Category Archives: Sports

Record Setting Night for Schoolcraft Football

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Kobe Clark sets off on one of his six touchdowns against Constantine. Photo by Stephanie Blentlinger, Lingering Memories Photography.

The Constantine Falcons came into the game sitting at 5-0 and ranked 5th in the state. A win would guarantee them a place in the MHSAA playoffs. It was not going to come from the Eagles though.

The rain kept falling, as the score kept climbing, in what would end up as a record setting night for one player. Kobe Clark did something that had never been done before in the state of Michigan. He scored nine rushing touchdowns in ONE game.

The scoring started quickly in the when Clark took the ball eight yards into the rival, Constantine Falcon, end zone. With the dreaded wing-T offense, the Falcons were poised to get into the end zone themselves. Unfortunately for them, the Eagle defense had other plans and forced a fumble that was recovered by Cameron Blalock. The Eagles took advantage of the Falcon’s mistake, resulting with Clark being congratulated in the end zone again, with a 25-yard run, for touchdown number two.

With a four and out, the Falcons had to punt and the ball was blocked giving the Eagles a short field to play with. Still in the first quarter, Clark carried in from nine yards out. The scoreboard was then reading 21-0. The Falcons were finally able to score in the 2nd quarter on two runs from Josh Lawson. The extra point on the second score was no good, making the score 21-13 at half time.

The Eagles had a total of 553 yds of offense for the night. Clark was able to score six more touchdowns, finishing his record setting night with 26 carries, for a total of 380 yds and 9 touchdowns. Alex Thole went three for four on passing, for 58 yards. Mark Fox carried the ball five times, for 27 yards. The Eagles recovered two fumbles by the offense of the Falcons, one by Cameron Blalock and the other by Chris Cooper.

Head Coach Nathan Ferency, got his first win against rival Constantine. He knew how much this game means to the players and the community.

However, the night belonged to Kobe Clark and the Eagles. (The previous rushing touchdown record of eight, was set in 2005, by Mike Golden of Frankenmuth).

Two Overtime Thriller in Schoolcraft in Mid-September

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Ethan McIntyre, number 51, and Parker Lawrence, number 8, react to an official’s call.

By Mark Blentlinger

If you were in Schoolcraft on Friday, September 14th, and you were hoping to see a good Football game, you didn’t see a good game, you saw a great football game! Saugatuck came in with a 3-0 record, looking to make it 4-0. The Eagles, however, were looking to come back from a loss to Berrien Springs the week prior and make their record 3-1.

There was a total of 871 yards in offense between both teams. The Indians of Saugatuck having 505 yards, the Eagles with 366. The first TD of the game came at the 9:28 mark on the clock, with a 37 yards pass from Alex Thole to Kobe Clark. Kobe had a highlight reel run of dodging, weaving and breaking tackle after tackle to find himself in the end zone. With a good extra point kick, from Chandler Guiter, the score sat at 7-0. It didn’t take long for Saugatuck to be celebrating themselves, in the Eagle end zone, with a 49 yard run by Brad Dunn. A good extra point kick put the score at 7-7, with the clock reading 8:15 in the 1st quarter. Shortly thereafter, Dunn, of Saugatuck, scored again at the 3:33 mark, with a 24 yard TD run. The extra point was good, giving Saugatuck the 14-7 lead going into the 2nd quarter.

The 2nd quarter was a battle back and forth until Eagle, Trevor DeGroote, stepped in front of a pass from Dunn, to intercept and stop Saugatuck’s drive down field. At that point, Coach Ferency, was sending in play after play. The biggest one coming off of a pass from Thole to Jimmy Downs, going 41 yards. Clark capped off the drive by going the last 2 yards into the end zone. The kick from Guiter was once again right on, sending both teams into halftime, tied at 14.

The 3rd quarter saw both teams swapping off. Scoring first, a run from Nick Baumbach of Saugatuck, that went 73 yards. Next, Eagle Chris Cooper, snagged a 10 yards pass from Thole, knotting it up again at 21 each. Again, the teams swapped TD’s, bringing it up to 28 all. Brad Dunn of Saugatuck, showed his speed yet again, going 44 yards downfield. The Eagles answered with a great pass, right into the number on the chest of Jett Gott and the race was off! Thirty-nine yards later, the high fives and jump bumps started!

The fourth quarter started with the scoreboard reading 35 on each side. Both teams worked hard to add to the points, until time ran out, forcing OT #1. The Indians, with first possession, were able to drive Dunn around the defense of Schoolcraft for the score. The Eagles then got their shot from the 10 yard line. After a first attempt only gaining 3 yards, Clark, capped it off from 7 yards out, bringing the score to 42-42.

OT #2, the Eagles struck first with a nice 6 yard run up the middle from, Mark Fox, plus the extra point kick from Guiter, made the score 49-42 Eagles. Dunn then answered again, scoring from 5 yards out. The Indians decided to go for the 2 point conversion and the win. The Eagles built a stone wall and said, sorry, not today, and were able to hold off the conversion to win the game, 49-48!

The Eagles won convincingly on the 21st at Delton Kellogg.

Eagles Volleyball Team Sweeps Quad Match

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Andelyn Simkins powers the ball over the net in a recent quad match. Kayla Onken, number 10, looks on along with Alisa Ertman in the lower right. Photo by Stephanie Blentlinger, Lingering Memories Photography.

By Mark Blentlinger

The Eagle Volleyball team was in action Sept. 18 at Schoolcraft High School for a quad match and home opener. The Eagles hosted Hackett Catholic Prep, Coloma and Martin. They started their opener with Hackett. The Eagles beat the Irish in three straight sets, 25-10, 25-8, and 25-11.

Court 2 had Coloma and Martin in action, going into a fifth set tiebreaker. Coloma took set one, 26-15. Martin came back, taking the next two sets 25-21 and 25-18. Coloma, however, won the fourth set 27-25 to force the tiebreaker. The fifth set belonged to Martin, 14-9, for the win.

It had been predetermined which teams would be playing one another for the night. The Eagles of Schoolcraft next faced off against the Comets of Coloma, while the Irish of Hackett played the Clippers of Martin. The long wait between matches didn’t have an effect on the Eagles. They played like they did in the first match – wherever the ball was, an Eagle was there. You did not want to be on the receiving end of Morris, Simkins or Feddema when their kill shots went into action!

The Eagles didn’t let up on the Comets at all, taking best out of three in just two sets, 25-8 and 25-10.

Maggie Morris and Andeelyn Simkins tied with 16 kills each, while Kelsey Feddema had 10. Kenzie Chrissman led the Eagles on digs with 33, Andelyn Simkins had 20 and Kayla Onken came in with 13. Aces were led by Simkins with 11 and Onken had eight.

Coach Onken said the girls played with enthusiasm. They controlled the first contact extremely well, allowing them to run their quick offense quite efficiently. Onken said all the players on the roster helped contribute to the two conference wins.

The team is at 17-3-1 this season.

Bulldog Soccer Building from Ground Up

By Travis Smola

The Vicksburg varsity boys’ soccer team is going through some growing pains again. But this year’s team has more youth than ever before.

There are just two seniors in Joe Brady and Jay Snyder. The rest of the team is made up mostly of sophomore and freshman players.

“I’m preparing this team for the next two or three years,” Head Coach Lahou Boulnemour said after a 4-0 loss to Delton Kellogg. After the game, Boulnemour encouraged his players to put extra work in on their ball-handling skills. The Bulldogs let a few too many passes get away from them once they got the ball into scoring contention. Another concern is getting the young squad to better work on their conditioning. Some of the boys simply ran out of gas in the hot conditions later in the game.

“If you’re not conditioned in the first half of the year, you’re done, you’re going to get beat,” Boulnemour said.

The rough start to the season aside, there have been flashes of what could be with this team. Their second match of the year they beat Parchment 5-3. “This team is much more disciplined than last year,” Boulnemour said.

In fact, he has very high hopes for the future if he can get everyone on the same page. “In the next two or three years I think this team will be unbeatable.”

Bulldog Football Record Drops to 2-4

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Jacob Conklin, Vicksburg’s quarterback, tries to run out of the grasp of the opposing tackler. Grant Deal, number 65, is at left.

By Travis Smola

A dull first half led to a wild finish that saw Vicksburg’s varsity football team drop its third game of the season in a heartbreaking 22-21 loss to Otsego Sept. 21.

The first two quarters were a defensive. It was 3-0 Otsego at halftime. Things picked up considerably when on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, senior running back Caleb Welch found some space down the right side. He picked up an additional blocker and rumbled 73 yards for a touchdown. Fellow senior Joe Brady tacked on the extra point and it was 7-3 Vicksburg.

Welch had another huge game for the Bulldogs, racking up 207 yards on just 17 attempts. He also scored two touchdowns.

Vicksburg was able to take the lead again after senior receiver Aaron Phelps returned the subsequent kickoff 65 yards. It set up a 25-yard touchdown run by Welch on the next play to make the score 14-10.

“We ended up getting the momentum in the second half offensively,” Head Coach Tom Marchese said. “They did a good job of keeping the ball. We didn’t have many possessions in the first half.”

Vicksburg increased the lead on the next drive with a one-yard scramble by sophomore quarterback Jacob Conklin to make things 21-10. “Up two scores we just needed to get a stop and we couldn’t,” Marchese said.

Otsego made it 21-16 with 2:07 left in the game. Otsego’s two-point attempt failed and they were forced to go for an on-side kick attempt which they recovered.

Otsego then marched back down the field and Otsego quarterback Will Eldred hit Callaway again for the winning score. Vicksburg got a good kick return and Conklin made a good pass deep to put the Bulldogs in position for a long field goal as time expired. But Brady’s attempt fell short.

The next week at Paw Paw, the Bulldogs erased a 21-0 halftime deficit. Welch opened the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown rumble. Vicksburg got within seven after Shane Earl reached into a pile, stole away the ball, and then scampered 64 yards to the end zone for the score.

The Bulldogs tied things up on their next possession with a 10-yard keeper by Conklin. Vicksburg got the ball back with about five minutes left and set up Brady for a 39-yard game winning attempt. Unfortunately the kick fell short as time expired. The Redskins scored a touchdown and converted two points on their OT possession. The Bulldogs failed to get in the end zone and ran out of downs. The final was 29-21.

The two losses come after a decisive 41-7 victory over Sturgis. Conklin rushed for 177 yards on 16 attempts while converting three touchdowns in that contest. But Marchese said they still need to do better. “I know this is week five, but we’ve only had five guys who played on this field on a Friday night,” Marchese said. “We’re still really young but our guys are playing, they’re giving their best.”

Cross Country Sets New Records Despite the Weather

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The Vicksburg Boys cross country team runs out in front of the competition. Photo by Travis Smola.

By Travis Smola

Vicksburg’s cross country teams have once again been dealing with the unpredictable Michigan weather as their season nears the midway point.

“It’s been hot,” Head Coach Lucas Wolthuis said as the team went one on one with Edwardsburg at home.

At the Cougar Falcon invite in Lansing, the boys finished 23rd and saw a lot of records fall. Junior Jacob Malocha was the top runner for the boys, setting a new personal record of 18:36.1. Sophomore Joey Loriso also set a new personal record. Sophomore Levi Thomas, junior Keagan Ellsworth, junior Jackson Hambright and senior Hunter Bierema all set season records.

With the loss of some key seniors, the boys’ team has some growing to do this year. “We know that it’s about how you run at the end of the season and not at the beginning of the season,” Wolthuis said. “And the goal is to grow and improve.”

The girls finished 30th at the same mee, but saw even more new personal records set. The top finisher was sophomore Sawyer Barton who set a new personal record (PR) while running 20:17.6. Other Lady Bulldogs who set new personal records include sophomore Hannah Fenwick and senior Mia Mulhearn.

Of the two teams, Wolthuis believes the girls will have a stronger showing this year in the long run and could compete for a top three spot. The challenge will come facing teams like Plainwell and Otsego who are once again fielding extremely strong teams.

But the girls have defeated Allegan and Edwardsburg this year in dual meets and have shown up strong in larger races consistently. Against Edwardsburg, sophomore Avalee Goodman, freshman Katie Schaible, junior Sam Richardson and freshman Jessica Ferguson all set new PRs.

“Our girls’ team has some girls that should be competing for top conference spots, maybe even regionals spots,” Wolthuis said.

Bulldog Volleyball Picks Up Where They Left Off

By Travis Smola

The Lady Bulldogs only lost two seniors last year and have seemingly picked things up exactly where they left off. In fact, they’re doing even better than last year. The team is 19-4-5 and 5-0 in conference.

“It’s the best record I’ve ever had here,” Head Coach Katrina Miller said after the girls finished off Otsego in a scrappy battle of the Bulldogs in three sets. The match was made a little more difficult due to the hot conditions in the gym. “The heat is miserable. It makes it a lot harder to stay excited and pumped up and that takes so much energy,” Miller said.

The girls beat Otsego pretty easily in the first set 25-16. The next two sets were a little more challenging, but they still managed to come out on top, 25-18 and 25-21. Again this year, Vicksburg is using a very scrappy style of play to wear down almost any opponent they come up against. “Otsego, they always give us a fight,” Miller said. “They have a great coaching staff there so whenever we can beat them, that is good.”

Miller also praised her two seniors for their extraordinary efforts this season. Kaytee Harvey has been a force all year at middle blocker. She always seems to be using her height to knock down opponent’s shots at the net and led the team with 14 kills in the victory over Otsego. “She hasn’t hit under .400 all year,” Miller said. “That’s counting tournaments as well, so that’s big.”

Fellow senior Grace Wile took over as libero this year and has also been a force to reckon with, seemingly always in the thick of things. Wile led the team with 19 digs against Otsego. “She’s had two shoulder surgeries in the last year and messed up her other shoulder at the beginning of this year – and she gets balls up that I don’t even know how she gets to them,” Miller said.