By Sean Budlong
The Schoolcraft Eagles football team has been unstoppable on offense through the first five games of the season. The only defense that may have been able to stop it would be the Schoolcraft defensive unit. Through five games, the fourth ranked (in Division 6) Eagles have outscored opponents 267-47. The starting offense has often been on the bench for the entire second half. However, the games get much tougher starting with the September 30 match up with an undefeated Lawton team.
Quarterback Ricky Clark has been fantastic in every aspect of the game. He has scored touchdowns rushing the ball, on punt returns, thrown for over a dozen touchdowns, and has multiple interceptions on defense. The Eagle offense is not a one-man scoring machine. An injury to Caleb Anspaugh might have spelled disaster for Schoolcraft. However, Nolan Anspaugh, Ben Crowfoot, and Blake Bales stepped up on the receiving end for Clark. While Spencer Fox and Payton Hoskins have punished opponents on the ground, they have been joined in a productive backfield by Jack Hunt and Riley Piper.
None of these impressive scores would be possible without the offensive line playing at a high level. Collin Tone, Scott Macfarlane, Mark Phelps, Marc Shaink, and Thomas Meadows have kept opponents from touching Clark. Clark has paid them back by taking the time to pick apart the opposing defenses from the pocket. With great downfield blocking by Crowfoot and Ethan Sharp, the Eagles running backs are often untouched for ten or more yards.
As good as the offense has been, the Eagles defense has been better. In addition to the two shut out wins (against Bangor and Hartford), the defense gave up a touchdown on the first defensive play of the season against Coloma and proceeded to shut the Comets down – giving up less than 150 total yards. Galesburg-Augusta scored twice, but only after Schoolcraft took a 49-0 lead. The only team to push the defense back was Watervliet. Even in that game, Crowfoot, Piper, and Sharp stepped up and shut down an explosive offense in the second half.
The Eagles’ dominant performances have allowed many younger players to see a lot of game action. Seniors Fox, Hoskins, Anspaugh, Tone, Macfarlane, and Crowfoot have played great football on both sides of the ball. Juniors Hunt, Jakob Huysken, Piper, Reilly Puhalski, and Dylan Straley have been strong contributors on defense.
After an undefeated regular season last year, the Eagles were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. This has motivated the twenty plus returning players to not take their feet off the gas pedal regardless of the score or opponent. The true nature of the Eagles’ team will be shown over the next four games. Lawton, Gobles, Constantine, and Delton Kellogg will prepare Schoolcraft for what it hopes will be a longer post-season run.