Vicksburg cross country finally found some more favorable running conditions as the season wound down.
The Bulldogs faced another really tough challenge during a Wolverine Conference Jamboree in Three Rivers at Myer Broadway Park. The park’s hills and an unusually warm day made for slower than normal times for most all the runners.
“It’s not a fast course by any means,” Head Coach Lucas Wolthuis said. “It’s a true cross country course. It’s hilly, it’s competitive. It forces you to not only beat those around you but also beat yourself.”
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams ended up finishing second at the meet. Wolthuis knew there likely wouldn’t be any personal or season records at the meet. This race was more strategic on placing. “I think our kids overall did a good job of worrying less about the course and more about where they were in relation to the other teams,” he added.
At the Wolverine Conference Championship, conditions were much better. The boys finished fifth while the girls finished seventh. Freshman Sam Richardson set a new personal record (PR) for the girls and Ben Welch set a new season record for the boys.
The Bulldogs also did well at the Otsego Bulldog Invite at the end of September. On the girls’ side, Sawyer Barton, Avalee Goodman, Hannah Fenwick, Riley-Ann Bierema and Savina Centofanti all set new PRs. Angel Currie set a new season record.
The same event saw Jacob Malocha and Levi Thomas both run under 18 minutes while setting new PRs. Joey Loriso, Jackson Hambright and Ben Hambright both also ran new PRs under twenty minutes.
“Times are starting to drop and kids are starting to come around,” Wolthuis said.
The varsity boys’ soccer team wrapped up another rough season in Vicksburg with an 8-0 loss in District competition against Sturgis.
The team finished with a 1-13-4 record on the year. Their only win was a 5-3 contest against Parchment back in August. Late in the year, the team had some disciplinary issues and in their second-to-last game of the year, they only fielded 11 players against Three Rivers.
That left an opportunity for some new players who hadn’t gotten playing time before and freshman Adrian Knauer scored for the Bulldogs in his first game all year. Unfortunately, Vicksburg fell in the contest, 6-1. Vicksburg had some good pressures on net a few times, but just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.
“We played really well the first half, but then the second half we made some mistakes that cost us,” Head Coach Lohou Boulnemour said.
The Lady Bulldogs had a perfect 7-0 record against Wolverine Conference rivals until they matched up against Edwardsburg in mid-October.
The girls won the first set against the Eddies 25-22 after rallying from seven points down. But then Vicksburg lost in three straight sets, 25-23, 25-14 and 25-12. The loss meant the girls missed a share of the Wolverine Conference title. The following week, the Lady Bulldogs went on the road against Three Rivers and lost in very similar fashion. Vicksburg took the first set 25-17 before losing the next three sets 25-22, 25-19 and 25-23.
“We definitely didn’t execute the things that we should have, for sure,” Assistant coach Chad Miller said. The Wildcats team and fans were extremely fired up for the whole match-up. “Full credit to Three Rivers. Don’t take anything away from them, they played well,” Miller said.
The Lady Bulldogs were in all the games, but always seemed to be playing catchup from two points down to Three Rivers the whole night. Defensively, Miller said they could have played better. “We tried to correct it, we tried to move some pieces around, but we just couldn’t get there tonight,” Miller said.
“It’s a game of inches, it’s a 30 foot by 30 foot court on your side,” he added. “But if you’re not in the right spot by inches it’s just not good enough and we weren’t in the right spot tonight.”
He does still feel they’ve had a very successful year. There are just a few adjustments to make before the first game of Districts on November 1. Miller said they are looking forward to another chance for retribution against Edwardsburg.
Schoolcraft soccer made marked improvements over last season. That culminated in the team’s first District semi-final win in an aggressively-played, 4-0 contest against Constantine.
“The boys played a great game today,” Head Coach Chad Earles said after the victory. “We got a little sloppy towards the end of the first half, but we got up early on them with two goals. Constantine, they’re a tough team. They played hard, they played very physical.”
Sophomore Myalz Berkheiser opened the scoring for the Eagles. Senior Chandler Guiter added to the score with two goals of his own. Senior Buddy Kelecava gets the credit for the last goal. It came on a shot that Constantine accidentally deflected into their net. The game marked the first time the Eagles have won in the semi-finals and first time they’ve made it to the District finals.
It’s a marked turnaround from last year when the team was losing by large margins. This year they’ve kept all but one game close while tallying an 8-9-1 record with a 4-3-1 record in the conference.
The boys moved on to face Dowagiac the following week in the District Final and got out to an early lead on a Jacob Steeby goal. But the Chieftains ultimately took the game 3-1 and ended the Eagles’ season.
“Our stats don’t show how good of a team we actually are,” Earles said. “We’ve lost a lot of close games because we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”
Schoolcraft and Constantine faced off again in round 1 of the MHSAA football playoffs. The Falcons came in remembering the last game they played at Roy Davis field, when Junior running back, Kobe Clark, set the state record with nine rushing touchdowns. The scoring started with a 37 yd passing touchdown from Sophomore Quarterback, Alex Thole, to fellow Sophomore, Jett Gott. With the extra point good, it was 7-0, just 1:20 into the game. The Falcons then ran down the clock with their wing-T offense to 1:11, before they were able to tie the score at 7. The Falcons then added to their score with a field goal, 6 minutes into the second quarter, going up 10-7. The score stayed at 10-7 into halftime.
The second half would see 5 more touchdowns between the 2 teams. The set up for the Eagles go-ahead TD, with a decision by Coach Ferency to go for it, on a 4th and 10, with 2 mins left on the clock. Thole took the snap and let it sail 30+ yds down the sideline as Sophomore, Jimmy Downs, pulled it in for an Eagle 1st down. Clark then released his speed and beat the Falcon corner back to the front corner of the end zone. The extra point split the uprights to bring the score to 28-24, with 1:08 left on the clock. The Falcons were unable to capitalize on the time they had left. They tried one last pass downfield which was intercepted by Clark, sealing the win and putting the Eagles into the District Championships. The District final will be played on Friday, Nov 2, against Delton Kellogg.
Coach Ferency told his players in the huddle, “That’s what great teams do, they never ever give up.”
Anticipation of the varsity football game between Kalamazoo United and Schoolcraft was high. With the conference title on the line and an undefeated season for the Titans, it was expected to be a high-scoring game, with United leading the state as the highest scoring offense. Titan QB Erik Wenzel is one of the top 10 players in the running for top high school player in the state. On the Eagles offense is Kobe Clark, state record holder for touchdowns scored in a single game – nine. The game was played at Vicksburg High School, since the Titan’s field was unusable due to poor conditions. The weather the past couple Friday nights had played a factor in the outcome of a few games. October 19th was not going to be any different. It was again windy and rained all night long.
The Eagles went into halftime with a 20-7 lead, just like two weeks earlier. The Titans found themselves needing to make a comeback, to keep their undefeated season going. Challenge accepted. But Wenzel and the Titans were able to put up 14 points in the 4th quarter, defeating the Eagles 21-20 to head into the playoffs as the conference champions.
Schoolcraft welcomed the Galesburg volleyball team Into the Schoolcraft gym in October for an SAC conference match. The Rams started out the first set with some strong play, putting the Eagles at a three-point deficit. It didn’t take long for Andelyn Simkins to show the Rams her strength, with her first of 22 kills for the night. In set one, both teams played extremely well.
The Eagles had great communication with each other on the floor, as they started to show the Rams why they are undefeated in conference play. The first set ended with a win for the Eagles 25-17. Set 2 started much like set one but the Rams turned it around. Set two went to them, 25-21.
Set three started with a different look from the Eagles. They put together a 12-point streak before the Rams were able to put a single point on the board. Set 3 ended with the Eagles on top, a 25-10 win.
The Eagles were able to beat the Rams again in set four, taking it 25-11. Both teams had great defense and put the ball back into play on some great saves, way outside the court lines.
Leaders for the Eagles in kills were Andelyn Simkins with 22, followed by Maggie Morris and Anna Schuppel each with 10. Kelby Goldschmeding led the team on digs with 34. Simkins had 14, followed by Kayla Onken with 9, and was the leader in assists, 52.
Coach Erin Onken said the girls played “aggressively against a scrappy Rams team.” She also said the team played their game by controlling the first contact, staying smart and aggressive on offense. “We looked really good” said Onken, “The blockers continue to do a great job at the net.” Every player helps keep the Eagles with an undefeated record in SAC conference play. They are 30-4-2 for the season with District play beginning at the end of October.