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01-03-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Zach Goodline leads Coloma Comet boys to big SAC Lakeshore Division road win

The Coloma Comets basketball teams traveled up to Saugatuck for the last games of 2018, and the boys completely overwhelmed the Indians, as they pressured them into one turnover after another and buried them early, and finished with a 75-26 victory. Zach Goodline had a hand on many of the passes and when he didn’t make the steal himself, tipped the ball to one of his team mates and got their offense going in the other direction.

Zach Goodline

Goodline seemingly scored at will and led Coloma with 28 points and seven assists as Coloma took a 49-12 lead into the locker room at halftime.

When the teams came out for the second half, the onslaught continued. Zach could have easily scored over 50 points, but because of the score differential being more than 40 points, under the MHSAA rules, they played most of the second half with a running clock. It really speeds up the game, in a mercy situation, when one of the teams leads by more than 40 points. Goodline went to the bench with about 5:28 left in the fourth quarter. By then the Comet All State guard had racked up a career high 42 points as he hit on five shots from beyond the 3-point arc. Several of those were 6-8 feet behind that 3-point line. Goodline also had plenty of help, as the Comets played their best game of the season, never letting up on the defensive end. Unlike previous games this season where they let big leads slip away, the Indians were never able to make any kind of run, and Coloma’s big lead kept growing.

This game is a big confidence boost for the Comets as they head into the holiday break, their next game will be against a fine Niles-Brandywine team that is undefeated and 7-0 on the season, on January 4.

With the win, Coloma goes over the .500 mark for the first time this season with an overall record of 4-3, and 2-1 in the SAC Lakeshore.

Coloma coach Paul Marfia said he was pleased with the win, and a nice way to take a little break and spend time with their families. He also stated that following the break they have a lot of little things to work on to get ready for the season to resume.

Philip Caldwell added seven points to Coloma’s offense with a three pointer. Drew Goodline knocked down two from long range and finished with six points. Michael Dancer also chipped in with six points. Kenny Crowder, Jackson Hodges, Isiah Reinhart, and Hunter Crist also had significant contributions for the Comets.

Comet girls fall to Saugatuck

The Coloma girls’ trip to Saugatuck did not go as well as the boys, as this young team looked like they were playing in the land of the giants. They were outsized and outplayed for most of the game. They came out on the short end of a 60-45 score. The Indians had plenty of size inside, and kept the Comets out of the paint, or swatted away several shots that were attempted inside, and negated Megan Neubecker who usually can hold her own around the rim. She was double and tripled teamed by taller girls and taken out of the offense for the most part. Hannah Mathis however, had a huge night for Coloma hitting shots from around the perimeter, and had several nice drives to the bucket. The Comet senior guard led her team with 27 points, and had a late 3-pointer which could have given her 30 points. That shot didn’t find the hole and she wound up “settling” for 27. The Comet girls also continue their season in January after the Christmas break.

Comet Wrestlers win one and tie one in conference meets

The Coloma Comet wrestlers took to the mat against a couple of SAC Lakeshore Conference foes and came away with a 42-22 win against Fennville. Then they managed a 36-36 tie against Gobles in a contest that only had four contested matches and a bunch of forfeits.

KNUCKLE DOWN… Coloma’s Alec DeLaTorre wrestled Jacob Robinson of Martin in the 152 lb. weight class Saturday. Although he lost his opening match, DeLaTorre went on to win three straight matches before taking fourth place in the tournament. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The Comets who won matches against Fennville were Mike Case at 152 pounds, Alec DeLaTorre at 160, Aaron Pounders 171, and Caleb Ishmael at 112. Getting byes were Cole Alsup 285, Delray Williams 103, and Ian Ishmael 140.

In the tie match with Gobles, Michael Case was the only Comet winner as he wrestled at 152 pounds, and won in a fall at 1:08.

The Comets next hit the mat at Climax-Scotts on December 29, in the Jim Wade Family Classic wrestling tournament.

Comet girl bowlers continue to dominate the competition

On December 17 in a home match against Galesburg-Augusta, Coloma shut them out 30-0, at Kelley’s Bowl. Tops on the lanes for the girls were Morgan Hosbein who rolled games of 186 and 170 for a 356 total, and Ashley Ikerd who shot a single game of 181.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele

As Hartford student-athletes take an extended holiday break, readers may be thinking – what possibly could the Press Box have to report this week? Well, in this edition of the column, we are moving on up a level; albeit for just one week only. In this installment of the Hartford Press Box, we are going to turn our attention to one student-athlete who graduated from Hartford High School, who is still shining on the football field in the collegiate ranks. Are you ready to meet this talented, hardworking athlete? Without further ado, it’s time to open the door to the Press Box and jump right into the highlights of all things Indian Athletics!

Joe Cleary experiences breakout junior season at Adrian College

With a quiet period on the high school sports front, this week presented an excellent opportunity to publish something a little bit different in this column. This week, we will be highlighting a graduate of Hartford High School, who is currently excelling on the collegiate athletic front, as well as in the classroom.

Joe Cleary is a 2016 graduate of Hartford High School, who experienced a breakout season on the football field this past fall at Adrian College. During his career as a Hartford Indian, he stood out in all three sports he played throughout high school: football, basketball and baseball. But while he was a great athlete in each of them, it was in football where he stood out the most. And it was during that period of time that this writer got to know Joe. I first met him when he was a junior and I was in my ninth season of doing statistics for former Head Coach Dave Janicki and his staff. As two people that love sports and love the competition like we both do, we instantly became united over a common bond. And, as the saying goes, “the rest is history”.

In his career as a Hartford Indian Football player, Joe had two incredible seasons wearing the green and white. In his junior season playing tight end, he made 27 receptions for 349 yards, along with three touchdowns, and he scored a total of 18 points for the season. In a stunning twist, he even threw a pass, completing it for 55 yards; in total, he had 404 total yards on offense that season for the Indians. On defense, from his corner position, he was in on 21 tackles, including five solo tackles and made two interceptions.

If colleges did not see the talent he had during his junior year of high school, they had to feast their eyes on his outstanding senior year. Before the season started, Hartford experienced a coaching change, with new Head Coach Jason Fiacco coming to town. Despite the change in coaching and a whole different style of offense the new coach brought, Cleary had a season to remember. On offense, he made 41 receptions for 587 yards and six touchdowns, and made a reception on a two-point conversion. In total, he put up 48 total points on offense for the team. On defense, he put up a wide hodgepodge of statistics – 17 tackles (including four solo tackles and a tackle-for-a-loss), one sack and one fumble recovery. He also was the team’s kicking and punting specialist, going 10-for-17 in extra point attempts. When the season ended, he was selected first team all-conference on offense in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Outside of the athletic courts and fields, Joe always found time to place his primary focus on academics and his potential. He was a member of the National Honor Society, graduated with high honors and was a member of the Class of 2016 Top Ten. He also received a scholarship from the Hartford Foundation for Quality Education and was the recipient of the Frederick R. Ward Memorial Scholarship. He spent time volunteering in his community when not working, lending a hand umpiring games for the Hartford Council for Recreation during his spare time.

When looking for a college to attend, Joe had a number of good academic opportunities, as well as a few athletic opportunities. In the end, he chose to attend Adrian College, where he could further his education, while also getting the opportunity to continue playing football. Upon his application, and his eventual acceptance into the university, he earned two more scholarships, the Adrian Trustee Scholarship and the Day Scholarship. And, in playing football for the Bulldogs, he followed in the footsteps of one other former Hartford Football standout. Chris Cook, a 2008 graduate of Hartford High School, played for the college from 2008-11, and served as one of Cleary’s mentors in his decision to attend Adrian.

Cleary had a very uneventful first two seasons at Adrian, located in the southeastern portion of Michigan. During his freshman season, he was a member of the school’s junior varsity squad, spending the season learning the offense and being taught the different aspects of the collegiate game. In the offseason between his freshman and sophomore seasons, he took the time to keep getting better every day, while also getting bigger, faster and stronger. The ultimate goal going into the 2017 season was simple: be on the varsity squad, get playing time and make an impact on his team that made him not only better, but make the team better, as well.

In the end, all of his offseason work paid off when he became a member of the varsity team his sophomore season. During the season, he made appearances in six of the team’s ten games, making a total of 13 receptions for 161 yards and a touchdown. His only touchdown of the season came in his first appearance wearing a Bulldog uniform, catching a 15-yard touchdown pass from fellow sophomore, Hunter Hamm, in a 62-7 rout of Ohio Northern. He also recorded catches in four other games during the season: against Hope (6 catches, 44 yards), Kalamazoo (3 catches, 29 yards), Trine (1 catch, 22 yards) and Alma (1 catch, 38 yards). The team finished the season with a 5-5 record overall and a 4-2 record in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).

This all leads into his recent, breakout junior season. Before the season started, he knew that he would be playing a pivotal role for his team, splitting playing time between his natural tight end position as well as playing a little bit of wide receiver. Not a bad gig for a football player from a small-town high school in southwest Michigan. And boy, did he take advantage of every single opportunity he had worked so hard for. He appeared in all ten games this season for Adrian, making a start in almost every one of them. For the season, he made a career-high 26 receptions for a total of 409 yards, while scoring four touchdowns.

As far as individual game stats are concerned, Cleary made receptions in eight of ten games. He made the stat sheet in games against Ohio Northern (4 receptions, 40 yards), Aurora (4 receptions, 68 yards and a touchdown), Kalamazoo (4 receptions, 74 yards), Olivet (1 reception, 36 yards), Albion (5 receptions, 66 yards and two touchdowns), Finlandia (2 receptions, 66 yards), Trine (3 receptions, 31 yards) and Hope (3 receptions, 28 yards). In the end, Adrian finished with a season record of 4-6, while going 2-5 in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). And while he did not receive any honors from the MIAA, it is not for a lack of trying – it’s that the conference is just that full of talent.

I had the opportunity, myself, to go see him in action in a game at Kalamazoo back in September. Many of his family members, as well as current Hartford players and staff, also made the trek to support him, as well. It must have felt like a home game to him, as he played one of his best games of the season that day and was all over the field, making catch after catch and blocking well in the running game. In one of Adrian’s last drives of the afternoon, he made a pivotal leaping catch deep in Kalamazoo territory, setting the team up with a big first down. However, the usually mild Cleary was tagged with a questionable 15-yard personal foul penalty for celebration after the play, moving the ball back while keeping the first down. In my personal opinion, I’ve seen bigger celebrations after catches and touchdowns not get called by the officials. So, the penalty “is what it is”. (Sorry to any MIAA officials that are reading this – and, actually, all officials out there reading this column – thanks for all you do for the athletes!)

So, what’s in store for his final season of college football next fall? Knowing Joe Cleary, like many of us do, we can only imagine that it’s going to be the best season he has ever had. Why should we assume this? Because he works harder, on and off the field, more than most athletes do… because he’s harder on himself than most athletes are… because he strives for perfection more than most athletes do. If you know him, you realize that the fire is always burning inside of him. He has that desire to get better every day, not only for himself, but for the team he plays for, as well. As a player, he gives 100% every game, but he always has just that just little bit more to give.

In conclusion, as a football fan, you might look at his numbers and say they are just okay, just average. That there is always someone coming along in the future that will be better. I must agree that, yes, it is a true statement. However, Indian fans should be proud that Joe Cleary is out there representing Hartford with class, grit, honor, integrity and pride. On a personal level, knowing him well enough to say this, I can honestly say – without hesitation – that this writer is extremely proud of him for everything he has accomplished on and off the football field. I know that he’s going to make a positive difference wherever life takes him – and that’s what we strive to achieve.

Keep up the good work, Joe!

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Panther Wrestlers at Climax-Scotts

The Panther wrestling team went to Climax-Scotts High School for the Jim Wade Family Invitational tournament on Saturday, December 29. The annual tournament has been held for nearly 30 years and is a regular stop for the Panthers. Thirteen teams from around the region participated in the tournament.

Trever Pelton, seeded first in a 9-man bracket, was the Panther’s top wrestler, winning the 112-pound weight class. Trever went 3-0 with pins at 1:04, 3:06, and 1:20.

Matt Melcher, also seeded first in a nine-man bracket, went 2-1 to finish second in the 215-pound weight class. Matt had a pin at 0:53 in his first match. He was leading 2-1 as the seconds ticked away in the championship match, but lost on a last-second takedown by a wrestler from the host Climax-Scotts.

TIMBER! Watervliet’s Alex Isbrecht sends Michelle Clapp of Marcellus toppling to the mat during the duo’s bout Saturday in the 130 lb. weight class. Isbrecht pinned Clapp Saturday for the win. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Alex Isbrecht was seeded second in the 130-pound weight class, and finished in second place after going 2-1 on the day. Alex had one pin at 1:08.

Isaiah Yazel was seeded second in the 152-pound weight class, a tough bracket filled with 11 wrestlers and some top regional performers seeded lower. Isaiah won his first two then finished in fifth place, going 3-2 with three pins at 0:57, 0:42, and 1:53.

Coby Henslee finished in sixth place, winning one match with a pin at 0:48 at 145 pounds. Nathan Isbrecht had one pin at 0:41 at 125 pounds, and Jordyn Angelo collected his first varsity win in the 135-pound weight class. Jordyn’s first two matches were his initiation to wrestling competition, and he showed his toughness in the two losses.

The individual brackets are the primary focus of the tournament, but they also keep track of team results. A strong Battle Creek Lakeview team ran away with the top spot, finishing with 219 points. Coloma was sixth with 103, Watervliet was seventh with 101, and Hartford was tenth with 39.5.

The team gets a short break with their next meet on Wednesday, January 9 at Schoolcraft, then a tournament on Saturday January 12 at Fruitport High School.

Panther wrestling’s season stats

The wrestling regular season is at its midpoint as we reach the New Year and that means it’s time to recap the wrestlers’ performances so far. The team has compiled a 113-56 record in individual matches, a stat coach Joe Isbrecht is happy about given the young team. Sixty-one of those matches were won on pins. The team has accumulated 145 takedowns.

Individually, junior Trever Pelton leads the way at 19-1 on 13 pins and 19 takedowns. Trever was a state-tournament qualifier last year and looks likely to make it back again this year. Trever has dominated his 112-pound weight class this year.

Senior Matt Melcher has recovered from a shoulder injury suffered during last year’s wrestling season, which caused him to miss the first few meets this season. He’s back at mid-season form with his 14-1 record, nine pins and 23 takedowns. He also went to the state tournament last year and expects to return in 2019. Matt mainly wrestles in the 215-pound class.

Sophomore Isaiah Yazel leads the team with 16 pins on his way to a 17-7 record, including 22 takedowns. He’s normally in a tough 152-pound weight class where experience carries a big advantage.

Junior Alex Isbrecht has wrestled well on his way to a 15-6 record, with seven pins and 13 takedowns. Alex typically wrestles at 125 pounds but occasionally gets called upon to wrestle at 130.

Freshman Nathan Isbrecht has started his varsity career well, primarily in the 119-pound weight class. He’s at 14-8, with six pins on 16 takedowns. He’s got a bright future in the wrestling program.

Senior Coby Henslee, wrestling in the tough 145-pound class, leads the team with 25 takedowns on his way to an 11-8 record with four pins.

Freshman Jimmy Kolosowsky wrestles at 103 pounds. He’s at 10-9 with five takedowns.

Sophomore Santi Wilkinson is a new wrestler, showing great promise in the 171-pound weight class. He’s at 6-7, with two pins and ten takedowns.

Sophomore Don Smith has seen limited action so far this year, going 3-1 with two pins and two takedowns. He spent last season at a brutal weight class for a freshman and looks to take advantage of his experience this year.

Freshman Parker Lanning is in Smith’s 2018 shoes this year, wrestling at 189 pounds in a class dominated by big upperclassmen. He’s at a very respectable 3-6 so far, with eight takedowns.

Junior Jordyn Angelo is just getting started in his first season wrestling, and currently sits at 1-2 with one takedown at 135 pounds.

By Dave Vollrath

This week’s Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week is Coloma Comet’s senior wrestler Cody Reese. Cody is one of the wrestlers that Coach Kenny Ashley counts on and expects to take the mat for every match, and hopefully lead the Comet team to a Conference title and then deep into the state wrestling tournament.

One of the highlights of Cody’s long wrestling career happened recently when he picked up his 100th win as a high school wrestler, which is a significant milestone, and one that few wrestlers are able to achieve in their career.

Cody is the son of Jody Cox and Darrell Reese. In the classroom Cody admits to being a little above average student, but says he plans to work much harder in that regard in order to achieve some of his wrestling goals.

Cody Reese’s athletic skills are not limited to wrestling alone, as he also was a member of the Coloma varsity football team and competes every spring on the Comet track team.

Last year Cody was a 1st team all conference wrestler. He won honorable mention on the regional team and honorable mention all county team, as well as a qualifier for the state championship.

Cody states on his wrestling profile, that his main goal and purpose for wrestling is to be a champion. He says that he believes he can accomplish this with hard work and dedication. He says he works out three times a day, is the first person in the wrestling room, and the last one to leave.

After high school Cody would like to wrestle at the collegiate level, first at the junior college level, and would hopefully earn his way into a four-year school, his preference being to wrestle for the Spartans of Michigan State.

Congratulations and best of luck to you Cody Reese.


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