Creeper Van Originals: Mentor vs. Medina

Creeper Van Originals: Mentor vs. Medina

Submitted by Ace on October 17th, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Last Friday the Creeper Van made its way east of Cleveland to Mentor, home of defensive end Tom Strobel and the Cardinals, to watch them take on the Medina Bees. I was greeted in Mentor by a pre-game downpour, which had me worried about being able to shoot film, but then the skies cleared to reveal this, which subsided my concerns entirely:

DPP_0001

What does this mean? Oh, time for some football.

Anyways, I'm guessing you care far less about double rainbows than Tom Strobel, so here's the part where I tell you Mentor won 45-7 while Strobel recorded ten tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, and two QB hurries in a little over three quarters of action. Highlights are short—Medina did their best to run to the weak side (Strobel always flipped to the strong side) and roll their pocket away from him—but relatively spectacular:

[EDIT: Original video didn't play due to copyright issues with the song I used, but this one should work fine.]

Scouting

Considering Strobel's opponent did everything within their power to stay away from him—both running and passing—and he still managed to finish with double-digit tackles and multiple stops behind the line, I thought he had a pretty outstanding game. I have now seen each of the three players recruited for strongside defensive end in this class—Strobel, Matt Godin, and Chris Wormley—and Strobel impressed me the most, just edging out Godin.

At this level of competition, Strobel utilized his superior strength by essentially doing the same thing on every play: bull-rushing the offensive tackle, pushing him 3-5 yards into the backfield, then either heading for the quarterback or peeling back towards the line of scrimmage to make a play on the running back. While this strategy is entirely unsound against college competition—any good offensive coach would've realized that Strobel repeatedly opened up a big crease off-tackle and run right at him—it worked quite well since his side was avoided entirely, to the point that I think he was being coached to play this way. It certainly worked.

While Strobel isn't the quickest player, he did a good job of getting off the snap and shooting right into his blocker, getting his hands into an offensive lineman's chest before his counterpart could get a hand on him. This allowed him to get great leverage, both in terms of pushing his man off the line and in helping him disengage from his block. Strobel recognized plays quickly and there wasn't a play when he couldn't shed his block and get two hands on the ballcarrier if one was within reach. When Strobel got his hands on someone, that was it for the play—his upper-body strength is impressive.

One area where I had a mild concern was with Strobel's will to play to the whistle. He had a great motor off the snap, always pushing his blocker back and trying to disrupt the play early, but there were a couple long-developing plays in which he was loafing a bit instead of tearing towards the opposite sideline. This only occurred on plays that were across the field later in the game, so perhaps fatigue (doubtful, considering his initial burst) or simply the fact this game was a blowout (far more likely, IMO) played a factor, but it would be nice to see him finishing every play around the ball like I saw with Matt Godin.

The other point of concern for me was with Strobel's lack of variety in his off-the-snap moves—he bullrushed, again and again, without showing much else except a quick shove to the inside that wasn't quite a full swim move. Again, there are some obvious explanations for this: the bullrush kept working, so there wasn't much of a reason to switch things up, and Medina almost never attempted a pass without rolling the pocket away from Strobel and throwing quickly. There just wasn't enough of a reason—or many opportunities—for Strobel to switch things up.

At 6'6", 265 pounds, Strobel certainly has the size to come in and be an immediate contributor, and I think he has the best chance of doing so out of the three recruits coming in at the five-tech. He needs to add a couple pass-rush moves to his arsenal (or at least utilize a couple more), but he showed a lot of ability against both the run and the pass and the motor to be in and have an impact on a lot of snaps.

Photo Gallery

Mentor had a pretty cool pre-game video tribute to the seniors, if you're wondering what the second picture of the scoreboard is all about. Strobel is #36, and also the guy who's bigger than everyone else:

This Week

I'm deciding between heading to the Prep Bowl, which features Matt Godin, Wyatt Shallman, and Detroit Catholic Central facing off against James Ross and Orchard Lake St. Mary's for the Catholic League title, and going back to Ohio to catch Kyle Kalis's St. Edward squad take on Cincinnati Moeller. I've seen OLSM twice this season and DCC once, plus the game being at Ford Field means it may be more difficult to get good film, so right now I'm leaning towards seeing Kalis play for the first time. Your suggestions are encouraged in the comments.

Thursday Recruitin' Is Number One (In An Arbitrary Projection of Difficult-to-Project Things)

Thursday Recruitin' Is Number One (In An Arbitrary Projection of Difficult-to-Project Things)

Submitted by Ace on October 13th, 2011 at 11:50 AM

This week's Thursday Recruitin' features Michigan at the top of Scout's team rankings, several uncommitted prospects planning visits, Kyle Kalis laughing off the threats of Buckeye trolls, and a whole lot on the class of 2013. Usual disclaimer: 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.

Hoke's Magic Takes Michigan to the Top, More on Uncommitted Seniors

Scout is a believer in Brady Hoke and his first full recruiting class, naming Michigan's 2012 class as the nation's best in their latest team rankings. Click through to see national recruiting analyst Scott Kennedy analyze the class, but unfortunately not saying that Brady Hoke poops magic, despite that clearly being the case. He does have a very good point, however, in saying that Michigan—despite their tremendous early success on the recruiting trail—has yet to capitalize on their strong start to the 2011 season with a commit, though that is obviously expected to change.

Josh Garnett is featured as Scout's Performer of the Week, and in the accompanying video (which has been out for a couple weeks, but paywalled) he discusses his official visits. Garnett mentions Nebraska, Miami, and Michigan as the three schools he'll definitely take officials to, though he also mentions several West Coast schools—Washington, Oregon, Cal, USC, and UCLA—that he'll likely take trips to in an unofficial capacity:

&amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;#39;<a href="http://video.msn.com?vid=164dfa8a-f012-46c9-89ce-aa35b66f9c07&amp;amp;amp;mkt=en-us&amp;amp;amp;from=sp">http://video.msn.com?vid=164dfa8a-f012-46c9-89ce-aa35b66f9c07&amp;amp;amp;m…</a>^en-us&amp;amp;amp;src=FLPl:embed::tag_recent&amp;amp;#39; data-cke-saved-href=&amp;amp;#39;<a href="http://video.msn.com?vid=164dfa8a-f012-46c9-89ce-aa35b66f9c07&amp;amp;amp;mkt=en-us&amp;amp;amp;from=sp">http://video.msn.com?vid=164dfa8a-f012-46c9-89ce-aa35b66f9c07&amp;amp;amp;m…</a>^en-us&amp;amp;amp;src=FLPl:embed::tag_recent&amp;amp;#39; target=&amp;amp;#39;_new&amp;amp;#39; title=&amp;amp;#39;Scout.com Spotlight: Joshua Garnett&amp;amp;#39; &amp;amp;gt;Video: Scout.com Spotlight: Joshua Garnett&amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;gt;

The Seattle Times not only discusses Garnett, but also fellow Washingtonian Zach Banner and their respective timelines:

"Banner revealed this week he is probably going to decide in the next month or two but is only going to tell the coach of the school he is committing to and then wait to make the announcement at Lakes High probably right before the Army All-American Game (which is on Jan. 7). Garnett doesn't have an official timeline but he is definitely going to take his time and take his visits until he is going to make an announcement, so that's kind of why it's been so quiet."

It'll be interesting to see if Banner is able to keep his decision under wraps if he does in fact plan on telling a coach his commitment plans so long before his formal announcement.

For the rest of Thursday Recruitin', jump with me.

Weekday Warriors 2011: 10-11

Weekday Warriors 2011: 10-11

Submitted by Ace on October 11th, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Mario Ojemudia blocked a punt and recorded a sack to help keep Harrison undefeated this season.

This week on Weekday Warriors, Pharaoh Brown dominates at wide receiver, Matt Godin comes up with a game-sealing sack, Kyle Kalis's squad falls in a matchup of national powerhouses, and Tom Strobel has a huge week.

2012 Commits

TN OL Blake Bars

Montgomery Bell dropped to 3-5 with a 52-10 loss to Ensworth.

This week: The Big Red have a bye.

OH LB Joe Bolden

Bolden helped Colerain's defense hold off Lakota West late and seal a 24-19 win after a late fumble recovery with under a minute left to play.

This week: The Cardinals (6-1) host Lakota East on Friday at 7:30.

MI OL Ben Braden

Rockford once again dominated on the ground en route to a 49-0 defeat of Grandville. My former fellow TWB writer Alex Cook was at the game, and relayed this report from an opposing player:

Braden is obviously huge and fast, but he wasn't very good at finishing the play, and apparently his technique was terrible and he held a lot. Don't know if this is "heat of the battle stuff" but he's not ready to play at a BCS level. Fortunately he has potential enough to do it, but he needs a ton of work.

Alex did have this to say about the technique bit: "I didn't think his technique was that bad; he just bullied weaker players without the need for good technique." This falls mostly in line with what I observed from Braden—big, quick, and talented, but still needs to put it all together, and it's tough to get a gauge on his technical skills when he's pushing around guys 150 pounds smaller than him.

This week: Rockford (6-1) hosts Hudsonville on Friday at 7.

OH DE Pharaoh Brown

Brown caught seven passes for 173 yards and a touchdown to lead Brush to a shutout win over Normandy, 34-0. You can find highlights and a post-game interview on Rivals here.

This week: The Arcs play at Lakewood on Friday at 7.

MI TE Devin Funchess

Funchess had a productive game on both sides of the ball, hauling in two catches while tallying two sacks, a forced fumble, and "several" tipped passes as Harrison rolled to a 48-21 win over Rochester Adams.

This week: The Hawks have a bye this week.

OH S Allen Gant

No stats are available for Gant from Southview's 49-17 win over Bowling Green (NTBG), which improved their record to 6-1 this season.

This week: The Cougars host Anthony Wayne on Friday at 7.

MI DT Matt Godin

Godin texted me that he finished with six tackles and two sacks as Catholic Central held off Brother Rice, 21-19, to remain undefeated at 7-0 and earn a berth in the Prep Bowl. Godin's second sack came on Brother Rice's final drive, and helped seal the game for DCC:

Brother Rice would take over from the Catholic Central 44-yard line. With the clock ticking away, Brother Rice quarterback Nick Rao dropped back to pass on a third and long and Catholic Central senior defensive tackle Matthew Godin came in for the sack for a 7-yard loss.

“They doubled me and I made a quick move to the inside and slammed the center and I just flew through,” Godin said.

On a fourth down and eight yards to go situation, Rao’s pass was broken up by the Catholic Central secondary that sealed the victory to keep the Shamrocks undefeated on the season.

This week: The Shamrocks hope to wrap up the Catholic League title at home against James Ross and Orchard Lake St. Mary's on Saturday at 7.

UT FB Sione Houma

No stats are available for Houma from Highland's 55-10 victory over Cyprus.

This week: The Rams (6-2) take on Salt Lake City East at home on Friday at 7.

MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone

No stats are available for Jenkins-Stone as Cass Tech defeated Mumford, 49-13, to finish the regular season 5-2 (5-1 PSL).

This week: The Technicians now await their playoff draw.

OH OL Kyle Kalis

St. Edward played the nation's top team, Don Bosco Prep (home of Yuri Wright), but managed just 186 yards of total offense in a 38-7 loss. I wish a picture of this moment existed so we could have the Kalis version of the Carvin Johnson hatred-of-losing photo:

His team battered, bruised and overwhelmed with emotion, St. Edward offensive lineman Kyle Kalis stood at midfield, his hands attached to his hips.

...

"We didn't come out fast and physical the way we wanted to at the gate," Kalis said. "It just didn't happen for us, and it just adds fuel to the fire for the season going forward. We can't let this define our season, or next week, or the week after that."

This week: The Eagles return to Ohio to host St. Xavier on Saturday at 2.

CA OL Erik Magnuson

La Costa Canyon had a bye this week.

This week: The Mavericks play at Carlsbad on Friday at 7.

MI DE Mario Ojemudia

Ojemudia had a sack and blocked a punt to help Harrison stay undefeated in a 48-21 win over Rochester Adams. Steve Wiltfong on Ojemudia:

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Ojemudia blocked a punt and had a second-half sack to help Harrison seal the ball game late. The future Wolverine is quick off the snap with a variety of pass-rushing moves. One of the most dominant players in the state, the only question mark is where exactly does the tweener fit in on the next level?

Rush end? Rush end.

This week: The Hawks have a bye this week.

MO DT Ondre Pipkins

No stats for Pipkins (perhaps thankfully) from Park Hill's 49-0 loss at the hands of Lee's Summit West.

This week: The Trojans (4-3) go to Staley on Friday at 7.

MI CB Terry Richardson

No stats were available for Richardson from Cass Tech's 49-13 victory over Mumford.

This week: The Technicians's regular season is over.

OH LB Kaleb Ringer

Ringer sat out most of the second half with a knee problem—one that isn't expected to hold him out of future games—as Northmont fell to Centerville, 34-7.

This week: The Thunderbolts (2-5) host Fairmont on Friday at 7:30.

MI LB James Ross

Ross finished with seven tackles and three TFLs as St. Mary's dropped Shane Morris and Warren De La Salle, 35-10, in this week's CVO game. Highlights:

This week: OLSM (6-1) has a Saturday night showdown at Detroit Catholic Central.

OH OL Caleb Stacey

Stacey and Oak Hills fell in a shootout for the second straight week, this time dropping a 46-41 contest to Sycamore and fellow Michigan commit A.J. Williams.

This week: The Highlanders host Mason on Friday at 7:30.

IL CB Anthony Standifer

Via Son of MGoBlog Tim Sullivan, Standifer had six solo tackles, seven assists, and a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown as Crete-Monee defeated Rich Central 34-20. Standifer's teammate, 2013 prospect Laquon Treadwell, caught nine passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.

This week: The Warriors hosts Rich South on Friday at 6.

OH DE Tom Strobel

Strobel was dominant in Mentor's 44-20 victory over Solon, recording three sacks, a fumble recovery, and a blocked extra point, though he deflected the attention from himself after the game:

"No, not at all," said the 6-6, 265-pound Strobel, when asked if his defensive mates are underappreciated. "We love being under the radar. We know [Mentor quarterback] Mitch [Trubisky] is going to score.

"We told ourselves that if [Solon] scores, just come back. There are no heroes. We just played as one."

The Cardinals were stung for two touchdowns in the first half, one on a 38-yard pass play in the first quarter and on a short pass late in the first half.

"Things like that are going to happen," said Strobel. "They have a great team. It's all about coming back at them and finishing it. We wanted to make a statement tonight."

This week: The Cardinals host Medina on Friday at 7. I should be in attendance and filming the game.

OH TE A.J. Williams

Williams and his Sycamore squad came up with just enough offense to outpace Caleb Stacey and Oak Hills, 46-41, to improve to 7-0 on the season.

This week: The Aviators play at Middletown on Friday night at 7:30.

OH S Jarrod Wilson

No stats are available for Wilson from Buchtel's 26-14 win over Akron North.

This week: The Griffins (4-3) host Kenmore on Friday at 7..

OH DE Chris Wormley:

Thanks to in-game Twitter updates from reader @RBones40, we know that Wormley had a tackle, a QB hurry, and a pass breakup and also forced an interception with a big hit in the first half as Whitmer took down Findlay, 49-23.

[UPDATE: Now with the weekly report from Mason Lowry:

The most interesting development to me was that Chris saw significant minutes as the secondary tight end. He isn't a guy that's going to be catching passes over the middle, but a holding penalty aside, he blocked pretty well. We haven't seen many two tight end looks this season, but I think Chris proved that he can handle going both ways if necessary.

Defensively, the front seven got great penetration all game long. Findlay's offense is mostly predicated on bubble screens to their crew of speedy, Wes Welker-esque receivers. With Chris being 6'7, Findlay's QB's had to throw over the top of him and into the flat, which gave the secondary time to adjust. I would say that if Chris were on most teams, opposing offensive lines could key on him, and force the rest of the team to beat them. But this defensive front in particular is good enough that you can't really do that.

Thanks, as always, to Mason, who you can hear calling every Whitmer home game on WRSCSports.com.]

This week: The Panthers (7-0) have a home contest against Fremont Ross, alma mater of one Charles Woodson, on Friday at 7.

2013 Commits

KY S Jeremy Clark

No stats available for Clark from a 61-0 North Hopkins victory over Hopkins County Central, which improved the Maroons to 6-1 in 2011.

This week: The Maroons host Calloway County on Friday at 7.

MI QB Shane Morris

Morris, the other subject of this week's CVO (highlights above), completed 5-of-11 passes for around 100 yards and had a 20-yard rushing touchdown, but De La Salle fell to OLSM 35-10 as Morris faced a heavy pass rush all night.

This week: The Pilots (5-2) play U-D Jesuit at Lake Short High School on Saturday at 7 in their regular-season finale.

OH RB/S Dymonte Thomas

Thomas had a nine-yard touchdown run, but Marlington (5-2) fell to Minerva by a score of 21-13.

This week: The Dukes host Canton South on Friday at 7.

Creeper Van Originals: Orchard Lake St. Mary's vs. Warren De La Salle

Creeper Van Originals: Orchard Lake St. Mary's vs. Warren De La Salle

Submitted by Ace on October 10th, 2011 at 2:05 PM

In this week's CVO, I finally got the chance to see Shane Morris play in person as his Warren De La Salle squad hit the road to play Orchard Lake St. Mary's, who happen to feature fellow Michigan commit James Ross at linebacker. The game was close in the first half, with Morris scampering 20 yards for a rushing touchdown to cut De La Salle's deficit to just 14-10 at halftime, but OLSM pulled away in the second stanza with three unanswered touchdowns to cap off a 35-10 victory.

The stat line for Morris differs depending on where you look, but I had him down as completing 5-of-11 passes for right around 100 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, plus the one rushing touchdown and a couple short scrambles. Morris also punted for De La Salle, showing off a decent leg and delivering a huge (but late) hit after a return that drew a flag but also looked fairly awesome, especially coming from a quarterback. Ross, meanwhile, had a dominant effort across from Morris, finishing with seven tackles and three tackles for loss while regularly wreaking havoc in the Pilot backfield. Hello, highlights:

Scouting

Shane Morris: I had several people ask me via Twitter whether or not Morris was really as good a prospect as advertised, given his rather pedestrian stat line, which wasn't the first of its kind this season. To answer that question, look at the first highlight in Morris's segment (0:45 mark)—in which he buys time, gets his body turned, and delivers a strike that should have gone for a touchdown if his receiver could just hold on—and the throw at the 1:00 mark in which he chucks an absolute laser on a 30-yard post route. There are absolutely no questions about his arm, and though he had a little bit of difficulty with the accuracy on his deep ball, for the most part he was right on target.

Unfortunately, Morris didn't have a lot of help—his offensive line allowed pressure all night, sacking Morris three times and forcing the junior into awkward dumpoff throws or desperation scrambles on several other plays, and there were a couple drops by his receivers, including an on-target pass that comically doinked right off a player's helmet in the flat. If I were to say one negative about Morris's play, it's that he held onto the ball too long at times, and on one occasion stepped up to avoid pressure, but moved up the pocked too far and shuffled right into a sack.

For the most part, however, Morris did everything you could reasonably ask of him in a game in which OLSM was just the better team. He's obviously got great size, and his ability to change speeds with his throws is already at a very advanced level—he knows when to bring the heat and when he needs to put some touch on the ball, which you can see in some of his shorter throws. He did seem to get a little overzealous when throwing the bomb, but he also didn't really have any open receivers when he threw far downfield, to the point where it was difficult to tell if he was inaccurate or just executing a functional throwaway.

As you can see on the touchdown run, Morris is decently mobile. Nobody is going to confuse him with Denard Robinson, but he can buy time in the pocket and burn defenses with his legs if given the space to do so. He's also clearly a tough guy who knows he's the emotional leader of his team—he was not going to be denied the end zone on his touchdown scramble, and his (yes, late, but still) hit on the sideline after a punt was the hardest blow any Pilot player laid on an Eaglet all night. He also delivered on a third-and-13 late after taking a hard hit on a sack the previous play, which I liked to see in a game that was clearly getting away from his team. I came away from this game just as impressed with Morris and I was by his highlights and accolades—give him talent on the line and at the skill positions, and I have little doubt he'll excel at the college level.

For the scouting report on Ross, photos from the game, and bonus highlights of Jordan Payton, hit the jump.

Thursday Recruitin' Is Mere Hours Away From Being Moot

Thursday Recruitin' Is Mere Hours Away From Being Moot

Submitted by Ace on October 6th, 2011 at 10:23 AM

In this week's Thursday Recruitin', Danny O'Brien's decision is just hours away, but don't hold your breath, Bri'onte Dunn takes over the fourth quarter, and the Cass pipeline appears it will continue into 2013. 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.

Danny O'Brien Announces Today

Hooray for timely news, even if every indication has O'Brien leaving the state. Just in case something crazy happens and he ends up blue (again, unlikely—if it does, I'll be torn between being happy for a new commitment and angry at myself for skipping the presser) here's a couple quotes from Tim Sullivan's Freep piece on O'Brien's decision, which takes place at 2:30 this afternoon:

"O'Brien has always had an explosive first step,” said Rivals Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt. “Over the course of the spring, (he) added 25 pounds to his frame and, with the weight gain, came the needed strength.”

O'Brien plays all over the field for Powers, lining up at defensive tackle, defensive end and even running back. [Power coach Bob] Buckel, in his first year, considers it a blessing to have O’Brien.

“I’ve been a head coach 29 years, but this is my first year at Powers,” he said. “It’s nice to come into a program where you have a great player your first year. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he got the chance to play a little bit of offense in college.”

O'Brien will choose between Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, and Michigan State. Check any O'Brien-related message board post and you'll get a pretty good idea of where he's very likely to end up.

In other news on (for now) uncommitted prospects, Tim also breaks down the top remaining 2012 targets on the board for the Wolverines. Jordan Payton and Amara Darboh, who have already visited campus, seem to have a leg up in terms of securing the open spot(s) for wide receivers in this class over Monty Madaris, who hasn't yet been to Ann Arbor, though he plans to do so later this season. The rest is stuff you probably already know, but if you want a good primer on the most likely names to fill in the class, it's a very solid breakdown.

Fox Sports Ohio televised Bri'onte Dunn's latest game, and Scout has the highlights available for free. Click through to see the video, and here's a summary from what turned out to be a remarkable fourth-quarter performance:

For much of the game, it seemed as if Dunn would get only a token carry or two and be used mostly as a decoy. Then the fourth quarter came, and GlenOak's strategy to use Dunn became clear. Call it "Jordanesque"; keep it close, then let the star take over.

Dunn had two carries for three yards heading into the fourth quarter. He had 15 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown in the final frame alone. That could almost be considered a night off for the workhorse running back who is likely to finish his career with over 1,000 carries.

Dunn had injured his hip the previous week, which explains his lack of carries early, but his performance in the final stanza propelled GlenOak from a 7-3 deficit to a 16-7 comeback victory.

Quickly, the paywalled stuff: Misleading Scout headline says Zach Banner has a timeline ($, info in header), when said timeline is that he'll announce his decision date for "either before or after the Army [All-American] Game]." His last three official visits will be to Notre Dame, USC, and Washington; he has already visited Michigan and Oklahoma. Five-star receiver Stefon Diggs has cut his list down to 11 ($, info in header), and Michigan is among them, though I wouldn't get excited unless he takes an official visit (obvious statement is obvious, I know). Good Counsel (MD) prospect Wes Brown has a top six ($, info in header), and it appears Michigan has another potential option at running back if they can't lure Dunn away from Ohio State. Wideout Jehu Chesson has a top five that now includes Northwestern ($, info in header), and yes, Michigan is in it for him as well.

Hit the jump for the rest of Thursday Recruitin', including updates on 2012 commits and videos of Jeremy Clark and Shane Morris, plus much more from the class of 2013.

Weekday Warriors 2011: 10-4

Weekday Warriors 2011: 10-4

Submitted by Ace on October 4th, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Dymonte Thomas tallied four touchdowns and 193 total yards this week.

This week on Weekday Warriors, Dymonte Thomas goes off, Harrison continues to roll, Anthony Standifer has a pair of picks, and Matt Godin piles up more impressive numbers.

2012 Commits

TN OL Blake Bars

Montgomery Bell improved to 3-4 with a 17-14 win over Father Ryan.

This week: The Big Red (2-4) host Ensworth on Friday.

OH LB Joe Bolden

Bolden led a Colerain defensive attack that held Fairfield to just 73 yards of offense in a 53-0 Cardinal victory.

This week: The Cardinals (5-1) travel to Lakota West on Friday at 7:30.

MI OL Ben Braden

Braden was a big factor in the Rockford rushing attack that tallied over 200 yards in three quarters as they ripped off 41 unanswered points in an eventual 41-6 win over East Kentwood. The game was the subject of this week's CVO, and here are the highlights:

This week: Rockford hosts Grandville on Friday at 7.

OH DE Pharaoh Brown

Brown recovered an onside kick late to give Brush a chance, but they fell 10-7 to Mayfield. No defensive stats were available.

This week: The Arcs play at Twinsburg on Thursday at 6.

MI TE Devin Funchess

Funchess returned from a toe injury that held him out last week and recorded touchdown catches of 28 and 6 yards to help Harrison improve to 6-0 with a 48-35 victory over Oak Park.

This week: The Hawks head to Rochester Adams on Thursday at 7.

OH S Allen Gant

Gant helped Southview hold Perrysburg to 210 total yards—and just 50 in the second half, most coming on a meaningless final drive—as the Cougars won 29-7 after trailing by one at halftime.

This week: Sylvania (5-1) play at Bowling Green on Friday at 7.

MI DT Matt Godin

According to Godin himself, he had 11 tackles and three QB hurries as Detroit Catholic Central took down U-D Jesuit, 20-13, to improve to 6-0 this season.

This week: The Shamrocks look to stay undefeated in a home-field showdown against Brother Rice on Saturday at 7.

UT FB Sione Houma

Houma rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries as Highland held on for a 44-37 victory over Woods Cross.

This week: The Rams take on Cyprus at home on Friday at 7.

MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone

Cass Tech managed a strong defensive effort, but their offense was held off the board in a 7-0 shutout loss to Detroit Crockett.

This week: The Technicians (4-2) host Mumford on Friday at 4 in their regular-season finale.

OH OL Kyle Kalis

Top-ranked St. Edward defeated Ursuline, 20-7, to remain unblemished at 6-0 in 2011.

This week: The Eagles host Don Bosco Prep (NJ), home of Yuri Wright and several other D-I recruits, on Saturday at 7.

CA OL Erik Magnuson

La Costa Canyon dominated the trenches en route to a 33-7 win over Fallbrook:

The Mavericks posted six unanswered scores and dominated the second half in a 33-7 nonleague win over Fallbrook (1-3). The Mavericks (3-2) controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, outgaining the Warriors, 222 yards to 83 on the ground en route to winning their second straight game.

"It wasn't a real surprise to see how we came out in the second half," Mavericks coach Sean Sovacool said. "With the guys we have up front, and as tough as our runners are, we can grind it out. That was kind of the aim going into the second half, was to take control back, and our guys did a good job of that."

With a massive offensive line anchored by tackles Eric Magnuson (6-foot-6, 280 pounds) and Scott Quessenberry (6-4, 260), the Mavericks have taken advantage of their ability to run the ball this year. Isaac Maquet led the way Friday with 21 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown, and Deon Dickey kept Fallbrook's defense honest with 11 carries for 71 yards and a score.

"We did the same thing last week at Redlands -- we came out and ran the ball really well after halftime, and it seems to work," Maquet said. "The linemen responded well and opened some big holes.

"They do a great job."

This week: The Mavericks have a bye this week.

MI DE Mario Ojemudia

Ojemudia had a critical late fourth-down stop for no gain as Harrison held off Oak Park, 48-35. Harrison, the top-ranked team in the state, improved to 6-0 with the victory.

This week: The Hawks head to Rochester Adams on Thursday at 7.

MO DT Ondre Pipkins

Park Hill came away with an emphatic victory over North Kansas City, 42-14, to improve to 4-2 on the season.

This week: The Trojans host Lee's Summit West on Friday at 7.

MI CB Terry Richardson

No stats were available for Richardson from Cass Tech's 7-0 loss to Crockett. The Technicians (4-2, 4-1 PSL) are now in a three-way tie for first place with Crockett and King.

This week: The Technicians host Mumford on Friday at 4 in their regular-season finale.

OH LB Kaleb Ringer

Northmont's offense was stymied by an "unusual zone defense" in a 15-7 loss at Beavercreek.

This week: The Thunderbolts (2-4) host Fairmont on Friday at 7:30.

MI LB James Ross

OLSM came away with a dramatic 10-9 overtime win over Brother Rice to improve to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Catholic League Central Division, and Ross played a huge role in the victory:

Most of the rainy game was marked by defensive stops and muddy running plays.  St. Mary's defense was led by senior linebacker James Ross.

"We tried to let him go a little bit there," [St. Mary's coach George] Porritt said. "James is a special player, you could see his instincts take over."

Witness those instincts in the first clip of this Fox 2 highlight reel:

Brother Rice Vs. Orchard Lake Saint Marys: MyFoxDETROIT.com

This week: St. Mary's has a huge conference game at home against Shane Morris's Warren De La Salle squad on Friday at 7.

OH OL Caleb Stacey

Oak Hills fell in a heartbreaker after failing an all-or-nothing two-point conversion with three seconds left, giving Hamilton a 47-46 win in an offensive shootout.

This week: The Highlanders play at Sycamore, featuring Michigan commit A.J. Williams, on Friday at 7:30.

IL CB Anthony Standifer

Standifer came away with two interceptions as Crete-Monee blew out Bloom Township, 32-7. Here's a quote from Standifer from after the game:

"We knew (the Blazing Trojans) were going to come out and play their best, because every team tries to play their best against us in conference," said Warriors defensive back Anthony Standifer, who intercepted two passes. "We had never faced adversity before, because we had been blowing everybody out, but in the second half we had to pick it up."

The Blazing Trojans? Towelie approves.

This week: The Warriors plays at Rich Central on Friday at 6.

OH DE Tom Strobel

Strobel recorded two sacks and wreaked havoc in the Brunswick backfield as Mentor got the victory, 38-14, as the Cardinals moved to 6-0.

Strobel, a Michigan recruit, had a pair of sacks and was seemingly in the face of Yohman on almost every throw. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound senior said the Blue Devils were effective on offense early, but the interception by Coustillac settled things down for the Cardinals quickly.

"Brunswick got some drives early and we were a little shaky to start, but Regis got the pick that got us back into the game and back to the level we feel we should be playing at," Strobel said. "I put all my trust in Mitch. He is going to make the right decisions and the receivers are going to catch the ball and our offense is pretty dangerous."

Here's a post-game interview with Strobel:

This week: The Cardinals travel to Solon on Thursday at 7.

OH TE A.J. Williams

Williams one again paved the way in the trenches as Sycamore dominated on the ground in a 32-13 victory over Princeton.

This week: The Aviators host Caleb Stacey and Oak Hills on Friday night at 7:30.

OH S Jarrod Wilson

Wilson came away with an interception on Ellet's final drive to preserve a 20-13 win for Buchtel, who moved to 3-3 on the season.

This week: The Griffins play at North in a noon game on Saturday.

OH DE Chris Wormley:

No stats are available for Wormley from Whitmer's 54-7 blowout win over Clay.

[UPDATE: Coming through in the clutch is Mason Lowry, Whitmer's play-by-play man:

Whitmer's D gave up a touchdown on the very last play of the first quarter to tie it at 7-7, but really buckled down and didn't allow anything further after that. Clay runs a funky kind of spread/triple option with shades of the Wing-T, and for the most part, it wasn't very effective. Chris was his usual disruptive self, and we didn't see a whole lot of him on defense in the second half.

One interesting thing to note: Whitmer's tight end left the game after what looked like a fairly serious lower leg injury, and Chris did step in some on offense to block. Depending on how long he's out, we may get to see a little more of him blocking in the coming weeks, which could give us a little bit of an indication as to whether or not he has a future on the offensive side of the ball at the next level.

This week, the Panthers have a big one against Findlay, who is the only other undefeated team in the conference, and the only area team that sits ahead of them in the computer rankings. Pregame starts at 6:30 on Friday with kickoff at 7:00 on WRSCsports.com.

Thanks, as always, to Mason for the update.]

This week: The Panthers travel to Findlay on Friday at 7.

2013 Commits

KY S Jeremy Clark

North Hopkins had a bye this week.

This week: The Maroons (5-1) host Hopkins County Central on Friday at 7.

MI QB Shane Morris

Morris led the way with 104 yards and four touchdown passes as De La Salle bounced back from last week's loss to DCC to take down Inkster, 46-12.

This week: The Pilots (5-1) face off against OLSM and James Ross on Friday at 7.

OH RB/S Dymonte Thomas

Thomas had a huge game, posting 102 rushing yards and 91 receiving yards while finding the end zone on runs of 3, 10, and 5 yards and a catch traveling 60 yards to lead Marlington to a 55-28 victory over Carrollton. His coach, after the game, simply said of Thomas, "He's a special player."

This week: The Dukes play at Minerva on Friday at 7.

Creeper Van Originals: Rockford vs. East Kentwood

Creeper Van Originals: Rockford vs. East Kentwood

Submitted by Ace on October 3rd, 2011 at 1:39 PM

DPP_0032

Ben Braden is quite large, especially in comparison to his rather diminutive teammate

This week the van traveled to the west side of the state to see offensive tackle Ben Braden and Rockford take on East Kentwood in an OK Red division battle. Rockford got off to a slow start, allowing a fumble return for a touchdown on their first offensive snap of the game, but the Rams proceeded to reel off 41 straight points to close the game, winning 41-6. Braden—playing mostly at left tackle and exclusively taking snaps on offense—helped pave the way as Rockford tallied over 200 rushing yards before pulling their starters early in the fourth quarter. Highlights go here:

Scouting Report

The first thing that stands out about Braden is, of course, his size—he's listed on the Rockford roster at 6'7", 319 pounds, and he looked every bit that big, standing out among a very large Ram offensive line. He doesn't appear to be carrying any bad weight, as evidenced by his surprising quickness for a player his size, and as they say, you can't teach size—Braden certainly passes the eyeball test when you're looking for a BCS-level offensive tackle prospect.

Along with Braden's size, his quick feet appear to be his best asset. Rockford pulled Braden on many of their running plays, and he's very fast in getting off the ball, through the hole, and into the second level, where he can ideally crush the poor linebacker standing in his way. While the latter part happened a couple times, there were several instances in which Braden simply did not find a man to block—I am by no means an expert on offensive line play, but it was disconcerting how many plays ended with him running five or ten yards downfield looking for someone to hit.

This brings me to my biggest point of concern about Braden—one that has been voiced elsewhere—and that's the lack of the proverbial 'mean streak'. In a game in which Braden regularly was called upon to pull and block linebackers, all of whom he outweighed by at least 100 pounds, I counted exactly two plays in which he put a defender on his backside. Against an overmatched team like East Kentwood, either Braden was taking it easy—which I don't think was the case—or he needs to work on developing a bit more aggressiveness in his play.

In the run game, I thought he was solid, but not as good as I expected. He was able to get playside of smaller defenders and seal them off a few times in impressive fashion, but he also didn't push the pile and knock guys around as much as one would expect from such a large, talented lineman.

Rockford only attempted nine passes in the game, and I'm pretty sure Braden was out of the game for a few of those, but in limited chances he had some ups and downs. On a couple passes, he was barely tested and able to shove aside any defensive lineman who dared get within his reach, and he did a nice job of getting off the line and staying relatively low in his stance—he appears to have the groundwork for some solid technique. Unfortunately, there were two plays in which he missed his assignment—one is included in the above video, in which he just let a rusher run free around the end and looks confused as to who he should block—and both ended with his quarterback under heavy pressure. This is his first year at left tackle and it appears he's still getting used to the new position.

Overall, I thought Braden showed why he's a Michigan recruit—his combination of size and quickness is really tough to match—but he's definitely a work-in-progress. While I haven't had the chance to see any of the other 2012 OL commits personally, I'd expect there are at least a couple who will be more ready to see the field if called upon next season or even in 2013. If Braden develops more of an edge and continues to work on technique, however, he could end up being an extremely good lineman at the next level—he's got the size to push guys around in a MANBALL scheme, the quickness and reach to develop into a very good pass-blocker, and he's already looking good on zone running plays.

Photo Gallery

Apologies for the lack of action shots, but by the time I realized I should be heading down to the field Braden's night was already over.

Post-Game Interview

ACE: First of all, that was an impressive performance by the team today. How would you assess the team's performance and your individual performance?

BEN: I think as a team, I definitely have to commend the guys, we're always working as a team together and always trying to figure things out. Just like me and everybody else, we've always got to work on stuff individually, but team-wise we did pretty good.

ACE: Can you elaborate on your own performance?

BEN: It was alright. Like everybody else, you work as a team, and you've always got things you've got to work on for next week.

ACE: You were the first commit to Michigan this year. What's it been like seeing the recruiting class come together?

BEN: It's been very exciting. I'm definitely getting to know the rest of the teammates and everything and it's fun—it's great to get to know the guys and everything, and I'm looking forward to [playing with them].

ACE: Which recruits have you been in contact with?

BEN: Caleb Stacey, a little bit, but kind of just everybody. Juwan Lewis, a little bit, from Muskegon, and then just when I go to the games, when I see people—whether they're committed or just recruits—just talking with them.

ACE: Do you have any visits planned for the rest of the season?

BEN: Nothing official just yet. I'll probably go to the Purdue game or a couple more games.

ACE: There's a lot of offensive linemen committed, and possibly at least one more on the way. Michigan is a little thin on the offensive line next year. Are you ready to come in and play next year and where do you think you'd fit in on that line?

BEN: I'm just going to go in, work my hardest, and try to learn everything as best I can—just work with the guys and try to get in and gel with them.

ACE: If you were to assess your own game, what would you say are your strengths and what are your working on to get ready for the next level?

BEN: Strengths, you know everybody's got their strengths and weaknesses. I'm a little quicker than people [expect], but everybody's got their differences. [I'm working on] getting low, just the real basic stuff, keep working on my footwork, that kind of stuff.

This Week

There are two games this week in which Michigan recruits face off against each other, one being Sycamore (A.J. Williams) vs. Oak Hills (Caleb Stacey) in Cincinnati, the other Warren De La Salle (Shane Morris) vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary's (James Ross). Considering Williams and Stacey both play on the offensive line, I haven't yet seen Sugar Shane in person, and OLSM is much closer than Cincinnati, I'm strongly leaning towards attending the latter game.

Thursday Recruitin' Enrolls Early

Thursday Recruitin' Enrolls Early

Submitted by Ace on September 29th, 2011 at 10:32 AM

In this week's Thursday Recruitin', a high school coach manages to out-hyperbole Fred Jackson, Ondre Pipkins gets invited to the Army AA Bowl, a Scout, er, scout channels his inner Rod Allen, and two more 2012 commits plan to enroll early. 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.

Early Enrollin'

With the coaching staff saying for a while now that the 2012 recruiting class would hit at least 26 members—and possibly, if not probably, go as high as 28—despite there currently being just 24 available spots, Michigan was going to need to find some players to enroll early. Safety Jarrod Wilson has been in that boat for a while, and now comes the news that two linebackers will arrive in Ann Arbor for the spring term as well ($, info in header)—Joe Bolden and Kaleb Ringer.

The Wolverines are allowed to backdate up to three early enrollees, essentially having them count as part of the 2011 class, which allows them to push up to the Big Ten limit of 28 recruits in a class. Bri'onte Dunn, if Michigan were to land him, is also a candidate to enroll early, but that now is more of a developmental bonus and less of a numbers necessity if the Wolverines can pluck him from Ohio State's grasp.

In other news on current commits, Tim Sullivan's latest contribution to the Freep profiles tight end commit A.J. Williams, who has played almost exclusively on the offensive line his last two seasons in high school but will still be a tight end for the Wolverines, one of the reasons that drew him to Ann Arbor:

Though he loves pancaking opposing defenders, he didn’t want to be exclusively a blocker in college. The opportunity to play tight end is another reason he chose Michigan.

“That’s also what made Michigan a great decision,” said Williams. “They actually wanted me for the tight end position, which I want to play.”

His 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame should help Williams be ready to contribute from the first day he steps on campus in August. Playing as a blocking tight end, he should be more ready to play than the average freshman. After not catching any passes for two years, however, he will have to make an adjustment when he gets to the next level, and get reacquainted with the nuances of going downfield to catch passes.

With the lack of depth and size at the tight end position for next year, Williams will have the opportunity to play right away. Though he may not be ready to be an oft-targeted receiver in the passing game, his blocking should be an asset right off the bat, especially when Michigan runs the ball.

Steve Junga of the Toledo Blade has a lengthy piece up on safety commit Allen Gant, whose work ethic has made him a three-sport star at Sylvania Southview and impressed his father Tony, a former Wolverine himself:

In the spring he will earn his fourth letter in track and field, where he is a rare blend -- a discus thrower and shot putter who also runs sprint relays.

"The drive really comes from Allen," Tony Gant said. "I had a certain type of drive, but what he does -- lifting weights and eating healthy and drinking a gallon of water a day -- I never did that.

"I was a 6-foot, 185-pound kid who never lifted a weight in my life until I got to Michigan. He's in the weight room six days a week on his own. He motivates himself."

"Allen's always had a good work ethic, even as a youngster," [his grandfather and former professional baseball player] Chet Trail said. "You never had to do too much to get him to practice. I wish I could take some credit for [his motivation], but Allen is a self-starter."

Gant already weighs in the 200-pound range and looks like he's ready to step on a college field immediately, though he'll likely get some time to develop as a depth player and on special teams before being called upon to contribute on the defense.

Quickly: Ondre Pipkins was one of four prospects recently named to the Army All-American Bowl, joining fellow commits Royce Jenkins-Stone, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson, and James Ross. Kenny Allen's commitment writeup at The Flint Journal. Your TomVH insider content of the week includes Drew Henson breaking down the offensive commits, Marcus Ray doing the same for the defense, and profiles of his top two committed prospects, RJS and Kyle Kalis.

For more, hit the jump.

Weekday Warriors 2011: 9-27

Weekday Warriors 2011: 9-27

Submitted by Ace on September 27th, 2011 at 2:34 PM

This week on Weekday Warriors, mothers fawn over Tim Tebow during Blake Bars's game, Matt Godin and DCC notch a big win over Shane Morris and Warren De La Salle, Royce Jenkins-Stone goes HAM, and I accidentally stumble upon one of the best high school names ever.

2012 Commits

TN OL Blake Bars

Montgomery Bell snapped a four-game losing streak with a 31-7 victory over Pearl-Cohn, and all the mothers loved it because Tim Tebow was there. No, seriously:

“He was there talking with our athletic director (Scott O’Neal),” Big Red offensive tackle Blake Bars said. “It was pretty cool seeing him over there. All the moms loved it, apparently. The moms were all staring at him, according to my mom.”

...

Tebow worked out on MBA’s field last winter when he was preparing for the NFL scouting combine.

“He was doing passing drills and I only remember this because we were all looking out the window at him from the building,” Bars said. “He was working on his drops and stuff like that, doing sprints, keeping in shape and doing some running and agility drills.”

Tebow was in the area because the Broncos played at Tennessee on Sunday. As for quotes from Bars about the actual game, he's optimistic the Big Red can turn their season around:

“Coach (Marty Euverard) said that now we’re 1-0 because he feels that we’re going to win the rest of our games, and move forward from here,” said Bars, a Michigan commitment. “It was a good feeling for the win and everything. I think we’re finally getting our groove.”

This week: The Big Red (2-4) play at Father Ryan on Friday at 7.

OH LB Joe Bolden

Bolden recorded eight tackles as Colerain limited Middletown quarterback and blue-chip 2013 recruit Jalin Marshall to just 31 yards on 20 carries en route to a 21-13 victory.

This week: The Cardinals (4-1) host Fairfield on Friday at 7:30.

MI OL Ben Braden

Braden once again stood out on the offensive line as Rockford rushed for 344 yards in their 29-26 win over Muskegon in a battle of OK Red powers. The Rams are now 4-1 on the season.

This week: Rockford hosts East Kentwood on Friday at 7.

OH DE Pharaoh Brown

Brush fell to Twinsburg, 48-27, but Brown stood out on both sides of the ball, and we have a first-hand report from MGoReader WojoRisin:

I took in the Twinsburg vs. Brush game tonight and thought I’d share my observations on Pharaoh Brown. It’s obvious he’s a great athlete with a lot of potential. At 6’6”, 220lbs he wears #2 and physically looks like several  6’6” college QBs that have worn #2 in recent years.  He’s a very smooth athlete with a lot of speed. When I left the game after the 3rd quarter, he had around 6 tackles (1 sack) and 3 catches for around 100 yds and a TD. Most of those yards came on an 85 yd TD reception where he broke one tackle on a post pattern and outran everyone on the field. Defensively he showed excellent closing speed and some good burst on the line.

Unfortunately, like many high school studs, he relied too heavily on his speed and athleticism. He was often single blocked by a very well coached O-line and neutralized by good technique and a physically stronger OT. His pad level was consistently high, and it really hurt him at times. When double teamed he didn’t show the physicality I expected, often standing up and chasing plays rather than occupying blockers. On the goal line he made several nice plays on outside runs to his side, but struggled against physical MANBALL directly at him. There were times when he looked gassed, but he played all but 4 snaps on offense and defense so that’s to be expected.

What I took away from the game was that the things he needs to work on (technique, size) are correctable (and somewhat expected) issues. He’s got a good frame with lots of room to put on weight, and was receptive to coaching he received on the sideline. The things you can’t coach (speed, athleticism) he’s clearly got. It’s pretty easy to see a future B1G football player when you watch him play, and I’m excited to see him wear the winged helmet. Go Blue!

Brown reportedly finished with 11 tackles and a pass breakup to go along with his sack and long touchdown reception.

This week: The Arcs play at home against Mayfield on Friday at 7.

MI TE Devin Funchess

Funchess sat out Harrison's 43-0 shutout of Southfield-Lathrup with a torn ligament in his toe, but he's expected to be back next week.

This week: The Hawks (5-0) host Oak Park on Friday at 7.

OH S Allen Gant

Gant was the subject of this week's Creeper Van Original feature, and finished with seven tackles, a pass breakup, one catch for 20 yards, and a two-yard rushing touchdown in Southview's 45-27 road win over Maumee. Highlights:

This week: The Cougars (4-1) welcome Perrysburg to Sylvania on Friday at 7.

MI DT Matt Godin

Godin had seven tackles and four QB hurries as Detroit Catholic Central held on against Shane Morris's Warren De La Salle squad, 14-10, to improve to 5-0. Godin's teammate Wyatt Shallman had 13 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown to help propel the Shamrocks to victory.

This week: The Shamrocks host U-D Jesuit on Sunday at 1.

UT FB Sione Houma

Houma returned from an ankle injury but was still limited, carrying the ball six times for 24 yards, and Highland's offense suffered as they barely mustered 200 total yards in a 27-3 loss to Bountiful. The Rams fell to 4-2 on the season.

This week: The Rams take on Woods Cross at home on Friday at 7.

MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone

Jenkins-Stone led the charge offensively for Cass Tech with 75 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 11 carries while also chipping in eight tackles on defense as the Technicians beat King 20-18 in a rare home night game. RJS on the win:

"I was thinking of how we were going to score on those drives," Jenkins-Stone said. "We came out, made big plays and left with the 'W' and that's all that matters."

Fox 2 highlights:

Martin Lutuer King Vs. Cass Tech: MyFoxDETROIT.com

This week: The Technicians (4-1) play at Detroit Crockett on Friday at 6.

OH OL Kyle Kalis

St. Edward came away with a 52-13 victory over visiting Tampa (FL) Jefferson, and Kalis led an offensive line that paved the way for over 300 rushing yards:

The Eagles have five linemen who have committed to BCS colleges. Their offensive line averages 6-3, 283, and they dominated the line of scrimmage, opening huge holes for an undersized but dynamic trio of juniors — tailbacks Dwayne Aaron (5-5, 165) and Kenny Butler (5-10, 175), and quarterback Ryan Fallon (5-11, 170).

"They were a very, very, very big and physical O-line,'' [Jefferson defensive end Tyriq] McCord said. "This was the best O-line I've faced since Plant City last year.''

This week: The Eagles play at Ursuline on Friday night at 7.

CA OL Erik Magnuson

La Costa Canyon improved to 2-2 with a 28-13 road win at Redlands on the strength of 147 second-half rushing yards, which helped the Mavericks reel off 21 unanswered points.

This week: The Mavericks host Fallbrook on Friday at 7.

MI DE Mario Ojemudia

Ojemudia continued his dominant play with six tackles and two sacks in Harrison's 43-0 victory over Lathrup.

This week: The Hawks (5-0) host Oak Park on Friday at 7.

MO DT Ondre Pipkins

Pipkins recorded five tackles in a losing effort as Park Hill dropped to 3-2 with a 42-0 loss to local power Jefferson City. In the Kansas City local high school roundup, you'll find that there's a school named Excelsior Springs, which may just be the LEVITICUS PAYNE of high school names. EXCELSIOR!

This week: The Trojans travels to North Kansas City on Friday at 7.

MI CB Terry Richardson

No stats were available for Richardson.

This week: The Technicians (4-1) play at Detroit Crockett on Friday at 6.

OH LB Kaleb Ringer

Northmont won a shootout over Lebanon, 40-33, as the defense was able to come away with two critical fourth-quarter stops to preserve the victory. Ringer finished with nine tackles, including one TFL.

This week: Northmont plays at Beavercreek on Friday at 7:30.

MI LB James Ross

No stats are currently available for Ross, but Orchard Lake St. Mary's came away with a 42-21 win over visiting Columbus St. Francis de Sales to move to 4-1 on the season.

This week: The Eaglets host Brother Rice on Friday at 7.

OH OL Caleb Stacey

Oak Hills edged out Lakota West 25-21 to improve to 3-2 in 2011.

This week: The Highlanders host Hamilton at 7:30 on Friday.

IL CB Anthony Standifer

Standifer had three tackles and a forced fumble as Crete-Monee beat Kankakee 35-7. Standifer's teammate, 2013 wide receiver prospect Laquon Treadwell, led the offensive charge with four catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

This week: The Warriors host Bloom (no, Brian, not Bloom County) on Friday at 6.

OH DE Tom Strobel

Strobel recorded a sack and forced fumble as Mentor shut out Parma, 49-0, to notch their fifth straight win to open the season:

“We got after it this week,” said senior defensive end Tom Strobel, whose night was highlighted by a sack/forced fumble in the second quarter. “Our coaches wanted a big game out of us because we haven’t been proving ourselves lately. I think we made a statement tonight.”

This week: The Cardinals plays host to Brunswick on Friday at 7.

OH TE A.J. Williams

Williams, playing tackle, still hasn't recorded a catch on the season, but his blocking helped Sycamore quarterback Kyle Sess rush for 133 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-25 win over Lakota East. The Aviators are now 5-0 on the year.

This week: The Aviators look to stay undefeated at Princeton on Friday night at 7:30.

OH S Jarrod Wilson

Wilson had four tackles as Buchtel's defense dominated in a 32-6 win over Akron East:

“(The defense) is just perfecting all the little things, which lets us play faster and we make more plays,” Buchtel senior safety Jarrod Wilson said.

...

“The defense just made our minds up that we were going to play hard and make it happen, even though we kept getting put in a bad spot,” Wilson said.

This week: The Griffins host Ellet in a noon game on Saturday.

OH DE Chris Wormley:

Wormley had four tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble as Whitmer crushed 2013 quarterback recruit Brogan Roback and Toledo St. John's, 35-7, to stay undefeated in 2011:

University of Michigan-bound, 6-foot-6, 270-pound defensive end Chris Wormley sacked Roback for losses of 7 and 5 yards.

"We were playing fast and hard, and we were hitting," Wormley said. "[Pressuring Roback] was one of the main points of our defense. We just mixed up the schemes and threw a lot of blitzes at him."

Whitmer's play-by-play man Mason Lowry of WRSCSports.com was kind enough to offer another first-hand account:

Chris looked outstanding against St. John’s. He had two sacks and forced a fumble, and even when he couldn’t get his hands on Brogan Roback enough to bring him down, he usually did enough to force him into bad decisions. He’s just so powerful, and the SJ offensive line was completely overmatched. There were some questions going in about how Whitmer would respond to finally going up against a good team after assaulting Canadian teams and a couple of other programs going thru rough patches, but I’d say that they looked pretty damn good, and Chris was a huge part of that.
 
Roback, meanwhile, wasn’t so lucky. He’s a pocket passer, and when forced out of the pocket under intense pressure, he’s still prone to making bad decisions and throws. Most of his success came late in the game against a sagging defense that he could pick apart. He’s a good passer when given time to throw, but he’s got to improve against quick defenses that can get to him.
 
On the way out of the stadium, I chatted with a longtime Toledo high school football observer. He told me that this Whitmer team “might be the best that Toledo has ever seen.” Pretty lofty praise, indeed.

Thanks to Mason for the report, and you can now hear his commentary and stream all of Whitmer's home games live at whitmer.ihigh.com.

This week: From Mason - "This week is a home game against the Eagles (or Fightin' Kovacses, if you prefer) of Oregon Clay at 7pm"—if you're looking for something to do on Friday, streaming Wormley's game in an option.

2013 Commits

KY S Jeremy Clark

No stats are available for Clark from North Hopkins's 49-6 win over Owensboro.

This week: The Maroons (5-1) have a bye week.

MI QB Shane Morris

Morris had a tough time making a big play against Godin, Shallman, and the DCC defense, completing 14 of 26 passes for 131 yards and an interception in De La Salle's loss. The junior had a chance to win the game late, but it appears his wideout's hands failed him when looking for the go-ahead score:

On fourth and four in the red zone with under a minute to go, De La Salle had a chance to win. Quarterback Shane Morris dropped back and drifted to his left, then threw the ball to an open receiver, only to have it deflect off the fingertips of the wideout.

It also appears Morris's interception did not come without a bit of controversy, courtesy of some aggressive defending that could have drawn a flag:

The biggest play of the game came in the third quarter with De La Salle driving to add to its 10-7 lead. Morris dropped back to pass and threw an interception into the hands of David Racey. There was plenty of contact, and the play easily could have been ruled pass interference, which would have given De La Salle a first down near the red zone.

Coach Paul Verska wasn’t too happy about the no-call.

“You saw it. Would you have made that call? It blew my mind,” he said.

The loss was De La Salle's first on the year, dropping them to 4-1.

This week: The Pilots play Inkster at Lake Shore High School on Friday at 7.

OH RB/S Dymonte Thomas

Thomas rushed for 46 yards and was in on 16(!) tackles as Marlington defeated Salem, 42-7, to push their record to 4-1.

This week: The Dukes play at Carrollton on Friday at 7.

Creeper Van Originals: Sylvania Southview vs. Maumee

Creeper Van Originals: Sylvania Southview vs. Maumee

Submitted by Ace on September 26th, 2011 at 1:17 PM

This week, the van returned to the Toledo area to see 2012 safety commit Allen Gant and his Sylvania Southview squad take on rival Maumee in front of a packed house at Maumee High School. It initially looked like Southview would run away with the game as they cruised to an early 24-0 lead, but three straight Panther scores cut the deficit to just three points midway through the third quarter. That woke up the Cougars, however, who reeled off three of the next four scores en route to a 45-27 victory.

Gant had a strong game overall, finishing (by my unofficial count) with seven tackles, one pass breakup, a reception for 20 yards, and a two-yard touchdown run. The senior spent most of the game on defense, playing a lot as a linebacker/rover with a lot of short zone responsibilities while coming off the edge often as a blitzer—he only dropped back deep as a safety on a couple plays in obvious passing situations. He saw a few snaps on the offensive side of the ball as a receiver and wingback, and scored his touchdown run as the quarterback in a special Wildcat package. Here are the highlights from this week—as you'll see, the game was played on an extremely muddy field that made it very difficult to make any sharp cuts without falling over (I almost ate it just trying to make my way to midfield for the post-game interview):

Scouting Report

As previously mentioned, the field conditions were far from ideal, which made it very difficult to evaluate Gant from an athletic standpoint. It was clear early on that his cleats were not giving him the proper footing, as he spent much of the time in warmups scraping mud off of them, and on one of the first defensive snaps on the game he slipped to the ground and would have given up a long touchdown pass if the Maumee quarterback had seen the uncovered receiver. Gant displayed solid, not spectacular, straight-ahead speed, but any impression of his agility would be skewed greatly by the conditions.

Despite playing a new position (more on that in the post-game interview), Gant did a very good job of playing with discipline and being in the right place—Maumee never really challenged him on underneath routes because he had either the short middle or flat covered when he wasn't brought on the blitz, with Southview playing almost exclusively zone defense. On the one opportunity Gant had to man-cover a receiver down the field (that is, without falling to the ground), he stayed step-for-step with his man but was victimized by a well-run route and a great throw, which you can see in the first clip above.

It was very interesting to see what Gant brought as a linebacker, as he could very well be ticketed for that position at Michigan because of his size. He made some very nice reads, including one play where he sniffed out a screen and nearly made a spectacular one-handed diving interception, and he put decent pressure on the quarterback when coming off the edge.

While Gant's tackling technique was solid—he does a very good job of wrapping up the ballcarrier—I thought he was a little passive when coming up to make a hit, including on one play when Maumee's quarterback scrambled and was able to carry Gant and a couple of his teammates a few extra yards after initial contact. This could be chalked up to playing an unfamiliar position, but Gant had a few plays where he let the play come to him instead of identifying the ballcarrier and taking an aggressive path to the play, and despite the seven tackles he didn't have any big hits, in large part due to his lack of aggression.

One thing I really liked out of Gant was his persistence—he's the proverbial guy who doesn't take plays off and always ends the play around the football, and he chased down a couple of his tackles from the opposite side of the field. He also held the edge well, which I'm sure Michigan fans are happy to hear, although on one such play he tackled a little too high and ended up drawing a face-mask penalty.

Overall, I think Gant shows more promise as a safety than at linebacker, although that may be a harsh judgment considering I caught his first game at a new position. The key for him will be maintaining his athleticism—which I believe is good enough for safety, especially if he's paired with a center-field type like Jarrod Wilson—and not adding too much bulk to his 6'2", 210-pound frame (he looked every bit that big on the field). He's got promise as a safety who is decent in coverage and can come up and make plays in the running game, but I'm not sure he'd hold up well as a linebacker, though we'll see if he improves given more time at the position.

Photo Gallery

This week, my amateur photography skills are on full display:

Post-Game Interview

ACE: That was a hard-fought win out there. How do you think you played personally?

ALLEN: I thought I played pretty decent. There were a couple assignments I wasn't sure about. Actually, today I played a different position than the one I've been playing, so I thought I did pretty decent out there.

ACE: I know Michigan is recruiting you as a safety. It seemed like you were playing linebacker today, or at least close to the line of scrimmage. How was that for you?

ALLEN: It was tough. It was tough to adjust. I had a lot of safety instincts that were in my mind, but I just have to continue doing my job and continue playing to help my team.

ACE: It looked like early on you were having trouble keeping your footing. Was that just an equipment problem or an issue with the field conditions?

ALLEN: The field was pretty bad. But you know, I kept playing and kept going.

ACE: You've been to all three of Michigan's home games so far. What has your impression been of the team so far?

ALLEN: The team is really, really, really good. I think they've done a really good job so far of working hard, I can tell. They keep fighting to the end, especially in the Notre Dame game. I was proud of how the guys fought.

ACE: Have you been keeping in contact with other recruits?

ALLEN: A little bit, not as much as I was during the summer.

ACE: Are you planning on taking any more visits?

ALLEN: Yes. I won't be there the next couple weeks, but the following home games after that I'll probably be there, and then for sure the Nebraska and Ohio State games.

ACE: Overall, what are you working on in terms of getting ready for the next level?

ALLEN: Just continue to get quicker and faster, and keep working on my technique.

Next Week

These plans are always tentative at this point in the week, but right now I think I'll be heading to see Ben Braden and Rockford take on East Kentwood on Friday night.