09-08-2016 Tri-City Area Sports

NO WHERE TO GO… Colo-ma’s Rickie McClain wraps up a Gobles Tiger from behind on Thursday as teammate Tevin Blazier puts a stop to the forward motion. Coloma dropped its home opener 50-27 and falls to 0-2 this season. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The Coloma varsity football team opened their season at home Thursday evening with two scoring drives in the first quarter. However, it was not enough as the Comets fell to the visiting Gobles Tigers 50-27. Coloma’s Caleb McDaniel grabbed a 25-yard pass from quarterback Zach Goodline for the first six points of the game. Derek Plitt’s point after attempt was good, and the Comets led 7-0 early. Coloma’s second score of the first quarter came on a four yard scamper by Goodline into the end zone. Plitt’s kick was good, and Coloma held a 14-0 lead. Gobles closed out the first quarter scoring on a 28-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion to close the gap to 14-8. Both teams charged into the second quarter, but Coloma drew first blood. McDaniel did the heavy lifting again, running the ball in from three yards out. Plitt made it 21-8 on his successful PAT. Gobles then roared back and commanded most of the game. The Tigers scored twice in the second quarter on two TDs and one two-point conversion attempt. As the squads headed into the locker room, Gobles had a one point advantage over Coloma, 22-21. The scoring in the third quarter was solely Gobles-based.  Two more rushing touchdowns added 12 points to their total. They failed to convert a two-point try and a kick. Gobles lead increased to 34-21 at the end of three. Gobles began the fourth quarter with a booming 58-yard run and two-point conversion, giving them a 42-21 lead. However, Coloma was not done scoring yet.  Zack Lake rushed four yards for a touchdown to score another six points. Plitt’s kick was no good. Coloma trailed 42-27. Gobles last scoring drive earned them another rushing TD and a successful two-point conversion gave the Tigers a 50-27 victory. Coloma drops to 0-2 this season, having lost to Schoolcraft the week before. Gobles had zero passing yards during the contest. Their quarterback attempted one lone pass, which was not caught. Coloma did a nice job of spreading their offense around. Goodline had four completions on 13 attempted passes for 48 yards including one touchdown. Goodline also ran for 20 yards on 14 tries. McDaniel was Goodline’s most popular target. He caught two passes for 39 yards and one touchdown. Lake caught one pass for 13 yards. Robbie Schroeder caught one pass for six yards. Lake was the team’s leading rusher. He gained 107 yards on 11 carries, including one for 43 yards. McDaniel rushed for 97 yards on 12 carries, including one touchdown. Levi Wilkens had one carry for three yards. Defensively Wilkens accounted for a team-leading four tackles and two assists. Zane Lute and Calvin Hutchinson each posted three tackles.  Bryce Peters notched two tackles and two assists. Christian Hudson, Trystan Skaggs, Rickie McClain, and Lake accounted for two tackles and one assist each. Danny Najacht posted one tackle and one assist. Coloma ran 72 total plays during the game. They earned 48 passing yards and 211 rushing yards. The Comets had 19 first downs. The good news for the Comets is that they are playing a more discipline game of football than in the last few years. The team proved that Thursday by committing zero turnovers.  Unfortunately, Coloma was hit hard with penalties. They racked up a total of 69 penalty yards on 11 whistle blowing incidents. The discipline that has served them well on turnovers will need to trickle over to both sides of the ball regarding penalties. And it needs to happen sooner in the season rather than later. Coloma welcomes Watervliet on Friday. Coloma is offering some tailgating fun beginning at 4:30 p.m. including live music, games, and food for fans of all ages. Coloma (now 0-2) will take on the Panthers (1-1) at 7:00 p.m. in a Southwestern Athletic Conference matchup.

WIDE-EYED… Watervliet sophomore Matthew Melcher holds onto the ball while trying to push past Ben Crofoot of Schoolcraft Thursday night. Watervliet lost at home to the Eagles 51-30 and is now 1-1 on the season. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Watervliet wilts in second half in loss to Schoolcraft

 After Watervliet’s 86-0 romping over Hartford last week, the Panthers knew they would face a very different opponent this week. Schoolcraft was on Watervliet’s dance card and both teams were primed for a victory. It would be perennial powerhouse Schoolcraft with the 51-30 win over Watervliet. The Eagles opened the first quarter with a TD and successful kick. Both teams would score 22 points apiece in the second quarter, giving Schoolcraft the 29-22 edge at half-time. Watervliet would hit the end zone with a TD and successful two-point conversion in the third quarter, but Schoolcraft scored 15 points of their own to maintain their grip on the lead. The Eagles held the Panthers scoreless in the fourth quarter and added another seven points to the scoreboard for the 51-30 win. Watervliet topped Schoolcraft with 70 total plays and 19 first downs. However, those extra plays did not translate to points on the board. Watervliet quarterback Cam Rendo was hampered most of the game by a strong Schoolcraft defense. Rendo faced a ton of pressure and was hurried much of the contest. Rendo completed 20 passes out of 42 attempts for 433 yards. He threw three touchdowns and two interceptions. Rendo carried the ball 18 times but netted negative 17 yards. Zach Pickens picked up 69 yards on nine carries. Sheldon Tobar carried the ball one time and was dropped for a 16 yard loss. Rendo aired the ball out to Tyler Brant 10 times. Brant picked up 190 yards and one touchdown; he also grabbed two successful two-point conversion attempts.  Pickens caught three passes for 121 yards and one touchdown.  Trent Boone’s lone reception for 33 yards earned another six points for Watervliet. Carlos Hernandez caught four passes for 78 yards, while Lamarrius Smith gained eight yards on one catch and converted one of the team’s three two-point conversion attempts. Matt Melcher had one reception for three yards. Watervliet’s offensive line struggled Thursday evening. They could not contain the Schoolcraft defense, which led to poor protection of Rendo. Defensively, Watervliet was led by Bryant Kieft. The junior contributed 11 tackles and one sack. Dylan Lynch added 11 tackles. Ryan Chisek accounted for eight tackles.  Pickens notched seven tackles, while Tobar and Eric Kehrer had six tackles apiece. Hernandez, Smith, and Blake Kinzler added four tackles each. Rendo added two tackles of his own. Watervliet will travel west on Red Arrow Highway Friday night for a Southwestern Athletic Conference game against Coloma. The Comets are 0-2 this season but will want to avenge last year’s loss to Watervliet on their home turf. It is going to be a great game for Comet and Panther fans alike!

Hartford Football suffers second shutout in two weeks

 Hartford’s varsity football team met up with a solid Delton Kellogg squad Thursday evening at home and walked away winless for the second time in two weeks. Delton Kellogg roughed up the Indians for 65 points. DK put 55 points on the scoreboard in the first half of the game. They added a touchdown and successful PAT in the third quarter before capping off the string of unanswered points with a field goal to open the fourth quarter. With the clock continuously running during the second half, Hartford continued to have trouble gaining any valuable real estate and first downs. The bright spot for the Indians came on their final possession as quarterback Garrod Johnson put together a nice string of completed passes to march the team down the field. Of Johnson, Hartford head coach Ben Kain stated, “He came in and got (things) moving passing wise. We saw a lot of opportunities in their coverage that we took advantage of. Evan Parker and Garrod Johnson are two different types of quarterbacks and going forward we will be taking advantage of both their skill sets.” Kicker Danny Resendez attempted a field goal for Hartford, but it sailed wide left. Hartford posted 140 total yards during the contest. While Kain, in his first year at the helm of the varsity team, cannot be pleased with the lack of scoring, he continues to be impressed by his team’s attitude. “Thursday showed us that our team will not quit no matter what the score is. I have a young group of kids that will fight to the end. Most of our starters only played a half JV schedule last year, due to cancellations, and their development is building momentum.” Hartford knew the beginning of their season would be tough. In their first four games they play Watervliet, DK, Schoolcraft, and Gobles. When asked about the tough, front-end loaded schedule, Kain responded, “I don’t think it helps or hurts us to start out with such a tough schedule. It just reveals the true character of our team. While the scoreboard doesn’t show it, I believe we have a bunch of tough young men that need more game experience. Look to see us improve each week.” This week, Hartford will be in a very difficult – and similar – position for the third week in a row. They face Schoolcraft on the road. The Eagles are undefeated and coming off victories against Coloma and Watervliet. Hartford, at 0-2, is winless. The Southwestern Athletic Conference matchup will be tough, but Kain thinks Hartford stands a chance on Friday. “If we play good assignment football defensively we will find some success this week.”

Quigley earns unique honor

PERFECT 10… Martin Quigley Jr. of Coloma poses in front of his ten Fruit Belt Series medals after completing the Lawrence Watermelon 5k run on Saturday. Quigley Jr., founder of the series, has raced in at least five qualifying Fruit Belt Series 5k events for the past 10 years and is the only participant to do so. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Martin Quigley Jr. of Coloma earned his 10th Fruit Belt Series medal on Saturday, September 3 by running the Lawrence Watermelon 5k. The Fruit Belt Series was created to promote Michigan’s agriculture industry, healthy living, and the benefits of exercise. The Fruit Belt Series encourages people to participate in at least five qualifying races each year. Once a participant has a recorded time in at least five races, they are awarded a commemorative gold coin. The Series was created by Quigley in 2007. He has earned a gold medal each year since the series’ inception. This year marked the 10th year of the series, which continues to grow in host cities and participants. In 2016, 10 Michigan communities will host qualifying races. Quigley is the only participant to earn a gold medal for each of the 10 consecutive years the Fruit Belt Series has been in existence. Following Saturday’s run, Quigley Jr. said, “This is the moment I’ve lived for for the last ten years. It’s almost like every step I was reminiscing about every step.” Congratulations, Marty! Your commitment is inspiring!

Watervliet Volleyball drops three games to Brandywine

 The Watervliet varsity volleyball squad continues to face tough competition early this season. On Wednesday, August 31, the team faced Brandywine on the road and lost 17-25, 17-25, 16-25. Zoe Smith led Watervliet with three kills and three aces. Mercede Daugherty tallied eight assists, while Madalyn Hutchins had three kills. Grace Smith accounted for 10 digs, and Kara Liles contributed three blocks and two kills.

Hartford Soccer rolls on to 3-0 record

KICKIN’ KOBE… Kobe Hunter kicks the ball downfield Wednesday during Coloma’s game against Fennville. The Comets recorded their third win of the season by defeating the Blackhawks 3-1. Coloma is 3-0 this year. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Hartford’s boys’ varsity soccer team is continuing their winning ways. On Wednesday, August 31, the team earned their third victory of the season and remained undefeated in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Hartford beat Bloomingdale 9-0. The Indians capitalized on their deep roster, as seven players scored goals. Austin Nelson led the team with two goals and one assist. Miguel Cardoso scored two goals. Jiovani Calderon and Fernando Alvarez each scored one goal and were credited with one assist. William Martinez, Roy Rodriquez, and Victor Hurtado scored one goal apiece for the Indians. Brandon Galvan provided two assists, while Joel Soto and Josh Moore both added one assist. Rudy Martinez and Riley Traver were credited with one save each.  Hartford head coach Nick Blackmer is pleased with this year’s crop of soccer stars, “We have a good balance of veteran talent with young players eager to impress.”

World of Outlaws to visit Hartford Speedway on September 21

 For you fans of the Hartford dirt track, there is another big race coming to town on September 21. The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series will race on our local track in an event that was rained out earlier this season. Tickets from the original July 29 running of the series will be honored. Just bring your ticket and pit pass to the track. If you did not get tickets for the summer go-round, you can still purchase them.  Contact SLS Promotions at 815-344-2023 or pick them up the day of the race. Donny Schatz of North Dakota currently leads the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series standings.

 Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway was not won by the fastest car. The race was not won by the best car. The victor, Martin Truex Jr., earned the win late in the race thanks, in part, to an imperfect pit crew of one of his opponents.  But, a win is a win and Truex Jr. earned his second of the 2016 season and fifth of his career; He led 28 laps – when it mattered most.  Coming in second with the faster and better car but not-so-great pit crew was Kevin Harvick. Harvick led 214 laps on Sunday and was the pole sitter.  Harvick has been a terror on the track all season. In the 25 races run this year, Harvick has posted a top 10 finish in 20 of those events. He continues to have a dominant car, week in and week out, but something – or someone – seems to keep him out of the winner’s circle for most of the season. And, although Harvick has two wins this season and has qualified for the Race for the Chase, he was not pleased with the performance of his pit crew.  During post-race interviews, Harvick was quick to point out that he has had a strong, fast car all season and has done a good job of driving the car. He inferred that a few of the team’s miscues have occurred due to the ineptitude of the pit crew members. It appears that the gloves are off behind the wall of the #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy. We will see what effect his public airing of his frustrations with his crew will have this week.  Kyle Larson drove to a third place finish. He led 45 laps. Denny Hamlin, who led 13 laps, finished fourth. Joey Logano finished fifth and posted his fifth top 10 finish in the last six races.  The Southern 500 featured 367 laps with 14 lead changes and 10 caution periods. Eighteen drivers finished on the lead lap in the season’s 25th race.  The good news for Harvick is that he leads the driver standings with 840 points. Brad Keselowski is in second place and trails Harvick by 43 points.  Logano is in third place, 88 points out of first place contention. Carl Edwards is 94 points back in fourth place, and Denny Hamlin rounds out the top five, 111 points behind Harvick.  The crews and drivers head to Richmond International Speedway for the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday. The 250 lap race will travel 187.5 miles.   Earlier this year Carl Edwards pulled out a win in the Toyota Owners 400. Can he make it two consecutive wins at Richmond?

Krell picks Texas over Notre Dame and Western Michigan over Northwestern to win week

By Kristy Noack

Greg Krell certainly had the football mojo working for him this past week. He notched a 7-1 record after picking Texas to top Notre Dame and Western Michigan to wallop Northwestern. Those two selections helped move him up the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback leaderboard; he is now tied in second place overall.  Each week, six local football fanatics predict the winner of eight football games. One game is selected as a tie-breaker game, in which the AQBs must determine how many points will be scored in the contest. Should our participants wind up with the same weekly record, the tie-breaker game comes into play to determine their ranking.  Krell’s 7-1 record was the best of the week. RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht claimed second place outright in the weekly rankings with her 6-2 selections.  Tim Hildebrand, who was perfect in his picks last week, tallied a 5-3 record this week. He was joined by Rodney Lynch with that same record. Their place in the ranking came down to the Texas vs. Notre Dame tie-breaker game.  The Longhorns of Texas handed Notre Dame their second loss of the season – in two games – with a 50-47 win. Hildebrand guessed 48 points would be scored in that matchup, meaning he took third place in the standings. With his 44 point guess, Lynch landed in fourth place for the week.  Tom Gear posted an even 4-4 record. His Fighting Irish did him no favors as he fell to fifth place. Chris Leach stuck to her guns and predicted all three hometown teams (Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet) would earn victories before Labor Day. Sadly, she was wrong on all three counts and rolled out a 3-5 record for the week. Leach maintains a hold on sixth place.  Hildebrand holds tight to the number one spot with a 13-3 record overall. Krell’s two-game jump vaults him into second place overall, where he is tied with Rodney-Isbrecht (12-4 records).  Lynch’s 11-5 record puts him two games out of first in fourth place.  Gear is in fifth place with a 10-6 record; he moves down one spot from last week. Leach is batting .500 with her 8-8 score.  This week, professional football teams take to the gridiron in regular season play, so we introduce those games into our mix. Locally, the big game will be the Coloma Comets hosting the Watervliet Panthers.  This week our super six have the following games from which they must determine the winners:

Watervliet @ Coloma

Hartford @ Schoolcraft

Benton Harbor @ Muskegon Heights Academy

North Carolina Central @ Western Michigan

Nevada @ Notre Dame

Uni. of Central Florida @ Michigan

Chicago @ Houston

Detroit @ Indianapolis

The tie-breaker game is the Panthers at the Comets. The rivalry is one of the best in the area. Be sure to get your seat on the bleacher early.


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