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.