FOOTBALL: Stoney Creek cruising into contention for OAA Red title, earning respect for program
ROCHESTER – Ding, dong.
The Stoney Creek High School football team has been just clocking the competition this season, off to a 4-0 start for the first time in six years.
Coming off a surprisingly emphatic 36-7 lashing of league-power Lake Orion last Friday night, Stoney Creek finds itself in serious pursuit of an Oakland Activities Association Red Division crown, a championship trophy that has been engraved with either Lake Orion’s or Clarkston’s name every year this last half-decade.
The Cougars are showing no mercy on opponents so far this fall, averaging more than 35 points per contest and allowing only 10, with a defense that is stout, ornery and opportunistic.
The past two starting quarterbacks to face Stoney Creek didn’t finish the game.
“Our defensive players have been flying around the ball, they’ve been relentless in the aggressive pressure they’ve been able to bring,” Cougars second-year head coach Brad Zube said. “I can’t say enough about those guys.”
Zube’s defense is highlighted by an active and instinctive group of linebackers in senior Jack VanAlmen and juniors Joe Platz and Andrew Price and a strong corps of senior linemen led by Adam Yax, Ryan Andrusz and Ben Kast.
His offense is equally fierce.
Senior quarterback Justin Alllor, a second-year starter under center for Stoney Creek, heads a versatile assault on the offensive side of the ball that operates with speed, smarts and precision.
Fellow seniors Sean Scullen, Alex Schnurr, Joe Cox and Nick Rangos are the top ammunition in Allor’s and the Cougars’ artillery moving the ball up and down the field.
Rangos, the team’s running back, is a jitterbug, both going in between the tackles and taking it around the edge. Schnurr is the club’s No. 1 receiver and is as sure-handed and consistent in the passing game as any wide out in the area. Scullen, probably the squad’s best player, and Cox, Stoney Creek leader in touchdowns, are slick slotbacks, able to hurt defenses both catching the ball and rushing it.
Center and third-year starter David Kerr is the anchor up front, fueling a line that has been getting outstanding "push" at the point of attack.
“We can do a lot of different things on offense well,” said Zube of his team. “That’s the benefit of having veterans. These guys have played together for a while now and are really on the same page in everything we do. If we need to play with urgency, we can do that. If we need to slow it down and milk the clock, we can do that too.”
Having started at quarterback as a sophomore, Scullen is a diverse and dangerous talent on the gridiron and is being recruited at the Division I college level. He paces the secondary on defense at a safety spot alongside Cox.
Juniors Scott Reader and Jack Allen are Stoney Creek’s cornerbacks. Reader is an emerging playmaker on each side of the pigskin, playing slotback on offense. Allen is quick and athletic and starts at point guard for school’s basketball team (league champs in 2013) in the winter.
The road to the Red Division title doesn’t get any easier in Week 5, as the Cougars head to defending league-champion Clarkston for a crucial affair – last year’s Stoney Creek-Clarkston game went down to the wire with Clarkston rallying for the victory.
“What we’ve done up until now is great, however, we need to make sure we bring the same kind of effort, motivation and focus that we have the last four weeks into the rest of the season to be able to achieve what we’re striving for.”
Stoney Creek has only made the playoffs twice in the program’s brief dozen-year history, the most recent time coming in 2007. Neither trip to the postseason resulted in any victories.
“This team wants to leave a mark that will be remembered,” Zube said. “If they keep playing the way they have, I think they’ll put themselves in pretty good position to do it.”