In Play with Tom Markowski


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Fordson’s 5-0 record on the line against the Pilots

By: Tom Markowski, October 1, 2014, 12:00 am

Dearborn – Dearborn Fordson steps outside of the conference schedule this week to play one of the top teams in the area, Warren De La Salle (3-2), at Wayne State on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Tractors (5-0, 3-0 Western Wayne Athletic Conference) haven’t been tested this season. Their closest game was in the opener, a 41-21 victory over Temperance Bedford.

Make no mistakes. This will be Fordson’s most severe test before the state playoffs and coach Walker Zaban knows it.

“There’s question, (De La Salle) is an outstanding program,” Zaban said. “It’s a proven program. Hopefully we can give them a challenge. Hopefully we can play them tough. We haven’t given them our best recently.”

After losing to De La Salle 31-28 in 2011, Fordson lost to the Pilots 40-19 in ’12 and 36—0 last season.

“This is the reason we schedule De La Salle,” Zaban said. “We want to get ready (for the playoffs). We’ve played (Macomb) Dakota and (Detroit) Catholic Central during the season before. It kind of opens the eyes of our kids.”

Fordson has made the playoffs each of the past eight seasons but hasn’t won a playoff game since 2011.

Zaban likes this group of kids. He said they’re the type of kids who are the leaders in the school and the ones getting the good grades.

“They’re the type of kids that help me as a coach,” he said. “In the building, they’re the ones who are breaking up the fights, not the ones starting them.

“Not only are they good kids but they’re talented.”

At the top of the talent list is all-purpose back Jamil Sabbagh, who committed to Central Michigan. Sabbagh scored four touchdowns last week in 35-0 victory over Dearborn. He scored one on an interception return and the other four came from the running back position. In previous years Sabbagh was used more as a slot back offensively. This season his contributions have been coming more from the running back spot.

Defensively tackle Hussein Kadouh (6-2, 270) is the leader on the line and in the secondary junior Hassen Hachem Has stepped to the forefront. Michael Hazime and Abdallah Jaffal lead a strong contingent at the linebacker spot.             PICK: De La Salle by 10.  



All games at 7 p.m. on Friday unless noted.

Waterford Mott (4-1) at Walled Lake Central (4-1), Thursday, 7: Mott hasn’t been 4-1 since 1999. Central hasn’t lost to Mott since 2008. This could be a trap game for Central with Walled Lake Western on tap next week.            PICK: Mott by 2.

DeWitt (5-0) at St. Johns (5-0): DeWitt quarterback Jacob Johnson suffered a head injury last week and it is not certain whether he will play this week. St. Johns is strong offensively so the score keeper should be quite busy.              PICK: DeWitt by 3.

East Kentwood (5-0) at Holland West Ottawa (4-1): West Ottawa has won four straight since losing to Canton. East Kentwood ended an eight-game losing streak to West Ottawa last season with a 34-18 victory.              PICK: East Kentwood by 4.    

Grand Rapids Christian (4-1) at Lowell (5-0): These teams have met just six times with Lowell winning four. Both have overachieved in many respects to this point. Fact remains, Lowell is tough to beat at home.             PICK: Lowell by 6

Livonia Churchill (5-0) at Canton (4-1): Churchill can clinch a tie for the KLAA South Division title with a victory. These teams have been evenly matched recently. Canton has won four of the last seven but this Churchill team has balance on offense and in all three phases.            PICK: Churchill by 3.

Monroe (4-1) at Saline (4-1): Monroe’s only real test came against Lansing Sexton and Monroe lost, 18-8. Saline has won four straight and is averaging 42 points during this stretch.             PICK: Saline by 7.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (5-0) vs. Birmingham Brother Rice (5-0) at Berkley: First place in the Catholic League Central Division is at stake. These teams will likely meet again in the Prep Bowl on Oct. 25.             PICK: Brother Rice by 5.

Saginaw Swan Valley (5-0) at Freeland (5-0): Swan Valley breezed past its first four opponents before Ovid-Elsie (27-13) played it tough last week. Freeland has breezed past all five of its opponents including Ovid-Elsie (62-27). These teams have split their last six meetings.            PICK: Swan Valley by 2


Detroit East English Village Prep (4-1) at Detroit Cass Tech (5-0), Saturday, noon: Even when East English was Detroit Crockett Tech it didn’t back down against Cass Tech. Crockett beat Cass Tech twice in 2011 when Cass Tech won its first Division 1 title. Cass Tech’s defense, plus the return of running back Mike Weber, Jr. (last week), should be enough here.            PICK: Cass Tech by 9.


Last week’s record: 4-7

Season record: 29-21