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10-08-2020 Tri-City Area Sports

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele

Hartford football opens home slate with 44-6 White Pigeon loss

Last Friday night, Oct. 2, the Hartford Indian Football team continued their COVID-19 shortened season by hosting White Pigeon in their home opener. Things have been not going to plan for the Indians the first two weeks. Some poor offensive production and untimely turnovers have led to a 0-2 start, while being outscored 81-21 in that time frame. Maybe a slice of home cooking was what the team needed to get in the win column for the first time in 2020.

ALL HANDS ON… A group of In-dian players, including Jared Foerster and Jonah Henslee, attempt to tackle White Pigeon’s Anthony Rubio during last Friday’s game. Foerster and Henslee recorded seven tackles each, but Hartford would end up falling to the Chiefs, 44-6. (Photo courtesy of Angie Johnson / A&A Sports Photography)

White Pigeon came into the game with a similar record as Hartford, at 0-2 on the season but having played Mendon and Centreville, two of the top teams in the Southwest 10 Conference this season. Last season, the Indians shocked the Chiefs, 14-12, on the road to seal their bid into the playoffs. This night would turn out completely different, as White Pigeon dominated the game pretty much from start-to-finish. They picked up the 44-6 victory over Hartford to keep the Indians winless on the year. The woes are continuing for this young team, and despite working hard in practice day-in and day-out, the results are just not showing up on Friday nights so far.

In terms of the box score, the visiting Chiefs took a 8-0 lead after the first quarter of play, and, thanks to a pair of touchdowns (and a two-point conversion) in the second quarter, they took a 22-0 lead into the “locker room” at halftime. White Pigeon’s lead grew to 28-0 after three quarters thanks to a touchdown in the frame, and, despite a Hartford touchdown in the fourth quarter; they would win the final frame, 16-6, to seal the final margin of victory.

Hartford managed just one scoring play in the game, and it came via the pass. With 3:33 remaining in the game, quarterback Donovan Sikes found Dylan Voss on a post route that went 7-yards for the touchdown. The Indians attempted a point-after try, but the snap on the kick attempt was bobbled and the try ending up being unsuccessful.

On offense, the Indians managed 143 yards of total offense. Of that total, 103 yards were rushing and 40 yards were passing. Leading the rushing attack for Hartford was Aaron Sinclair, who carried the ball 15 times for 98 yards. Donovan Sikes was 3-of-8 passing for 40 yards and a touchdown. The lone receiver on the night making the catches was Dylan Voss, who had 44 yards and the aforementioned touchdown reception.

On defense, the Indians were led by Oscar Trevino, who led the team in tackles with nine, including a trio of solo stops. Jared Foerster and Jonah Henslee added seven tackles each, while four Indians: Tanner Kinchen, Jayden Johnson, Andrew Michael and Tye Phillips recorded five tackles each. Hartford forced one turnover; Aaron Sinclair forced a fumble on a run play and it was recovered by Foerster.

Hartford is currently 0-3 on the season, and has the same record in Southwest 10 Conference action. The Indians will host their second consecutive game at Indian Stadium this week, as they take on the Decatur Raiders Thursday, Oct. 8, during Hartford’s annual Homecoming celebration. The Raiders will come into the game at 0-3 on the season.

Hartford boys soccer continues recent run, picks up pair of victories

Last week, the Hartford Indian boys soccer team continued their shortened season with a pair of matches; including one conference and one non-conference match (another match was postponed due to inclement weather). The team came into play having won six of their first eight matches on the year, and recently received news they would be a number one seed in their district coming up in a few weeks. Things are certainly going well so far for this young team.

On Monday, Sept. 28, the team traveled to Cassopolis to take on the Rangers in a Southwest 10 Conference match. Hartford and Cassopolis have already played once this season, on Sept. 10, which ended with the Indians getting the best of the Rangers at home on that night, 4-nil. The second meeting of the two teams in 2020 was not as tight as the first one, as the Indians played a much better offensive match and claimed an 8-2 victory, moving them one step closer towards yet another conference championship trophy.

The Indians got their eight goals courtesy of five different players: Kevin Parra (3), Sebastian Gonzalez (2), Alan Gonzalez, Danny Gutierrez and Aaron Lopez-Robles. Assists were credited to Gutierrez (2), A. Gonzalez and Ernesto Rodarte. Goalkeeper Jesus Rivas recorded six saves in net to earn the victory.

On Saturday, Oct. 3, the team traveled to Paw Paw for a rare Saturday non-conference match against the Red Wolves. The Indians have made it known for several years that they will go out and play a much tougher schedule than many in an attempt to get as good of competition as they can to prepare themselves for what is looming down the line. Paw Paw is a Class “B” school, and has had a solid program for many years, so this would be a test for the men in the green and white. And, it was a tough match from start-to-finish, as solid defense on both sides made it hard for either team to get quality chances. But one shot for Hartford in the net was all they needed, as they took the 1-nil victory to complete a weekly sweep.

The Indians got their lone goal of the day from Caiden Smith. Goalkeeper Kaden Johnson recorded four saves in net to earn the shutout victory.

Hartford is currently 8-2 on the season, and possesses a 4-0 record in Southwest 10 Conference action. The Indians will face another busy week on the soccer pitch, playing three games in four days; albeit, all of them at home. They began the week with a non-conference match against Saint Joseph Michigan Lutheran on Monday, before making up last week’s postponed conference match against Bangor one night later on Tuesday, Oct. 6. They will finish the week with another conference match against Bloomingdale on Thursday, Oct. 8.

Hartford volleyball plays two tough matches, comes out winless

Last week, the Hartford Lady Indian volleyball team continued their season by playing two conference matches during the stretch. The ladies came into action with a 2-9 record on the season, but have been showing signs of improvement in recent matches. Their record comes as a result of playing some very stout competition in both conference and non-conference play. Despite their record, they did win their last match, and came in on a high note.

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, the team hosted the Lady Vikings of Bangor in their first conference match of the week. This match featured a mix of highs and lows for the Lady Indians, and despite playing three tight sets, the final set doomed them in this one, as the team fell in four sets: 25-13, 25-16, 21-25 and 25-6. No question about it, looking at the results, the team has the ability to do great things, but just needs to play every match like they did in the third set.

In terms of statistics, Hartford was led in aces by Karly Manning with three, while Vanessa Delarosa, Mary Pultz and Alexis Snodgrass served an ace each. Snodgrass led the team in kills with four, while Mercedes Requenes posted three kills and three players: Manning, Pultz and Paris Rondo added a kill each. Delarosa led the team in digs with 12, while Ariah Jordan posted nine digs and Snodgrass posted eight digs. Other statistical leaders included Manning with five assists and Khashya McCoy with two blocks.

On Thursday, Oct. 1, the team hosted the Lady Hornets of Mendon in their second, and final, conference match of the week. Mendon is one of the best teams in southwest Michigan, period, and is the defending two-time state champion in Division 4. To say this was a tough task for the Lady Indians would be an understatement. Hartford gave it all they had, and actually played quite well in stretches, but lost in straight sets: 25-9, 25-5 and 25-10.

In terms of statistics, Hartford was led in aces by Paris Rondo with one. Alexis Snodgrass led the team in kills with two, while three players: Kenzie Burfield, Karly Manning and Marissa Solis posted a kill each. Snodgrass led the team in digs with six, while Mary Pultz posted four digs and four players: Alyssa Birmele, Vanessa Delarosa, Kaelyn Johnson and Ariah Jordan posted two digs each. Other statistical leaders included Johnson and Karly Manning with an assist each and Snodgrass with two blocks.

Hartford is currently 2-11 on the season, and possesses a 1-4 record in Southwest 10 Conference action. The ladies will play two more conference matches this week, with one being played in the confines of Indian Gymnasium and one coming on the road. They will have taken on the Lady ‘Cats of Marcellus at home on Tuesday before traveling to Decatur to take on the Lady Raiders on Thursday, Oct. 8 to conclude the week’s festivities.

Hartford cross country teams take first place honors at conference tri

Last week, the Hartford Indian cross country teams continued competition with their second Southwest 10 Conference triangular meet of the season. Last week we mentioned this is usually the time that conference jamborees would be taking place, with all nine conference schools competing at one location. However, due to competition regulations, they have been broken up into triangular meets to continue best health practices.

At the Southwest 10 triangular meet, held on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at Mendon, both teams scored first place finishes by defeating both the host Hornets and Cassopolis. Hartford was the only team with enough scoring runners (five) to earn a team score and thus earn overall victories.

On the men’s side, the team was led by Jacob Morales, who placed 3rd overall with a time of 18:54, while Jairo Lopez clocked in with a time of 19:38, good enough for 4th place. The top five runners also included Bo Janicki in 5th place (20:25), Hunter Bloom in 6th place (20:43) and Arulio Delgado in 8th place (20:47).

On the ladies side, the team was led by Gillian Kuehnle, who placed 3rd overall with a time of 22:44, while Mikaela Cowgill clocked in with a time of 23:18, good enough for 4th place. The top five runners also included Jasmin Janicki in 5th place (23:35), Jamie Smith in 6th place (24:25) and Descenya Rodarte in 7th place (24:36).

The Hartford cross country teams return to action this week for their third consecutive Southwest 10 Conference triangular meet; this time, they traveled to Marcellus on Wednesday, Oct. 7 to take on the host Wildcats and Bloomingdale.

As always, GO INDIANS!

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Coloma doubles up on Fennville, Comets win at home 42-21

The Coloma Comets doubled up on their pleasure last Friday night as they routed the visiting Fennville Blackhawks by a score of 42-21. The Comets jumped out early once again in this game, running out to a 22-0 lead.

They were led for the most part by the arm and legs of the Comet quarterback Drew Goodline.  Goodline had an outstanding game hitting on six of nine passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the football 15 times for 85 yards. Drew’s longest pass completion was a 45-yard touchdown pass to Cody Palgen, who also had a big game hauling in five of Goodline’s aerials for 148 yards and two touchdowns.  Cody’s average per catch of almost 30 yards is an impressive statistic in any league.

The Coloma defense also played well for head coach Joe Stephens, as they held the Blackhawks to 158 total yards with 74 yards rushing and 84 yards through the air.

The game had long been decided, with the Comets dominating, before Fennville scored two of their touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Reflecting the Comet’s domination were the number of total plays. Coloma ran off 63 plays to 37 for Fennville and had 395 total yards to 158 for the Blackhawks, and first downs of 23 Coloma and seven for Fennville. Each team had two turnovers on fumbles lost, as DJ Welch and Jamie Rocha each recovered a fumble for the Comets defense.

The Comets defense also was more than willing to spread the wealth as no one really dominated in the tackling category, with Noah Schwanke, Dylan Nelson, Tim Schroeder, and Jacobie Bonds each having four tackles in the game. The Comets also had seven players on defense that had at least one tackle for a Fennville loss, with Bonds leading the way with two; one of those being a quarterback sack.

On offense Coloma wasn’t short of running backs adding to the Comet domination. Jacobie Bonds had 39 yards rushing, but one was a 27-yard touchdown scamper in addition to one TD from short range. Also for Coloma, Schwanke had 85 yards on 10 carries with most of those going wide on the defense. He scored one touchdown and had a longest run of 36 yards.

Coloma plays next on Friday, Oct. 9 at Parchment. Be sure and check with the school regarding fans allowed into the game, as COVID-19 mitigations will still be limiting stadium capacity.

Cross country teams burning up the trails, Genovese siblings leading the way

The Coloma boys and girls cross country teams have been running very well all season. On Wednesday, Sept. 30, a cool and very windy day, the Comet teams combined had 10 runners all running their personal best times, as the Comets hosted the second SAC Jamboree of the year. The brother and sister act of freshman Boden and junior Ava Genovese have been leading their teams to the finish line at most every race, and this run was no exception. This wasn’t new for Boden, as he has brought his time down from the previous race, every time he’s stepped up to the starting line against competing schools.

Boden and Ava have led the Comet runners to the finish line in all but one race this year and Boden has finished in the top 3 places overall in every race this year. This is an outstanding achievement for a freshman who has to come in and compete against upper classmen right from the get go.

In this, the second SAC Jamboree of the year, the Comets were competing against Saugatuck, Kalamazoo Christian, Martin, and Schoolcraft, and for the second time in five days on the home track. The Comet boys team finished in 3rd place overall, with Boden leading the way finishing 2nd overall in 17:07.58, his fastest time of the year.  The other Comet boys who ran PRs are Aiden Cripe 20:15, Carter Crist 34:09, Ben Hess 24:50, and Cameron Schinck 24:04. Other Comets finishing in the top 25 overall were, Jake Ickes 4th place in 18:05.13, Blane Sutherland 18:27.16, Ethan Vandermolen 18:53.70, and Aiden Cripe finished 22nd overall.

The Lady Comets also finished in third place among the other competing SAC teams. The four runners who ran their best times ever were Ava Genovese who finished second overall in 20:29.63, only two seconds behind the winner from Saugatuck, Chloe Williams 10th overall in 21:47.11, Camryn Brown 13th overall in 22:03.93, and McKinleigh Kraemer 25th place in 23:55.85. While she didn’t run a personal best, Abby Vandermolen finished in 14th overall in a time of 22:19.53.

On Saturday, Oct. 3 Coloma traveled to River Valley for the annual Berrien County cross country meet, and again the Comets had a very good showing against some of the top runners in Southwestern Michigan. The boys competing against a mix of larger and smaller schools finished in 5th place, with Boden Genovese leading the way and finishing in 3rd place overall, while breaking the 17-minute barrier in doing so. Boden’s time was 16:57.27. Jake Ickes the Comet junior is also having a stellar season. He came in next for Coloma in a time of 18:01.10. Ethan Vandermolen was 25th in 18:32.73 and Blane Sutherland was 29th in a time of 18:58.61.

The Coloma girls team also had a fine showing; they finished in 3rd place competing against eight other Berrien County schools. Ava Genovese again led the Comets finishing in 4th place overall in a time of 20:39.20.  Abby Vandermolen was 17th in 22:11.74, Camryn Brown was 25th in a time of 22:35.67, and Chloe Williams was 30th overall in 22:50.18.

Coloma boys soccer finishes 1-2 on a busy week

The Coloma boys soccer team had a busy week playing four matches in eight days with two home and two on the road. Coloma started the week with a home loss to Kzoo Hackett, 5-0.  Hackett controlled the pace of play for most of the game, and had built a commanding lead of 4-0 by halftime. The Comets were able to control the action a little more in the second half but were unable to make a dent on the scoreboard.

On Wednesday, Sept. 30 the Comets traveled to Fennville and had similar results, losing by a 6-1 count. It was a very windy afternoon, which makes it harder to control the ball. But both teams are playing in the same conditions and the Comets just couldn’t stand up to the Blackhawk pressure and fell behind 4-0 by the half.

The Comets played hard, but Fennville perennially has one of the best soccer teams in the SAC. Coloma’s lone goal came off the foot of Layne Whitaker with an assist from Cannon Hodges.  Coloma goal keeper Wes Seabury was kept very busy as he had to stop 16 shots on the afternoon.

The Comets defeated Parchment on the road, Saturday Oct. 3, by a final score of 3-0.  Cannon Hodges and Lucian Whitaker each scored a goal in the first half for the Comets. Each goal was assisted by a fine pass from midfielder Luis Olvera, as Coloma led 2-0 at the half.  The Comets continued to control the ball and the action in the second half and added a goal from Cannon Hodges in the 67th minute, as he made good on a penalty kick.

Wes Seabury was solid in goal for the Comets but their defense really held Parchment at bay, as the Panthers were limited to only three shots on goal for the game.

On Monday of this week, the Comets played the final home contest of the regular season and fell to Kalamazoo Christian by a final of 4-1. Coloma got off to a slow start in this game and fell behind by a score of 3-0 at the half, scoring on defensive miscues by the Comets who were under constant pressure by Parchment. It was very appropriate that on this night which honored the lone Comet senior Tyler Russell, that he nailed a penalty kick just a few minutes before the end of the game giving Coloma their only goal of the night.

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Panther football loses Homecoming game

Watervliet Panther varsity football team took one on the chin last Friday, losing to Constantine 55-6. The Falcon offensive and defensive lines were dominant throughout the game, creating turmoil on most Panther pass plays and allowing their backs to chew up the field on offense.

Not many highlights in this one as the Panthers fell to 2-1 on the season. On Friday night, Oct. 9, they host Kalamazoo United in another conference matchup. Attendance is opened up to a total of 750 fans in the stadium, so come out and get your only dose of home football at what may be their last home game of the season, depending on the playoff scheduling.

Boys soccer continues to play well

The Panther soccer team played hard on a wet and cool night at Kalamazoo Hackett, but eventually lost the game 3-0. The loss on Wednesday, Sept. 30 drops the team to 7-2 and their conference record to 6-2.

ON THE PANTHER PITCH… Watervliet varsity soccer player Andrew Fish battles for the ball with Saugatuck’s Luke Barde at Monday night’s game in Panther Stadium. Watervliet eventually won the game 8-0, building their record to 8-2 as of Oct. 5. (TCR photo by John Oliphant)

The Hackett Irish scored in the 35th minute off a corner set play, again in the 45th minute and finally in the 70th to claim the victory. Coach Doug Bornas said the score doesn’t begin to tell the story of the ways the team battled against one of the conference’s elite teams.

Zach Hastings made 13 saves in net, with his aggressiveness paying dividends. Andrew Chisek was solid at center defense, as Drew Van Lente played one of the best games of his career on left defense, constantly getting to the ball and moving it forward. Ryan Knapp also played well on right defense. The Panther center defensive midfielders were outstanding all night. The trio of Alex Mejia, Eric Perez Cruz and newcomer Jonathan Casiano all played at a high level and helped the team control the middle of the field.

The attacking midfielders, led by Brady Bornas and Abel Villareal were poised and sharp most of the night. Andrew Fish also filled in well when those players got tired. Nathan Isbrecht and Brennan Bornas continually pressured Hackett’s back line but just could not finish with a good shot in this game.

On Monday, Oct. 5, the team faced Saugatuck at home on a beautiful fall evening, coming away with a convincing 8-0 win over the conference foe.

Nathan Isbrecht scored twice, Brady Bornas scored twice along with three assists, Erick Perez-Cruz scored twice with one assist, Alex Mejia had an assist, Brennan Bornas scored a goal and Andrew Chisek scored once.

The Panthers led 2-0 at half in what looked like a close game, but the second half started with a bang when they netted four goals in the first five minutes, and one additional shot hit the crossbar and bounded away. The game was called in the 63rd minute.

On Senior Night the team recognized Erick Perez Cruz, Bryan Perez and Jonathan Casiano. Congratulations to these young men who are having a fine season with the Panthers.

Press Box Player of the Week!

By Dave Vollrath Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week for Oct. 8, 2020 is standout Coloma Comet freshman runner Boden Genovese. Boden has been leading the Comet boys cross country team from the start of the season. It is not surprising to watch Boden run the way he has, as he dominated the competition last year as an 8th grader in middle school. Boden has decreased his personal best time in every racing competition the Comets have run in this school year. He has finished no worse than 3rd place overall, in any event to date. Boden had a first place finish in a dual meet with Watervliet on Sept. 22, but the significant fact is he ran that race one minute and 13 seconds faster than he did on the same track one week earlier. He has also run very well against some of the top runners in Southwestern Michigan scoring a 3rd place finish in a Coloma quad that included Lakeshore and Bridgman, and then finishing 2nd in the second SAC jamboree of this season also run at Coloma. Boden naturally had his best time of the season on Saturday, Oct. 3. This most recent race, run at River Valley, was the Berrien County meet which included 10 other Berrien County schools. Boden finished 3rd overall in the race in a time of 16:57.27, his first time breaking the 17-minute barrier. He was only beaten by one senior and one junior. Boden’s parents are David and Theresa Genovese, and Boden has a sister Ava who is the top runner for the Comet girls team. He is finding a way to be a mentally strong runner at a young age; his efforts also pull his team up with him. Comet head coach Courtney Churchill has hopes of both the boys and girls teams running their way to the state finals in Brooklyn, MI. In the classroom Boden is carrying a 3.94 GPA, so it’s clear he is just as focused on his school work as he is his running. In the spring Boden will be on the Comet track team, and he also runs through the winter indoor track season. We congratulate Boden for his achievements so far, and wish him the best as he navigates his way through his high school years, and then beyond.

Dr. Andy says… “Rest is important for you to be healthy. The body does most of its healing while we sleep. A good night’s sleep is critical for a healthy body. Chiropractic can help your body relax and make it easier to get that sleep.”

Lynch turns up the heat, moves back into AQB first place tie with Jones!

Following last week where the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback panel of pigskin pickers had a rough time overall as they were beaten up pretty badly by the collegiate and professional ranks and in the process our three time champ, who had found his familiar spot on the top of our standings, got bumped out of first place. Rodney Lynch came back this week with a vengeance and made up the two points he was behind Dan Jones and posted a perfect 8-0 record.

Overall our panel had an outstanding week as Tim Hildebrand, who is in unfamiliar territory at the bottom of the standings, posted a 7-1 mark only missing on the Chicago loss to Indianapolis. In fact, Lynch’s perfect mark included his pick of the Colts beating the Bears in Chicago and he was the only one of our group who had picked that outcome to gain a game on the whole field.

Dan Jones, who currently sits in first place, was able to hold onto the top spot. He had a fine 6-2 record for the week  which left him tied with Lynch,  both with marks of 24-7, but retains the top spot by missing on the tiebreaking game by only one point. The Constantine/Watervliet game, the tiebreaking game for this week, produced 61 points. Dan had predicted a 60-point outcome with Lynch forecasting 50 points.

The TCR, AQB competition is held weekly from the beginning of the football season in late summer until it finishes with the playing of the Super Bowl in February.  We have six Tri-City area football fans competing against each other to predict the winners of a group of pre-selected games from the high school, collegiate, and professional ranks.  Following the conclusion of the Super Bowl, one winner is crowned champion and will have the honor of wearing the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback Championship hat.

In the event that two or more ‘backs have the same record for the week, or the yearly total, their place in the standings will be determined by a weekly tiebreaker game.  In addition to trying to correctly pick the winners of each week’s games, they try and predict the score from a specially selected game. The AQB that comes the closest to the total number of points scored by both teams will get the higher spot in the standings.

The only movement in the standings came as Greg Krell continued his recent climb out of the basement by going 6-2 for the week, changing places with Taylor Prestidge who was 5-3. Greg now claims 3rd place and Taylor moves down to 4th.  RoxAnn joined Dan and Greg with a 6-2 mark and retains her fifth place in the standings.

The weekly winner of course is Rodney with his perfect 8-0 record followed by Tim. Dan holds the third spot ahead of Greg and RoxAnn based on the tiebreaking predictions, while Taylor lands at the bottom for the week even though she was a respectable 5-3.

Be sure and check back every week as we continue to try and confound our panel of pigskin prognosticators, and give them this list of games to challenge their intellect and luck.

Coloma vs. Parchment (Tiebreaker)

Kalamazoo United vs. Watervliet

Decatur vs. Hartford

Florida vs. Texas A&M

Miami vs. Clemson

Texas vs. Oklahoma

Tampa Bay vs. Chicago

Las Vegas vs. Kansas City


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