GLOWING PASS… Coloma Senior wide receiver Sincere Taylor (5) waiting on a pass from quarterback Zach Goodline. Pass was complete for a ten yard gain. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)
View from the Pressbox
Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath
I could not be more excited than I am to be covering the Coloma Comet athletic programs and writing about them for the Tri-City Record hometown newspaper. I have been involved in sports my whole life, and Coloma sports for a large portion of it. I am the second generation of three in my family to participate as a Coloma Comet athlete, as my father was before me and my two sons after me. All of us have played Comet football in our rivalry against Watervliet, and my son Dan played in the 100th meeting and my dad was one of the honorary captains for that game. While a Comet I also played basketball, baseball, and ran track. I would have golfed if it was possible. I believe I can bring a unique perspective to this column as I have participated in most of the sports I will be reporting on, worked as a professional baseball umpire, manager and coach, and worked as a volunteer on the boards of our youth baseball, softball, and football programs. I spent about 10 years in the press box for Coloma Jr. High football, and currently have been on the “mic” now in my fifth year for the Comet Varsity and JV football games. My wife Jan and I are both Coloma graduates, sort of retired, and have been married for 32 years, we have two grown sons, and are currently awaiting the birth of our first grandchild, due to arrive before the Coloma vs. Watervliet game on the 19th. I served over 18 years on the Coloma School Board, stepping down two years ago to take office on the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, an office I currently hold. I am happy to be a part of this new View from the Press box format and will give my best effort writing about our Coloma Comet athletes, as they are giving their best efforts on the courts and fields of play. I have a lifetime love of Coloma and the Comets, and once again extremely excited for this opportunity. Coloma football takes on conference foe Schoolcraft Last Friday night the Coloma Comet football team, with a 3-3 record, traveled to conference foe Schoolcraft. Their playoff chances were hanging by a thread, most likely needing to sweep the final three games on the schedule, starting with the Eagles, who were at 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference. Prior to the matchup with Coloma, Schoolcraft was ranked 10th in the state in Division 6. The Comet’s main task in trying to defeat Schoolcraft would be in trying to hold down their top running back, Junior Kobe Clark, who the previous week set a Michigan High School record, rushing for nine touchdowns, with 380 yards on 26 carries. Coloma won the toss and elected to defer, and so they kicked off to the Eagles, who recovered a squib kick by Comet kicker, Junior Kenyon Boyd, and started the opening series on their own 31 yard line. Schoolcraft wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard, as they moved 69 yards in three plays, capped off by a 31-yard carry by Clark for the touchdown, and the extra point made it 7-0. On the ensuing kickoff Coloma senior speedster, Sincere Taylor had a 45-yard return into Eagle territory setting up the Comet offense. Coloma moved the ball to the Eagle 5-yard line, where senior running back Caleb Ellis ran it in for a Comet score. The 2-point conversion failed however and Coloma trailed 7 to 6. The next series for the Eagles found them again driving deep into Coloma territory, but this time the Comet defense was up to the challenge and held them on fourth down, and took possession of the football on their own 12-yard line. Coloma offense with senior quarterback Zach Goodline was only able to pick up one yard in three plays, then a 5-yard penalty had them punting from back inside the 10-yard line. Junior punter Nick Santarlas’s punt only traveled 24 yards before going out of bounds, and the Eagles once again were deep in Comet territory. Coloma’s defense once again was up to the challenge, but after gaining only a single yard in two plays, sophomore quarterback Alex Thole completed an 11-yard pass on third and nine for the first down. The next play was a 20-yard touchdown carry by Clark, and after the extra point the Eagles led 14-6, and that’s how the first quarter ended. Overall the Comets looked very good in the first quarter holding their own and at times outplaying a very talented Schoolcraft team, but the big plays they had in that quarter were just a sampling of more that would come, with Clark leading the way. Coloma had one deep drive in the second quarter but stalled out at the 25-yard line. Schoolcraft added 14 points on two TDs, with one coming on a Kobe Clark 50-yard scamper, and led 28-6, with less than a minute left in the half, and looked like Coloma would go in at half only down by three scores. But sophomore wide receiver Jimmy Downs caught a 50-yard pass before being brought down on the 3-yard line, with 30 seconds left in the half. They scored on the next play, and even though they missed the extra point, that touchdown pretty much sealed the Comet’s fate. Coloma did have Goodline hook up on a 51-yard pass to Sincere Taylor with seven seconds left, but with the ball at the Schoolcraft 27 the Comets could not cash in. The Comets did take the second half kickoff deep on the Eagles, but the drive once again stalled, this time at the 10-yard line where the Eagles took over. The next play the ball was handed to Clark and 89 yards later, they were at Coloma’s one-yard line, where they scored a play later. The rest of the game was played with a running clock, and the Eagles picking up a couple more scores. The Comets took the loss with a final score of 56-6. Kobe Clark had a huge game for the Eagles gaining 256 yards on only 14 carries an average of 18 yards per carry, and five TD’s. Coloma did run off 70 plays on offense to only 42 for Schoolcraft, but Coloma only had 224 yards to show for it. Zach Goodline led Coloma with 60 yards rushing on 17 carries, and also had 122 yards passing on 5-15. Sincere Taylor caught three passes for 89 yards, and Caleb Ellis one for 32. The leading tacklers for the Comet defense were Kenyon Boyd, Tayte Coleman, and Trent Brown with four solo tackles each, with Brown and Coleman assisting on three more each. It was a hard hitting, cleanly played game which saw no turnovers for either team. Next week the Comets will again travel this time up to Delton Kellogg, with a game time kick off at 7 p.m. Coloma trekkers compete in Portage Invitational The Coloma Comet Cross Country team competed last weekend at the huge Portage Invitational. Portage played host to a total of 105 boys’ teams in divisions 2, 3, and 4. The girls ran with a total of 99 teams in the same three divisions. The Comets boys and girls competed in Division 3, and ran against 35 teams from across the state.
NEWTON’S NET TIME… Coloma junior Mark Newton serves the ball Tuesday, Oct. 2 against Three Rivers. Newton, who usually competes in #1 doubles, played at #4 singles and won 3-6, 6-1, 10-8 as the Comets posted their first overall team win of the season by a score of 6-1. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
The boys finished with 655 total points which placed them in 23rd out of the 35 teams entered. The top runner for Coloma was Ethan Vandermolen who zipped around the course in 18:44.4, and brought him to the finish line in 96th place. Next to cross for the Comets was Jake Ickes in 109th at 18:57.4 followed by Blane Sutherland in 19:01.2, Nate Wilder in 20:23.2, and Caleb Ishmael came across in 20:48.2. For the Comet girls they finished in 18th place, with 571 points. Leading the way for Coloma was Emma Vandermolen finishing in 84th place in a time of 22:28.7, she was closely followed and only three seconds behind her in 86th place was Ava Genovese in 22:31.5. The other Comets finishing were Megan Koenigshof, 23:45.6, Tori Brown, 24:05.4, and Taylor Brown timed in at 24:38.0. Congratulations to all the runners and good luck next week.
Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele
With the fall sports season beginning to wind down, the student-athletes of Hartford were featured prominently during the first week of October. In all, Indian athletes were involved in seven different games, matches and meets and brought home mixed results in the process. Hartford Football blanked by unbeaten Cassopolis On the gridiron, the Hartford Varsity Football team hit the road for their final road test of the season against Cassopolis. The Indians, who had dropped two straight contests heading into Friday night, came in needing two wins in their final three games to clinch an automatic playoff berth. However, the unbeaten Rangers had another idea in mind. They would go on to outgain the Indians in rushing yards (327-65), passing yards (73-0) and total yards (400-65), as well as taking advantage of three critical turnovers by “Gang Green”. When the final whistle sounded, Cassopolis had defeated Hartford, 57-0, in a critical Southwest 10 Conference matchup for both teams. Cassopolis scored points in all four quarters. The Rangers led 20-0 after the first quarter and added 16 points in the second quarter to lead 36-0 at the half. They added 7 points in the third quarter and 14 points in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring. On offense, Hartford was led by Moses Beraza, who carried the ball 23 times for 60 yards, while Evan Parker added 13 yards on five carries. On defense, Hartford was led by Beraza, Corey Arnold and Ricky Baker with two tackles each. One tackle by Beraza was in the backfield. With the loss, Hartford falls to 4-3 on the season and 3-3 in Southwest 10 Conference play. The Indians host two straight games to finish the regular season, the first of which is Friday against undefeated Centreville. Hartford Soccer nets two wins, one defeat On the soccer pitch, the Hartford Men’s Varsity Soccer team played in three matches during one of their busiest stretches of the campaign thus far. The Indians came into the week ranked ninth in the state in Division 4. On Monday of last week, the team hosted non-conference opponent Comstock. On an evening where 11 senior athletes and their families were recognized for their dedication to the soccer program, the Indians came out motivated. They scored four first half goals to take a 4-0 half-time lead. Comstock made it close with two goals, separated by one minute apart, early in the second half. However, Hartford responded with two goals of their own to win the match, 6-2. The Indians got goals from five different players: Miggy Cardoso (2), Joel Soto, Israel Ugalde, Roy Rodriguez and Jesus Martinez. Assists were credited to Fernando Alvarez (3), Rodriguez and Brandon Galvan. Goalkeeper Rudy Martinez recorded six saves. On Wednesday, the team traveled to Grand Rapids to take on perennial power NorthPointe Christian. The Mustangs came into the match ranked #4 in Division 4, giving the Indians some much needed competition, as they make a push towards a deep postseason run. As was to be expected, it was a duel from the start. The two teams played to a draw in the first half, with neither team scoring a goal. However, the Indians began to put pressure on the Mustang defense in the second half, and, with six minutes remaining, Danny Gutierrez snuck a ball past the goalkeeper to give Hartford a 1-0 lead. That would be the lone tally in what was an incredibly entertaining affair. The defense, led by goalkeeper Rudy Martinez with eight saves, was strong all night long. On Thursday, the team traveled to Paw Paw to play the Redskins in a non-conference match. After such an exciting and fun victory on the previous night, this match can be described as a letdown. Paw Paw scored the lone goal of the night in the first half and defeated Hartford, 1-0. Goalkeeper Rudy Martinez recorded six saves for the Indians in the loss.
SENIOR SLAM… Mikenzie Chambers celebrated Hartford varsity volleyball’s Senior Night against Cassopolis with a rocket shot back across the net to the Rangers. Chambers and Janell Babcock, the lone seniors on the squad, was honored prior to the start of the game. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
After their 2-1 week, Hartford currently sits at 15-3 on the season. They only have one match in the coming week. They traveled to Bridgman on Monday to take on the Bees. The result from Monday night will be reported in next week’s Press Box. Hartford Volleyball plays hard, suffers two setbacks On the volleyball court, the Hartford Varsity Volleyball team played in two Southwest 10 Conference matches. On Tuesday, Oct. 2 they hosted Cassopolis for Senior Night, before taking the road on Thursday, playing against the current conference favorites, Centreville. In Tuesday’s match, the team suffered a straight set defeat: 25-10, 25-15 and 25-16. The Indians were led in kills by Mikenzie Chambers with seven, while Megan Nelson added two kills. Lainey Goodson led Hartford in aces with three, while Karla Robles served two aces. Hartford was led in digs by Nelson with 51, while Jaelyne Galvan added 49 digs and Chambers added 32 digs. In Thursday’s match, the team once again suffered a loss in straight sets: 25-9, 25-6 and 25-7. The Indians were led in kills by Megan Nelson and Mikenzie Chambers with two kills each, while Janell Babcock and Jaelyne Galvan added one kill a piece. Babcock led Hartford in aces with one. Hartford was led in digs by Nelson with 43, while Galvan added 40 digs, Chambers added 25 digs and Lainey Goodson added 16 digs. Hartford is currently 6-20 on the season and 1-7 in Southwest 10 Conference play. This week, the Lady Indians play two matches, one at Hartford and one on the road at Bloomingdale. The team will also compete in the Southwest 10 Conference tournament on Saturday morning at Marcellus. DIG PINK Thursday against Watervliet On Thursday Oct. 11 the Lady Indians volleyball team hosts the Lady Panthers at 1:00 p.m. for the second annual “Dig Pink Game” and both student bodies will be in attendance in the high school gym. The purpose for the matchup is to raise awareness and funds for cancer. The Dig Pink Game is open to the public and is free, but there will be a donation box available for those who would like to support the cause and donate. All proceeds from this annual event will be going to a local family to help in their current battle with the disease. Hartford Cross Country blazes trails at Southwest 10 Conference Jamboree On the Cross Country trail, the Hartford men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Marcellus Oct. 3 for the second Southwest 10 Conference Jamboree of the season. On the men’s side, Hartford finished in 6th place out of eight teams. Leading the Indians was Joey Lehmkuhl in 11th place with a time of 20:22, while Francisco Loera finished in 25th place with a time of 22:00. Other runners that contributed to the team result were Aldo Acevedo (28th place, 22:07), Moises Mejia (38th place, 24:05) and Keith Sayre (39th place, 24:07). On the women’s side, Hartford finished in 2nd place out of eight teams. Leading the Indians was Mackenzie Brinsfield in 7th place with a time of 22:48, while Adrianna Morseau finished right behind in 8th place with a time of 23:04. Other runners that contributed to the team result were Jamie Smith (13th place, 24:21), Brianna Morseau (15th place, 24:29) and Marisol Robles (16th place, 24:33). The Hartford Cross Country teams travel to Bloomingdale for their only meet of the week on Saturday morning. They will run in the Bloomingdale Invitational. Results and times will be posted in the Press Box next week.
Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant