09-26-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant


Panther Football outscores Fennville for Homecoming

Fennville was no match for the Watervliet Panthers Friday evening, Sept. 20 as they beat the visiting Fennville Blackhawks 56-21. The Panthers managed to score on the first offensive play of the game despite kicking the ball away.

After pinning the kick return man down on their 1-yard line, Don Smith tackled the Fennville runner in the end zone for the two-point safety. The game was all maroon from there as the Panthers jumped out to a 26-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

FIRST HALF… kick from Watervliet Panther Aaron Nave goes deep into Fennville territory during Friday’s Homecoming game. (TCR photo by Amy Loshbough)


The Panthers rushed for 308 yards led by Don Smith with 178 and three touchdowns. Jerry Unger had 68 yards rushing, a TD and a fumble recovery. Aaron Nave had 24 and one TD. Evan Hutchins added 23, and Jordan Abney 15 yards and a rushing TD. Isaac Wilmoth and Austin Wilmoth also added to the total.

Abney returned a kickoff 82 yards and caught two 2-point conversions from Tyson Williams in addition to two catches for 41 yards. Isaac Wilmoth ran in a 2-point try and Hutchins caught two more 2-point tries. Coach Josh Tremblay said the defense played well and helped grind out the win.

The 2-2 Panthers host a 1-2 Kalamazoo United team at Panther Stadium on Friday, Sept. 27.

Panther Boys Cross notches 4th meet win

The Watervliet High School boys cross country team won its fourth invitational of the season by placing first at the Bangor Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 21. Good team depth continues to be the key for the Panthers as they had their top four finishers all under 19 minutes.

Gus Hinch (18:07) led the team with his 9th place finish. Ezra Troyer (18:27) saw a strong start carry him to 16th place. Trever Pelton (18:44) was just a second off a new PR cruising to the finish for 19th place. German Casiano (18:56) continues to drop more time each race as he broke into the 18s for the first time and a 22nd place finish. Kody Edmonds (19:16) and Matthew Hanks (19:38) were close behind.

The Panther boys were also the top team in the reserve race as they placed 4th in the top 10. Camdon Geisler (21:01) ran by far his best race of the season to finish 5th. Abel Villareal, Mason Pennington and Jimmy Kolosowsky grabbed spots 8, 9 and 10. Abel improved 57 seconds from last week while Jimmy knocked another 30 seconds off his PR. Nick Orlando also exhibited great improvement as he lopped a full 1:26 off his previous best.

Team scores: Watervliet 36, Mendon 57, Gobles 76, Lake Michigan Catholic 96 and Eau Claire 100.

Panther Girls Cross takes 2nd place

The Panther ladies brought home the second-place trophy from the Bangor Invitational last Saturday. Brenda Romero (26:25) ran a great second-half of the race to lead the team with a new PR 50 seconds faster than her previous best race. Sophie Tavolacci was the next Panther to cross the finish line with Kristina Swanson finishing behind her with a new PR time. Megan Trapp bounced back from a couple rough races to give the team much needed depth and Alyssa Lange was able to finish off the team scoring.

Boys Soccer beats Lawton

The upstart Watervliet Panther Varsity Boys Soccer team improved to 5-4-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference with a convincing 9-1 victory over an injury-depleted Lawton team on Thursday, Sept. 19.

Brennan Bornas opened the scoring in the first minute of the game. Erick Perez-Cruz fed a long pass to Nathan Isbrecht who fed a nice one-touch through ball to Bornas who calmly dribbled around a sliding keeper to put in the first goal of the night.

Nathan scored in the 9th minute off a deflection to beat the keeper, and shortly afterward in the 11th minute Bornas added his second goal for a 3-0 lead.

In the 16th minute, Nathan was at it again notching his second goal off an assist from Brady Bornas. Lawton then scored their lone goal of the evening off a nicely placed long shot that just got over Zeke Alvarado’s outstretched arms. Brady answered that score in the 25th minute to take a 5-1 lead.

Brennan scored in the 29th minute to complete his hat trick, assisted by Nathan, making the score 6-1. Noah Weber then notched his first goal of the season sending a shot that deflected off a defender and into the net. In the 37th minute, German Casiano, off an assist from Nathan, scored to make it 8-1 as the half ended.

Despite numerous chances to score by Jesus ‘Chewy’ Garcia, it was Erick who finally scored the final goal in the 64th minute of the 2nd half to end the game at 9-1.

Volleyball falls to Saugatuck 3-0

The Panther Varsity Volleyball team lost to Saugatuck, 3-0, on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Susanna VanLente led the team with three kills and four digs. Kristen Gardiner led with seven assists.

Bryant Kieft leads Northwood University receivers

2017 Watervliet graduate Bryant Kieft is playing well in his sophomore season at Northwood University. The receiver is leading the team with 103 receiving yards, and also had a spectacular touchdown catch that was featured on ESPN’s Top 10 plays for the day.

Press Box Player of the Week

By Jerrod Birmele

Lainey Goodson, a junior at Hartford High School, and a member of the volleyball team, is this week’s Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week.

Lainey plays “amazing volleyball” according to her coach, Patty Matheny. The fourth-year coach also added that if she had a game ball to give to her players after each game, she would have given it to Lainey after their game last Thursday night. Lainey’s statistical numbers last week would make that decision pretty easy for the coaching staff, because she excelled in almost every match. In 14 sets of action, she recorded 10 aces, 34 digs, and at-least six kills.

In their first match of the week against Cassopolis, she recorded a single ace, which tied her for the team lead with two other players, and had 11 digs, good enough to finish second highest on the team. She followed that up two days later against Centreville by leading the team in aces with three, finished second highest in digs with five, and recorded two kills, which tied her with another teammate for second highest on the team. She concluded the week by recording a team-high six aces at the Decatur Raider Varsity Volleyball Invitational, and finished in a tie for second highest on the team in digs with 18.

According to Coach Matheny, Lainey has “become very vocal on the floor, and is showing plenty of consistency”, while adding, “Lainey is working very hard, and you can see that in her play.”

Outside of the volleyball court, Lainey participates in competitive cheerleading in the winter and softball in the spring. She is also a member of the powerlifting club team, and last season, she made it to state in her division.

Lainey also excels in the classroom, carrying a 3.7 grade point average. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, and is currently dual-enrolled at Lake Michigan College.

In terms of community service, Lainey dedicates her time to help tutor middle school students in math, and helps in the concession stand during athletic seasons.

Congratulations on this great honor, Lainey! We look forward to seeing you accomplish great things in Hartford this year!

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath


Coloma Comet Football routed in first home game of season

The Coloma Comet football team started the season with three consecutive road games, so playing in front of the home folks was supposed to be a more positive event. But Berrien Springs came in at 3-0 with a couple of big wins under their belt and seized control of the game early and never let up in beating the Comets 43-0.

Coloma actually hung in on the scoreboard early, as the defense held the Shamrocks to six first quarter points to lead 6-0 after the first period. Even so, it was very apparent that the Shamrocks were the stronger team up front and easily moved the Comet offensive and defensive lines around as they wanted. They kept the Comets pinned down on their own side of the field throughout the game. Berrien Springs scored 23 second quarter points to pretty much put the game away as they headed to the locker room leading 29-0.

KING & QUEEN CANDIDATES… Coloma seniors nominated the following students to the 2019 Homecoming Court! The King and Queen will be voted on by the entire student body and crowned Friday night, Sept. 27 at halftime of the Coloma Varsity Football game against the Constantine Falcons. Pictured (from the left) are: Back row – Nicholas Eastman, Kenyon Boyd, Connor Bittner, Stacey Branscum, Cole Alsup; Front row – Rozalyn Emrich, Vanessa Crisenbery, Kelsey Ellis, Emma Watson, Emma VanderMolen.


Offensively the Comets could get nothing going whatsoever, and most of the Comet running backs were getting hit in the backfield just as they were getting the handoff. Coloma was held to just 32 yards of total offense, and rushed 27 times for just 28 yards. Nick Santarlas had the only pass completed from Drew Goodline for four yards. David Caulton rushed the ball five times for 22 yards to lead Coloma.

Coach Joe Stephens said after the game that the team wasn’t happy with their effort and that they are a proud bunch of football players and would come back playing hard and be ready to give a strong effort the next time out.

The Comets are home again this week and face Constantine. It is also homecoming week with a variety of activities for the students throughout the week. Kickoff Friday night, Sept. 27 will be 7 p.m.

Comet Volleyball makes quick work of Kzoo Hackett, wins in straight sets

The Coloma Comet Volleyball team made quick work of SEC Conference foe, Kalamazoo Hackett, on their home court on Sept. 17, 25-15, 25-16, and 25-17. Just a few days after Coach Kim Swisher’s team won the Climax-Scotts tournament, the Comets looked very crisp and sharp as they quickly overwhelmed the Hackett team.

Coach Swisher has a relatively young team but they look to be gaining in experience and confidence each time they take the court. All the girls on the court are contributing to their success.

Marissa Sherburn had six kills, one dig and two blocks. Kelsey Ellis had two kills, two aces, and 12 digs. Madison McQuillan had a huge game with six kills, 19 assists, three aces, 11 digs, and one block. Gracie Whitaker had two kills, three aces, and two digs. Rozalyn Emrich contributed one block while Taryn Blazier had another nice game with four kills, one ace, nine digs, and four blocks. Chloe Mathis had one ace and two digs and Mia, the mighty-might Cole, had one dig.

Coloma Volleyball goes to Marcellus Tournament and finishes 0-1-2

The Comet volleyball girls coached by Kim Swisher traveled to Marcellus for a tournament on Saturday, Sept. 21 and finished the day with two matches tied and one match lost.

VOLLEYBALL WINS INVITATIONAL… The Coloma varsity volleyball team shows off their championship trophy won at Climax Scott Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14. The team is coached by Kim Swisher. Pictured (from the left) are: Front row – Rozalyn Emrich, Megan Neubecker, Marissa Sherburn, Kelsey Ellis; Middle row – Kiely Moore, Maurissa LaGrow, Maddie McQuillan, Mia Cole, Gracie Whitaker; Back row – Chloe Mathis, Taryn Blazier, Marisa Pullins. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)


Coloma lost to Constantine by scores of 25-22 and 25-22. The Comets split two sets with Gobles, 25-21 then 22-25. The Lady Comets also split a pair of sets with South Haven, losing 23-25 then coming back 25-13.

Statistically the Comets had Marissa Sherburn with four kills, nine digs and a block. Madison McQuillan had three kills, 38 assists, five aces, 15 digs, and a block. Gracie Whitaker had three kills, three aces and eight digs. Maurissa LaGrow finished with one kill, four aces and 10 digs. Rozalyn Emrich had two kills and seven digs. Marisa Pullins had one kill while Taryn Blazier had 18 kills, two aces and 18 digs. Chloe Mathis had four aces and 10 digs. Megan Neubecker had 22 kills, five aces, 13 digs and 10 blocks. Mia Cole had two kills, one ace, and 30 digs.

Coloma boys and girls cross country finish 2nd at Red Bud Invitational

The Comet Cross Country teams ran last Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Red Bud track down near Buchanan. Both boys and girls teams came in 2nd place at the track down near Buchanan.

For the boys, they finished second with 43 points to the winner Edwardsburg who had 39 points. Jake Ickes the Coloma sophomore was again the leading Comet runner. He finished in 5th place overall in a time of 19:41.2. Next for Coloma was Ethan Vandermolen in 7th, in 20:01.4, followed by Caeleb Ishmael in 8th, with a time of 20:28.5. Then finishing in 11th and 12th places respectively were Blane Sutherland, 21:14.5, and Skyler Wolfe, 21:44.6. Also finishing for the boys were Andy Granados 14th, Riley Davis 17th, and Wyatt Sinnett 24th.

The Comet girls finished with 40 points to the winner Niles who had 29 points.

Top female runner for Coach Courtney Churchill was Emma Vandermolen who finished in 3rd place overall in a time of 23:33.8 followed closely by her younger sister Abby who finished in 5th in a time of 23:42.4. Ava Genovese finished in 8th overall in a time of 24:16.7. The next Comet to the finish line was Camryn Brown in 13th running the 5,000 meters in 25:08.4. Coming in 14th place was Chloe Williams who hit the tape at 25:10.1. Also finishing for the Comets were Vanessa Crisenbery in 22nd, Taylor Brown 25th, Tori Brown 26th, Kayla Walter 35th and Bailey McVay 38th.

Coloma Cross Country will run next at the Berrien County meet at Lake Michigan College on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Coloma boys soccer team falls to a tough Fennville squad

The Coloma Soccer team faced a very tough Fennville team at home on Tuesday, Sept. 24 and lost to the Blackhawks by a score of 7-2. The young Comet team seemed to be overmatched in the first half as they fell behind 6-1. The second half was much different however, as the Comets played them even. Each team scored one goal, and Coloma looked much better. With 11 sophomores on his squad coach Gary Gagliardo’s team is very young but learning, and better days should be ahead of them.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele


Hartford Football trounces Eau Claire, 48-0; back at .500 for season

Last Friday night, Sept. 20, the Hartford Indian Football team played their third consecutive game on the road, as they traveled to Eau Claire to take on the Fighting Beavers. The Indians came in fresh off of their first win of the season at Bloomingdale last week, and with Eau Claire struggling at 0-3 to begin the year; it was the perfect time for the team to continue to build their team chemistry. A win in this game would be another morale booster for this squad.

Despite the earlier start time, two hours earlier than usual, this game would be one-sided from the first whistle to the final horn. Hartford scored early and often, and did it with solid offense, defense, and even a few outstanding special teams plays. In the end, the final score would read 48-0 in favor of the Indians. With the victory, it meant the team had won two straight games, and their record was back to .500 for the season.

In the game, Hartford scored seven touchdowns. The Indians led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to three scoring drives, and extended their lead to 35-0 at halftime, courtesy of two more possessions that finished in the end zone. With the mercy-rule in effect for the second half, the clock was running with the exception of just a few stoppages. It did not stop Hartford from scoring, however, as they posted one touchdown a piece in the third and fourth quarters to bring the score to the final margin of victory.

GOING FOR THE GOAL… Hartford Indian Aaron Sinclair (4) maneuvers his way through three Eau Claire defenders, while Zach Harris (69) and Ricky Baker (88) come in to make blocks. Sinclair was stopped just short of the end zone on this play, but he would visit the end zone shortly thereafter, scoring one of the seven touchdowns Hartford scored in a 48-0 victory over Eau Claire. (TCR Photo by Jerrod Birmele)


Hartford is currently 2-2 on the season, and has the same record in Southwest 10 Conference play. The Indians are home for the next three weeks. Fans are reminded that due to the recent virus outbreak, game times have been moved up to 5:00 p.m. for the foreseeable future.

Hartford Volleyball served-up busy week, ends stretch with 1-5 record

Last week, the Hartford Indian Volleyball team played two conference matches, and participated in a weekend tournament, with everything occurring in just five days. The team played just one lone tournament the week before, so they had not really played many matches for nearly two weeks. With conference play starting, the Lady Indians have displayed high hopes for competing in the league race this season. This would be their first real test of those expectations.

On Tuesday night, Sept. 17, the Lady Indians played a conference match on the road at Cassopolis against the Lady Rangers. Cassopolis usually puts together a solid team, and this year’s team is no different. The match would go four sets, but, in the end, Hartford would fall to the hosts by scores of 25-5, 20-25, 25-13 and 25-10.

In terms of statistics, Hartford was led in aces by Lainey Goodson, Megan Nelson and Alexis Snodgrass; each of them had one ace each. Nelson and Snodgrass led the team in kills with five, while Meghan Deckard added three kills and Descenya Rodarte posted two kills. Nelson led the team in digs with 23, while Goodson added 11 digs and Rodarte posted 10 digs. Other statistical leaders included Gillian Kuehnle with five assists and Snodgrass with three blocks.

On Thursday night, Sept. 19, the Lady Indians played host to Centreville at Indian Gymnasium for their second conference match of the week. The Lady ‘Dogs have been strong in volleyball in recent years, and have won the first two conference tournament championships since the inception of the new league. They proved why they are one of the strongest teams in the area, as they defeated the Lady Indians in straight sets, 25-11, 25-14 and 25-11.

In terms of statistics, Hartford was led in aces by Lainey Goodson with three. Megan Nelson led the team in kills with three, while Alexis Snodgrass and Goodson added two kills each. Nelson led the team in digs with nine, while Goodson added five digs and Ariah Jordan and Destiny Chacon posted four digs each. Other statistical leaders included Nelson with four assists and Snodgrass with two blocks.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, the team competed in the Decatur Raider Varsity Volleyball Invitational. The day started with a pair of matches in pool play, before transitioning over to bracket play to determine the tournament champion.

In their first match of pool play, the Lady Indians went up against the host team, Decatur. The Lady Raiders are a member of the Southwest 10 Conference, and this early match between the two would see where the Lady Indians were at. In this two set affair, Decatur was victorious in straight sets, 25-13 and 25-12. The second match of pool play was against another Southwest 10 Conference foe, Bloomingdale. This match was thrilling from start-to-finish, with both teams playing tough all match long. The final result was a split, with Hartford winning the first s