Macomb Area Conference holds annual media day
Clinton Township – The Macomb Area Conference held its annual media day on Thursday at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley High School and among the news items was the fact that eight new coaches are among the ranks of the 35 competing schools.
"It’s awesome to see everyone and it’s good to be getting back on the football field," Chippewa Valley coach Scott Merchant said.
The official realignment was part of the agenda and the departure of Mount Clemens left some schools searching for another contest. Mount Clemens will not compete in football due to a lack of participation.
New Haven, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, Utica, Macomb Dakota, Madison Heights Madison, Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse, Utica Ford and East Pointe East Detroit all have new head coaches.
Roland Bell, who was at New Haven, will attempt to revive the program at East Detroit.
"I don’t want to just change the culture,” he said. “I want to bring back football to Shamrock Country.”
Todd Koehn, Ford’s new coach, said he expects to have 70-to-75 players on varsity. Koehn said that Ford will also be the best team in Utica.
“We will have an open date in week one next season and we want (Sterling Heights) Stevenson," he said. The teams share the same home field, which is on Stevenson’s campus.
“We are also going back to Ford Falcons 1980s uniforms and the kids are pumped up.”
Tony Smith resigned after 10 seasons as Utica’s coach and he’ll be replaced by Matt Murulli. Smith joined the staff at Ford.
“I’m excited the players are buying into a new system and working very hard,” Murulli said. “I can’t wait for the season.”
As far as realignment, the two that jump out is the move by defending Division 1 champion Romeo to the Red Division from the White. Co-coach Curt Rienas said his team is looking forward to the challenge.
Sterling Heights, which shared the Gold Division title a year ago and made the playoffs for the first time since 2003, will move up to the Blue and joins the division’s two-time defending champion and arch rival, Warren Cousino.
"It’s going to be a big move for us,” Sterling Heights coach Brent Widdows said. “But the MAC is a great conference and no matter what division you’re in, it’s going to be tough. After a great off season we feel we are ready to compete in the Blue.”
Sterling Heights’ first three games are on the road.
Lakeview coach Pat Threet decided to make a style change to charge up his team. The Huskies’ helmets will feature a tiger paw on one side, similar to Clemson, and the other side will have the player’s number, much like Alabama sports on its helmets.
“We wanted something a little different and the kids love the style,” Threet said.
The MAC should have a number of teams with high-powered offenses. Most coaches agree Dakota senior running back Kaiser Carleton is the top player.
Warren Mott returns a dual threat senior quarterback in Mike Pond.
Cousino quarterback Ben Maleszyk is coming off a fine junior season and has the potential to play at the next level.
One of the most underrated players is Warren Fitzgerald senior running back Najon Moore. Moore has rushed for nearly 2,600 yards the last two seasons.
Stevenson has one of the best lineman in the county in Dez Lance who has received a scholarship offer from Division I schools.