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Pass or fail: Week 3 high school football notebook

The return of the Redskins and Rams
At North Adams-Jerome they are partying like it’s 2004, while at Camden-Frontier they are moving to the beat like it’s — well, 2000 if you want to consider their early prospects for an SCAA title and playoff berth.

The last three years these programs had a combined total of 17 victories, so 2-1 starts for the Rams and Redskins, who are tied atop the SCAA Division II, is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

What I really like about the Rams’ season to date is they responded to a sloppy season-opening loss to Adrian Madison, by beating two of their closest league contenders on the road in consecutive weeks.

That proves to me that Bryan Cook’s boys have grown up and three years of extensive learning on the go on the varsity squad is finally paying off.

I am also impressed that they allowed just seven points in their win over Litchfield and two touchdowns against Waldron.

The Terriers just put up 38 points in a mistake-riddled loss to Camden-Frontier and Waldron has an experienced quarterback, plenty of viable options in the backfield, and wideout Fletcher Masters had back-to-back 100-yard outings prior to Friday.

This week’s battle with longtime rival Pittsford will be telling of how their season goes. If they can beat the Wildcats they can then likely take down Grand Rapids Northpointe Christian the following week, a team Pittsford beat by 19 last Friday.

If they can make it to 4-1, all they really have to do is beat the Redskins and they have a division title and playoff spot (regards to Tekonsha, who I’m not giving a chance against N A-J.)

That’s a lot of forward thinking, but Rams fans can be happy that at least there’s a reason to hope in 2009.

As good as the Rams defense has looked the last two weeks, the Camden-Frontier offense may be even more impressive.

Tyler to Nusbaum is becoming a redundant touchdown connection and Dan Nye and Jake Jividens are a quality yin and yang in the backfield.

They have the speed needed to make the spread attack a powerful weapon and the lowest output from them so far was the 30 points they dropped on Reading, a team who has given up a combined 26 points to Big Eight opponents the past two weeks.

C-F will have its hands full with Climax-Scotts this week, but even with a loss, things will be looking up for head coach Scott Campbell and the gang.
If they can beat Waldron the following week, which I suspect they will unless the Spartans put some Stick ‘Em on the ball, it will setup quite the showdown on Oct. 2.

Who would have thought that the marquee matchup of the year could be between the Rams and Redskins, virtual afterthoughts in high school football the last few years?

Hey, it just might happen.

Big Eight teams looking good
If not for some unpleasant growing pains the first two weeks of the season all anyone would be talking about is the Reading, Jonesville game in two weeks.

The truth of the matter is the Rangers are 3-0, looking at least as good as they did last year, and the Comets are 1-2, but their effort and heart seems eons ahead of last year’s 5-4 squad.

The Rangers are getting to the point that their program is so established that it’s really only news when they lose. 30-point final margins are expected, 150-plus yard outings from their halfbacks are the norm and players continue to seamlessly transition from dominating at the junior varsity level, to doing much the same on the varsity squad.

Meanwhile, the Comets are relentlessly working to one day be mentioned in the same light as Rick Bailey’s program.

The upward curve continues for Jonesville as they finally got that first victory, following a two-touchdown loss, followed by a three-point defeat.

Their ground attack looked very “Ranger-like” against Athens last week, as John Sigler ran for 214 yards and Trevor Kelley added 101 more.

What I like most about the Comets is that Joshua Lindeman has them breathing in the fresh air of a new confidence and the players are quickly settling into their roles.

Remember, they still have a first-year starting QB in Spencer Nielsen, the senior Sigler has never played running back in his life and guys like Logan Jenkins have done a great job of getting accustomed to new positions.

One win will not cure the ails of a team still figuring out how to expect to win each week, but there is plenty of upside and a bright future for the program.

Three QBs equals no QBs
It’s cliche’ but it’s true. If you have three favorite pizza places, all that really means is no is distinguishing themselves from the pack.

For the 0-3 Hillsdale Hornets it’s not just about one guy or one position, but I think it’s important for the team to figure out what direction they want to go at QB for the future stability of the Hornets.
Senior Mike Curby returned from injury last week to make his first start, but he was rusty as expected. Dan Vear has shown a good pocket presence and some decent arm strength, but he hardly took any snaps at quarterback on JV so he has plenty to learn.

And sophomore Travis Hodos is no doubt a good athlete, but he is young, smaller than most coaches would like their signal caller to be and he’s prone to turnovers, as shown by his four INT in week two.

I think the reality of the situation is two-fold. A.) It’s hard to follow in the footsteps of greatness left by Mitchell Gabriele, CJ Hinkle, Mike Blanchard and Brad Otterbein. and B.) The losses of veteran offensive linemen like Ryan Radabaugh and Buddy Poljan and wideouts such as Scott Lantis and Tyler Vandeberghe are too much to overcome for an inexperienced QB.

That’s why I think if the Hornets lose another game, effectively eliminating themselves from playoff contention, then it would be smart to give Vear and Hodos a few more chances each to prove themselves and then pick one to go with the rest of the way.

Curby is a phenomenal athlete and a good leader, but I think the team can find other ways to utilize him, keep him healthy and hopefully mold their quarterback of the future.

Every school Hillsdale’s size can expect to run into hard times, but it’s how successful they are at putting them in the past that defines them.


About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.


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