Young Lowell squad faces tough challenge
Lowell – Coach Noel Dean is as surprised as anyone by Lowell’s 7-0 start. Next season and the following season were expected to be the years Lowell competed for a state title.
“Maybe it’s good Karma,” Dean said. “You hope practice and hard work carry you through. (These players) get Lowell football. They play our type of football. And I’m proud of them for it.”
Lowell lost 18 starters from last year’s team and about a third of the 44 varsity players are seniors. Before the season Dean thought his team would have two losses or so at this stage.
“If we win one of our next two games we win our division (Ottawa-Kent Conference White Division),” he said. “And we’ll probably get home-field advantage in the first round. Everything else is gravy.”
Lowell can clinch a share of the division title with a victory at Caledonia (5-2) on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.
“They’re good,” Dean said of Caledonia. “”They’re very good. They knew this was going to be their year. In 2012 their JV was undefeated. They run a lot of what they do out of the wishbone and some spread. They have a lot of seniors. They should be good. They remind me of our 2009 team; ball control and a good defense.”
Dean credits much of his team’s success to his defensive coordinator Justin Miller. Dean said Miller’s organization and his knack for using the right player at the right position has built a strong unit. PICK: Caledonia by 6.
Clarkston (7-0) at Lake Orion (4-3): The Dragons need to play their best game of the season just to stay with Clarkston. The Wolves have been efficient offensively and have a playmaker in quarterback D.J. Zezula, which is so important in rivalry games like this. PICK: Clarkston by 15.
Detroit Cass Tech (7-0) vs. Detroit East English Village Prep (5-2) at Detroit Northwestern, 5: After trailing 21-0 East English lost to Cass Tech 21-16 two weeks ago. Cass Tech has been one-dimensional (running back Michael Weber) on most of its drives this season. UPSET SPECIAL: East English by 2.
Grand Rapids Christian (5-2) at East Grand Rapids (4-3): The O-K White is as good as it gets, anywhere. East Grand Rapids has struggled to score points (17 in last two games) recently. PICK: Christian by 5.
Hudsonville (4-3) at Holland West Ottawa (5-2): These teams are examples of the collateral damage caused by the O-K Red. These are two of the top teams in the area but they’re desperately in need of a victory just to get in the playoffs. PICK: Hudsonville by 4
Lansing Everett (5-2) at Lansing Sexton (7-0): Sexton’s schedule was competitive in September but the CAC isn’t that strong this season so its games have gotten out of hand at times. Everett promises to pose a threat. PICK: Sexton by 7.
Lapeer (7-0) at Flint Carman-Ainsworth (6-1): Lapeer has blown out every opponent this season. It’s no longer a question of it the Lightning will win, it’s by how much. PICK: Lapeer by 19.
Oak Park (6-1) at Southfield (5-2), 5: Expect a physical game as these two teams have developed a good rivalry recently (teams have split last eight meetings). If Southfield can sustain, and complete, its drives an upset is possible. PICK: Oak Park by 5.
Rockford (6-1) at East Kentwood (6-1): Rockford can clinch at least a share of the O-K Red Division title with a victory. The Rams have struggled offensively all season they’ve found a way to win. East Kentwood has lost 11 straight to Rockford. PICK: Rockford by 3.
Warren De La Salle (4-3) at Detroit Catholic Central (3-4), Sunday, 1: The winner has an excellent shot at making the playoffs. De La Salle’s defense has held together all season despite giving up some touchdowns late in games. C.C. has struggled offensively. PICK: De La Salle by 4.
Last week’s record: 4-6
Season record: 39-31