In Play with Tom Markowski


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Top games: Kingsford takes 8-hour trip to DeWitt to play Panthers; showdowns in Downriver League and MAC

By: Tom Markowski, September 2, 2015, 5:00 pm




DeWitt – Kingsford will return the favor, and fulfill its contractual obligation, to DeWitt when the Flivvers travel to mid-Michigan to take on the Panthers.

Kingsford made the eight-hour trip on Wednesday and will stay overnight in preparation for Thursday’s game scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Last year DeWitt won at Kingsford, 41-21.

“Last year’s trip was great,” DeWitt coach Rob Zimmerman said. “We left at 9 a.m. and drove to Cheboygan and practiced there. Jack Coon (former Cheboygan coach) took care of us. We stayed on the water in Mackinaw City and then drove across the bridge. We stayed after our game on Friday because our junior varsity and freshmen teams played Saturday morning. And I’ll tell you, Kingsford has to have the best concession stand in the state.

“On the way back we ate pasties and did all of those things. We stopped at one of my favorite places up these and we got some jerky.”

Both teams won their openers. DeWitt handled Linden without incident, 38-14, and Kingsford defeated West De Pere (WI), 30-14.

Kingsford has made the trip east and then south a number of times recently as the Flivvers played Grayling and Muskegon Catholic Central during the regular season in the last five years.

DeWitt is led by a trio of receivers including seniors Evan Conn (6-5, 235) and Shonquise Trainor, and junior J.D. Ross. Ross is a two-year, two-way starter and last week Conn had five receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

Zimmerman’s quarterback is junior Will Nagel. Nagel, who is the brother of Liz Nagel, a professional golfer, cut his teeth by playing in four games last season when the Panthers lost their top two starters due to injuries.

Zimmerman said Kingswood and longtime coach Chris Hofer still run the wing-T offense but that the Flivvers are opening up their playbook a bit this season and are using some spread formations.

Zimmerman must like the U.P. DeWitt will make another trip to the Upper Peninsula in the eighth week this season when it travels to Menominee, which, like Kingsford, is located on the west side of the Upper Peninsula. Zimmerman said Portland dropped his team from its schedule forcing him to find another opponent. His choices were Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, currently ranked No. 1, or Menominee. Pick: DeWitt by 13.


Thursday games

Allen Park (1-0) at Wyandotte Roosevelt (1-0), 7: Allen Park defeated Wyandotte 34-14 last season but Wyandotte had won the previous six in this series. The winner will have the rail as the Downriver League race unfolds. Pick: Wyandotte by 6.

Capac (0-1) at Algonac (1-0), 7: Algonac has had two winning seasons since 1992. Last week it defeated Marine City (not a misprint, 19-18) after losing 15 consecutive games in the series. Capac has won the last seven against Algonac. Pick: Algonac by 2.

Center Line (0-1) at Warren Lincoln (0-1), 7: I know. These teams are that good, although Lincoln is improved (Abes were 1-8 last season including a 34-0 loss to Center Line…Ouch!). But this is for the Brown Jug and if you’ve never been to one you have to put it on (in?) your bucket list. You can throw the records out when these teams play (and rest assured they would like to throw them out). Lincoln leads the series 34-31. Pick: Lincoln by 5.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (1-0) at Macomb Dakota (1-0), 7: The last time these two rivals met was in a Division 1 regional final last season and Chippewa Valley pulled off the upset, 28-27, at Dakota. Chippewa Valley is ranked higher (No. 3, Dakota is No. 7). Look for Dakota’s defense to make the big plays here. Pick: Dakota by 4.

Lansing Sexton (0-1) at Grandville (1-0), 7: Are we certain Sexton is as bad as it played last week in losing to Detroit Renaissance, 22-14? We do know it’s a challenge to defend against Grandville’s full-house, T-formation offense. Pick: Grandville by 11.

Taylor Truman (0-1) at Lincoln Park (1-0), 7: I know. Why would I put two Downriver League games here? Work with me. The last time Lincoln Park won its first two games was 1998, the same season it won its last opener. Lincoln Park is attempting to become a factor in the league for the first time. Pick: Lincoln Park by 9.

Friday’s games

Detroit Renaissance (1-0) at Detroit East English Village Prep (1-0), 4: One of the big shockers this weekend was Renaissance over Lansing Sexton, which was a state finalist a year ago. East English posted 56 points last week and its offense can wear down teams. Pick: East English by 15.  

Rochester Adams (1-0) at Southfield (0-1), 5:30: Southfield is a young team (11 seniors) and it had a difficult time last week against Detroit Cass Tech (lost 27-0). Adams defeated Rochester Hills Stoney Creek last week, 28-21, but nearly blew a 21-point lead it took into the fourth quarter. Pick: Southfield by 8.

Muskegon (0-1) at Grand Rapids Christian (1-0), 7: It’s likely Muskegon will be just a little ticked off after blowing a 12-0 lead and losing to Detroit Catholic Central last week, 15-12. Christian got past Grand Rapids South Christian 32-28 but face a more physical team this week. Pick: Muskegon by 14.