Thursday, October 28, 2010
Expect the unexpected in first round
With the state football playoffs about to commence, Kosmo knows for a fact that coaches around the area and state have been pouring over game film the entire week for hours on end.
They'll likely know their opponents like they know the color of the logo on their hats as a result.
But the clever coaches, the ones who usually have the most success this time of year, will have a few tricks up their sleeve.
Mainly, look for players that have done virtually nothing during the regular season to play prominent roles in the playoffs.
They're the type of players that haven't been seen on film, and thus why coaches want to trot them from out of nowhere.
Opponents haven't seen them in scouting reports and thus aren't expecting them, so it's a brilliant strategy.
That's why as you're reading box scores on Saturday morning and wondering "Who?" when looking at recaps of games, Kosmo is telling you not to be too surprised.
It's why coaches who win are such geniuses.
— Wednesday turned out to be a bleak day for boys soccer teams in Oakland County. Three teams that won state titles the last two years and had good chances to win it all again, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian, Birmingham Brother Rice and Birmingham Detroit Country Day, all were eliminated.
That leaves only three teams left now, Troy, Southfield Christian and Bloomfield Hills Lahser.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Justified reaction or panic attack?
Tuesday afternoon felt somewhat like a scene out of "The Wizard of Oz" around the state with tornado watches, intense wind and rain whipping through the state. This certainly wreaked havoc on boys soccer regional playoff games, as several contests were postponed.
Birmingham Brother Rice, Birmingham Detroit Country Day and Troy were area teams that had their games moved from Tuesday to Wednesday, and their potential regional final dates were affected as well.
It's possible with a win over Traverse City West that Troy would've played its regional final on Thursday against Grand Blanc (a shootout winner over Rochester Adams on Tuesday), but because the West-Troy game is Wednesday, the regional final will have to take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday as originally planned.
If Country Day wins its semifinal against Dearborn Divine Child, its regional final will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday instead of on Thursday night.
All this leads to an interesting question from Kosmo.
Did athletic directors and school administrators at these host sights panic over some bad weather and prematurely make a decision to postpone the games?
Yes, it was a bad weather system that forced some school districts to have their kids go to shelter areas within buildings. But by 3 p.m., it was all but over.
There was plenty of time to transport kids to games and thus not mess up the regional schedule for the rest of the week.
Kosmo does understand that in this day and age, administrators have to be overly cautious in an era of lawsuits by overly sensitive people.
That's why school is postponed over bad weather more than ever.
But in this case, it seems as if there was time for administrators to wait it out a bit on not make such a rash decision. Some sites didn't do that and got their games in on Tuesday.
Hopefully the revamped regional schedule for those that didn't though doesn't affect too many teams as a result.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Don't fret about timing of Brother Rice-Harrison game
Ever since the high school football playoff pairings were announced on Sunday evening, many around the state probably asked the same question when the news came across that state powers Birmingham Brother Rice and Farmington Hills Harrison would meet in the first round of the playoffs.
How can these teams meet so early?
It's a valid question since this definitely is a state-title game matchup right away in the first round.
But as far as Kosmo is concerned, all the fuss really is over nothing.
This is nothing new to have powerhouse teams meet in the first round or second round in matchups that seem more appropriate to take place in the state final.
It's happened all the time on the west side of the state with schools like Lowell, Muskegon and Hudsonville being paired in the same district.
You have to play good teams eventually, and in this case Brother Rice and Harrison will happen to just have their greatest challenge in the first round.
The winner will be a great bet to go all the way to Ford Field and the state finals with the favorable matchups that'll happen in the other rounds.
Yes, it's unfortunate that one of these two powerhouses will be eliminated so early, but it's nothing new and nothing for people to get angry about.
It happens and will continue to happen.
The game will take place on Friday night though and not on Saturday afternoon, which is when Harrison usually likes to play its home playoff games.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Big Saturday of soccer districts
Many eyes will be on football both Friday night during the last full night of the regular season and on Sunday when the playoff pairings are announced on Fox Sports Detroit.
But Kosmo is even more intrigued by all the good boys soccer district finals that will take place on Saturday afternoon, so much so that college football won't be the only thing on the K-Man's mind.
The biggest game will be at Walled Lake Central, where Troy and Walled Lake Northern will meet in a battle of two teams that are ranked among the top 5 in the state in Division 1.
The Knights are coming off a penalty-kick win over Lakeland, so Troy could be the fresher team.
Another good game will be at Fenton, where OAA Red rivals Rochester Adams and Lake Orion will play for a district title.
Adams is the favorite and the better team on paper, but Lake Orion is no slouch and is fully capable of avenging a loss to the Highlanders during the regular season.
Yet another big game is in Division 2, where Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood will face Birmingham Detroit Country Day at St. Clair Shores Lakeview.
Cranbrook has had a terrific season, losing just once, while this is not one of Country Day's best teams.
Still, Country Day has won the most state titles of any program in the state for a reason and is never an easy team to eliminate.
If those three good matchups weren't enough, there'll be another one at Fowlerville (not sure why they just don't re-schedule a closer site now) when Bloomfield Hills Lahser takes on Auburn Hills Avondale.
Don't be surprised if this game is decided in penalty kicks.
Without question, it should be an outstanding soccer Saturday.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Lamphere already in
Madison Heights Lamphere entered Friday's game with New Haven needing a win to qualify for the state playoffs, but now the Rams don't need that win because they already have it.
Lamphere is now officially in with a 6-3 record after New Haven decided to forfeit the game due to a lack of players.
The Rams can now heal any bumps and bruises on Friday and go into the first round of the playoffs fresh, which should only help.
With Lamphere in and Madison Heights Madison already in with seven wins, it could be a situation where all three schools in Madison Heights qualify for the playoffs.
Madison Heights Bishop Foley is 5-3 and needs to beat Detroit Consortium to earn an automatic spot.
- There will be more than ever on the line when Clarkston and Lake Orion have their annual tussle for the OAA Red title on Friday. The winner will likely get to host three playoffs game, which this year is more important than ever. Usually, the Wolves and Dragons have to eventually match up with powerhouses in Macomb County in the playoffs, but that might not be the case this year since there are now powerhouses in Macomb County.
While solid and no pushover, teams like Macomb Dakota, Romeo and Utica Eisenhower are more vulnerable than in year's past.
A golden opportunity definitely will await the winner on Friday.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Big game in Holly
As is usually the case in Week 9, there are lot of rivalry games where bragging rights will be at stake for intra-city opponents or chief rivals. There are lot of games this weekend between rivals, most notably Clarkston at Lake Orion, Farmington Hills Harrison at Farmington and Birmingham Brother Rice vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary's in the Catholic League Prep Bowl on Saturday night.
But the game Kosmo might be most interested in will be a game between two teams that don't usually play in Week 9.
Ortonville Brandon will play at Holly on Friday night, and this is a huge game that Kosmo can't wait for.
Each team is 5-3, meaning the winner earns an automatic spot into the playoffs. And it's not like these teams usually taste what the state playoffs are all about.
Ortonville Brandon hasn't made the playoffs since 2000, while Holly has qualified for the postseason only one time in school history, and that was in 2006. The Bronchos lost a home game in the first round to Oxford, 6-0, in a game that was a virtual mud bowl.
This game might not have the acclaim that others do on rivalry week, but there might not be a more intense battle around with what is at stake and the reward that awaits the winner.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
A shocker Kosmo couldn't predict
I guess sometimes the Krystal ball isn't as clear as Kosmo thinks it is.
The K-Man on Friday picked Lake Orion to beat Farmington Hills Harrison on Saturday, but the fact that Harrison beat the Dragons wasn't terribly surprising to Kosmo.
But the final score of 28-6 was another story.
Kosmo was expecting this to be a game where both teams scored more than 30 points, and the fact that Harrison held a powerful Lake Orion offense to just six points was nothing short of incredible.
Lake Orion has as balanced an offense as you'll find. A good quarterback, and outstanding running back and two tall, playmaking wide receivers.
Yet somehow Harrison held Lake Orion to just the six points. That means Harrison is even more for real than Kosmo thought.
It'll be interesting to see if Harrison will be in Division 2 or Division 3 as far as the state playoffs go.
- The boys soccer state tournament is already upon us, with district play starting on Monday. As is usually the case, there figures to be multiple upsets during district play. It always happens, so this is a warning to all the favorites and ranked teams out there.
- Rochester Adams didn't look too far to replace baseball coach Chuck VanRobays, who resigned a couple of months ago. Adams has given the job to top assistant Jeff Hall, an excellent young coach who should keep the success VanRobays built going for years to come.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Championship weekend Part I
The middle of October has already arrived, which means the first bit of state-championship hardware will be handed out this weekend.
Time does fly when having fun, but the most important tournament of the year in girls golf and boys tennis will be held on Friday and Saturday.
Peering into the Krystal ball, Kosmo sees trophies being brought home by county teams.
The best chance for a state title is at the Division 1 state girls golf tournament, where No. 1-ranked Stoney Creek enters as the favorite at Eastern Michigan University's Eagle Crest.
The Cougars have the maybe the state's best two players in Devon Compton and Gabby Yurik, as well as a group of golfers behind them that are playing well.
Stoney Creek knows what it has to do. It just has to go out there and achieve it.
In tennis, Kosmo also sees a state championship being won by Novi Detroit Catholic Central in Division 1.
The Shamrocks have the best singles lineup in the state and a doubles lineup that's exceeded expectations all year.
Catholic Central has four top seeds and three No. 2 seeds for the state tournament. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood and Birmingham Detroit Country Day in Division 3 could also contend.
It should be a fun weekend.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Great rivalries renewed
This should no doubt be an exciting Week 8 of the prep football season in general, but there are two games in particular that Kosmo can't wait for, mainly because they are renewal of rivalries.
At the start of the season, Kosmo felt sad for the people in Rochester that Rochester and Rochester Adams weren't scheduled to play each other this year for the first time in decades because they were in separate divisions within the OAA.
But thanks to the fact Rochester is off to its best start in 17 years and Adams is its usually solid-self, the Highlanders and Falcons were paired against each other for this week's OAA Red-White crossover (the first place teams in each league play each other and so forth down the line).
Rochester hasn't beaten Adams since 1997, but this without question represents the best chance for the Falcons.
It's an event the Rochester community deserves, and Kosmo is glad it's happening at Adams on Friday.
The other rivalry renewed that Kosmo is excited about will be on Saturday when Lake Orion travels to Farmington Hills Harrison.
These two had some fantastic games during the last decade before being split up into separate divisions three years ago.
The casualty of the separation was the fact Harrison and Lake Orion had to come off of each other's schedules, which makes this matchup all the better.
It's the first meeting since 2006, and it should be one of the state's best games this week with a pair of 6-0 powerhouses going at it.
- Looks like Kosmo wrote of Birmingham Brother Rice way too soon. The K-Man didn't think the Warriors would win one of its two games against Orchard Lake St. Mary's and Novi Detroit Catholic Central, let alone both. But the Warriors did, and now the playoffs are a realistic possibility. Brother Rice is 4-3 and has a tough game at Indianapolis Cathedral on Saturday before facing Catholic Central or St. Mary's in the Prep Bowl the following week. Brother Rice needs to win both to automatically qualify, but winning one might be good enough to get Brother Rice in as a 5-4 team. The win over Catholic Central sure was playoff-points gold.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Perfect location for 50th installment
One of Kosmo's favorite weeks is upon us because it's a rivalry like no other. And no, Kosmo is not talking about Michigan State vs. Michigan. Instead, Kosmo is referring to the state's best high school football rivalry, Birmingham Brother Rice vs. Novi Detroit Catholic Central.
The game will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Sunday when the two meet in a 2 p.m. game at Wayne State University, which Kosmo thinks is an outstanding choice for a location.
Quite simply, playing this game at a high school facility isn't a great idea. There's too much interest and too many people who attend this game every year.
In fact, a few years ago Kosmo recalls a story from a prominent spy about how the winner of the 50-50 raffle took home over $4,000 from the game.
That's how many people pack the parking lot and stadium, so playing it at a bigger facility in Wayne State should allow for more people to watch comfortably.
More people should make for the atmosphere this great rivalry deserves, and hopefully the usual great game.
Catholic Central doesn't seem capable of being stopped right now, but Kosmo was impressed by Brother Rice's win over Orchard Lake St. Mary's last week. Maybe the Warriors are starting to turn the corner and the playoffs aren't out of the question.
We'll see what happens, but no matter what, the location already makes the matchup a winner.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Too stacked of a regional at Rochester
On Thursday, boys tennis regionals around the state will take place as area teams attempt to qualify for the state tournament next week.
Glancing at the regional pairings, Kosmo only has one question to ask when viewing the regional scheduled for Rochester High.
Is the MHSAA nuts?
Just take a look at all the good teams and players in this regional. You have defending state champion Birmingham Brother Rice, Troy and West Bloomfield, all of which are ranked in the state right now. Troy Athens isn't that bad, and Stoney Creek also has a good singles player in sophomore Nick Fiaschetti.
Only two teams automatically qualify, with the third-place finisher still having an opportunity if they get enough points.
Still, this is simply too many good teams and players in one region. It might hurt the quality of play at the state tournament if good teams and players can't qualify out of regionals when they deserve to be at states.
It should make for a fun Thursday of tennis, but these teams should've been split up a little better.
— In addition to tennis regionals, girls golf will have their regional tournaments on Thursday as well. A Division 1 regional at Twin Lakes in Oakland Township should see three OAA teams qualify for the state tournament, that being Stoney Creek, Troy and Rochester.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Big soccer showdown in OAA Red
Believe it or not, the start of the state boys soccer tournament is less than two weeks away, and in honor of that, there'll be as good of a regular-season game as can be on Tuesday night.
In a game that'll likely decide the Oakland Activities Association Red Division, unbeaten Troy will host Rochester Adams in a matchup of state powerhouses.
Troy is ranked No. 2 in the state, while Adams should be ranked but for some reason isn't.
Each team can possess the ball, attack the opponents in waves or defend a lead when need be, so this should be a nice way for each to head into the final stages of the regular season.
Hopefully, these teams will meet at some point of the state tournament as well.
— Another big rivalry game will take place on Tuesday in volleyball when Lakeland plays at Walled Lake Northern. The teams annually meet a bunch of times, whether it's in regular season tournaments, the regular season and in the district round of the state tournament. The two are clearly the best teams in the KLAA North, so this could be a match that goes the distance.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
A salute to a great streak at Oxford
When Kosmo heard a couple of years ago that Oxford was moving from the Flint Metro to the Oakland Activities Association, he was downright thrilled because of all the benefits the move would have for the athletic programs.
It would mean less travel, a chance to establish rivalries with nearby towns and an opportunity to better themselves against better competition.
All that should still prove to be the case, but as Kosmo feared, an unfortunate short-term byproduct of all that became official on Friday night.
Oxford entered this season with a streak of 28 straight winning seasons, second-longest in the state, but that string is over following a 38-14 loss to Rochester Adams that moved the Wildcats to 1-5 on the season.
Oxford still plays hard and is well-coached as usual by Bud Rowley, but there are simply better athletes and better teams in the OAA. Look for the better quality of opponents to make Oxford better soon, but it's just sad a nice streak had to end.
Great job Coach Rowley and everyone else for such a long streak and establishing a tradition of winning not often seen in the county or state.