Varsity Volleyball Eagles battled it out with the Mendon Hornets in several
close games. The Eagles fell with a score of 2-3 in the state quarterfinals
The Lady Eagles fought their way through five games, bumping, spiking and
setting their way through point after point. While the Eagles lost 18-25 in the
first game, they didn’t give up. In the second game, the Eagles came back
with a great win, 25-19. After a very close third game, Mendon won 25-20.
Schoolcraft again played another very close game, ending in a victory by the
Eagles, 25-21. Eagles have won two games, and the Hornets have won two as
well. By the end of the fifth game, Mendon won 15-9. Mendon will advance to
the Class C state semifinals.
Coach Erin Onken said, “They were fantastic, they did everything I asked of
them. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
For many of the seniors on the team, their high school volleyball days are
nearing an end. That doesn’t mean they weren’t proud or happy of all the hard
work that was put in on the court.
“I am so proud of my team. Even though the game didn’t come out how we
wanted, we played our hardest, and I love every single one of my teammates,”
said senior Kari Feddema.
Senior Sidney Haverdink said, “I love them all so much. We had a great season
and we met all of our goals. Even though we didn’t go as far as we wanted, I
am so proud of all of them!”
The Lady Eagles battled it out with Muskegon Western Michigan Christian (WMC) to come out victorious with a score of 3-0 and claim the title of regional champs on November 14 at home.
“It is a really awesome feeling going from KVA champs to district champs to regional champs. And no matter what happens from here on out, we all still have that to hold on to,” said Jayci Suseland, Schoolcraft High School freshman.
Schoolcraft worked hard through-out the match. They ended their first game 25-19. Once Schoolcraft hit 19-15 during the second game, the rest of the contest went smoothly, leading then to finish strong. The third game ended in 25-21.
Schoolcraft Varsity Coach Erin Onken said, “The girls have heart, they are determined, and they play for each other.” Onken says that she’s confident in the girls as she’s with them everyday and sees just what they can accomplish.
When it comes to playing against these very talented teams like WMC, it takes a lot to get through the games. There are so many things that motivate these players, Miranda McDonald said her coach motivates her with inspirational quotes. Jayci Suseland says the student section motivates her, “Trust me, we can all hear them cheering for us.” However, it’s Kathryn Ingle who believes it’s her team that pushes her. Ingles said, “My team is what motivates me, they are all so amazing and wonderful. We all push each other every day. At practice or in a game, we push each other and make each other better.
Coach Terry Haas said as time passes, members of Schoolcraft’s 2013 varsity football team will recover from a season-ending, playoff loss and recognize the upside to an otherwise successful season.
“A district championship and co-champions of the (Kalamazoo Valley Athletic Association) league … if anybody told us back in August we’d reach those accomplishments this season, I think we would have been pretty happy,” Haas said. “Yeah, it was a tough ending but they understand that’s part of the game and they certainly don’t have anything to be ashamed of.”
The Eagles ended their 10-2 season Nov. 16, after bowing out of the playoffs in a 33-7 loss to the Shelby Tigers. Haas said his counterpart said after the game it was the toughest 48 minutes he’s seen his team play all season.
Haas said that was evident early on, when the Tigers got on the board quickly and forced Schoolcraft to play catch-up all day. Shelby would go on to lose the following week in a 49-3 shellacking at the hands of the Clinton Redskins.
Addressing the 35-man team after the season-ending defeat was tough for Haas, he said. The squad’s roster featured 19 seniors.
“You try to be positive, point out what we did this year and if they haven’t already, someday they’ll understand what a special season this was,” Haas said. “It just wasn’t our day that day.”
The three post-season games marked the deepest playoff run Schoolcraft had made since its 14-0, state-championship team of 2001.
Haas said the 2013 squad has its own place in history, and that success started right away with a pair of wins over two big-time conference squads. Schoolcraft’s season-opening, 41-14 victory over a tough Parchment team was a good primer for its Week 2 showdown against rival Constantine.
Haas said he told his players before the season started that having Parchment and Constantine to open the year – followed by a Week 3 contest against Olivet – would provide a strong measuring stick to see where the Eagles stood three weeks into the season.
“That win against Parchment was big, they play tough and they showed in their opening playoff win (against perennial football juggernaut Jackson Lumen Christi) that they were for real,” Haas said. “To come home a week later and stop Constantine was big. That was a start we needed.”
Constantine would go on to a 5-4 regular season but still have the league’s most productive offense – scoring 366 points.
The Eagles’ lone blemish occurred a week later against Olivet, a team that Haas said has always had Schoolcraft’s number. This year was no exception, as Olivet dealt Schoolcraft its only regular-season loss, a 28-14 setback.
Olivet and Battle Creek Pennfield would go on to share the league title with Schoolcraft as a trio of one-loss teams.
Schoolcraft bounced back after the Olivet loss and won a pair of one-sided affairs against Galesburg-Augusta and Kalamazoo Hackett to up its record to 4-1 going into a huge came against Pennfield.
Haas said he knew the league title was on the line and a loss to Pennfield would set Schoolcraft a game behind Olivet and Pennfield for the league crown.
“The Pennfield game, in my opinion, might have been our biggest game of the season … we went over there as underdogs and played a mistake-free game,” Haas said, of the 28-22 victory. “I don’t know if we would have beat them any other way because teams like Pennfield will make you pay for your mistakes.”
At 5-1, the Eagles won the final three regular-season games they were supposed to win against the league’s lower-tier squads before starting its fifth-consecutive year of participating in the playoffs.
Schoolcraft won a district title with a pair of nail-biters: 28-21 over Niles Brandywine and 28-26 against Watervliet.
“Those were a couple of close games that really gave the fans their money’s worth,” Haas said. “There’s nothing easy about the playoffs so even though it would have been nice to be playing at Ford Field, we have a district title and there are a lot of schools out there that would love to have a 10-2-season.”
Haas, who has 32 years in the books as Schoolcraft’s head coach, said a trademark of his 2013 team was a game-day work ethic. They weren’t unique that practices were never any fun, Haas said, but on game day, he never once had to get his players fired up.
The school’s fall sports banquet was November 25, when recipients of the “Coaches’ Choice” team awards were issued.
With a 10-team league, Schoolcraft will face the same group of opponents in 2014. He will do so with a roster of young players who gained critical playoff experience this year.
“We’re losing a lot of seniors, a group of guys who worked hard and really made a name for themselves out there on the field,” Haas said. “They ended the season 10-2 as seniors, 10-1 as juniors, so they had a great run at Schoolcraft and I wish them well.”
The 2013 Schoolcraft Rocket Football program had big successes. The Upper and Lower Purple teams both finished their seasons undefeated, each with a record of 7-0. The Upper and Lower Gold teams also had outstanding seasons with records of 5-2 for the Lower division and 2-5 for the Upper division.
There were many highlights this season, including the addition of a Rocket Cheer Program and Flag Football League. Cheer director Heather Smith says the Rocket Cheer program got off to a great start. “We started the season with six girls and by the end of the season, the number grew to 12. We hope the program continues to grow. The high school cheerleaders do a great job at the varsity games and were a big help to us during the season. Our Rocket cheerleaders really look up to them.”
Under the direction of Matt and Ashlee Gorham and Zac Marnell, the Flag Football League is also off to great start. “It’s very important for the players to not only have fun but to start off learning the correct fundamentals of the game,” says Matt Gorham. With over 40 players participating in its first season, the future is looking very bright for these soon-to-be Rocket players.
Also highlighting this season were the two football tailgates the program hosted. Each team had the chance to play “Under the Lights” for a night game, their last home game of the season. The Upper and Lower Gold Teams hosted a “Golden Tailgate”, October 12. Players and families participated in a pregame meal and festivities before facing Sturgis in front of a packed crowd that night.
The Upper and Lower Purple teams hosted a “Pink Tailgate” for their final game against Centreville on October 19. Along with the great food and tailgate games, the Rocket Program was also able to raise over $400 during a halftime fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. “The coaches, players and fans all wore pink during both tailgates to support Breast Cancer research,” says Coach Benny Clark Jr. “It was great to see our community come together and support not only our Rocket Football program but cancer research as well. I am so proud of all of these kids and the Schoolcraft community”.
The Schoolcraft Rocket Football program is also happy to give back to the Schoolcraft schools to continue to grow and improve its football facilities. A portion of the money raised by the Rocket program is put back into the school for improvements. “This year we were able to give $3000 to the school to help purchase a John Deere Gator that is a huge help in maintaining the football field,” says Benny Clark. “It’s great that our players are able to grow up playing on the varsity field. I love that we are able to give back to the program.”
Athletic participation fees of $100 for each student in Schoolcraft were rescinded for all those high school students signed up for sports in the 2013/14 school year by the board of trustees at their November meeting. This would be retroactive to the first of the year, since many students had already paid their fees, according to Superintendent Rusty Stitt.
“These fees were needed to [balance the budget] the last few years, but we have better times now,” board member Mike Rochholz said in his support of doing away with the charges. “This is a chance to help our families, our staff, and still have enough money to put into the education of our students,” he added.
“We have struggled with this decision a long time,” board member Kathy Mastenbrook said. “It doesn’t feel good to eliminate [entirely] but it would be OK to reduce the fee to help out a bit more.” She was concerned about how the money would be given back. Stitt answered, “It would be a process, certainly not as clean as we would like. It could be credited to a student’s lunch money account or ultimately they could receive a check, but that would require the student to be listed as a vendor for accounting purposes. Another option is if a family just wants to make a donation to the school,” he said.
Skip Fox, long-time board member, said, “I didn’t like the fee from the get-go. We need to do what’s right for the kids and this time it’s what’s good for the families.” Matt DeVoe also was in favor of the give-back to the community as an opportunity but said the policy should be evaluated every year. David Krum, another long-time board member, suggested cutting the fee in half to $50, but the motion was made to eliminate the fee completely and he and the rest of the board agreed, with one no vote cast by Mastenbrook.
The Lady Eagles battled it out with Muskegon Western Michigan Christian (WMC), to come out victorious with a score of 3-0 and claim the title of regional champs on November 14 at home.
“It is a really awesome feeling going from KVA champs to district champs to regional champs. And no matter what happens from here on out we all still have that to hold on to,” said Jayci Suseland, Schoolcraft high school freshman.
Schoolcraft worked hard through out the match. They ended their first game 25-19. Once Schoolcraft hit 19-15 during the second game, the rest of the contest went smoothly, leading then to finish strong. The third game ended in 25-21.
Schoolcraft Varsity coach Erin Onken said, “The girls have heart, they are determined, and they play for each other.” Onken says that she’s confident in the girls as she’s with them everyday and sees just what they can accomplish.
When it comes to playing against these very talented teams like WMC, it takes a lot to get through the games. There are so many things that motivate these players; Miranda McDonald said her coach motivates her with inspirational quotes. While Jayci Suseland says the student section motivates her, “Trust me, we can all hear them cheering for us.” However, it’s Kathryn Ingle who feels it’s her team that pushes her, Ingles said, “My team is what motivates me, they are all so amazing and wonderful. We all push each other every day. At practice or in a game we push each other and make each other better.
The Schoolcraft Eagles will play Mendon at Delton Kellogg High School on Tuesday, Nov. 19th at 6:00 p.m.
WATERVLIET – Schoolcraft High School’s varsity football team struggled for most of Friday’s Division 6 district-title game to stop opposing quarterback Luke Traver.
No matter, the Eagles left Berrien County with a 28-26 win thanks to what boiled down to a trio of game-changing plays:
*Phil Pelton’s interception and return for a touchdown proved to be the game-winning score for the Eagles. The pick-off came with just under four minutes to play in the game.
*Needing a two-point conversion to tie the game at 28-all with less than two minutes to play, Watervliet saw its attempt swatted down by Schoolcraft’s Brennan Vaughn.
*The Panthers’ last-gasp effort to score in the final seconds had momentum until Pete Schultz nabbed an interception to secure the Eagles’ tenth win of the season. The interception was forced when linesmen Carter Fowler and Cody Mikel hit Traver as he released the ball, causing the pass to be underthrown.
For Schoolcraft, it was a 48-minute roller-coaster ride that extends its season into a twelfth week. The 10-1 Eagles travel to Shelby to take on the Tigers at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The fact Schoolcraft remains in the playoffs after Friday’s aerial clinic by Traver is notable, as Watervliet’s quarterback completed 38 of 49 pass attempts for a mind-boggling 460 yards.
“We knew he was good, but he played better than what we had seen on any of the two game films we had studied,” Schoolcraft Head Coach Terry Haas said. “We don’t see that kind of an offense in our run-dominated league, so this was a test for our defense and they hung in there long enough to win it for us.”
Traver’s touchdown passes of 23 and 5 yards put the Panthers up, 12-0 early in the second quarter before Schoolcraft answered with two scores of its own to knot the game at 12-12 at halftime.
Josh Zemek’s second-quarter runs of 5 and 4 yards accounted for Schoolcraft’s first-half scoring. The second of the two touchdowns came late in the half, when Zemek intercepted a pass and returned the ball to Watervliet’s 16 yard line to set up the tie score.
The teams combined for three missed extra-point-kick attempts and one failed two-point conversion in the first 24 minutes.
Schoolcraft took its first lead of the game three minutes into the third quarter, when Mikel reached the end zone on a 17-yard run. Zemek’s two-point conversion put the Eagles up, 20-12.
Watervliet would tie it at 20 with a score in the fourth quarter. The deadlock would remain until Pelton’s interception and touchdown return on a bobbled pass.
Haas said his team’s defense had to adjust to a no-huddle, up-tempo offense employed by Watervliet.
“They spent a lot of the night chasing down (Traver), so they had a good workout,” Haas said. “But in the end, defense wins championships and I preach that all the time.”
Haas said it was an especially memorable night for senior Charlie Schultz, who turned 18 years old Friday.
Haas said he also felt good about Vaughn and his role in breaking up Watervliet’s two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game late in the fourth quarter.
“Brennan was pretty down about missing the two extra-point attempts early in the game … he had only missed one all year,” Haas said. “So, he got redemption and that two-point conversion attempt was a big moment.”
The win advances Schoolcraft to its deepest post-season run since the 14-0 state-champion team of 2001. The Eagles, whose only loss this season was to co-league champion Olivet in Week 3, bowed out in the Week 11 district title game last year to Constantine, 40-27.
Shelby, meanwhile, is a 10-1 team with its only loss to Spring Lake, 27-0, in the final Friday of the regular season. The school is located in Oceana County, halfway between Ludington and Muskegon.
Haas said he and his coaches will spend Sunday looking at game film of Shelby, a squad he admitted he doesn’t know much about. The game against the Tigers was originally scheduled to take place Friday, but Haas said considering the 130-mile distance, he objected to a Friday game and was awarded the matinee game Saturday.