Schoolcraft Homecoming royalty from left to right: Skyler Thompson freshman class rep; Grace Tremblay freshman class rep and princess; Brice Walther, junior class rep and prince; Payton Campbell, junior class rep; Lydia Goble, senior class rep; Zach Stokes, senior class rep and king; Paxton Green, senior class rep and queen; Collin Hampton, senior class rep; Zach Scott, senior class rep; Brooke Crissman, senior class rep; Levi Balcom sophomore class rep and Katie Parker, sophomore class rep. Photo by Stephanie Blentlinger, Lingering Memories Photography.
The Schoolcraft High School cross country team is off to a great start this season, led by senior captains Emma Woodhams, Meg Tremblay, Collin Hampton, and Nolan Ballard. Sophomore Karson Leighton and junior Drake Matheny have led a young varsity men’s team to strong performances at the Centreville Invitational, SAC Jamboree in Saugatuck, Paul DeWolf Invitational in Schoolcraft, and Cougar Falcon Invitational in Grand Rapids. Freshman Grace Tremblay and junior Autumn Fitzsimmons have both notched personal best times this season while leading the varsity girls team.
By Sue Moore
Schoolcraft’s volleyball team welcomed back nine players from last year’s varsity squad, including four starters with quality playing time under their belts. With a 17-7-2 record, the Eagles find themselves ranked in the top 10 in Class C again this season.
They are starting conference play off 3-0 with wins over Saugatuck, Kalamazoo Christian and Hackett. The Eagles players accredit these wins to their tough weekend tournament schedule and maintaining a competitive training environment at practice.
“It’s unique to have so many players return with varsity playing time experience. The team dynamic is strong and everyone really pushed each other during training,” said coach Erin Onken.
“All twelve girls show up every day to improve individually. They know their role and see the importance of striving for progress which in turn puts competitive pressure on their teammates for playing time.”
The team is looking forward to a fun second half of their season as they get into the bulk of their conference opponents.
By Sean Budlong
The 2017 Schoolcraft Eagles football team has relied on its deep roster to charge out to a 4-1 record. Eleven players have scored touchdowns for the Eagles through the first five games, and 25 players have recorded a tackle. Chandler Guiter has done neither, but his kicking has been a difference-maker in multiple games.
Schoolcraft is led by an outstanding group of offensive backs. Kobe Clark, Jack Hunt, and Trent Lomason have all rushed for more than 175 yards on the season. Starting quarterback Dylan Straley has rushed for 278 yards in just three and a half games. He was knocked out of the Berrien Springs game and missed the Galesburg game due to that injury. Clark leads the team with eight rushing touchdowns, while Hunt has accumulated 398 total rushing yards. These backs are joined by four other Eagles with rushing touchdowns – Brady Flynn, Mark Melching, Reilly Puhalski and Josh Wujkowski.
Unlike the most recent seasons, the Eagles have pulled away in three of their victories during the second half. Schoolcraft has scored 65 out of 163 points in the second half. Head Coach Terry Haas’ ability to use any one of eight or more backs throughout the game has allowed the Eagles to wear down opponents over the course of the final two quarters.
Special teams have also played a major role in this season’s success. Guiter began kicking extra points during the Saugatuck contest. It was Guiter’s 25-yard field goal with 1:11 left in that game that gave the Eagles the 24-21 victory.
The Eagles have given up only 62 points all season – 27 of them in the only loss to Berrien Springs, while shutting out both Fennville and Galesburg-Augusta. The Eagles’ depth works on both sides of the ball. Thirteen players have double-digit tackles, led by Huysken, Collin Blalock, River Fox, Melching, Piper, Marc Shaink, and Hunt. Shaink, Fox, and Travis Mikel have dominated on both the offensive and defensive lines. Blalock and Fox have combined in a run-stuffing, pass-rushing duo that has proven almost impossible to block.
By Sean Budlong
Less than three minutes into the football game at Constantine, and Schoolcraft was down 8-0. A 41-yard run by Hunter Linbert right through the heart of the Eagles’ defense was followed by a two-point conversion from Josh Lawson. That would prove to be the last Falcon score as Schoolcraft rushed its way back into the lead on its way to a 35-8 victory.
After giving up 60 yards rushing on the first drive of the game,including the 41-yard touchdown, Schoolcraft’s defense limited Constantine to less than 90 yards on the ground the rest of the game. Collin Blalock, Marc Shaink, and River Fox dominated the Falcon’s offensive line, forcing Constantine into long yardage situations. Jakob Huysken, Mark Melching, Tavis Mikel, and Mark Phelps stopped the Falcons’ run and pass game.
The Eagles offense generated 293 yards rushing. Coach Terry Haas used the depth of his backfield to keep Constantine’s defense off balance. Jack Hunt led Schoolcraft with 87 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. Kobe Clark added two touchdowns on 46 rushing yards. Riley Piper, with 56 yards and Trenton Lomason with a touchdown run, added key carries. Hunt and Clark bring different styles of rushing to the field. Taking down Hunt usually takes four or more defenders and he often looks as though he’s seeking out defensive players to run over. While Clark doesn’t shy away from contact, he’s often past the first line of the defense before the opposition can react.
One player that can be overlooked in a busy backfield, but shouldn’t be, is quarterback Dylan Straley. While he completed a single pass against Constantine with a successful 2-point conversion, he showed leadership and toughness as Schoolcraft clawed its way to the lead and victory. His 53 yards on the ground were crucial to keeping defenders from simply keying on the running backs.
By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg varsity football team moved one step closer to clinching a playoff spot in a rivalry game against the Paw Paw Redskins.
The Bulldogs came out on top 21-12 against the Redskins a week after destroying Otsego 70-13 on the road.
Paw Paw and Vicksburg had a scoreless stalemate for their first four drives. On their third drive it looked like the Bulldogs were marching down the field for a score when senior quarterback Garrett Ketelaar was intercepted at the two yard line.
But he made up for his mistake on the next drive, marching the Bulldogs 49 yards before he capped off the drive himself with a 10-yard quarterback scramble for the touchdown. Joe Brady’s kick made 7-0.
On the very next drive Ryan Morgan picked off a Redskins pass at the Paw Paw 28 yard line. After a 19 yard pass to Gavin Leach got the Bulldogs knocking on the door, Ketelaar again ran in for the score himself, this time from nine yards out.
The very next drive played out in very similar fashion. Adam Henderson managed to scoop up a lofted pass for an interception right before it hit the ground. Two plays later, junior running back Caleb Welch found some space on the left side and rumbled 53 yards, stiff-arming a Redskin defender on his way into the end zone for the score and to extend the lead to 21-0. Welch led the team with 80 yards on the ground.
“We played really well in the first half,” Head Coach Tom Marchese said while also admitting there had been some missed opportunities like a dropped pass in the first quarter that hit Morgan right in the hands while he was wide open in the end zone.
“That wasn’t how you draw it up,” Marchese said.
In the second half, Paw Paw used deception from the T-formation to march down the field and break the goose egg on the scoreboard. “They found something in their run game,” Marchese said. But the extra point was shanked and helped give the Bulldogs just enough of a cushion.
When Paw Paw finally scored again on a one-yard touchdown run with 1:42 left in the game, they were forced to go for two and failed to get it. Vicksburg recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.
The good news is the Bulldogs now only need one win to secure a playoff spot. The Wolverine Conference will likely come down to the wire once again this year. The Bulldogs will face South Haven next week, but will then face two tough tests in games against Edwardsburg and the Bulldogs’ arch-rival, Three Rivers.
From left to right: Harrison Bishop, Rebecca Crawley, Austin Povlock, Hailey Burr, Ryan Morgan, Katie Flintrop, Connor Seifert, Kaylie Ruch, Adam Henderson, Haley Hausmanis. Siefert and Ruch were chosen as king and queen.