"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
This week on Weekday Warriors, the ranks of the surviving Wolverine commits thin out considerably during playoff action. Just a note—I will be attempting to compile season stats in one big post after all the players have finished their seasons. If you have any info that would help in putting together such a post, please shoot me an email.
TN OL Blake Bars
Montgomery Bell fell to Baylor, 20-10, in a state quarterfinal matchup.
This week: The Big Red finish the season with a 6-6 record.
OH LB Joe Bolden
No stats were available for Bolden as Colerain lost to St. Xavier for the second time this season, 28-15, in the regional semifinals.
This week: The Cardinals finish the season at 10-2, with both losses coming to St. X.
MI OL Ben Braden
Rockford amassed 338 yards on the ground en route to a 30-28 victory over Grand Blanc for the regional title.
This week: Rockford plays against Matt Godin and Detroit Catholic Central in the state semifinals on Saturday at 1.
OH DE Pharaoh Brown
Brush finished the season with a 4-6 record.
KY S Jeremy Clark
No stats to report for Clark as North Hopkins lost to Franklin-Simpson, 20-17, in the second round of the state playoffs.
This week: The Maroons finish the season with a 9-3 record.
MI TE Devin Funchess
Harrison finished the season with a 10-1 record.
OH S Allen Gant
Southview finished the season with a 9-2 record.
MI DT Matt Godin
Godin recorded 10 tackles as Detroit Cathlic Central knocked off Drake Johnson and Pioneer, 21-0, to advance to the state semifinals. The Shamrock defense—which was missing Wyatt Shallman due to injury—bottled up Johnson and never allowed the Pioneers to advance past the 50-yard line.
“We took their heart when we bottled up Drake,” Shamrocks’ all-state defensive lineman Matt Godin said. “You could see it in their eyes. They didn’t know what to do when their No. 1 option was taken away. By the second quarter, they were reeling big time.”
This week: The Shamrocks face Ben Braden and Rockford in Saturday's 1 p.m. state semifinal at Battle Creek Central HS.
UT FB Sione Houma
Highland finished the season with a 7-4 record.
Royce Jenkins-Stone (#10 in white) stares down Shane Morris before the snap.
MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
Jenkins-Stone recorded six tackles and ran the ball 22 times for 67 yards and the game-winning touchdown as Cass Tech shut down Shane Morris and Warren De La Salle, 6-0, to move on to the state semis. You can find much more on the game in this week's Future Blue Originals.
This week: The Technicians face off against Utica Eisenhower at Troy Athens HS on Saturday at 1.
MI RB Drake Johnson
Johnson was limited to just 48 yards on 16 carries in Pioneer's 21-0 loss to Catholic Central, leaving him just 86 yards short of eclipsing the single-season state rushing record.
This week: The Pioneers finish the season with a 9-3 record.
OH OL Kyle Kalis
St. Edward fell to St. Ignatius, 20-17, on a last-second field goal in the second round of the playoffs.
This week: The Eagles end the season with an 8-4 record.
CA OL Erik Magnuson
La Costa Canyon knocked off bitter rival Torrey Pines, 28-7, in their regular-season finale to earn a bye in the first round of the state playoffs.
This week: The Mavericks have a bye while they await their second-round playoff matchup.
MI DE Mario Ojemudia
Harrison finished the season at 10-1.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins
Park Hill finished the season with a 5-5 record.
Terry Richardson locks down his man against De La Salle.
MI CB Terry Richardson
Richardson had two receptions for 46 yards and played extremely well at corner as Cass Tech squeaked by De La Salle, 6-0, in a classic defensive battle.
This week: The Technicians face off against Utica Eisenhower at Troy Athens HS on Saturday at 1.
OH LB Kaleb Ringer
Ringer sat out the end of the season due to a strained MCL suffered early on in the year.
MI LB James Ross
Ross recorded an 11-yard touchdown reception, his only catch of the day, as Orchard Lake St. Mary's defeated Linden, 49-7, to reach the Division 3 state semifinals.
This week: The Eaglets face Battle Creek Harper Creek at Withington Stadium in Jackson on Saturday at 1.
OH OL Caleb Stacey
Oak Hills finished the season at 4-6.
IL CB Anthony Standifer
Crete-Monee finished the season with a 10-1 record.
OH DE Tom Strobel
Strobel contributed at least one big tackle for loss as Mentor won a wild one against rival Solon, 42-40, to win the regional title:
Solon appeared poised to push that lead out even further after Justin Kresevic intercepted a pass and returned it to the Mentor 22. However, a big defensive stop — keyed by a tackle for loss by senior defensive end Tom Strobel — kept the Comets from adding to the lead, and it was game on for Trubisky and company from there on for the rest of the first half.
This week: The Cardinals face St. Ignatius on Saturday at 7.
OH TE A.J. Williams
The Aviators finished the season with an 8-3 record.
OH S Jarrod Wilson
Buchtel finished their season with a 6-4 record.
OH DE Chris Wormley:
Whitmer remained undefeated as they held Canton McKinley to just 159 yards of offense in a 37-6 playoff rout. Here's Wormley on the victory:
"We prepared all week with the defensive schemes, and I guess we're pretty good," Wormley. "The main thing was getting pressure, sending people off the edge and blitzing. I think that really helped.
"We just stayed focused and mentally tough. It's great feeling to be in the regional final again. We'll be back at it on Monday and hopefully it'll be the same outcome."
[UPDATE: Here's Whitmer play-by-play man Mason Lowry with his weekly first-hand report:
This was the best I've ever seen Chris play. Simply outstanding. Always in the backfield, always causing havoc. Got to the quarterback a ton and brought him down several times at or just behind the line of scrimmage. Not sure just how many sacks/QB pressures he may have had, but I know that I called his name more than I have in any other game this year. This was a really impressive performance from Chris and the entire defense. He looked every bit like a major Division 1 recruit, and certainly played like someone who could make a big impact in Maize and Blue.
Now, the Whitmer D will go from facing an athletic spread offense to a more methodical, running-oriented team. Wadsworth's running back, the wonderfully-named Jack Snowball, has over 2500 yards (!) for the season to this point and can easily carry the ball 40+ times per game. This is a completely different test from what McKinley presented, but one that I ultimately think Whitmer will overcome, but at this point in the season, who knows?
Thanks, as always, to Mason for the update.]
This week: Whitmer faces Wadsworth on Saturday at 7 in their regional final.
MI QB Shane Morris
Morris completed just 4-of-17 passes for 28 yards and two interceptions against a strong Cass Tech defense as De La Salle fell 6-0 in the final minutes.
This week: The Pilots finish the season with a 9-3 record.
OH RB/S Dymonte Thomas
Marlington finished the season at 8-2.
Last Friday saw one of the most exciting and dramatic games of the season at Lake Shore High School, where Cass Tech knocked off host Warren De La Salle in a 6-0 thriller, with Michigan commit Royce Jenkins-Stone running in the game-winning touchdown with just 1:38 remaining. The defensive slugfest featured three Michigan commits—Jenkins-Stone, his teammate Terry Richardson, and Warren De La Salle's Shane Morris—and several D-I prospects, including class of 2013 Cass Tech corner Jourdan Lewis, who turned in an outstanding performance. Here are some highlights, courtesy of StateChampsTV:
Royce Jenkins-Stone (Cass Tech LB/FB #10, 2012 commit): RJS recorded six tackles at linebacker, where he was consistently active and a major factor in the Technician defense holding De La Salle's rushing attack to just 108 yards on 26 carries. Despite Cass Tech's outstanding all-around defensive effort, which kept the Pilot offense off the field for much of the game, Jenkins-Stone managed to get in on more plays than I'd seen from him in either of the previous two times I watched him play this season. When he gets to the ballcarrier, he arrives with ill intentions, and delivered a couple of very nice hits.
On this day, however, Jenkins-Stone would be most lauded for his offensive performance, as he carried the ball 22 times for 67 hard-fought yards, and Cass Tech repeatedly fed him the ball on a final drive that took 10:53 off the clock and ended with a three-yard TD run for RJS. While the rushing numbers aren't particularly impressive, they were earned in a fashion befitting of a linebacker—pretty much all of Jenkins-Stone's runs came on fullback dives into the line, and he showed a lot of toughness and durability in repeatedly slamming into the line, taking a couple big hits but shaking them off and continuing to go full-bore on both sides of the ball. RJS is still a bit raw as a prospect—James Ross has more of a play-to-play impact from what I've seen, though Ross also plays less on offense—but his heart and motor should not come into question.
Terry Richardson (Cass Tech CB/WR #9, 2012 commit): Richardson's coverage was a big reason why Shane Morris could never find a rhythm, as he was consistently right in the pocket of the receiver he was tasked with covering. Cass Tech trusted Richardson and fellow corner Jourdan Lewis to play man-up for much of the game, and both were up for the challenge. Though Richardson had been battling a leg injury since the regular season finale, and spent much of warmups on his own testing out the leg, he looked just fine once the game started, exhibiting the speed and hip swivel that make him a four-star corner prospect despite his small stature. He was also strong in run support, tallying four tackles, including a textbook wrap-up in space on a play that got to the outside quickly—he was alone on an island, but managed to drive through the ballcarrier and keep him from gaining any extra yards.
Richardson also added two catches for 46 yards, including a huge 23-yard reception on Cass Tech's game-winning drive. There are going to be questions about his size until he steps onto the field as a Wolverine and proves his height (I'd say 5'8" after standing right next to him for a post-game interview) won't be an issue, but his athleticism and coverage skills are elite for a high school player.
Jourdan Lewis (Cass Tech CB/WR #1, 2013 recruit): Lewis was the best player on the field on Friday, recording three pass breakups and a critical interception (included in the video highlights above), where he read where Morris was going beautifully and made a great play on the ball. Lewis has a couple inches on Richardson, and while he's still quite skinny, he's able to play a more physical game while still exhibiting good speed and agility.
With Richardson doing such a great job blanketing receivers on the opposite side of the field, Morris often tried to throw at Lewis, but the junior was ready—he did a great job of staying right with the receiver, waiting until the ball was there, then reaching around and knocking it away without committing a penalty—his pass breakups all felt like a carbon copy of the previous one. Lewis is the next in line in the Cass cornerback pipeline, and he looked worthy to take up the mantle previously held by Richardson, Dior Mathis, and Boubacar Cissoko, though he has a little bit of height on each of his predecessors.
Shane Morris (De La Salle QB #12, 2013 commit): This was not Morris's finest performance, and he completed just 4-of-17 passes for 28 yards and a pair of interceptions while also losing a fumble on a QB keeper. I know I'm going to sound like a homer when I say this, but I don't think the stats are truly representative of his effort, at least when it comes to completion percentage—De La Salle's receivers could not get an inch of separation all night, and Morris was constantly trying to fit the ball into a tiny window. I also counted three drops by DLS receivers, which didn't help matters. Late in the game, Morris started forcing the issue, and that's when the picks came in—the interception to Lewis was Morris trying to get a big play downfield that just wasn't there—but with Cass Tech shutting down the De La Salle run game, Morris was left in a very tough position.
That's not to say he played well. De La Salle had Morris throw on a few designed rollouts early, but even on normal drop-back throws he didn't seem comfortable in the pocket, and on one play he shuffled smack into pressure while throwing and had his pass fall harmlessly incomplete. He still had a couple passes that reminded you why he's a five-star talent, and I think a lot of his issues came from facing two D-I corners with a pedestrian group of receivers, but it seemed like he let his frustrations get the best of him as the game wore on and it was clear things weren't going well. This is the time to remind yourself that Shane is still just a junior, and one who can throw the ball 80 yards in the air. This was a tough game against a very good Cass Tech defense, and in this case the bevy of D-I talent bested the up-and-coming quarterback.
After the jump, check out a photo gallery from the game plus interviews with both Jenkins-Stone and Richardson.
This week's Thursday Recruitin' welcomes Michigan's newest commit, has updates on Shaq Thompson and Stefon Diggs, and discusses the new release of the 2013 Top247. Usual request: Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.—as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.
Before I start, a quick note: I've been getting a lot of questions on Twitter about which Penn State commits Michigan could poach given the current situation at State College. I feel, especially after the events of last night, that such issues are not appropriate to discuss at this time. If a player decommits and expresses interest in Michigan, I'll be happy to discuss such matters at that time. Until then, I think it's best to focus on what's most important in that situation, and that certainly isn't recruiting.
Hello, Drake Johnson
(Photo credit: Angela J. Cesere, AnnArbor.com)
Michigan picked up its 24th commit of the 2012 class in Ann Arbor Pioneer running back Drake Johnson, an under-the-radar recruit and track star who pledged on Tuesday morning as soon as he was offered. You can find my hello post here, and while it's critical of Johnson's game, I hope people realize that I'm pulling for Johnson to wildly exceed expectations (I'm a Pioneer grad, too)—this is really awesome to see for any local kid:
"When I was in little league, we used to be the Washtenaw Jr. Wolverines," Johnson said. "I always had really close ties to Michigan within my family and within the people I know. Michigan has always been the place I wanted to go, and now that the chance has come up it is almost magical."
Johnson's commitment should not affect Michigan's recruitment of Bri'onte Dunn, a sentiment echoed by Scout's Allen Trieu in this AnnArbor.com article:
Johnson is the first running back to verbally commit for 2012, so there still is room for another. Additionally, Johnson is a shiftier runner who excels in space and is terrific in the passing game. He could be used at slot receiver or in the kick return game, Trieu said.
Dunn, on the other hand, is more of a bruising type.
"Dunn is your classic pounder," Trieu said. "I think they’ll be used differently, so there’s room for both in the class. I don’t think they will butt heads in that regard, because they’re both very different."
Congrats to Drake for the offer and commitment, and I look forward to seeing him suit up in the Maize and Blue.
The other big news of the week for current commits came yesterday, as TomVH reported that Pharaoh Brown would come in at tight end instead of defensive end ($) after the coaches gave him the choice to play his preferred position. In the five games where I could find complete stats, Brown put up 614 yards and four TDs on just 25 catches this season while playing wide receiver for Brush, and at 6'6", 220 pounds, he could be a matchup nightmare on the offensive side of the ball. I still expect both Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams to come in at tight end as well, though Williams could be more of a sixth offensive lineman (and potentially move there full-time down the road) after playing tackle his entire senior year of high school.
Quickly: Cass Tech's Terry Richardson and Royce Jenkins-Stone prepare to square off against Warren De La Salle and Shane Morris this weekend ($); Caleb Stacey was named to the 2012 International Bowl; after coming up just short the last two years, James Ross is on a mission to get a state title for Orchard Lake St. Mary's ($); and TomVH profiles Ben Braden ($).
Shaq Thompson's Visit Plans Up in the Air
I reported last week that I had talked to five-star CA S Shaq Thompson, and he told me he would be taking an official visit to Michigan, though he wouldn't confirm which week. There were rumors that he would visit for the Nebraska game, but—as Sam Webb predicted—it sounds like he'll be coming up for a non-game weekend in December so the coaches can get to know him better and gauge his true interest ($):
Thompson was slated to visit Michigan later this month when the Wolverines host Nebraska but those plans have now been altered.
“I’m just focusing on our team right now,” Thompson said. “We have the playoffs coming up and I don’t want to take any more visits until after the season is over. I’m still talking with Michigan and could visit in December but I don’t have a date set right now.
This is good news, and it seems to confirm that Thompson is really interested in the school, and not just a free trip to check out Ann Arbor. Landing him would obviously be a huge coup for the Wolverines, and getting him on campus would be a big step in the right direction—we'll see if he nails anything down in the near future.
The other five-star to recently pop back up on the radar is Olney (MD) Good Counsel WR Stefon Diggs. Sam Webb posted a two-part message board thread yesterday detailing why Michigan has a real shot at Diggs ($, info in header), who now holds the Wolverines in his top five. The Wolverines have a good connection in good friend and former teammate Blake Countess, who was doing some recruiting of his own over Twitter last week. We'll see where this goes, but it sounds like Michigan has a chance to pull in another blue-chip player at a position of great need.
[UPDATE: Sam Webb just posted his weekly recruiting article at the Detroit News, and it's on, yep, Stefon Diggs. Lots of good stuff in there, including the tidbit that Michigan and Cal are the two schools most likely to receive official visits, while his other three haven't been determined. There's also this:
Countess hasn't been shy in conveying that message to his former teammate. The freshman cornerback's advocacy has been instrumental in establishing Michigan as one of the favorites for Diggs' services.
"Blake is my close friend and his word is bond," said Diggs. "I take what he says (absolutely). He would never lead me in the wrong direction. When he says it, I take it to heart. I truly believe him. He speaks highly of Michigan. I respect Michigan a lot. They showed a spark in interest lately. I just look forward to opening the line of communication more and setting up a visit."
Yeah, it's okay to get a little excited about this one. More on this in the next week, but I figured that article was worth passing along now.]
247Sports released their initial Top247 for the class of 2013—Shane Morris comes in as the No. 12 overall player and No. 2 quarterback, while Dymonte Thomas is 35th overall and the No. 3 safety. Not a bad early haul for Michigan, and it could get much better, as the list is littered with Michigan offers. Instead of replicating good work that's already been done, I'll direct you to Touch the Banner, where Magnus has done a fantastic job compiling a list of the players with offers and interest from the Wolverines who made the Top247.
Crete-Monee WR Laquon Treadwell, who made the Top247 himself, was named the Chicago-area player of the week last week, and comes in for high praise from his high school coach:
“He has the obvious size and athletic ability, but what makes him special is his competitive edge and toughness,” [Crete-Monee coach Jerry] Verde said. “He is a blue-chip wide receiver that loves to hit.”
While Treadwell’s future is at wide receiver, Crete-Monee is taking advantage of his size and athleticism in other ways this season. Verde has also made him a defensive end. Like at wide receiver, Treadwell has been impact player on defense and had eight sacks this season.
“He is also often times unblockable as a defensive end due to his speed and surprising strength,” Verde said.
Treadwell had a hugely productive junior season, has been to campus multiple times, and is teammates with 2012 commit Anthony Standifer. He's one to keep an eye on as the focus begins to turn to the 2013 class.
Quickly: Tim looks ahead to the 2013 class for the Free Press; 247 launched their Michigan site last week, with articles on Shane Morris ($) and Toledo Central Catholic safety Jayme Thompson, who currently has Michigan in his top two along with West Virginia ($, info in header); TomVH reports that blue-chip CA linebacker Michael Hutchings has interest in the Wolverines ($, info in header); and Tim profiles Lemont (IL) OL Ethan Pocic, a recent offeree, at The Wolverine ($).
This week on Weekday Warriors, top-ranked Harrison loses a shocker to Brother Rice, Allen Gant puts up big numbers in defeat, I catch up with Matt Godin, Drake Johnson enters the commitment updates in style, and we get first-hand reports on both Sione Houma and Chris Wormley.
TN OL Blake Bars
Montgomery Bell defeated Briarcrest Christian, 40-14, in a first-round playoff matchup.
This week: The Big Red (6-5) host Baylor on Friday in the second round of the Tennessee state playoffs.
OH LB Joe Bolden
Bolden tipped a pass to himself and turned it into a one-yard interception return for a touchdown as Colerain blew out Walnut Hills, 60-6, in their first-round playoff game. He also pinned Walnut Hills inside their 20 with a 30-yard punt, the only one of the game for Colerain.
This week: The Cardinals (10-1) host St. Xavier on Saturday.
MI OL Ben Braden
Rockford defeated Grand Ledge, 42-14, becoming the first team to score more than two touchdowns in a game against Grand Ledge this season. They accomplished that feat in the first quarter, and Braden helped block for a Rockford attack that racked up 220 yards and three touchdowns through the air and another 115 yards and two TDs on the ground.
This week: Rockford hosts Grand Blanc on Saturday at 1 in a regional final matchup.
OH DE Pharaoh Brown
Brown's season ended two weekends ago, as Brush finished the season with a 4-6 record.
KY S Jeremy Clark
No stats to report for Clark as North Hopkins defeated Allen County, 24-14, in their first-round playoff game.
This week: The Maroons host Franklin-Simpson on Friday in the second round of the playoffs.
MI TE Devin Funchess
Funchess hauled in one catch for 21 yards and had a handful of tackles (including one TFL) on defense for Harrison, but the Hawks fell to Brother Rice by a score of 30-7 in a district final upset featured in this week's Future Blue Originals. Funchess was limited in the second half after coming down hard going for a jump ball, appearing to injure his right leg, although he played through the pain.
This week: Harrison, last year's Division 2 state champs, finish the season with a 10-1 record.
Allen Gant scores a touchdown in Southview's playoff loss. (Photo credit: Amy E. Voigt, Toledo Blade)
OH S Allen Gant
Gant caught nine passes for 158 yards, including an 18-yard TD, but Southview yielded 27 unanswered points in the second half en route to falling to McKinley, 49-21, in the first round of the state playoffs.
This week: The Cougars host McKinley on Saturday at 7 in the first round of the state playoffs.
MI DT Matt Godin
Godin texted me that he recorded 11 tackles as Catholic Central took down Canton, 21-14, to win the district title. The Shamrock defense held Canton to just 277 yards of total offense. I was able to catch up with Matt at the Harrison-Brother Rice game—where he was pulling for his fellow Catholic League squad—and he said he was happy with his and the team's performance, as well as being impressed by the play of Funchess, Mario Ojemudia, and Brother Rice linebacker Jon Reschke ("he hits hard"). Godin is looking forward to his regional final matchup against Pioneer, who features Michigan's newest commit, Drake Johnson—Godin was aware that Pioneer ran their offense almost entirely through Johnson, and seemed excited for what will be a major battle in the trenches.
This week: The Shamrocks host Pioneer on Saturday at 1. If any enterprising MGoReaders want to scout the game (I'll be watching Michigan, since it's a 3:30 kickoff this week), I'd love to hear some reports on Godin, Wyatt Shallman, and Drake Johnson.
UT FB Sione Houma
Houma was limited to 62 yards on 18 carries as Highland fell to Logan in the second round of the playoffs, 28-13. Stopping Houma was a major point of emphasis for Logan:
Michigan-bound fullback Sione Houma was held to 62 yards on 18 carries a week after rushing for more than 200 yards.
"We weren't going to let him beat us," Favero said of Houma. "... We hung in there and did a nice job tackling him. We were fortunate he didn't have any huge plays."
We also have a reader report from MGoUser dcallen39, who sent this in via email:
First, statistically Houma got 17 carries for 64 yards (my brother and I tried to track the yardage as best as we could from our seats). I'm not sure how he has been used in other games but Houma was mostly used as a full back running a dive. I only noticed 3 of his runs going out to the edge and usually he produced well out there. Highland as a team looked sloppy with their quarterback Anthony Smithson running a wishbone type offense with little ability to make good decisions or any throws. I never saw a Logan defensive back lined up more than 6 yards off the line of scrimmage. Houma in general has a large lower body with big legs moving his listed 210 pound body. His upper body looks a little small for a fullback, but he seems to have room to grow. On defense I counted about 4 solo tackles for Houma, who lines up as the outside linebacker. He also seemed to be involved with about 3 other tackles.
I actually ended up talking to Houma's mom and his brothers for a moment; they were excited about Sione going to Michigan and they hope to be able to visit him out there when he is playing.
The Rams finish the season with a 7-4 record.
MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
Jenkins-Stone carried the ball six times for 15 yards and a four-yard touchdown and also caught two passes for 46 yards and a six-yard TD as Cass Tech knocked off Dearborn Fordson, 33-7, to win their district title.
This week: The Technicians head to Lake Shore High School to face Shane Morris and Warren De La Salle on Friday at 7. I'll be there for this week's Future Blue Originals.
MI RB Drake Johnson
Michigan's newest commit rushed for 347 yards and four touchdowns on 36 carries while also completing his lone pass attempt for 42 yards as Pioneer defeated Temperance Bedford, 35-10, to take the district title.
This week: Pioneer travels to Catholic Central for a regional final matchup on Saturday at 1.
OH OL Kyle Kalis
St. Edward dominated in the trenches and defeated Cleveland Heights, 28-14, in a first-round playoff game.
This week: The Eagles have a chance to avenge one of their three losses this season as they face St. Ignatius on Saturday.
The rest of this week's updates follow after the jump.
As you can see, "Creeper Van Originals" is now "Future Blue Originals," because it turns out high school administrators sometimes read this stuff and may miss the tongue-in-cheek humor of the former title. As I would like to get continued access to high school games, CVO is now FBO. Also, there is no video this week, as the MHSAA won't credential MGoBlog for filming the playoffs because, in their words, we are a "fan site" and therefore are not granted press access. Trust me, this was fantastic news to hear on a Friday—aka the day I planned to film at Pioneer—after attempting to get in contact with them all week. Bitter? Oh, not at all.
ANYWAYS, I was able to make it to two games this weekend, the first to see running back Drake Johnson and my old high school, Ann Arbor Pioneer, take on Temperance Bedford, the second to watch commits Mario Ojemudia and Devin Funchess as well as recruits Jon Reschke and
Drake Johnson Lorenzo Collins as Farmington Hills Harrison took on Brother Rice in a much-hyped district final.
First, I'll cover the big upset—Brother Rice took down defending Division 2 state champ Harrison, 30-7, to hand the top-ranked Hawks their first loss of the season and eliminate them from the playoffs. This was a surprise, as Harrison has been nationally ranked for much of the year while Brother Rice had four losses, but the Hawks were without quarterback/safety Jake Vento due to injury and Ojemudia missed the first-half thanks to a dubiously-timed suspension for wearing pads at a summer camp, a violation of MHSAA rules. Highlights normally go here, but instead here's a photo of Brother Rice junior linebacker Jon Reschke, who had a phenomenal game:
Devin Funchess (Harrison TE #5, 2012 commit): Funchess came out strong early, recording his lone reception in the first half on a 21-yard catch-and-run that showed off his soft hands, good speed for his size, and ability to pick up yards after the catch. He nearly had the most impressive play of the night, skying to high-point a lob at midfield, but he came down hard and had the ball raked out by a BR defender. To add injury to insult, Funchess came up limping after the play, and while he gamely continued to play on both sides of the ball (he had three tackles and a TFL playing LB/DE, by my count)—the injury clearly affected his mobility, though he showed a lot of toughness by playing all-out in a losing effort despite limping off the field in obvious pain after several drives.
Mario Ojemudia (Harrison DE #53, 2012 commit): As stated earlier, Ojemudia had to sit out the first half because of his suspension, and by the time he saw his first snap Harrison was already down 10-0 and had just allowed a 70-yard kickoff return deep into Hawk territory to open the second half. You could tell Ojemudia was trying to shake off the rust after sitting for so long, and while he was able to get some penetration into the Brother Rice backfield, the Warriors spent most of the second half running clock—staying away from Ojemudia in the process. This was not a good game to evaluate Ojemudia for reasons largely outside his control, but his dominance this season speaks for itself.
Lorenzo Collins (Harrison RB #20, 2014 recruit): Collins has been a sophomore sensation for the Hawks, but he was largely held in check this game thanks to a very strong Brother Rice defense and the fact that Harrison had to play catch-up for essentially the whole game. 247Sports lists Collins, who finished with 40 yards on 12 carries, at 6'0", 200 pounds, though he looked a little smaller to me, though keep in mind he's just a sophomore. While he was largely limited, Collins did display the speed and agility that make him a player to watch in the future, including juking Reschke in the hole on one first-half carry and forcing a complete whiff, the only time I saw a Harrison player get past the Warrior linebacker. If Collins adds a little bulk and improves his ball security—Reschke forced him to fumble later in the half, though Harrison recovered—he should be a prospect who gets serious consideration for a four-star rating. He does have a bit of the Michael Shaw bouncebouncebouncebounce tendency, and doesn't display much power just yet (though he usually finds a way to fall forward), but again, we're talking about a high school sophomore.
Jon Reschke (Brother Rice LB #48, 2013 recruit): Reschke was the most impressive player on the field on Saturday, recording what must have been double-digit tackles (I lost count while trying to take some photos) and at least one tackle for loss to go along with the forced fumble. Reschke was always around the ball and had a displayed great instincts in finding the fastest path to the ballcarrier, and when he hit, you could hear it—Brady Hoke would likely be able to distinguish a Reschke tackle from those of his teammates without opening his eyes. Playing outside linebacker and a little bit of defensive end, Reschke chased down plays from sideline to sideline and never appeared out of position. He did get juked the one time by Collins, but otherwise kept plays in front of him, and looked like he's earned every bit of the early hype coming his way.
Apologies for the lack of action shots, but I accidentally had the camera on the wrong setting for much of the second half—when I meandered down to the sideline from the bleachers—and came out with a bunch of blurry photos.
After the jump, get my impressions on Drake Johnson after his statistically-ridiculous effort against Bedford.