Saturday, August 29, 2009

Coloma Continues Dominance, Win 100th Anniversary Game

Coloma and Watervliet took the field ready to battle with their longtime rivals for the 100th anniversary game. Coloma came out charged to get a quick start out on the road, scoring on their first possession after stuffing the Panthers on a three and out. Comets QB Sam Swihart (SR) looked poised as he hit TE T.J. Scott (SR) for a touchdown only 4 minutes into the first quarter. Watervliet was quick to respond with a touchdown run only 2 minutes later, then scored again just before the first quarter ended. With a 12-6 lead into the second half, both offenses moved the ball well but could not get into the end zone with a huge goal line stand by the Comet defense. Watervliet was running their spread option attack well, setting up screens and blocking all first half. Coloma's new passing attack was on full display as I have never seen so much passing from a Comet's team. With Coloma still running out of the wishbone, the passing could easily be set up by the running. Still, this was a Michigan High School Football game, so the ground game and defense were most important.

I will say this because of the importance of the game. It was very powerful to see all the alumni players on the field at halftime and during the pregame festivities. This game means so much to so many people, and the see players who took place in this rivalry when it was still young was great for everyone in the stadium. I have never seen so many people at a Coloma or Watervliet game before.

The second half saw more of the same from the offenses, but the Comet defense tightened up and didnt give up anything the rest of the night. The Comet attack stalled once near the goal line, but on another opportunity, Swihart made an amazing play on 4th down, throwing a touchdown to Deshon Archibald in the back of the end zone. Swihart broke 3 tackles and avoided the fierce Panther pass rush to throw the touchdown pass. After a successful two point conversion, the Comets led 14-12. The Comets got the ball back after an interception and scored again quickly before the end of the third quarter. Comets 21-12. The fourth quarter saw the Panthers never able to sustain an attack and throw two interceptions late in the game. The Comets ran the ball to chew the clock but Swihart made his only mistake under throwing a receiver and the Panther picking off the pass. Watervliet gave up the ball on downs and Coloma ran out the clock sealing their 10th win in a row and 62nd in the series.

I was excited to see the new offense for Coloma and the defense step up so well. We were in the backfield all night but with the screens and draws being run, Watervliet neutralized that. The Comets looked poised under such extreme pressure to win, and I am sure most of the players are like me, more relieved then happy that this was a big win in the rivalry. This will be a good building block for the team this season into next week against Hamilton at home (Thursday September 3rd 7:00 PM) and into the Lakeland conference schedule. Looks like the Comets have a chance to be a leader in the Lakeland once again.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Article On MLive

Until I figure out the website a little better, I will post my news articles I write on STWWC. Reporting on games can be found on, but I will have a full link to my page shortly. Enjoy this game preview!

Tonight, at Panther Stadium the Coloma Comets will take on the Watervliet Panthers in the Super Bowl of Southwest Michigan football. Coloma has been dominant in the series but tonight holds a whole new set of challenges. When both teams take the field at 7 in the rainy overcast more will be at stake then a win or bragging rights. Tonight offers a chance for the Panthers to find redemption for all those years of losing by winning the game more people will remember than any other. Coloma has to win, like they always do. With great winning streaks comes great pressure. But remember, underneath the helmets and commemorative jerseys both teams are wearing, are high school kids with a dream of becoming part of the legend in the huge rivalry.

Follow Me Now On MLive!

I am not the official reporter for Coloma Comets football on If you are not familiar with MLive, it is a wonderful site full on information on more than just sports. But for sports, it is full of insider info and is a great source of entertainment. You can read my first post here: covering the 100th Anniversary game between Coloma and Watervliet tonight. I will be attending the game and reporting on it when I get home. Till then GO COMETS!!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lions Take Step Back, Lose to Cleveland

Detroit took a step back in the preseason and guaranteed a tough of week of practice from Jim Schwartz with a 27-10 loss to Cleveland Saturday. Matt Stafford started the game and looked awful throwing an interception on his first pass. He did not improve past that, and with Culpepper having a solid game, although not spectacular, the chances look slim that Stafford will start Week 1 against New Orleans. The special teams struggled, the defense looked terrible at times and the offense sputtered. Joshua Cribbs returned the first kickoff for a touchdown, then it was called back on holding. The Lions made up for the call by not being able to cover anybody and struggling to tackle anyone in a Brown uniform. The highlight of the night could have been when kicker Swayze "My Mom is a HUGE Dirty Dancing Fan" Waters converted on a 51 yard long field goal, which looks promising if Hanson has a setback recovering from minor knee surgery. Stanton came in and on his first pass completed on a beautiful touchdown throw. Then, he had an unspectacular night to match the rest of the team. I still like what Stanton is showing and I think he could develop into a very solid backup. He showed his wheels again against the Browns, and I can not see a reason not to line him up in a wildcat formation. Most of the Lions best weapons are hurt right now, and some players like Delmas were getting there first playing time of the season. I will take this for what it is, a poor showing by a lot of players who will either be backups or not make the team. This team still has a ton of work to go, and depth will be an issue. The O Line looked solid but we can not generate much of a pass rush. We need many of our youngsters like Fluellen, Cohen, Avril, Williams, Felton and more to reach full potential to have this team contend for anything. This Saturday at 1 the Lions take on the Colts at Ford Field in the third preseason game, the one most like a regular season match up. That game will be the best indicator where the Lions stand this season.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Building A Program: Coloma Comets Football

Coloma has started to move in the right direction to build a Lakeland Conference powerhouse. Since I graduated in 2006 from CHS, the Comets have added a Green and Gold game and more community support for the team. I have seen more Comet T-Shirts and banners across the town and the fans and students seem more involved. The Comets also added scrimmages against bigger Kalamazoo and larger area teams to the pre-season schedule to help prepare the team for the season.

Coloma probably will not be a powerhouse this side of the state or even this area (Lakeshore and St Joe own that) but winning conference championships and hosting playoff games will help move the Comets to be the consistent winners that every high school team dreams to be. Current HC Mark Eddy hit a rough patch in his first season, taking a team that lost many star players after winning the first playoff game in school history. If he had a reliable kicker, he may have made the playoffs and have many more wins on his record. He has added many aspects larger teams use and can make the city more proud of their Comets. CHS will never stack the sidelines with 50 players or have great size at any position, but that does not mean you cannot compete in Michigan High School football.

The Green and Gold game’s third installment took place Saturday morning, August 15th, the week after training camp. Sadly, due to work commitments, this was the first time I was able to attend. The format was one employed by some colleges for their intra-squad scrimmages. 20 minute halves were played with a 15 minute halftime and the offense and defense both had opportunities to score.

The game started with the offense taking the ball at the 35 yard line ready to start their new offense. When you cannot be expected to be as large as the other team or be more physical, the best way to compensate for that is trickery, speed and finesse. Looking to gain an advantage, Eddy installed a west coast style passing offense. From what I saw at the game, the formation of choice is still the wishbone Coloma has employed the last few seasons. I am not sure if what the Comets ran was a preview of the offense this season or what coaches were trying to teach and emphasize this training camp. The passing game was something that looked new to the team. The QB looked hesitant to pull the trigger sometimes and had happy feet and took off too early. I know that the defense they were playing knew the offense better than anybody else the Comets will play, but the pressure put on the offense by the defensive line and linebackers was relentless. Near the end of the game, the offense was clicking more in the aerial attack and sustaining drives deep into the defenses territory. At halftime, the defense took a commanding lead with 16-0 but did not let up and only added to it to take a final score of 28-0.

What I concluded from the game was a few bad points and more than enough good. The new offense is a good idea and will need a few years of tough hard work and commitment from all involved to take effect. I really hope the JV team is running the same offense to help the players get acclimated with the ins and outs of the passing attack. The defense looks bigger than the offense this year, as the team has about 25 players total. A few players will probably be called up from the JV team to help fill in holes and provide depth, especially as the season goes on and injuries pop up.

Honestly I hope the Comets soon consider moving to a full spread attack. What we lack in size we make up for in speed. The spread helps smaller teams pass the ball around and find seams and win ballgames by forcing teams to cover all weapons. The lineman would be taught to be mostly pass blockers, as running would come out of the shotgun. It would be a challenge to have a consistent good long snapper, but with a whole summer could help that. Having a Lakeland Conference team cover 4 or 5 wideouts would be asking too much and hopefully our QB can find the open man. Watervliet moved to a spread, as did Berrien Springs. We will have to wait and see for the season to start to see how many other teams did as well.

Overall, I like where this program is going. The Green and Gold game and scrimmages against bigger teams will only give the players more exposure and practice heading into the season. More passing and options make up for out lack of size and depth. This year the Comets open up on the road against Watervliet in the Super Bowl of the series, the 100th meeting between the two schools. A pressure packed situation with tons of fans and Alumni players got me thinking of where this team is and could be. A solid Lakeland Conference team could be a powerhouse and make the playoffs every year. A new football stadium and facilities can excite the fan base and get the money and pride it takes to get to that goal. We have the coach, the dedication, the tradition and the idea to get there, now Coloma has to put it together and start a new winning tradition to carry into this century.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Breaking Down the NCAA Part 12 of 12

Big Ten Conference Order of Finish

1. Penn State- QB Darryl Clark is good enough to contend for the Heisman and take the Nittany Lions and JoePa to a Rose Bowl. He lost his top three wide receivers but that will only mean the offense is more on him. I think PSU will be undefeated when they take on an undefeated in the Big Ten Ohio State at home. Penn State’s only other tough conference games are at Illinois and at Michigan State. Paterno is 82 years old this season but he still gets the most out of his players. Of course, the defense is led by three senior linebackers. Josh Hull, Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee will continue the tradition of Linebacker U. There are some holes to fill on offense and defensive line, but the talent at key positions is enough to have the Nittany Lions in the Rose Bowl or better.

2. Ohio State- Year two of the Terrelle Pryor project begins in Columbus. He showed flashes of greatness last season and got valuable experience after the Buckeye’s national title hopes were dashed in a blowout courtesy of USC. The Buckeyes lose Beanie Wells, but a top program like OSU can usually reload talent quickly. Sophomore Dan “Boom” Herron is smaller than Beanie Wells (5’10’’ 193) but played well when filling in last year. Pryor needs to develop as a passer and use his legs as a secondary option this season to win. The defense loses Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurenaitis to the NFL but the young defense does not have a lot of time to gel after the season opener against Navy. Ohio State maybe another year away from being national title contenders, but can at least have a great shot to win the Big Ten.

3. Michigan State- The two biggest questions entering this season for MSU are can they find a suitable replacement for departed Senior QB Brian Hoyer (on New England’s roster) and Senior RB Javon Ringer (5th round pick, Tennessee Titans). I’ll answer those questions with cold hard facts. Ringer was a sensational leader and had a lot of tough yards for the Spartans. But, MSU only averaged 130.2 rushing yards per game. That is not a impossible number to reproduce or improve upon (I assume the mobile QB Keith Nichol will win the starting gig and add rushing yards from the QB position) and the committee of Ashton Leggett, Andre Anderson, Caulton Ray and AJ Jimmerson look to equal what Ringer did on the field. For the QB battle, I give Nichol the edge over RSo Kirk Cousins. Cousins played well in mop up duty last season and knows the offense well, but Nichol has speed and the arm to add a whole new dimension to the offense. Both QBs could see playing time early, but both also need better play from the wide out position. BJ Cunningham, Mark Dell and Blair White lead the team in the air. Cunningham and Dell have a world of talent but lack world class hands. The Spartans have been struggling with drops since the John L. Smith era. Blair White has great hands and makes big catches but lacks YAC and home run potential. The defense has a chance to be in the top 3 in the Big Ten. LBs Eric Gordon and Greg Jones lead the defense and are ferocious tacklers. The secondary lost a lot of starters and leader Safety Otis Wiley (in camp with the Detroit Lions) but Chris L. Rucker and Kendall Davis-Clark are back defend against the pass. Kicker Brett Swenson and Punter Aaron Bates are as talented as they come. They can both steal games for MSU this year. MSU should expect the program to continue to build and if the great recruiting classes keep pouring in, the Spartans can be challenging for the Big Ten title very soon.

4. Iowa- The top dark horse pick for the Big Ten Championship this season is the Hawkeyes. Despite losing Shonn Greene to the New York Jets, QB Ricky Stanzi played well enough down the stretch to give Iowa faithful hope the offense can keep clicking. Iowa upset a powerful Penn State team last season to kick the Nittany Lions out of the National Title game. Kirk Ferentz is always in contention for Big Ten Coach of the Year honors and a top three finish should have him in the hunt again. A weak non conference schedule featuring Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Arizona, and Arkansas State should give Iowa enough time to find out is RB Jewel Hampton is the answer. Only 5’9’’ he makes up for it with a strong 210 pound frame. The defense is tough, led by LB Pat Angerer. The Hawkeyes have to play at MSU, OSU and PSU, so the Big Ten title will not be this year.

5. Illinois- Juice Williams is one of the most exciting players to watch in the Big Ten. He has developed a long way since being a run first QB his freshman year. HC Ron Zook has recruited well for years at Florida and Illinois, and now we are seeing some of the results. After a disappointing 5-7 season with a huge loss to WMU will bowl eligibility on the line at Ford Field, Illinois knew it was time to step it up. RB Rashard Mendenhall was a huge loss for the offense last year, but now Juice and WR Arrelious Benn is ready to dominate Big Ten defenses. The offense line is big and experienced and the Illini will use a RB by committee approach. A huge first week matchup with a rebuilding Missouri team will show how far the Illini have really come.

6. Northwestern- It’s tough not to root for the Wildcats. They have such tough academic standards, a smaller fan base than other teams in the Big Ten. HC Pat Fitzgerald has this team rolling though. One of the first Big Ten teams to use the spread, the high flying passing usually keeps the Wildcats in the game except against the bigger programs. NU starts out with Towson, Eastern Michigan and at Syracuse, to break in new QB Mike Kafka and RB Stephen Simmons. The veteran defense has All Big Ten talent and a solid secondary. Northwestern has to travel to MSU, Iowa and Illinois but gets Penn State at home. Look for the Wildcats to stay in the top half of the Big Ten and go to a good bowl.

7. Michigan- Wolverine fans would like to forget the 2008 season. After enjoying years of success with Lloyd Carr with the likes of Anthony Thomas, Charles Woodson, Brian Griese, Chad Henne, Mike Hart, Braylon Edwards and Jake Long, the Michigan faithful wanted a radical change. LSU HC Les Miles turned down the offer, so the Wolverines handed Rich Rodriguez the keys to the program. He brought his spread attack he perfected in West Virginia with awful results. He did not have the players to run his system and the defense had to hold down the fort to even get to a 3-9 record. An embarrassing loss to Toledo and yet another loss to arch rivals OSU topped off an awful season. Last season is over and freshman QB Tate Forcier looks to do his best Pat White impression in Ann Arbor. Brandon Minor leads the rushing attack with Kevin Grady attack a power aspect. The defense lost many starters but looks to reload and play better with a more balanced offense to help get pressure off of them. Luckily punter Zoltan Mesko is so good. He will still be busy. The offense will need more time to get more players and install the system from a power running to a spread option. This season should see 6 or 7 wins and a return to a bowl game for U of M, and for right now, the Wolverines cannot ask for much more.

8. Wisconsin- The Badgers may be in trouble. After being such a steady program for the last twenty years, they must show now what they can do now after a down year. Wisconsin football has not changed much in the last couple of decades. Big RBs move the chains; tough defense dictates play and game managing QBs run the offense on the field. Now HC Bret Bielema looks to continue that success with the same system. QB Dustin Sherer is steady but not great and RB John Clay replaces PJ Hill who left early for the NFL. The Badgers return much depth on defense and avoid Penn State on the schedule so a bowl game is very likely.

9. Minnesota- The Golden Gophers open the beautiful TCF Bank Stadium this season, as Minnesota leaves the Metrodome to play outdoors. Going to the Insight Bowl was big for the program last season, but the Gophers lost their last five games, including a loss to Michigan. QB Adam Weber gets a lighter schedule this year with South Dakota State, Syracuse and Air Force with Cal coming to Minneapolis. WR Eric Decker is a solid wide out with good size, but the quick fix last year made with many JUCO players may not work again this season.

10. Purdue- HC Danny Hope was the only coaching change in the conference this year, with Joe Tiller retiring and announcing this would be his last year before the start of the season. Purdue will still run the spread but Joey Elliot will be running it after Curtis Painter graduated to the NFL (6th round Indianapolis) and Justin Siller was dismissed from the team. The Boilermakers are going to go through a rough patch having Oregon away and Notre Dame this season. The offensive line has four returning starters so that is a good building block, but a bowl game is a lot to ask for this season.

11. Indiana- The Hoosiers have had a tough few years. The basketball program had its first scandal in school history and HC Terry Hoeppner died before the start of the 2007 football season. Kellen Lewis is gone now, and the offense needs to find a new leader. Junior QB Ben Chappell played decently last season but is a pocket passer unlike the mobile Lewis. The running game was awful last season and must improve to take pressure off Chappell. Bryan Payton will start the season at RB but he could be demoted if the terrible play continues. Luckily, Indiana has a solid pair of Defensive Ends in Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton. They need to cause havoc in the backfield to help Indiana get off the mat. The Hoosiers need to make strives all over the field to get the program back on track.

Corbitt Gutsy Guarantee: I will give you a two for one on the Big Ten. First, the Big Ten will win their big bowl game this year. I am thinking the Nittany Lions in the Rose Bowl against USC. Darryl Clark can create matchup problems and USC is rebuilding a lot on defense and breaking in a new QB. The Big Ten will also win a good portion of their bowl games. Last year they went 1-6. Not so fast! I call for a .500 record this year. Secondly, I see the University of Michigan cutting their losses and firing Rich Rodriguez. They have invested a lot of money and time into him and did not get results. QB Tate Forcier is not a savior, and he will have to out recruit SEC teams for the talent style he needs. The Midwest does not produce spread players. Why do you think Michigan State and Ohio State are crushing Michigan in recruiting? Michigan has been in a tailspin (that culminated in a loss to Appalachian State, being owned by Ohio State the past decade with an exclamation point all last season) since their half national title in 1997. You really shoved Lloyd Carr out the door for this?