In Play with Tom Markowski


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Predictions for the Top Games: Belleville has mid-term exam when it travels to Dearborn to take on Fordson

By: Tom Markowski, September 28, 2017, 9:33 am

Belleville – The last time Belleville began the season 5-0 was the last time the Tigers won a playoff game.

Belleville was 6-0 to start the 2002 season, defeated South Lyon, 17-14, in a Division 1 pre-district and finished 9-2.

The Tigers defeated Brighton, 34-31, in overtime in the season opener last month and have rolled over its next four opponents by the combined score of 228-6.

On Friday the Tigers will play at Dearborn Fordson (5-0) at 7 p.m. in a game that will decide the Western Wayne Athletic Conference Blue Division title.

Both teams are 3-0 in the division with two games remaining. Belleville is ranked No. 13; Fordson 20.

Belleville coach Jermain Crowell sports one of the most talented teams in the state but despite this is not quite sure how good his Tigers are even after their fine start.

“I want to see what we can do,” he said. “Outside of the first game, when I thought we had lost it, we haven’t been tested. A lot of the stuff we’re doing now is not that different than what we did in the preseason (practices). Are we better? I don’t know. I can’t tell. Last week we threw the ball just to see if we could. I didn’t want to run up the score but we had (sic) Ford next.”

Belleville is loaded with players who will play at the Division I level. Juniors Julian Barnett (WR/DB/RB/KR) and lineman DeVantae Dobbs have been offered a scholarship by Alabama and many more.

Sophomore Andre Seldon (DB/WR/KR) is having perhaps the best season of any player on the team. He’s returned four punts for touchdowns and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Sledon, who has been offered a scholarship by Kentucky, has 11 tackles on defense.

At quarterback is freshman Christian Dhue-Reid. He shares time with senior Kmare Carey but Reid is doing most of the work. At 5-10 and 200 pounds, Dhue-Reid is the better runner according to Crowell.

“We have a lot of kids who can play,” Crowell said. “(Dhue-Reid) is one of the guys that has me thinking we can do good things.

“I like where we are when we get people to throw the ball. We just got to get them to throw the ball. Our offense has to score to force them to score.” Pick: Belleville by 4.


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


White Lake Lakeland (4-1) at Walled Lake Western (4-1), Thu.: The winner stays in the Lakes Valley Conference race. Lakeland last defeated Western in 2009 (20-0). Western won last season, 21-14. Quarterback Sam Johnson has thrown five TD passes and no interceptions for Western. Pick: Western by 5.

East Grand Rapids (5-0) at Grand Rapids Christian (5-0): The last time East Grand Rapids started 5-0 was the last season (2010) it won a state title. The Pioneers lead this series 10-4 but Christian has raised its game recently and has been quite competitive. Take 2011 for example. Christian won the regular season matchup, 50-49. East Grand Rapids came back to win a Division 3 district final, 45-27. Pick: E. Grand Rapids by 4.

Escanaba (4-1) at Menominee (4-1): In 1998 Escanaba defeated Menominee, 34-27. Escanaba has lost 18 consecutive games since in this series, one that Menominee leads 33-28-1. This is Menominee’s first game against a team outside of Wisconsin. Pick: This game is for the Hinker Bell, lost in the early 1960’s. If you find Jimmy Hoffa, you might find the Hinker Bell, too. The trophy is said to originate from a man named John Hinker, a businessman in the area. The bell is said to have come off of a locomotive. Pick: Menominee by 12.

Grand Rapids West Catholic (4-1) at Comstock Park (4-1): West Catholic has won four straight and has won eight of nine in this series with Comstock Park’s only victory coming in 2013 (39-20). West Catholic defeated Comstock Park, 61-7, last season. Pick: W. Catholic by 13.

Holland West Ottawa (4-1) at East Kentwood (4-1): There are a number of important games within the O-K Conference this week and this is another. The Red Division is up for grabs and the winner here has a leg up. East Kentwood leads the series, 35-16, after winning last season, 24-12. East Kentwood is coming off of a disappointing, 28-14, lost to Grandville last week and might not be in a good mood. Pick: East Kentwood by 8.

New Boston Huron (4-1) at Milan (3-2): These teams are tied for first place with Riverview in the Huron League at 3-1.  Milan is 21-2 all-time against Huron. Huron ended a 17-game losing streak to Milan in 2011 (26-21). Pick: Milan by 3.

Rockford (3-2) at Grandville (4-1): This is another O-K Red Division showdown. Both are 2-0 in the division. Grandville snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Rams in a Division 1 district final last season, 20-3. Grandville hasn’t defeated Rockford during the regular season since 2005. Pick: Grandville by 3.

Unionville-Sebewaing Area (3-2) at Reese (3-2): USA began playing varsity football in 1972 and these teams have met every season. The series is tied at 24-24 and the game is known as the Sugar Bowl. USA has won the last three in this series. Pick: Reese by 2.

Wyoming Kelloggsville (5-0) at Wyoming Godwin Heights (5-0): Two of the top three teams in the O-K Conference Silver Division play an important game within the division and for positioning when the state playoff start. This is Kelloggsville’s best start since 2009 when it started 10-0. Kelloggsville defeated Godwin Heights, 22-20, last season but trails 22-28-2 in the series that dates back to 1950. Pick: Godwin Heights by 6.

Bonus Game 

Marlette (1-4) at Brown City (1-4): What would high school football be without pizza? Don’t want to think about it. This game is for the Treve Trophy. Why Treve? What is a Treve? Treve is the name of a pizza establishment located in both towns. Brown City leads the series, 12-9. ‘Nough said. Now eat. Pick: Brown City by 6.

Last week’s record: 8-2

2017 record: 34-16