In Play with Tom Markowski


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Predictions for the Top Games: Fenton and Linden to play for first place in Flint Metro

By: Tom Markowski, September 14, 2017, 1:20 pm

Fenton – Jeff Setzke might not own the Flint Metro League but it’s safe to say he’s the largest shareholder.

Since taking over the program at Fenton in 2006 Setzke has coached the Tigers to the last seven league titles (outright or co-champions). Last season Fenton won its third district title losing to Walled Lake Western, 61-21, in a Division 2 region final. To some program this might not account for much but at Fenton 2016 is considered another step forward. The program made the playoffs seven times before Setzke’s arrival but did not win a playoff game until 2010.

On Friday Fenton (3-0) will host league rival Linden (3-0) in its eighth annual Wounded Warriors game at 7 p.m.

These programs are the class of the league. Fenton has made the playoffs each of the past nine seasons. Linden has played in the postseason 15 consecutive seasons.

There promises to be plenty of scoring as both teams boast a prolific passing game. Linden junior quarterback George Waterhouse has accounted for 807 yards in total offense and nine TDs.

Fenton’s quarterback is even better. Josh Czarnota is a State Champs Mr. Football candidate. Czarnota has accounted for 1,009 total yards and 16 TDs.

Fenton has won four straight in this series including a 28-21 victory last season. Since 2009 when Linden won 41-14, all of the games have been highly competitive with the greatest margin of victory coming in the 2013 game when Fenton won 39-27. 

Setzke’s son, Chanse, could be the difference maker in this game. The senior receiver had eight touchdown receptions and is averaging a gaudy 28.1 yards on 17 catches. Pick: Fenton by 6.


Here are the other top games.

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


Fulton (2-1) at Fowler (2-1): Fowler has 175 students, eight more than Fulton. With all of the small schools opting for the 8-player format, one must wonder if these programs will soon be next. Fowler has won the last seven in a series its leads, 41-19. Fulton is the one to be more concerned with. The school’s enrollment was in the mid-200s 10 years ago. Now it’s at 167. Brethren, located west northwest of Cadillac, was in a similar position three years ago. It played 11-player football until 2014 then moved to the 8-player format. From 1999 until 2007 its enrollment was steady, in the 266 to 289 range. In 2013 its enrollment dipped to 162 hence the switch. It would be a shame if the Fulton-Fowler rivalry in mid-Michigan disappeared. Pick: Fowler by 8.


Grand Ledge (2-1) at Lansing Sexton (3-0): Grand Ledge’s loss to DeWitt won’t hurt the Comets’ chances of capturing the CAC Blue Division title. The Comets have won the last two. Sexton won it in 2014. Pick: Grand ledge by 4.


Grand Rapids Christian (3-0) at Grand Rapids South Christian (3-0): The top teams in the O-K Conference Gold Division renew their rivalry, one that South Christian leads, 24-21, but Christian has won the last seven. Christian played well, especially and offense, and its fine play continues here. Pick: Christian by 6.


Marysville (2-1) at Marine City (3-0): One of the best almost-forgotten rivalries. The people in St. Clair County know how big this game is. Marysville leads the series 41-30 and its 56-32 victory last season ended a 14-game losing streak to Marine City. Pick: Marine City by 5.


Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (3-0) at Muskegon Mona Shores (3-0): The last time Reeths-Puffer was 3-0 was in 1999 when it defeated Mona Shores 35-6 in the opener. Reeths-Puffer won last year’s game, 39-34. To take a 21-20-1 lead in the series. Back to even. Pick: Mona Shores by 12. 


Oak Park (2-1) at Birmingham Groves (3-0): Along with Farmington Hills Harrison, these teams top the list in the OAA White Division. Groves defeated Oak Park, 13-12, last season and the Falcons have won eight consecutive division games. Oak Park has rebounded well from its loss to Utica Eisenhower in the opener. Pick: Oak Park by 7.


Stevensville Lakeshore (3-0) at St. Joseph (3-0): It doesn’t get any better than this in the southwest part of the state. These teams always point to this game regardless of the records.  Lakeshore leads the series 30-29 and the Lancers have won five straight in the series including a 30-7 victory in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs last season. Let’s go with the upset. Pick: St. Joseph by 3.


Utica Eisenhower (3-0) at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (3-0): Eisenhower has played as well as any team in the state to this point and few players have had a start to the season as quarterback Max Wittwer has had. Eisenhower has won the last three in this series including a 42-0 victory last season. Pick: Eisenhower by 6.


Warren Mott (3-0) at Macomb Dakota (2-1): Don’t know where Dakota is at this point in the season. The Cougars played well offensively in the opener against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s but were inconsistent in their second game against Eisenhower. Mott is a young team and has had some success against Dakota winning the last two meetings. Got to go with the experienced team here. Pick: Dakota by 5.

Last week’s record: 6-4

2017 record: 18-12