be another year with a horde of state titles.
The football team looks every bit as good as they were last year. The cross country team is one of the state's best, as is the boys tennis team led by the Dube brothers.
Even the soccer team, which lost one of the country's best players, Josh Gatt, is off to a great start this year, having lost just once.
There is still a long way to go, but it appears as if this could be another banner year, or should Kosmo say year of multiple banners, at Catholic Central.
- Looks as if the Troy boys soccer team was inspired by the fact that star senior Sean Cunningham decided to play his senior season and not accept an offer to play for a professional team in Germany. The Colts are off to an 8-0 start and have beaten OAA Red rivals Rochester Adams, Clarkston and Bloomfield Hills Lahser. Next up is a game at Lake Orion on Thursday and a showdown with city rival Troy Athens next week.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Big milestone for Notre Dame Prep's Wroubel
Usually Saturday volleyball tournaments are known for producing lots of games, which allow teams and players to get better in ways they can't playing one match during a weekday.
But this Saturday, a tournament at Berkley produced not only that, but a historic milestone for one of the county's more well-known and long-tenured coaches.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball coach Betty Wroubel earned her 1,000 career win at the tournament, which saw the Fighting Irish take home the tournament title.
It was a great honor for one of Kosmo's favorite coaches, one who's been a lynchpin in the state volleyball and softball scene for decades.
Wroubel will probably say her favorite moment was leading the volleyball team to the Class B state title in 2007, the first time an Oakland County school ever won a state title in volleyball.
But this ranks right up there in Kosmo's eyes, and a perfect way to honor someone who has impacted the lives of many over the years.
Great job and congrats, Betty.
— Thursday should be a fun night in Birmingham, as it will be a battle of unbeatens when Birmingham Detroit Country Day faces Birmingham Seaholm in a non-league football game. In addition to some city bragging rights, the matchup features the two best wide receivers in the county, Country Day's Kenny Knight and Seaholm's Shawn Conway.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Blackhawks flying high
Over the past few years, Kosmo has liked to talk about the greatness of the A & W in Ortonville, and rightfully so.
Not many towns have a place like it, and there's simply no place like it.
But given the start the Ortonville Brandon football is off to, it's time to not talk about the A & W as much.
Following a 40-16 win over Lapeer West, the Blackhawks are off to a 3-0 start and are halfway to their first playoff appearance in so long that Kosmo can't even remember.
The Blackhawks have been unstoppable on offense so far, amassing 142 points in three games.
Of course, Brandon head coach Tim Pizzala is probably cautioning his team that it got off to a 2-0 start two years ago and finished 3-6, but this appears to be a team that's ready to take advantage of a winnable Flint Metro League.
All of which should make for a packed and happy A & W for the next few Friday nights.
- This Tuesday finally marks the start of league play for high school volleyball teams around the county. While boys soccer is nearing the halfway point of their league schedule, volleyball will finally get going. The biggest game on Tuesday appears to be in the OAA Red, when Birmingham Seaholm will play at Clarkston.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Athens, Walled Lake Northern need to back it up
It's Week 3 of the high school football season, and already Kosmo sees an opportunity for lots of teams to showcase how good they are.
While there are multiple squads in that boat, two in particular as Kosmo see it have an opportunity to make a "statement" on Friday.
By no means has Troy Athens and Walled Lake Northern done any sort of trash talking or boasting, so the K-Man isn't saying that at all.
But both feel they are improved squads this year, and Friday is a good chance for them to back up their feelings with good play on the field.
Athens hosts Clarkston, which seems vulnerable right now. The RedHawks were disappointing to say the least in a 42-3 shellacking at the hands of Pontiac last week, so there shouldn't be any more talk of a changed culture or playoff appearance unless Athens can beat traditional power Clarkston at home.
There really are no excuses.
Another team with a good opportunity is Walled Lake Northern, which hosts its biggest game in school history against Walled Lake Central on Friday. The Knights are 2-0 to start the year and have never beaten Central, coming agonizingly close last year when Central scored the game-winning touchdown with 23 seconds remaining.
Northern is excited about this game, and rightfully should be. All that's left is to back up that excitement by playing a great game on the field against what's a tough Central team.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Good news already for Lake Orion
Of all the non-county football scores Kosmo observed last week, the one that caught the eye of Kosmo most was Romeo's 17-10 win over Macomb Dakota.
The first thought that came into the K-Man's head was that this could be great news for Lake Orion.
Dakota probably is Macomb County's best Division 1 team, and while a lot has to happen until then, the playoffs could easily feature a matchup between Dakota and Lake Orion.
If the Dragons can get by a dangerous Pontiac team on Friday, there's a good chance they'll go through the regular season unbeaten.
If that happens, then Lake Orion should have more playoff points than Dakota, and if the teams meet in the playoffs, the all important game would be held at Lake Orion instead of Dakota.
But we'll see if that indeed plays out.
— Usually, Kosmo hates writing about sports that aren't in season, but it should be noted there will be some different baseball coaches at county schools come the spring. There are openings at Troy, West Bloomfield and Royal Oak for now. Royal Oak coach Brian Gordon and West Bloomfield coach Pat Watson each became the athletic directors at their schools, so that's why they won't be coaching baseball. Troy head coach Frank DiVito decided to step down after 10 years, but could surface soon at another program.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Brother Rice in serious trouble now
The thought of Birmingham Brother Rice not qualifying for the state football playoffs might be like saying Armageddon is upon us, but it looks as if that's exactly the case right now with the Warriors.
Brother Rice has gotten off the worst-possible start, dropping it's opening two games to Detroit Martin Luther King and Toledo St. Francis.
If the Warriors advanced to the playoffs now, Kosmo might have to think about taking the bag off of his head, because that's how amazed he'd be.
Brother Rice has to go 6-1 the rest of the season to qualify for the playoffs, a tall order with its remaining schedule.
The Warriors next week have to play Highland Park, which is definitely not chopped liver.
Then, Brother Rice gets into its league schedule, with games against traditional powerhouses Catholic Central, St. Mary's and Warren De La Salle await.
Kosmo can't remember the last time Brother Rice didn't make the playoffs (he believes 1998 was the last year Brother Rice wasn't in the postseason).
Barring a miraculous turn of events, it appears the state playoffs this year won't feature mighty Brother Rice.
- Well, just when Kosmo thinks Pontiac will get it's lunch handed to it moving from the OAA Blue to the OAA Red, the Phoenix go out and win at Southfield-Lathrup and then destroy a Troy Athens team many think is the most improved team in the county this year. Goes to show what Kosmo knows. As a result, Pontiac's game at home with Lake Orion on Friday has gone from a so-so matchup to arguably the game of the week in the county this week. Wisner should be rocking Friday night, no doubt about it.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Big blow for Farmington
Much has been made of an opportunity Farmington's football team has to make a "statement" on Friday night against Rochester Adams, and rightfully so. A win at Adams would be a nice way fo the Falcons to tell the county and state they are indeed for real.
While that's one storyline for the game, Kosmo was saddened to find out another development for Farmington's team.
Evidently, over the summer all-league safety Mitch Sanders tore his ACL at a camp at Central Michigan and won't play a down this year for the Falcons. Like many other players on the Falcons, Sanders was a starter his sophomore year and has been one of the county's best defensive players the last two years.
His injury means the Falcons have a huge void to fill on defense and also leadership-wise.
Here's hoping the injury doesn't affect the college status of Sanders, who is uncommitted, because he's as good as it gets as a safety.
- Following a Week 1 loss to Detroit Martin Luther King, this week already marks a must win game for Birmingham Brother Rice. The Warriors will play a team from Toledo, Ohio at Farmington Hills Harrison on Friday, and a loss would all but end Brother Rice's playoff hopes. Not only is there a non-league game against a quality opponent in Highland Park, but Brother Rice has to play Catholic Central, St. Mary's and De La Salle in league play. The Warriors better take care of business on Friday.