Oakland County Trio lead the pack of surprise teams this fall
Surprise, surprise, there are some prep football teams in Oakland County turning heads, registering better-than-expected campaigns on the gridiron this fall.
West Bloomfield, a program that had only qualified for two playoff appearances in school history heading into 2014, is 6-1 and looking mighty sharp. The flourishing Lakers are averaging 42 points per game and have recorded three shutouts, including a 21-0 shellacking of Oxford in Week 7.
Junior dual-threat quarterback, Trishton Jackson and his big brother, Eastern Michigan-commit and all-league senior wide receiver Obbie Jackson, are leading the way on offense. Bowling Green-commit Eddy Wilson is a terror in the trenches and is the club’s catalyst on defense. Navon Mosley, a muscle-bound linebacker-slotback, has been a breakout star on both sides of the ball.
After a few seasons of growing pains getting used to the system installed by fourth-year head coach Ron Bellamy (University of Michigan, NFL wide receiver), the Lakers have found their groove. They’ve won 10 of their last 12 games dating back to 2013 – their only loss this year is to defending Division 1 state champion Clarkston in a game they held a fourth-quarter lead in.
“The kids have really started to believe in what we’re doing,” Bellamy said. “There’s no more surprise factor. Right now, we expect the results that we’re getting.”
Shocking the pack in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association, Waterford Mott took home a share of the KLAA North Division title Saturday afternoon with a 56-53 shootout of a win over cross-town rival Waterford Kettering in the annual “Beef Bowl.”
Mott (5-2) is one win away from wrapping up only its’ fourth playoff berth of all-time.
The Corsairs’ fourth-year starter at quarterback, Dakota Kupp is spreading the ball around this year to a big-play receiving brigade highlighted by Juan Webb, Randy Bicknell, Avery Carter and Eddie Meredith. Kupp hit Meredith with the game-clinching touchdown in Saturday’s showdown. Pass-rush specialist Louie Compton and savvy senior safety Adam Uplegger fuel the Mott defensive unit.
“This is the most committed football team than I’ve ever been around,” third-year Corsairs head coach Chris Fahr said. “Everyone is excited to be a part of this. Every player has every other player’s back. A lot of team say that, this group embodies it.”
The future is bright for Fahr’s program, too: four sophomores are making large impacts this year in Brendan Kennedy (offensive lineman), Tre Christian (linebacker), Jimmy McFadden (linebacker) and Zack Lowell (defensive back).
Fahr was at Birmingham Seaholm from 2005-2010 before landing on the sidelines at Mott
Nobody was talking about Berkley before the season when discussing the race for the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division. Now, the Bears are 6-1 and knocking on the door for the crown. They are in second place with a week to play in league action, one game behind Farmington.
Head coach Chris Sikora and his squad are hot on the heels of a dramatic 32-29 comeback-victory over previously-undefeated Birmingham Groves last Friday night courtesy of junior Austen Wood’s game-winning 30-yard field goal – the first field goal of his career.
Wood is normally the club’s starting running back and middle linebacker and was needed to chip in with special teams when the Bears’ kicking game began to falter (Berkley had missed four prior potential game-winning field goals). He calls signals for the Berkley defense, while all-league senior defensive end Jake Bills handles duties up front at the point of attack.
Gutty Bears’ senior quarterback Jake Cummings is one of the feel-good stories of the area’s high school football campaign, bouncing back from a torn ACL experienced mid-season last year and taking over under center after playing as a sophomore and junior at wide receiver and running back. Cummings had 195 yards and two touchdowns through the air and 110 yards and another pair of scores on the ground against Groves.
“We’re playing with a ton of effort, passion and resolve,” Sikora said. “Those aren’t always things that you can see on paper or in a scouting report, but they’re things that can often find you success.”