08-31-2017 Tri-City Area Sports


Rodney-Isbrecht begins 2017-18 AQB Season right where she left off – in first place

By Kristy Noack

RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht started the new season of the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback right where she finished last year: in the number one spot. Rodney-Isbrecht posted the only perfect record in Week 1 competition.

Each week, six fearless football fans from our local area compete in the TCR AQB game. They must predict the winner of eight football games.

One game is selected as the tie-breaker game. Should two or more ABQs end the week with the same overall record, their place in the standings is determined by the tie-breaker. To win the tie-breaker game, the AQB must determine the total number of points that will be scored in the special game. The individual closest to the actual total wins the higher ranking.

High school football got underway last week and Rodney-Isbrecht showed why she has won the AQB title two consecutive years. She predicted a perfect card and was the lone contender to do so.

Greg Krell and Chris Leach both went 7-1 on the week. Their place in the standings was determined by the total score in the Hartford versus Eau Claire contest. The Indians opened their season by shutting out the Beavers 35-0.

Krell gets second place as he predicted 40 points would be scored. That leaves Leach in third place, as she guessed 42 points would make in on the scoreboard.

Tim Hildebrand went 6-2 for the week. He was tripped up by Coloma’s victory over Gobles and Benton Harbor’s loss to Divine Child. Hildebrand will settle for fourth place… for now.

Rodney Lynch tried for a few upsets and ended the week 5-3. Lynch takes fifth place.

Newcomer Bryan Conrad posted an even 4-4 record in his first week. He gambled on Gobles, Bangor, and Benton Harbor and suffered as a result.

This week it’s time for college football teams to take the field, so our roster reflects those contests as well.

Hartford will play their home opener against Bangor who was blanked last week by Cassopolis. Can Hartford shut out the Vikings?

Coloma takes their 1-0 record on the road to Saugatuck. That will be an interesting matchup; don’t count out the Comets.

Watervliet also hits the road. The Panthers will travel to Buchanan. Here is the complete listing of games:

Bangor @ Hartford

Watervliet @ Buchanan

Coloma @ Saugatuck

Grand Rapids South Christian @ Benton Harbor

Bowling Green @ Michigan State

Florida @ Michigan

Temple @ Notre Dame

Western Michigan @ USC

This week, the tie-breaker game is the Gators and the Wolverines. Will Florida nip Michigan, or can the Wolverine offense take a big enough bite out of the Gators? Check back next week to see how your AQBs fared.

Countdown begins – 12 races until a NASCAR Cup Series Champion is crowned

NASCAR drivers have 24 races under their belts since this season of racing began in February at Daytona. There are officially 12 races left before a new champion is crowned at Homestead in Miami. Will your driver be among those racing toward the ultimate Victory Lane appearance?

Sixteen drivers will compete in the Chase for the Championship. As of last weekend, 13 drivers have clinched playoff spots. Those drivers include: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, and Austin Dillon.

Hanging on to their spots in the top 16 by a thread – but not yet clinching a playoff berth – are Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth, and Jamie McMurray.

Chasing the top 16 and hoping for a win to push them into the finals are Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, and Erik Jones leading a group of desperate drivers.

The circuit has seen 12 different drivers win races this season. Atop the list with the most wins this year is Truex Jr. with four.

Johnson and Larson both have earned three wins, while Kyle Busch, Stenhouse Jr., and Keselowski have two wins apiece under their belts.

Drivers with one win include: Dillon, Kahne, Logano, Busch, Blaney, Newman, Harvick, and Hamlin.

And, for those fans on the rookie watch, Erik Jones has the best placement on the driver standings. He is 16th overall. He is followed by Daniel Suarez in 17th place, Ty Dillon (24th), Corey LaJoie (34th), and Gray Gaulding (35th).

Twelve races remain this season with the final 10 comprising the Chase. Next up is Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Truex Jr. won here last year, but Harvick, Kenseth, and Johnson all have wins since 2011. A win would sure help Kenseth get into the finals, but Truex is having a stellar season. Check back next week to see who rode away with the gold and glory.

Coloma Crushes Gobles 61-8

There is nothing in the world like the opening moments that kick off a high school varsity football season. Although it’s still August, the air is a little crisper, there is a change in the wind, and after a long, hot summer fans are ready to unleash their support of their hometown team.

Thursday, August 24 was no different as the Comets of Coloma welcomed the Tigers of Gobles to the gridiron. Zach Goodline helmed the Comet offense and from the get-go, Coloma looked good.

HARD KNOCKS… Coloma’s Tevin Blazier gets wrapped up by a Gobles defender Thursday night as the Comets welcomed the Tigers for their season opener on the gridiron, but not before he picked up some yar-dage. Blazier rushed for 15 yards on four carries and caught one pass for 27 yards in Colo-ma’s 61-8 decisive victory. Comet linemen in the photo are Cole Alsup (66) and Robbie Schroeder (3). (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Coloma got things started early. Within two minutes, the squad scored a touchdown on a Zach Goodline keeper at the one-yard line. Derek Plitt kicked the point after, and the Comets led 7-0.

Five minutes later, after a nice pass by Goodline to Calvin Starnes, who broke tackles to pick up extra yardage, Coloma found itself in scoring position again.

This time, running back Levi Wilkens ran eight yards into the end zone for a touchdown at 5:08. Plitt’s kick split the uprights, and Coloma increased their lead to 14-0.

With 2:18 left in the first quarter, Goodline pitched the ball to running back Caleb Ellis who raced 55 yards to the end zone for Coloma’s third consecutive TD.  Plitt made it three-for-three, as the Comets led 21-0.

Goodline intercepted a Gobles pass early in the second quarter and picked up excellent field position for the Comets.  It was fullback Jamane Smith who barreled his way eight yards into the end zone for Coloma with 9:58 left in the first half.  The point after attempt by Plitt was successful, and Coloma enjoyed a 28-0 lead.

Not only was Coloma’s offense masterful, but respect must be given to the Comet defense. The defenders were strong all night long, with Calvin Hutchinson and Billy Boyd leading the way. Hutchinson had some hard hitting, impressive tackles and often found himself chasing down his opponent to end plays. Hutchinson made tackling look so easy; he tossed linemen out of his way as if they were pieces of lint on his jersey.

Boyd was just as impressive, getting some huge knocks in on Gobles defenders.

Zack Lake got his first touchdown of the season with 1:09 left in the second quarter. He rushed 26 yards for another six Coloma points. Plitt notched another successful PAT giving Coloma the 35-0 lead.

Still in the second quarter, Coloma tallied another touchdown as Goodline went deep on a pass to Starnes. Plitt missed the point after and Coloma led 41-0.

It looked as if Gobles would get the opportunity to score before intermission. On the kickoff return, a Gobles special teams player picked up the ball and ate up a lot of yardage before Coloma’s Sincere Taylor caught up with him and brought him down, saving the attempt at scoring. At half-time Coloma held a 41-0 lead.

Gobles must have had a heck of a pep talk in the locker room as they came out a completely different team in the second half.

After a 15-yard face mask penalty on Coloma, Gobles held prime scoring position at Coloma’s 20-yard line. The Gobles drive included a 17-yard run before they were able to sneak into the end zone. The two-point conversion was good, and Gobles was on the board with eight points.

Coloma bounced back, and Lake scored his second rushing TD – this time from three yards out – of the night with 1:29 left in the third period. The PAT was good, and Coloma led 48-8 at the end of three quarters.

Linebacker Robbie Schroeder had two nice consecutive plays on defense against Gobles. He broke up a pass play and then dropped the quarterback for a four-yard loss.

Adam Hearn entered the game at QB for Coloma. With 6:30 left in the fourth quarter, he called a quarterback keeper and snuck into the end zone, giving Coloma another six points. Plitt nailed the PAT and the score rose to 55-8 in favor of Coloma.

Coloma’s Cody Reece recovered a Gobles fumble following the kick off, which led to prime position for Coloma in their final scoring drive of the night.

Plitt, with the ball in hand, sped down the sideline and got the ball across the goal line before being knocked out of bounds. With 4:12 left on the clock, Coloma added another six points.  The extra point was no good. When the final second ticked off the scoreboard, Coloma posted the 61-8 win.

On the night, Coloma racked up 474 yards, including 179 passing and 295 on the ground.  The Comets ran 41 plays compared to Gobles’ 48.

Gobles had zero passing yards and 104 rushing yards.

Coloma had zero turnovers Friday night, while Gobles had two.

Goodline was five of six for 170 yards. He threw for one touchdown. Goodline also rushed eight times for 18 yards and one TD.

Ellis picked up 67 yards on three carries with one TD. Lake had 58 yards on seven tries and two touchdowns.

Smith rushed three times for 54 yards and one TD.  Wilkens had four carries for 32 yards and one touchdown. Plitt’s lone carry netted one TD and 25 yards. Hearn rushed two times for 17 yards and one TD. Tevon Blazier added 15 yards on four carries, and Reece posted one carry for nine yards.

Starnes caught two passes for 82 yards and one touchdown.  Wilkens caught one pass for 42 yards.  Schroeder’s lone reception was good for 28 yards, and Blazier caught one pass for 27 yards.

Defensively, Reece led the way with four tackles, three assists, and one fumble recovery. Smith contributed six tackles and four assists.

Schroder had three tackles, while Wilkens added two tackles and two assists.  Boyd was a part of two tackles and four assists, while Hutchinson had two tackles and one assist.

Davion Bledsoe, Trent Brown, and Kenny Crowder had two tackles each.

Coloma’s hard work was evident as they mopped the field with Gobles. This week, the Comets take on Indians of Saugatuck Thursday at 7:00 p.m. as they try for two in a row.

Panthers cruise to 50-7 victory over Lawton

The tale of the tape says it all. Watervliet’s 22 first downs compared to Lawton’s 10. Watervliet’s three quarters of scoring compared to Lawton’s one. Watervliet’s seven scoring drives compared to Lawton’s one. All in all, it was a decisive 50-7 season opening victory for Watervliet on their home field Friday, August 25.

THE DEVILS MADE HIM DO IT… Watervliet quarterback Zack Pickens led the Panthers to a 50-7 drubbing of the visiting Lawton Blue Devils Friday. In the home and season football opener, and his first start as a varsity QB, Pickens was 13 of 17 and passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 147 yards on 12 carries and had one TD on the ground. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


The Panthers got things started with a touchdown-scoring first possession. Quarterback Zack Pickens worked downfield for a minute and half before a pass to Bryant Kieft resulted in Watervliet’s first score of the game. The two-point conversion pass to Garrett Matthews was good, and Watervliet was on the board early leading 8-0.

With 7:22 left on the clock in the first quarter, Pickens let loose a pass to Matthews who caught it and hit the end zone for six points. The 89-yard play resulted in Watervliet’s second score of the game. The two-point conversion pass was broken up, but Watervliet led 14-0.

Watervliet’s Trent Boone was the third Panther to see the end zone. He picked up 11 yards on a pass from Pickens to score the Panthers’ third touchdown in three drives. Kieft hot-footed it into the end zone, as the two-point conversion was good. As the first quarter closed out, Watervliet led 22-0.

Second quarter scoring was all Watervliet. First up was Kieft, hitting the end zone after rushing 11 yards. Trent Boone caught the two-point conversion pass to take the score to 30-0.

When it looked like Lawton might score, Jakob Aldrich picked off a pass in the end zone and ran to mid-field before being brought down.  That set up Pickens who rushed 11 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed. Watervliet maintained a 36-0 lead over the Blue Devils.

In the final scoring play of the first half, Dylan Lynch rushed 25 yards for six points. Another attempt at a two-point conversion fell short, but Watervliet held a healthy 42-0 lead.

In the third quarter, Pickens threw a pass to Matthews who scored another TD. Matthews also got the call on the two-point conversion and picked up those points as well.  At the end of three quarters, Watervliet led 50-0.

Lawton’s only score of the game came in the fourth quarter. They scored on an eight-yard rushing TD and successful PAT. The Blue Devils trailed 50-7 and that was the final score.

Pickens was 13 of 17 in his first varsity start. He passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 147 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. Matthews caught three passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, Watervliet was led by Bryant Kieft, Ryan Chisek, Anthony Wade, Blake Kinzler, and Eric Kehrer.

Boone, Matthews, and Aldrich each had one interception.

Watervliet is on the road in Buchanan Thursday, August 31. Tipoff is 7:00 p.m.

Hartford soccer kicks it up a notch against Marcellus, suffers first defeat of season in tourney

Hartford kicked their way to their second consecutive win Wednesday, August 23. The Indians shut out Marcellus 8-0 in their first road game of the season. It was also their first conference game since joining the SW10.

The Indians jumped out to a 7-0 lead after the first half. Hartford added one goal in the second half to take the win.

Scoring two goals for Hartford was Lalo Jimenez. Jovani Calderon, Danny Gutierrez, Josh Moore, and Elijah Cowgill each scored one goal in the contest.

Rudy Martinez, Riley Traver, and Irvin Zavala share keeper duties for the Indians.

On Saturday, August 26 the team traveled to Northpointe Christian for tournament action.

Hartford lost to Northpointe 2-0. The squad also suffered a defeat at the hands of Potters House. Lenawee Christian outmaneuvered the Indians to a 5-4 victory.

Roy Rodriguez scored four goals for the Indians. Joel Soto booted one.

Hartford and new coach Manning post first win 35-0 over Eau Claire

Hartford varsity football head coach Brad Manning has to be pleased with the result of the Indians’ season opener against Eau Claire. Hartford’s effort yielded a 35-0 road win over the Beavers.

The first quarter of the Thursday, August 24 contest saw no scoring. It took until the second quarter for either team to get on the scoreboard.

Hartford quarterback Garrod Johnson was the first Indian to see the end zone. He had a three-yard scamper to score six points for the Indians. Danny Resendez belted the ball between the uprights, and Hartford took a 7-0 lead over Eau Claire.

Following intermission, Hartford let their running game shine. Randy Ramirez’s seven-yard run netted six more points. Resendez sailed another point after attempt between the goal posts, and the Indians increased their lead to 14-0.

Shortly after Ramirez scored, it was Robert Ledesma Jr.’s chance. He rushed for 12 yards and a TD, with a Resendez kick making it a 21-0 ball game.

Ledesma Jr. made it two in a row after a six-yard run into the end zone. Resendez continued his perfect night of kicking the pigskin. At the end of the third quarter, Hartford led 28-0.

The final scoring play of the game was Evan Parker’s 11-yard gain into the end zone. Resendez made it five for five and Hartford closed out their road game with a 30-0 shutout of Eau Claire.

Manning, although pleased with the outcome, was honest about his team. “We started off very flat and slow. The kids just seemed overly nervous for some reason.”

Manning called the Indians play in the first half “timid and inconsistent.”

Additionally, Manning said, “Defensively we rallied to the ball carrier well enough to get stops but much like the offense it was nowhere near the level at which we would like to play.”

As to the difference between Hartford’s first and second half play, Manning remarked, “Our adjustment at halftime was to simply get off the ball and attack.  (Eau Claire) had a few bubbled in their defense we wanted to attack all game long and so in the second half we chose a power oriented play to do just that. Toward the end of the game we started to grow a little more self-assured but by no means was this the game we were looking for.”

Hartford had 54 plays compared to Eau Claire’s 57.

The Indians netted 336 total yards, including 33 passing and 303 rushing yards. The team posted 24 first downs, compared to 11 from Eau Claire.

Hartford had one turnover, a fumble by Ledesma Jr.

Johnson was two of five for 33 yards. He also rushed for nine yards on five carries and one touchdown.

Hartford’s ground game was on fire, a testament to Randy Ramirez and Robert Ledesma Jr.’s speed and agility.

Ramirez led Hartford with 18 carries for 159 yards including one touchdown.

Ledesma Jr. picked up 87 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns.

Evan Parker scored one TD and had five carries for 47 yards.

Defensively, the Indians were led by Joe Beebe with five tackles and two assists. Buddy Earls chipped in three tackles and two assists.

Ramirez had two tackles and one assist, while Xavier Salinas added two tackles.

Bobby Johnson had one tackle and 11 assists. Thayne Hanners notched one tackle and one sack.

Parker picked up an Eau Claire interception.

Hartford celebrates their home opener this Thursday, August 31 with a contest against Bangor at 7:00 p.m.

Manning’s goal for his squad? “Start fast this upcoming Friday and stay aggressive.”

Volleyball is in session for area schools

Wednesday, August 23 was a popular day for area volleyball action.

Hartford played in the Delton Kellogg Tournament. The Indians topped Lawrence 25-22, 22-25, 15-10 in pool play. The squad then faced Delton Kellogg and dropped two sets 20-25, 17-25.

Having finished pool play in second place, the Indians beat Hastings in three sets, 13-25, 25-21, and 15-10.

The Indians also topped Martin 25-14, 25-22.

With their 3-1 record in tournament play, the team is now 7-6 overall this season.

AJ Jackson led Hartford with 25 kills and five blocks. Mikenzie Chambers put up 18 kills and two blocks.

Megan Nelson had seven kills and 85 digs during the tournament.  Jessica Cortes added six kills, 23 assists, and 51 digs. Jasmine Solis contributed 15 assists, and Janell Babcock had 43 digs.

Also on Wednesday, Watervliet faced Lake Michigan Catholic at home in their season opener.

The contest was tough as the lead exchanged hands with some frequency.

Watervliet won the first set 29-27. It was then LMC’s turn as they took the second set 23-25.

The close match continued as LMC edged out Watervliet 24-26. But, the ball bounced back Watervliet’s way. The squad earned victories in the fourth and fifth games, 25-13 and 15-9.

Jaelyn Pitre led Watervliet with 34 assists, four kills, four aces, and five digs.  Kara Liles had 13 kills, two aces, three digs, and five blocks.

Zoe Smith put up 13 kills, 15 digs, one block, and one block assist. Emma Armstrong was credited with five kills, five aces, 11 digs, and one block. Elaine Koshar rounded out the Panther effort with four kills, four blocks, and one block assist.

Wednesday was also Coloma’s turn at volleyball victory. The squad played in the Pennfield tourney.

In pool play, the Comets defeated Pennfield 25-22, 25-18 and Burr Oak 25-17, 25-16.

The Comets split with Decatur 25-12, 19-25 and lost to Calhoun 23-25, 21-25.

In the championship game, Coloma lost to Pennfield 18-25, 16-25.

Kayla Yore led Coloma with 21 kills, 53 assists, 21 aces, 49 digs, and five blocks. Hannah Mathis added three kills, 12 assists, six aces, 10 digs, and three blocks.

Morgan Wagner tallied 32 kills, eight assists, four aces, 45 digs, and five blocks. Taryn Blazier hit one kill and four digs.

Mya Potter had one kill, one ace, and 45 digs. Megan Neubecker was credited with 25 kills, 17 digs, and 12 blocks. Mia Cole had two digs.

Kylee Bailey was responsible for eight kills, five digs, and two blocks. Sam Stewart posted 10 aces and 27 digs. Mika Anderson had 10 kills, five aces, 18 digs, and one block.

Berrien Springs wins boys cross country meet at Bridgman; Watervliet finishes fifth, Hartford hangs on for eighth

If the Bridgman Invitational is being held, it must be cross country season! And so it was, Wednesday, August 23, that 14 teams gathered at Lake Township Park.

GARCIA’S GOAL ATTEMPT… Hartford’s Herik Garcia sets up in an attempt to score Monday, August 21 in the Indians varsity soccer game against LMC. Hartford blanked the Lakers 6-0 to open their sea-son. Last Wednesday, the In-dians traveled to Marcellus and notched their second victory and second consecutive shutout this season, this time by a score of 8-0. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


With near perfect weather, Berrien Springs claimed the championship with 47 points. Watervliet took fifth place with 122 points, and Hartford finished eighth with 171 points.

Watervliet’s top finisher was Gus Hinch in 17th place with a time of 19:13. He was followed across the finish line by Kody Edmonds, who set a new personal record with his time of 19:39.

Freshman Ezra Troyer took 25th place (20:12) and set a new PR.  Trevor Pelton took 31st (20:51), Austin Roberts was 37th (20:58), Alex Isbrecht finished 40th (21:03), Klayton Marshall was 41st (21:12), Nick Swanson ended the race in 48th (22:02), and Korben Camp took 55th place (23:30) after setting a new PR.

Taking 64th, 65th, and 78th place respectively were Tom Swanson, Aaron Leoni, and Josh Reeves. Leoni and Reeves set new personal records.

Hartford’s top finisher was Francisco Loera in 22nd place with a time of 19:49. Blair McMeeken was a set behind Loera in 23rd place (19:57).

Trey Ackerman set a new PR with his time of 20:17; he finished 26th.  James Lucero and Francisco Medrano took 63rd and 64th place, respectively with times of 24:23 and 24:56. Medrano’s time was a new PR for the runner.

Hartford girls finish third at Bridgman invitational; Watervliet competes

The Bridgman cross country invitational was held at Lake Township Park on Wednesday, August 23. The event was won by host Bridgman, who scored 59 points.

Hartford had five runners finish in the top 25 which helped the Indians secure a third place finish with 74 points. The team was only two points from tying with second place Bangor.

Watervliet had only three runners participate in the event, two less than the five needed to record a team score.

Hartford was led by Adrianna Morseau. She finished 10th overall with a time of 23:05; Morseau set a new personal record.

Marisol Robles took 13th place (23:37). Brianna Morseau finished 17th (24:14); her time was good for a new PR. Angela Saldana, the lone senior on the squad, ran to a 20th place finish (24:31). Abigail Lopez took 25th (24:49) and set a new PR.

Isabell Heminger in 40th place (26:40) and Jamie Smith set a new PR with her time of 26:57 (43rd place).

Alexis Griffith took 57th place (28:54). Mariela Gutierrez and Zoe Eide finished 64th and 68th, respectively, with times of 31:17 and 32:37. Eide’s was a new PR.

For Watervliet, senior Alyssa Hobson was the first Panther finisher. She took 27th place overall with a time of 24:59.

Angelina Hammond took 51st place (28:14) and set a new PR. Bailey Swisher finished 62nd after she set a new PR with her time of 30:58.

Ladies Monday Night Happy Hour Golf League

Monday, Aug. 28 golf report from the Paw Paw Lake Golf Club:

Weekly Event Winner – Ursela Bansen; Low Gross – Cheryl Hutchins with 50; Low Net – Katherine Rodriguez with 31; Low Putts – Katherine Rodriguez with 16; Low Score on Hole 16 – Maureen McGrath with 6! Pars – Cheryl Hutchins on #13 and #14, Katherine Rodriguez on #14 and #15, Maureen McGrath on #14, #15 and #16.

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