Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Mercy-Marian rivalry off to a good start
Tuesday was one of the first big nights of the high school volleyball season, as Birmingham Marian and Farmington Hills Mercy met for the first time in a scheduled match against the other.
Granted, the two had already met in tournaments so far this year, but there's something special about gearing up for each other and not worrying about other teams in a tournament format.
If you don't think it's a big deal when the Marlins and Mustangs get together, then you're fooling yourself.
Marian and Mercy met in the Class A state semifinals two years ago and the state championship game last year, so no doubt this right now is the state's best rivalry.
Adding to it was Mercy's five-game win on Tuesday, where the Marlins rallied from a two-games-to-none deficit.
With one more scheduled meeting in the regular season and likely matchups in both the Catholic League and state tournaments, the state's current best volleyball rivalry should only heat up even more.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Kosmo's 3 stars for Week 5
Can you believe the high school football regular season is more than half over?
Man, time flies when teams are out there having fun, or when they're getting their behinds kicked.
Regardless, the season is flying by. There were some great performances, but here are the three most notable in Kosmo's eyes. Here are your seer's 3 Stars for Week 5.
Justin Danzy, Southfield quarterback - Rochester Adams dared Danzy to beat it, and Danzy did just that. With Adams eyeing Southfield running back Brandon Watkins, Danzy went 22 of 33 passing for 288 yards and a whopping five touchdowns. Three of those went to tight end Ron Thompson.
Brent Zdebski, Walled Lake Western running back/linebacker - Zdebski's best position is linebacker, but he showed he can carry the mail in a 26-21 win over rival Walled Lake Northern to help the Warriors remain unbeaten. Zdebski ran for 193 yards in further showcasing why he's one of the state's best two-way players.
Sean Charette, Lake Orion quarterback - It seems like Charette has been around eight years, and for good reason since he was a starting quarterback as a freshman. Charette further solidified why he's such a unique talent, setting a school record for career touchdown passes by throwing his 60th career scoring pass in a thrashing of Royal Oak.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Tough luck for Andover
The official record for Bloomfield Hills Andover's football team may say 0-5, but the Barons could easily be 3-2 this season with the tough losses they've had.
In the first week, Andover suffered a 28-26 loss to Hazel Park on the road.
Then in Week 3, Andover gave Auburn Hills Avondale all it could handle before losing on a last-second field goal, 23-20.
On Friday, Andover gave yet another league title contender in the OAA Blue a battle.
Hosting Birmingham Groves, Andover played Groves as tough as could be before falling, 28-27.
The kids at Andover have to be wondering when it's going to get a break at the end.
Kosmo feels they'll get rewarded for good play sometime soon.
One thing is for certain is that head coach Jim DeWald is doing one heck of a job at Andover.
- Even though Oxford saw starting quarterback Vito Giannolla suffer a season-ending knee injury in Week 3, it hasn't slowed down running back Prescott Line.
Opponents have had to have loaded up the box even more to stop Line, but it hasn't worked. Line rushed for 238 yards in a win against Oxford and shows no signs of slowing down.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Teams on the rise
After this week, the high school football regular season will be more than halfway over, so now would be a good time to look into the teams more on an upswing than Kosmo thought at the start of the season.
- Rochester Adams. Yes, it's hard to classify a traditional power as a team on the upswing, but the K-Man thought the Highlanders were vulnerable going into this season. Well, Kosmo should not have underestimated Tony Patritto and his staff. Adams is off to a 4-0 start, and even though one of those wins came via a Clarkston forfeit after the Wolves beat Adams to start the year, Adams had a big win last week against Oak Park. The Highlanders can really show they're for real with a win at Southfield on Saturday.
- Pontiac Notre Dame Prep. The Fighting Irish actually are on an eight-game winning streak, which is pretty incredible. Notre Dame Prep won its last four games of the season last year after starting 0-5 and is off to an impressive 4-0 start this season. Not only are the Fighting Irish winning, but they're winning handily.
- Farmington. So this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Falcons, right? Nobody told that to head coach John Bechtel and his group, because Farmington is 3-1 despite having been hit hard by graduation losses. Even better for the Falcons is that they are a junior-dominated team that should be a definite team to watch next year.
- Holly. Look for the Bronchos to be in the playoffs once again this year. After an 0-2 start, Holly has beaten Linden and Flint Metro power Fenton and look to be on track to get to the postseason again.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
State golf title a possibility for area teams
As main spy Keith D. wrote about in today's Oakland Press, the Oakland County Division I girls golf tournament is being held on Wednesday at Pontiac Country Club. Hard to believe the season is winding down, but the most important tournaments of the season are nearing.
Looking at the state rankings and the fact that there's no great team at all around the state other than Lansing Catholic Central in Division 4, Kosmo wouldn't be surprised if an area team won a state title, particularly in Division 1.
Stoney Creek is ranked No. 1 in the state and has the best player in the state, Gabby Yurik, who alone puts the Cougars into contention despite the fact they're not as deep as they were last year when they were state runner-up.
If the Cougars can get some low scores to flank Yurik, they have a shot. Another team with a chance is Troy, is has a good lineup from top to bottom even though it doesn't have a stud player like Yurik.
Both Troy and Stoney Creek have won tournaments over other top teams in the state this year, such as Grosse Pointe South and Plymouth.
In Division 2, Farmington Hills Mercy, Birmingham Seaholm and Birmingham Marian shouldn't be counted out either since there's no great team in Division 2 either.
Without question, a state title is within reach for area teams.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Marquee games will be even more hyped
Every year, there are few bigger football games in the state than when Birmingham Brother Rice and Orchard Lake St.Mary's, and when Birmingham Brother Rice and Novi Detroit Catholic Central, hook up on the field.
This year, those games will likely be hyped up even more.
Brother Rice has one more game before playing St. Mary's and Catholic Central in back-to-back weeks, and that's this Saturday against Detroit U-D Jesuit.
Barring an upset, Brother Rice will give head coach Al Fracassa his 399th win, meaning he'd go for a historic 400th win against St. Mary's the following week.
Should he not get it, Brother Rice could give him that 400th win the next week at Catholic Central, so that should only add to the hype of those two fantastic games.
Here are Kosmo's 3 Stars for Week 4.
- Keon Collier, Birmingham Groves. Playing his second straight stellar game, Collier ran for 243 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries in a 39-32 win over Hazel Park. Collier has rushed for eight TD's in his last eight games.
- Brandon Ruble, Madison Heights Lamphere. In helping lead the Rams to their first win of the season against Clintondale, Ruble threw for 302 yards and ran for 69 more. Ruble played like a precious Ruby gemstone.
- Derek Ince, Novi. Ince threw for lots of inches in a 42-0 win over Salem, throwing for 322 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wildcats.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Look out for North Farmington
Over the offseason, North Farmington's football program had the greatest win possible when head coach Todd Schultz was given a clean bill of health after he coached last season while battling cancer.
But fresh off the best win possible off of the field, the Raiders are starting to gain victories on it.
North Farmington earned its second straight win on Friday, and this one was an eye-opener, as the Raiders drilled previously unbeaten Bloomfield Hills Lahser, 41-13.
It was the second straight blowout win for North Farmington, which routed Hazel Park the week before.
All of a sudden the Raiders are 2-2 on the season might be a sleeper team in the balanced OAA Blue.
North Farmington has a dynamic rushing duo in Jacquis Woods and Kevin Miller, who combined for 349 yards rushing against Lahser.
After some major adversity not only with Coach Schultz' health, but because of some horrible seasons, there's plenty of reasons to smile around North Farmington now.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Clarkston did right thing, even though it shouldn't have had to
Here's Kosmo's two cents on the situation at Clarkston. It's admirable that Clarkston and athletic director Dan Fife self-reported the incident regarding that particular student and a summer school class to the MHSAA. It does mean values and integrity at the school are very much in place.
Kosmo just feels it's a situation Clarkston shouldn't be punished for. Yes, the Michigan High School Athletic Association has black and white policies in place on these matters, so to speak, but this was a definite gray area as far as Kosmo is concerned.
No competitive advantage was gained. The student is a backup who played in four plays in the win over Adams and one over West Bloomfield.
The MHSAA should've reviewed the situation, realized it was an innocent mix-up on the reporting of what was a PASSING grade, and let things continue on.
This way, Clarkston wouldn't have been punished for its honesty. There was no corruption here. No cheating, no trying to gain an edge.
It was just a simple miscommunication, yet unfortunately because the MHSAA didn't treat it as a gray area, but instead a black and white one, an honest program got punished with two losses.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Lahser is back
The last two seasons have been strange around Bloomfield Hills Lahser, given the Knights have had losing seasons after making the Division 3 state semifinals in 2008.
The Knights last decade also established themselves as one of the area's top programs, annually going to the playoffs and hosting games.
It looks like after those poor two seasons, Lahser is indeed back.
Following a 20-0 shutout at previously unbeaten Birmingham Seaholm on Friday, the Knights are off to a 3-0 start and look to be maybe the top team in the balanced OAA Blue.
Speaking of Lahser, that brings Kosmo to his 3 stars of the weekend.
- Nate Cole, Bloomfield Hills Lahser defensive back. Cole had two interceptions and a fumble recovery for the Knights in their shut out of Birmingham Seaholm.
- Zac Leimbach, Walled Lake Central quarterback. The straw that stirs the drink for the Vikings, Leimbach was a horse again in a 31-24 win over rival Northern, rushing for 202 yards and four touchdowns on over 30 carries.
- Prescott Line, Oxford running back. Is there a player more on fire than Line? Even though Oxford lost to Farmington on a late 2-point conversion, Line ran for 195 yards for the Wildcats.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Troy reloading without Cunningham
A lot times in sports it really is about the team and not one star player. Many thought the Troy boys soccer team wouldn't be as good this year without the graduated Sean Cunningham, one of top high school players in the nation last year who is now playing professionally overseas (Norway was the last Kosmo had heard).
Lo and behold, that hasn't been the case.
Reloading nicely without its star, Troy is ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 1 and on Thursday earned what is always an important rivalry win over Troy Athens, 1-0.
After leading the girls team to the Division 1 state final in June, head coach Brian Zawislak took over the boys team and looks as if he'll have a chance to head there again with the way the Colts are playing right now, although it still is early.
- Walled Lake Central used to be a volleyball power back in the 1990's, but went through some down years recently. But it appears as if the Vikings are becoming relevant again in the volleyball world. Walled Lake Central had a major improvement last season and are off to a 9-2 start this year.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Kosmo knows it's been a few weeks since his spies produced the annual high school football preview section, but he wants to address something as it relates to the cover story on the four winningest coaches in state history, Al Fracassa, John Herrington, Mike Boyd and Tom Mach.
All are still going strong despite being in coaching since the 70's, and Kosmo hopes this is a message for those who actually feel these men should hang it up just based on age.
That's simply an absurd notion for those who feel that way. Not only are these and other coaches who have been around a long time legendary, but they haven't lost their touch just because they've gotten older.
They are as sharp as ever and more importantly, have held on to their old-school values in dealing with kids and parents.
You think that's not important in this day and age of pushy parents, recruiting services and "You Tube" wannabes?
Coaching high school kids actually keeps these men sharp. They haven't lost anything in terms of brainpower or desire.
Besides, what are they supposed to do if they retire? Golf for 8 hours a day? Sit around the couch? Do chores around the house and rarely ever get out? Get fed via a spoon by another while sitting in a chair?
Kosmo is obviously joking about that last point, but people who actually think these men should retire need to get a brain.
They've won all the games they have for a reason, and they'll continue to win. Greatness like this should be embraced, treasured and held on for as long as possible.
It shouldn't lead to "why don't they retire?" questions just on the account because they're older than they used to be.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Real beginning of prep sports year on Tuesday
Yes, Kosmo is aware that two full weeks of the prep football season have been played and that all the other Fall sports have started their respective seasons.
But as far as the K-Man is concerned, the official start of the high school sports season for 2011-12 is on Tuesday.
This is when school officially starts for all public schools around the state, so this is when the athletes get in their routines of going to school and then having practice afterwards.
It's been all athletics so far, but now everyone is going to have to mix in schoolwork.
Good luck to all the teachers who are forced to wake up the students who want to take naps in class.
Kosmo admits he was a bad boy in high school, as using his math and history books as pillows became quite an art form.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand.
Even though there have been plenty of games, sports will now get in a full routine of playing on certain days of the week and also start playing league games exclusively.
No doubt, the best time of year will only get better now that the kids are in school and routines are set. It should make the sports even more fun
Friday, September 2, 2011
New star at Avondale
After Auburn Hills Avondale lost most of its receivers and running backs to graduation off of last year's team, especially Ray Tillman and Tony Harris, Kosmo was wondering if it would just entirely be the Mitch Robinson show at Avondale.
Obviously that's not the case now after what running back Michael Johnson did on Thursday at Hazel Park.
On just 19 carries, Johnson ran for 285 yards and four touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets in what was yet another shootout between Avondale and Hazel Park. Avondale went on to earn a 64-44 win.
It obviously was a coming out party for Johnson, so look for him to put up more gaudy statistics as the year goes on.
- Kosmo figured Walled Lake Western would stop opponents this year with all the starters the Warriors returned on defense. But to score 100 points already this season in just two games? That's not something Kosmo expected. If the Warriors continue to do that, they'll be more than just a title contender in the KLAA North. They'll be a state title contender.
- It's sad how downtrodden both Waterford schools have become. Both Kettering and Mott suffered blowout losses in Week 2 and are now 0-2 on the season. Just like last year, it appears as if the best chance each has of winning is when they play each other.