10-05-2017 Tri-City Area Sports

Busch battles for first place finish at Dover

The sixteen drivers who began the NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship have completed the first round of three races, and four drivers were booted from the balance of racing.

Sunday’s 2017 Apache Warrior 400, held at Dover International Speedway, was won by Kyle Busch.

Busch took the checkered flag in the 29th race of the season and earned his fourth victory of the year. It also marked his second consecutive win this season.  He now has a total of 42 career win trophies on the mantle at home.

Busch led 30 of the race’s 400 laps. He was chased by Chase Elliott, who finished in second place after leading a race-high 138 laps.

Jimmie Johnson marked his best finish in a while; he took third place and led five laps.

Martin Truex Jr. led 51 laps on his way to a fourth place finish.

Kyle Larson landed in fifth place. He led 137 laps.

Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Series race featured 15 lead changes and four caution periods for 24 laps.

The 16-driver field was whittled down to 12 drivers who will compete in three more races, which make up the Round of 12.

Moving one step closer to claiming the championship title at Homestead were Truex Jr., Busch, Larson, Brad Keselowski, Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Blaney, Elliott, Matt Kenseth, and Jamie McMurray.

The four drivers who did not make the cut were Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Newman.

The Round of 12 race tracks will include Charlotte Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and Kansas Speedway. Following the running of events at those tracks, the field will be chiseled down to eight drivers.

Teams will be at Charlotte for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500. Austin Dillon won the race in May of this year but is out of the running for the championship. With Truex Jr. leading the pack, can he get a win which guarantees him a spot in the next round? Tune in to find out!

Hildebrand claims top spot in AQB race

By Kristy Noack

Tim Hildebrand is now the sole leader of the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback contest after he posted a 7-1 weekly record and improved to 39-9 overall.

Hildebrand and five other local football fans try their hand at predicting eight high school, college, and professional gridiron games each week.

One game is selected as the tie-breaker game. The contestants must determine how many points will be scored in that contest. Should any of the AQBs reach a tie for the week with their records, the tie-breaker game is used to determine their ranking.

Hildebrand, RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht, Chris Leach, and Bryan Conrad went 7-1 last week, with the Coloma/ Kalamazoo United or Iowa/ Michigan State or Green Bay/ Chicago game keeping them from a perfect 8-0 record.

Their spot in the ranking was left up to their guess as to the total points scored in da Bears game against the Packers. Green Bay smoked Chicago 35-14.

Leach won the week with her 48-point guess. Hildebrand’s 45-point guess gave him second place, while third place went to Rodney-Isbrecht; she predicted 55 points would be scored.

Bryan Conrad finished fourth for the week with his 59-point guess.

Greg Krell went 6-2 for the week, taking fifth place, and Rodney Lynch posted a 5-3 record for sixth place.

Overall, Hildebrand leads the AQBs with a 39-9 record. Hildebrand and Lynch had been tied atop the poll last week.

And the race is on! Moving up one spot is Rodney-Isbrecht. She is in sole possession of second place and holds a 38-10 record, just one game out of first place.

Lynch, Krell, and Leach are knotted up in third place with 37-11 records.  All three trail Hildebrand by just two games.

Conrad kept pace with the leader and trails by five games. He has a 34-14 record as the competition closes out Week 6.

Our local high school teams will face some stiff competition this week. Another highlight on the docket is the MSU at Michigan game, always a favorite of football fans in the mitten state.

The six super fans will tackle these great gridiron games on this week’s schedule:

Watervliet @ Constantine

Cassopolis @ Hartford

Schoolcraft @ Coloma

Michigan State @ Michigan

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Wake Forest @ Clemson

Minnesota @ Chicago

Carolina @ Detroit

The tie-breaker game this week is the Spartans at the Wolverines. Check back next week to see how our AQBs fared!

Watervliet remains perfect and is playoff bound after trouncing Delton Kellogg 58-44

 The Panther football team had plenty of reasons to celebrate following their 58-44 road win over Delton Kellogg Friday, September 29. Watervliet earned a playoff berth after they improved to a perfect 6-0 record this season.

After the Panthers opened up the game by kicking off to Delton Kellogg, Watervliet took over on downs after DK went four and out.

Watervliet wasn’t able to generate much offense on their first possession and also turned the ball over on downs.

The first score of the game came courtesy of a DK 44-yard pass play.  The extra point was good and Delton Kellogg took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Watervliet responded with their own touchdown pass. Quarterback Zack Pickens posted a perfect 30-yard pass to Jakob Aldrich. The two-point conversion pass to Garrett Matthews was good and Watervliet stole the lead 8-7.

Delton Kellogg reclaimed the lead after they rushed in from three yards out. Their attempt at the two-point conversion pass was successful and the quarter closed out with DK in the lead 15-8.

The second quarter proved to be a scoring bonanza for both teams. Watervliet put 22 points on the board, while Delton Kellogg added 15 to make it a 30-30 game at halftime.

Second quarter Panther scoring included a 10-yard Pickens pass to Matthews for six points. The two-point conversion attempt failed and Watervliet trailed 15-14.

Delton Kellogg scored seven points to increase their lead to 22-14. The Panthers were able to get great field position following a pass interference call. Watervliet scored on a Pickens pass, this time to Trent Boone. The three-yard dump gave Watervliet six more points and another try at the two-point conversion.

This time, Pickens passed to Matthews in the end zone for two points. Watervliet tied the game at 22-22.

Watervliet got a big boost on their next possession.  Pickens completed a 55-yard pass play to the waiting hands of Bryant Kieft, who got on board with his first TD of the game.  The two-point conversion play was thrown by Pickens to James Bell, and Watervliet led 30-22.

Delton Kellogg worked the clock the balance of the second quarter as they marched down field. With only a minute remaining on the clock, Delton scored on a rushing touchdown. Their ensuing two-point conversion was good and the game was tied at intermission.

Watervliet’s first possession of the second half yielded zero points. The Panthers turned the ball over on downs.  No harm, no foul as Delton’s first possession resulted in the same.

With the score tied at 30-all, Pickens dropped back and sailed another pass to Kieft, who caught the ball.  The Panthers again found the end zone. This time it was Pickens running on a 20-yard romp. The two-point conversion failed but Watervliet led 36-30.

Delton failed to score on their next possession, and Watervliet had the ball back in their hands. For a moment.

It’s a rare moment when a Pickens pass is picked off, but Delton Kellogg made the most of it. Minutes later, Kellogg scored on an 80-yard run. DK’s point after was good and they reclaimed the lead 37-36.

Pickens picked up his second score of the night on a one-yard run late in the third quarter. The two-point conversion failed but Watervliet see-sawed the lead back their way, 42-37.

The fourth quarter opened with DK scoring another rushing TD and extra point. Watervliet trailed 44-42.

Pickens made the most of his fast feet on the Panthers next possession. He worked downfield and then scored for the third time that evening on a 10-yard run. He then threw the two-point conversion pass to Ryan Chisek. Watervliet held a 50-44 lead.

Delton Kellogg coughed up a fumble that was recovered by Watervliet’s Matthews in a timely move late in the fourth quarter.  That allowed Pickens to get another pass off to Bryant for a touchdown.  Pickens held onto the ball and rushed for the two-point conversion, giving Watervliet the lead 58-44.

Delton Kellogg was unable to get downfield quick enough and a Hail Mary pass was picked off by Boone, ending the game.

Watervliet ran 56 plays compared to 45 by Delton Kellogg. The Panthers had 21 first downs during the game.

Pickens’ arm got quite a workout. He was 24 of 30 for 398 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. He also ran 21 times and picked up 103 yards and three TDs.

Boone had one carry for seven yards; he caught four passes for 26 yards and one TD.  Aldrich’s three yards came on one carry. He also had two receptions for 36 yards and one TD.

Kieft was Pickens’ most popular receiver. He caught 14 passes for 303 yards and two TDs.

Matthews caught two passes for 19 yards and one TD.  Chisek had 14 yards on two receptions.

Kieft led the defense with 13 tackles and five assists.  Anthony Wade had seven tackles and eight assists.

Chisek accounted for nine tackles and five assists, while Matthews posted six tackles and four assists.

Blake Kinzler had six tackles and one assist.  Logan Swigart and Aldrich were credited with one tackle and two assists each.

With their perfect 6-0 record, Watervliet is headed back to the playoffs. But first is a regular-season stop at Constantine, who is 3-3 this season and was upset by Coloma. Good luck, Panthers!

Indians one step closer to playoffs, now 5-1 on season

 The Hartford football defensive line gave quite a performance in the team’s road game at White Pigeon Friday, September 29.

The Indian defense held White Pigeon scoreless through the first half of the game and limited them to just two touchdowns all night. And when push came to shove, Hartford did not allow White Pigeon to pick up a first down when facing fourth and yardage.

Moses Beraza and Elijah Ledesma did their part on defense as they each picked off a White Pigeon pass.

The Hartford offense was slow to start the game, and it wasn’t until the third quarter that either team put numbers up on the scoreboard.

It was Robert Ledesma Jr. who scored a touchdown on a four-yard run.  The point after try was good and Hartford held a 7-0 lead.

But, White Pigeon blasted back and scored two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter, notching 14 unanswered points at the close of the quarter. White Pigeon 14, Hartford 7.

Thankfully, for Indians fans, it was all Hartford all fourth quarter.

Moses Beraza had a one yard pick up that scored the team’s second TD. Danny Resendez punched the extra point and the game was knotted up at 14 apiece.

It was Hartford quarterback Garrod Johnson who made the final score of the contest on a one-yard rush. The PAT was good and Hartford won 21-14.

Johnson carried the ball six times for 13 yards and one TD. He was four of 10 for 69 yards. His longest pass of the night was a 30-yarder caught by Aaron Sinclair.

Beraza caught three passes for 39 yards. Beraza also rushed two times for four yards and one TD.

Ledesma had 23 carries for 178 yards and one TD. Evan Parker tallied 25 yards on nine carries.

Buddy Earls led Hartford defensively with five tackles and three assists.  Bobby Johnson chipped in five tackles. Luke Manning and Noah Wade both recorded four tackles and two assists.

Cory Arnold contributed three tackles and three assists. Xavier Salinas had two tackles and two assists.

The Indians are now 5-1 and have strung together three consecutive wins. Their only loss on the season was to Mendon in early September.

Hartford needs to pick up one more win to qualify for the playoffs. This Friday they will take on an undefeated Cassopolis team at home.  Go, Indians!

Coloma disappointed in 28-27 loss to Kalamazoo United

 The Comets of Coloma suffered a disappointing one-point loss Friday, September 29 on the road at Kalamazoo United. Coloma falls to 4-2 on the season.

Things looked pretty positive for the Comets for most of the game. Coloma jumped out to a 7-0 lead after Zack Lake took the ball from quarterback Zach Goodline and trotted 10 yards into the end zone. Derek Plitt’s point after attempt was good and just like that, Coloma held the lead.

Kalamazoo countered with a one-yard rushing touchdown of their own. They, too, scored on the PAT and the game was tied at 7-7.

Coloma’s workhorse Jamane Smith Jr. hit the end zone after a 16-yard run on the handoff from Goodline. Plitt kicked another beaut and Coloma led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Neither team scored in the second quarter.

The Comets were happy to increase their lead in the third quarter on a Goodline nine-yard scamper. Plitt booted another PAT between the uprights, giving Coloma a little breathing room. The Comets led 21-7.

Kalamazoo came back and scored on a 51-yard bomb from quarterback Eric Wenzel to Christian Bartholomew. Their two-point conversion attempt failed and Coloma retained a 21-13 lead at the end of the third quarter.

It was Kalamazoo who scored first in the fourth quarter on a one-yard dive into the end zone. The two-point conversion rush was successful and Kalamazoo tied the game at 21.

But, wait! Coloma was far from done. Levi Wilkens scooted into the end zone from four yards out giving the Comets another six points. Plitt’s kick was no good. Coloma broke open the tie and led 27-21.

The next score was a heartbreaker for Comet players and fans alike. Kalamazoo scored on a five-yard run and their PAT was good. Kalamazoo stole the game 28-27 from the Comets.

Based on the stats, Coloma should have won the game.  The Comets ran 81 plays compared to 46 by Kalamazoo. The Comets had a total of 375 yards, including 300 on the ground. Coloma achieved 23 first downs compared to 11 by the opposing team. Additionally, Coloma had zero turnovers, while Kalamazoo threw one interception.

For Coloma, Goodline was five of nine for 75 yards.  He also rushed for 49 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. Goodline also picked off one pass.

Lake carried the ball 13 times for 67 yards and one TD.  Wilkens toted the ball 13 times for 103 yards and one TD. He also caught one pass for 12 yards.

Caleb Ellis picked up 43 yards on six carries. He caught two passes for 21 yards.

Smith Jr. had six carries for 38 yards and one TD.

Tevon Blazier gained two yards on two carries. He also had one reception for nine yards.

Cody Reece led Coloma with three tackles and one assist. Lake and Smith Jr. put up two tackles and one assist apiece. Ellis, Calvin Hutchinson, and Taequan Shurn had two tackles each.

Coloma welcomes Schoolcraft Friday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m. The Eagles are 5-1 this season with two shutouts. Coloma needs two more victories over the final three games of the regular season to head to the playoffs. Come on out and cheer on the Comets this Friday!

Coloma and Watervliet compete at Berrien County Cross Country Invitational

 The boys’ and girls’ varsity cross country teams for Coloma and Watervliet joined other schools for the county-wide Berrien County cross country invitational Saturday, September 30. Held at Madeline Betram Park in Niles, the invitational featured 117 male and 118 female runners.

In the men’s division St. Joseph won the event with 51 points. Watervliet earned 122 points for fifth place. The Comets of Coloma took seventh place with 179 points.

Coloma’s Adiel Granados, a junior, set a new personal record with his 10th place finish time of 18:00.

GRAND FINISH BY GRANADOS… Coloma’s Adiel Granados finished ninth place overall during last Wednesday’s SAC Jamboree #2 held at Watervliet High School. Granados ran the course in a time of 18:08. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Watervliet’s Ezra Troyer finished 14th and also set a new PR (18:18).

Teammate Gus Hinch took 20th place (18:25). Kody Edmonds of Watervliet finished 28th (18:58).

Coloma’s Josh Young ran the course in 19:40 and finished 36th.

Watervliet had a string of six runners cross the finish line. Klayton Marshall and Nick Swanson placed 38th and 40th, respectively (19:46 and 19:48).

Austin Roberts and Trevor Pelton completed the course in 44th and 49th places with times of 19:55 and 20:07. Alex Isbrecht set a personal record pace of 20:13, which was good for 50th place. Kade Van Niel took 54th (20:23).

Coloma’s Blane Sutherland trekked the course in 20:46, a new PR; he finished 68th.  Teammate Ian Ishmael was 79th (21:05).

PANTHER TAG TEAM FINISH… Klayton Marshall and Alex Isbrecht ran in the Southwestern Athletic Confe-rence Jamboree #2 September 27, 2017. The two Panthers fi-nished 48th and 49th with times of 20:07 and 20:17, respective-ly. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)