Vicksburg Football Brings Home Win Over Sturgis

By Sue Moore

“We played a sloppy game. We missed a lot of chances on offense but our defense was really good,” said Coach Tom Marchese in describing Vicksburg Bulldogs 26 – 0 win over Sturgis in their stadium on Friday, Sept. 23. “It’s still a win but I’m not satisfied. We want the kids to play to perfection. We will need to tighten up, play a cleaner game in order to beat Otsego for Homecoming next week.”

The Bulldogs got things rolling in the first quarter when Caleb Kropp scored with 2:35 left in the first quarter. The PAT was good by Joe Brady. Deondre Lovell got rolling with a pass catch on his own 30 yard line, eluded a bevy of Sturgis tacklers and running the field for the second TD with 5:17 remaining in the first half with the PAT good. When Vicksburg got the ball back with about three minutes to go in the half, they marched down the field with what looked like another touchdown drive. Bad clock management left Brandon Lovell with the only option to loft a pass to Deondre Lovell in the end zone with time running out, only to have Sturgis intercept it and the score remain 14 – 0.

The second half looked like it would be a repeat of the same with Vicksburg’s defense putting Sturgis deep in their own territory each possession. Garrett Ketelaar took the kickoff and returned it to the 44 yard line, only to have the run called back on a penalty. He later intercepted a Sturgis pass on the 50 and ran it in for an apparent TD. It was called back because of a block in the back. Things just kept going backward with an interception and a fumble giving the ball to Sturgis both times but they couldn’t capitalize. The third quarter ended in a stalemate.

Adam Grabowski pulled down an interception and went in to score for the Bulldogs, making it 20 – 0 in the fourth quarter, before penalties again plagued the offense. Then Ketelaar took a handoff from Lovell, eluded tacklers to score from 28 yards out. A delay of game penalty on the try for two points on the conversion, moved the ball back five yards and a pass to Adam Henderson was dropped, making the final score 26 – 0.


Schoolcraft Bests Bangor

Schoolcraft dominated Bangor in a 50-0 victory, earning the Eagles a 4-0 record.

Schoolcraft scored early in the first quarter on a Spencer Fox 11 yard touchdown run.  A bad snap on the extra point worked out fine for the Eagles when Justin VanDyken found Blake Bales for the two point conversion. That was one of the last mistakes Schoolcraft made.  In the first quarter, Fox scored twice, Ricky Clark scored once on a rushing touchdown and threw for another to Ben Crowfoot as Schoolcraft took a 29-0 lead. In the second quarter, Bangor held the ball for over 7 minutes but only gained 24 yards. When the Vikings punted, Nolan Anspaugh returned the kick for a 60 yard touchdown. Two minutes later after a failed punt attempt, Clark found Anspaugh for a 40 yard touchdown.

Schoolcraft’s offense was led by Clark, Crowfoot and Fox. The defense gave up less than 100 total yards and was led by Peyton Hoskins, Collin Tone, Thomas Meadows, and Marc Shaink.

Vicksburg Rebounds Against Allegan


By Travis Smola

After a devastating blowout loss to Edwardsburg last week, the Vicksburg Bulldogs football team needed a confidence boost. They got it in a 45-6 thrashing of the Allegan Tigers.

“I thought we played well all around,” head coach Tom Marchese said.

The Bulldogs started things off with a bang after senior quarterback Brenden Lovell hit senior receiver Deondre Lovell along the left sideline. Deondre was able to break free of a defender and coast into the end zone.

After a couple of drives by both teams went nowhere, Allegan was forced again to punt on a 4th and 5. Senior Blake Rankin took the punt and broke it down the right side for a 60 yard plus touchdown return.

On the next possession from the Tigers, Vicksburg forced another punt and they punted it to Rankin again. Again, he took the ball deep into Allegan territory before being brought down around the 5. But a block in the back penalty wiped the play out.

On the ball all evening was sophomore Joe Brady, who nailed a huge 39 yard field goal to make the score 17-0 about halfway through the second. “Joe did a really good job,” Marchese said. Brady almost had a chance at another field goal late in the second, but the Bulldogs failed to get into range. Brady did nail every extra point attempt handed to him all evening.

It wasn’t all rosy for the Bulldogs. Uncharacteristic penalties probably kept some points off the scoreboard and forced Marchese to call timeout at one point just to calm the team down.

Due to an ankle injury to junior running back Garrett Ketelaar, other players were forced to step up their game. Junior running back DJ Bullock and senior running back Caleb Kropp answered the call. Bullock scored on a powerhouse 12 yard run near the end of the first half.

Kropp broke off his own huge 45 yard touchdown run on Vicksburg’s first drive of the second half. Both Bullock and Kropp answered the call on defense as well. Both players were consistently in the backfield harassing and helping bring down Allegan’s quarterback and running backs.

After Vicksburg went up 38-0, the Bulldogs were able to get some other players some valuable game time. Junior running back Logan Alleshouse put up the final Bulldogs touchdown on a one yard scoring run.

Vicksburg goes on the road for their next couple games against Plainwell next week and Sturgis the week after before finishing up September at homecoming against Otsego.

Edwardsburg Hands Bulldog Football First Loss of the Season

By Travis Smola

The Vicksburg varsity football team suffered its first loss of the season against Edwardsburg in a 44-7 blowout on Bulldog home turf.

The Bulldogs struggled to get anything going on either side of the ball as they were consistently forced to punt. “We’ve got to look at the film, lick our wounds and get better,” head coach Tom Marchese said.

He noted how the inexperience in the team’s front five defensive linemen showed in the game. The Bulldogs just couldn’t come up with an answer for the trap running plays Edwardsburg burned them with all evening. “They won both lines of scrimmage,” Marchese said.

The one bright spot for the Bulldogs came near the end of the second quarter. With time running down, senior quarterback Brenden Lovell was able to hit multiple receivers for big plays to keep the chains moving. A few hard runs by junior running back Garrett Ketelaar helped push the ball down to the Edwardsburg one yard line.

Lovell capped off the drive himself with a one-yard scoring run. Sophomore Joe Brady tacked on the PAT. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Marchese said the players will get a little time off this weekend to rest and recover from the rough loss before they take on Allegan at the home community tailgate game next Friday, September 9.

Trailhead Dedication Honors Ken Schippers and Donors

By Sue Moore

The Trailhead in Vicksburg was dedicated in a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, August 26 to honor Ken Schippers, Vicksburg’s former village manager. Henceforth it will be called “Schippers Lane.” Donors to the project which helped to pay for construction work that has taken place at the corner of S. Richardson and North Streets were listed in an additional plaque and commended by the speakers at the dedication ceremony.

The cost of the design work and construction was the result of a “Go Fund Me” campaign through the Michigan Department of Economic Development. Over $32,500 was donated locally and the state of Michigan matched that for a sum of $65,000 that it cost to purchase the property, demolish the car wash building on the site, build a parking area, a greeting arch, and landscaping the whole thing.

The trail head already connects to the existing 1.3 mile trail that parallels Sprinkle Road up to TU Avenue. In the village it is planned to continue along the north side of the railroad tracks to N. Main Street, cross to the north of Family Fare, run through Clark Park, through the mill property up to Angels Crossing golf course.

The trail extension has been a project of the Vicksburg Downtown Development Authority (DDA) led by Kathleen Hoyle, executive director. The Vicksburg Vision campaign has been collecting donations to fund the trail project with matching dollars to what is hoped to be a Michigan Department of Transportation grant. The Vicksburg Foundation has offered up to $170,000 to match whatever is raised locally through the Vision campaign.

Enough money was raised in a second “Go Fund Me” campaign to construct Liberty Lane East, the second project of the Vision campaign. Hoyle expects to break ground in the alley between Jaspare’s and Aaron’s Music shop in September to spruce up this part of downtown Vicksburg.

Water, Water Everywhere Following a Dry Summer

The roads leading to the Point on East Indian Lake Drive were flooded for many days. These children from Iowa were visiting their grandparents and having lots of fun splashing in the street.

By Sue Moore

The rains finally came, not just in Louisiana but in southwest Michigan too. Particularly hard hit were the east and south shores of Indian Lake, where homes sit only a few inches above the water table. It didn’t just rain, it poured about five inches in a matter of a few hours, stopped and came again a day later and then in another few days.

Word had it that Road Commission repairs on U Avenue where Indian Lake flows into the creek were a possible pinch point for the water from the lake to drain. Randy Smith, Brady Township supervisor, said that plenty of water was coming over cement walls erected by the Road Commission to help them repair the bridge, so this was not a factor.

The flooding around Indian Lake on East Indian Lake Drive which has not subsided as fast as usual has affected the sewer system ringing the lake. The South County Sewer and Water Authority (SCSW) noted that its wastewater pumping station that handles 292 homes, including the 187 connections within the Indian Lake Nazarene Camp, was up to the task. Rich Pierson, director of the Authority, said they had the help of a booster pump to keep up with the floodwaters that entered the pumping station as a result of the significant rainfall that started the second week of August.  At first, it was necessary for pump trucks to temporarily assist with hauling storm and wastewater from the station, but then the City of Battle Creek was able to loan the Authority a spare generator and pump that allowed the Authority to keep up with the flows.

Storm water is supposed to be kept out of the sewage disposal system. Pierson was asked how floodwaters enter the wastewater pump station. He explained that during a flood, storm waters enter the public sewer from a number of sources, be it a basement or crawl space floor drain, through manholes in the flooded streets, and through any underground sewer pipes, public or private, that may not be properly sealed.

The other major inflow that occurs is from homes that have improper basement groundwater sump pumps connected to the public sewer (such as B-dry “type” systems around basement foundations). Pierson and Smith believe there are 10 to 20 of these connections on East Indian Lake Drive that contributed and are still contributing significant storm water to the lift station at the corner of East Indian and South Indian Lake Drive.  These connections are illegal. The staff of the Authority will be performing analyses of the system and inspections of the suspect homes. The Authority board will then determine to what extent these property owners are liable for their portion of the excessive costs incurred, Pierson said.

The two local officials, Pierson and Smith, responsible for the Authority and the township, applauded the Village of Vicksburg’s Department of Public Works who assisted the Authority through this emergency to date, including the recently retired Manager Ken Schippers who also provided volunteer assistance.

Schoolcraft Football Team Looks Sound

brothersBy Sean Budlong

Schoolcraft’s 2015 football season appeared magical through nine games. A perfect 9-0, the Eagles offense steamrolled teams and its defense was among the stingiest in the area. All of that changed in the first round of the playoffs as Constantine upset the Eagles 31-28. That loss will be motivation for a team that fielded 21 juniors last season.

Schoolcraft will be led by familiar names. Ricky Clark returns at quarterback, where he was named Kalamazoo Gazette Football Player of the Year after passing for 1,666 yards and 22 touchdowns. Two of his favorite targets return to torment opposing defenses. Caleb and Nolan Anspaugh are dynamic catching or rushing the ball.

The Anspaugh brothers are joined by experienced skill position players Payton Hoskins, Ethan Sharp, Ben Crowfoot and Aaron Lenning. While the backs will get the glory, the games are won on the line of scrimmage. Schoolcraft must replace critical pieces of their offensive and defensive lines. However, the Eagles will look to Thomas Meadows, Collin Tone, and Vince Morris to set the pace on offense.

Schoolcraft gave up an average of 18 points per game last season. This season, the defense could be even better. Spencer Fox will be one of the leaders of a unit that will be deep in strength, speed, talent, and experience. Between Fox, Darren Kehoe, Hoskins, Clark, and Meadows, the Eagles averaged over 25 tackles per game last season.

Tribute to Schoolcraft’s Number One Fan

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From left to right: Sue Brinkert, Mark Harris, Terry Haas, Linda Harris, Christy Petill, Amy Buchino, Julie Pingatore, Ted Manning, and Larry Ledlow.

Schoolcraft Athletic Director Jeff Clark, had the following words of praise for Larry Harris at the beginning of the football game last week:

Tonight we would like to remember and pay tribute to Schoolcraft Football’s Super Fan, Larry Harris, who passed away on May 5.

Larry truly loved football, especially the Schoolcraft Eagles. Starting when Linda and Larry’s son Mark Harris, began playing football, you could find Larry out at the practice field, up in the Press Box window at home games, cheering from the visitor’s section at away games and spending Selection Sunday with the team.

Larry purchased the latest video equipment in 1982 and filmed Schoolcraft football games for the next 26 years. Larry’s voice could often be heard on the game tapes cheering on the players! During that time Schoolcraft Football won 12 conference championships, went to 5 state final games, winning 3 state titles.

Larry’s contributions to Schoolcraft football didn’t stop on game nights. Larry was involved in the construction of Roy Davis Field. In 2001, a storm destroyed the original press box just as the football team was starting another championship run. Larry, with the help of several other Schoolcraft community members, had a temporary press box ready for the Regional Championship game. Larry was instrumental in the reconstruction of the new press box, donating the carpet and driving to the Upper Peninsula for the pine boards lining the press box walls.

Larry routinely paid for team dinners and celebrations, charter buses and other donations to support the football program.

Perhaps Larry’s greatest quality was his general concern for the players. He loved spending Selection Sunday with the team and watching their excitement as the playoff games were announced. Larry’s legacy will continue to impact the community through a family memorial scholarship for Schoolcraft football players and other projects supported by the Schoolcraft Athletic Booster’s memorial fund.

This year the team will be wearing football decals with Larry’s initials on their helmets, in honor of his numerous contributions. We would like to thank the Harris Family for sharing Larry with us every football season; and present this custom football jersey, which will be hung in the press box next to Larry’s seat. Larry Harris, Schoolcraft’s Number 1 Fan!

Schoolcraft Eagles Bowl Over Coloma

Aaron Lenning (30) breaks away for the first touchdown of the day for Schoolcraft. Photo by Stephanie Blentlinger’s Lingering Memories Photography.

By Sean Budlong

Six different Schoolcraft players scored as the Eagles opened the 2016 campaign with a 48-7 victory over the Coloma Comets. Caleb Anspaugh, Payton Hoskins, Ricky Clark, Aaron Lenning, and Jack Hunt all rushed for touchdowns, and Nolan Anspaugh caught a touchdown pass from Clark.

“We were focused and ready to start the season,” senior Collin Tone said. “We honored Larry Harris tonight and we came out with fire.” Harris, who died earlier this year, was a faithful fan.

Midway through the first quarter, it looked like the game was going to be tight. Schoolcraft’s offensive line struggled to contain Coloma’s defensive line, and when they generated big plays they were negated by penalties. After five minutes of frustration, Caleb Anspaugh scored from 20 yards out behind blocks by Tone and Scott Macfarlane.

On the very first play from scrimmage for Coloma, Caleb McDaniel took the handoff and raced for a 74-yard touchdown. “Our nerves got to us on the first series on offense and defense,” Macfarlane said. “But that touchdown was a wake-up call and we got down to business.”

That was an understatement. Coloma didn’t generate much more offense the rest of the game. Tone, Macfarlane, Hoskins, Spencer Fox, and Marc Shaink didn’t allow the Comets to find any holes between the tackles. When Coloma tried to go outside, Jakob Huysken and Riley Piper were beasts on the edge. Clark had a second quarter interception and Tone forced a fumble that was recovered by Caleb Anspaugh.

Hoskins relays the plays to his defense from the coaches. “My real job is to keep the team fired up,” he said. Starting both ways and playing physical positions like running back and linebacker is taxing, but the team is prepared for the stress. “Our off-season lifting and our preparation in practice is the key to our stamina,” he explained. “Our coaches expect us to be able to play both ways the whole game, even if they don’t need us to.”

The Eagle offense took advantage of the great field position given to them by their defense to take control of the game. Hoskins, Lenning, Fox, and Clark pounded the ball through the holes created by Tone, Macfarlane, Shaink, River Fox, and Mark Phelps. While Clark only had one touchdown pass, he would have had far more passing yardage without penalties bringing spectacular plays back.

A halftime lead of 35-7 was extended on the first Eagle offensive play of the second half when Lenning went 55 yards behind Tone and Spencer White. Less than 5 minutes later, Jack Hunt scored the final touchdown on a 41-yard run.

Schoolcraft Volleyball Off to a Great Start

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Coach Erin Onken and her daughter, the team manager.

By Sean Budlong

The Schoolcraft volleyball team started its season with a 7-4 record and two second-place finishes. The Eagles lost the championship match to Niles in the Gull Lake Tournament, and finished 4-1 in the Otsego Bulldog Classic. Otsego finished 5-0, winning the competition.

“We like to play a tough early schedule,” Head Coach Erin Onken said. “We may not end up with the greatest record after the first few weeks, but it prepares us for the season.”

The growth of her young team is already evident after 11 matches. The Gull Lake Tournament started slowly as Schoolcraft dropped matches to Battle Creek Lakeview and Gull Lake and beat Hamilton. The Eagles turned things around in bracket play, beating Lakeview and advancing to the semi-finals to face Vicksburg (4-0 coming into the match). Timely serving and defense propelled Schoolcraft to the victory and the championship match.
In Otsego, Schoolcraft’s entire team played well in beating Paw Paw, South Haven, Gobles, and Hamilton. Even in the lone loss to Otsego, the Eagles forced a third set. Every hitter ended the day with multiple kills and/or blocks. The defense which looked shaky at times in Gull Lake was solid all day behind teammates Sophie Woodhams and Halie Rhoda.

Despite the fact that Schoolcraft plays an extremely difficult schedule this season, the expectations remain high.