In Play with Tom Markowski


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Merger of Southfield public schools has football program bulging with depth

By: Tom Markowski, July 15, 2016, 6:41 pm



Southfield – Tim Conley faces a pleasant problem as the first head coach at Southfield for the Arts and Technology. Like a kitchen with too many cooks, Conley has upwards of 40 players, including 20 seniors who will likely play at the collegiate level in 2017, who will compete for the 22 starting positions.

Those not familiar with Southfield A&T, it’s the school formed as the result of the merger of Southfield High and Southfield-Lathrup. The school competes in the Oakland Activities Association.

While the start of the season is seven weeks away, Conley could have a handful of players from Southfield-Lathrup start for him this season. The competition is sure to be fierce. Conley has 10 players back who started on offense for him last season at Southfield and nearly that many on the defensive side.

A record 122 tried out for varsity. After cuts Conley said he’ll have 70 when the season starts for Southfield A&T on Aug. 27, and well over 200 in the program.

This will surely be a new-look team from Southfield. The school colors are red, white and blue, a combination of those adorned by the athletic teams at Southfield High (blue and white) and Southfield-Lathrup (red and white). The home jersey will be blue with an occasional red thrown in and the nickname is the Warriors.

Overall, Conley said the transition, so far, has been smooth. He said some of the Southfield-Lathrup students who played football last season as underclassmen transferred to other schools such as Birmingham Groves and West Bloomfield but that many elected to remain in the school district.

Although Conley doesn’t have the highly-recruited athlete such as Malik McDowell (Michigan State) he does have a number of players who been offered a scholarship by Syracuse, Boston College and Cincinnati, schools that play in some of the top conferences in the country but rarely crack the Top 25.

The connection with Syracuse is a local one. Former Michigan running back Mike Hart is an assistant coach for the Orange.