10-17-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant


Panther Football falls to Constantine

The Panthers hosted Constantine on a rainy and sloppy field last week where the always-tough Falcons came out on top 40-6. There were some bright moments for the defense when they caused multiple turnovers again this week, but the Falcons running game was too much for the Panthers.

Tyson Williams connected with Jordan Abney on a 61-yard touchdown pass but otherwise the Panther offense struggled for every yard. Nick Polaskey, Logan Duscha, Aaron Nave, Don Smith and Jerry Unger also caught passes. The Panthers travel to Schoolcraft Friday, and host Coloma next week.

Panther boys cross competes at SAC Championship in Gobles

The Panther cross country team wrapped up the conference portion of the season by once again finishing second at the SAC Championship meet in Gobles on Thursday, Oct. 10. Six of seven varsity runners earned all-conference honors, with five earning first team all-conference.

The five first team members are Ezra Troyer (10th), Kody Edmonds (11th), Gus Hinch (12th), Trever Pelton (19th), and German Casiano (20th). Matthew Hanks ran his best race of the season to earn honorable mention all-conference.

The JV took places two through five with Alex Isbrecht, Abel Villareal, Jimmy Kolosowsky, and Mason Pennington putting up strong performances.

Team scores: Saugatuck 26, Watervliet 72, Delton-Kellogg 78, Kalamazoo Christian 135, Coloma 144

RUNNER-UP IN CONFERENCE… The MHSAA SAC Cross Country Conference Championships were held at Gobles High School on Oct 10, 2019. Watervliet placed second as a team, just missing the team championship by four points to Saugatuck. Five Panther team members who finished with run times that earned them SAC First Team All Conference status includes (from the left) juniors Hermann Casiano and Ezra Troyer, and seniors Trever Pelton, Kody Ed-monds and Gus Hinch. Not pictured is junior Matt Hanks, given honorable mention. (Photo courtesy of Robert Pelton)


Senior Night for volleyball and cross country

On Tuesday, Oct. 8 Panthers volleyball and cross country teams celebrated Senior Night, recognizing the efforts of their senior players. Volleyball recognized Susanna VanLente, and the cross country team recognized Trever Pelton, Kody Edmonds, Gus Hinch, and Alex Isbrecht.

Athletic Director Ken Dietz addressed the gathering saying, “Congratulations Class of 2020 on your successes and highlights as Panther athletes. Our programs have been enriched by your participation. Also thanks to the parents of our senior athletes for all of the support and encouragement you have provided to your child in athletics and overall. You share in all their successes.”

First season boys soccer has great showing in district play

Watervliet varsity boys soccer team played their first ever district playoff game on a cold and rainy night in South Haven on Friday, Oct. 11 facing the top-seeded Rams. The game was exciting and fast paced despite the conditions and came down to the wire, with the Rams winning 1-0.

South Haven scored in the 5th minute of the game, on a shot that just skipped into the corner, if it actually went in at all. The controversial goal counted and was all the difference in the game. The next 75 minutes held up and down action, saves by both keepers and solid defensive play, but no more goals.

Coach Doug Bornas said that South Haven is a traditional powerhouse and has won several State Championships in soccer. After the game, South Haven coach Carlos Aguayo told him the Watervliet team has something special going on and that he couldn’t believe they were that good for a first-year program.

Bornas commented, “I would also like to say a special thanks to Ken Dietz for all his help in support as AD in getting approval for our soccer team and supporting us all year with anything we needed.”

The Panthers finish with a 7-7-2 record, impressive for a first-year team that at one point was slated to play a JV schedule.

Earlier in the week the soccer team finished their regular season with a 7-1 loss to conference powerhouse Fennville. At the 13-minute mark of the first half, Nathan Isbrecht took a feed from Brennan Bornas, beat two defenders and cut around the goalkeeper to put the ball in the net for the only Watervliet goal. In the next minute, Zach Hastings made a rare save on a penalty kick, but then Fennville’s senior-dominated team took control.

Panther Volleyball topped by Coloma

Despite the Senior Night activities on October 8 the young Panther volleyball team lost its match to Coloma, 0-3.

Stat leaders for the match include Susanna VanLente 6 kills, 3 digs; Abbigayle Roberts 4 kills, 6 digs, 1 ace; Kristen Gardiner 9 assist, 1 ace.

Watervliet Panther and Hartford Indian volleyball battle it out for Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Oct. 25

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Watervliet and Hartford volleyball teams will battle in the third annual Pink Out on Friday, Oct. 25 at 1:00 p.m., at Watervliet High School. There are two ways to support this cause.

First, get a Watervliet Dig Pink t-shirt for $10 to wear proudly. All proceeds will be donated to support the fight for a cure and services for patients battling the disease. To get one, send in name and phone number along with sizes, the quantity desired and your payment by way of your Watervliet student. Or stop by the high school with your order. Please write “High School Athletics Office” on the envelope.

Orders and payments are due by Friday, October 18 at noon. Checks should be made payable to Watervliet High School.

The other way to support is to attend the game and cheer on the Panthers. Rather than an admission charge for the game, they will be passing around pink buckets to collect donations for the cause. Any questions can be directed to Nancy Scowcroft at 463-0733 or nscowcroft@waterlvietps.org.

OFF AND RUNNING… Pictured in action are (from the left) Panthers Gus Hinch, Trever Pelton, Kody Ed-monds, Matt Hanks, Hermann Casia-no and Ezra Troyer as they get off to a great start at the SAC Confer-ence Championships on Oct. 10 at Gobles. Matt Hanks was given Hon-orable Mention while the other five men runners were named SAC First Team All Conference. (Photo courtesy of Robert Pelton)


MS Football remains undefeated

The unbeaten middle school Panther football team traveled to Lawton, where they beat the previously unbeaten Blue Devils last week in an exciting 40-26 victory.

The Panthers found themselves behind early when a Blue Devil got behind the secondary to score on the first play of the game. Lawton scored again on the last play of the half to take an 18-8 lead.

Whatever the coaches did at halftime worked and it was all Watervliet as the offense couldn’t be contained and the defense was on lockdown. Scoring for the Panthers through the air and on the ground were Levi Getz and JT Davis.

Jacob Schaefer played a good game at quarterback, spreading the ball around to every receiver while taking some last second hits. The defense was a team effort with Chase Tremblay and Logan Schaefer grabbing second half interceptions.

Former Panther on D-line at Olivet

2016 Watervliet graduate David Curl is playing on the defensive line at Olivet College this season and finally got a big taste of action. In last week’s game he was credited with five tackles in a big win against Finlandia University. Hopefully that translates into more game action for the four-year Panther varsity starter.

PRESS BOX PLAYER OF THE WEEK

By Jerrod Birmele

Kyle Manning, a senior at Hartford High School, and member of the varsity football team, is this week’s Press Box Player of the Week.

Kyle has played quarterback and defensive back this fall for the Indians, and has been counted on heavily as one of the senior leaders on a team that is currently 4-3 on the season. In last week’s game against Marcellus, he had a solid game, both as a passer and as a rusher, as well as on defense. While he was just 2-for-8 passing, he threw for 56 yards, with both completions resulting in first downs. He also rushed for over 60 yards on 18 carries, with two of those carries resulting in touchdowns. On defense, he added six tackles, which tied for second-best on the team, and included two tackles-for-a-loss.

For the season, Kyle is 33-of-81 passing for 543 yards and seven touchdowns. He has also rushed the ball 44 times for over 200 yards and has scored four additional touchdowns. A two-way player, he has also contributed 30 tackles on defense, two of those tackles have been for a loss. His best game of the season came in week three, when Hartford visited Bloomingdale. In the team’s first win of the season, he was 9-of-14 passing for 201 yards and three touchdowns.

Outside of the football field, Kyle enjoys being on the dirt, where he enjoys racing his four-wheeler. After high school, he plans on attending a trade school to become a welder.

Congratulations on this great honor, Kyle! A big well done on all your accomplishments on the football field this season!

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath


Coloma football defeated by Schoolcraft, 41-12

Life has been rough for the Comets this season and next up on the schedule was the Schoolcraft Eagles, a team that was 6-0 and ranked 5th in the state in division 7.

Coloma’s coach Joe Stephens knew he had to make some offensive adjustments after being shutout in three games in a row with two of those coming at home. The weather Friday night was not going to lend itself to being supportive of any kind of aerial attack. It was a very windy and cold rain that hammered the Comet field throughout the game, so keeping the ball on the ground was going to be a must. Coloma did keep the ball on the ground for all but five plays on the night, and for the most part were able to move the ball more effectively than they have in some time.

Schoolcraft, when they did have the ball, wasted little time in scoring. They took the ball to the house from long range as they jumped out to a 27-0 first quarter lead. On the night the Eagles had a 54-yard TD pass in the first possession. They also had a 60-yard kickoff return and a 43-yard TD run by their outstanding running back, Kobe Clark. Clark scored five touchdowns in the contest.

The Comets scored their first touchdown at home this season late in the first half on an 8-yard run by Kenyon Boyd who was the Comet workhorse with 40 carries on the night good for 169 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles then ran the ensuing kickoff back 60 yards and went into the locker room leading 35-6.

Coach Stephens, in changing up their ineffective offense, moved Kenyon Boyd into the backfield. There he took the majority of the snaps and kept the ball, running mostly off right or left tackle and following his big guys up front, along with a blocking fullback set up right behind the o-line. With this newly crafted offensive adaptation, Boyd was able to chew up 4-5 yards a carry and keep the ball in the Comets hands. But too many times they were stopped after a couple first downs, and still struggled to move the ball past midfield.

In the third quarter, after Schoolcraft took a 41-6 lead, Coloma responded with another Boyd touchdown, which was helped by a 30-yard reverse by Noah Schwanke. Noah finished with 59 yards rushing, mostly on reverses, on nine carries. Nick Santarlas had a nice 20-yard pass reception from Mike Case in the second half. The game ended at 41-12 in favor of the Eagles.

The Comets actually ran more plays than the Eagles 65-39, as each team had 14 first downs. The Eagles did have 100 yards more passing than Coloma, but the Comets had 233 yards rushing to the Eagle’s 151.

Each team surprisingly had just one turnover, on this windy, rainy night. Coloma lost a fumble, while the Comets picked off one Schoolcraft aerial, by Kenyon Boyd.

Defensively Nick Santarlas and Jackson Hodges each had three tackles and one tackle for loss. Noah Schwanke and Cole Alsup each got credit for three tackles for the night.

Coloma is now 1-6 on the season.

Comet Cross Country in final SAC jamboree; 7 Comets run their way to all conference

The Coloma Comets ran like crazy at the final SAC jamboree at Gobles on Thursday, Oct. 10. The girls ran extremely well, and finished in 4th place, with five girls making the all conference squad. The five of them all finished from 15th to 30th place, and ran within one minute and four seconds of each other.

The first Comet lady to cross was Ava Genovese, who has been coming on strong recently. She ran a fine time of 22:06.69 and in 15th place overall. Right behind her in 16th place was Emma Vandermolen in 22:12.61. And next in 20th was her sister Abby, in 22:23.21. Coming in 23rd overall was Chloe Williams in 22:40.88, and in 30th place was Camryn Brown in 23:10.36.

Making all conference for the boy’s team was Comet super sophomore Jake Ickes, and fellow sophomore Ethan Vandermolen. Jake once again led the Comet boy band, coming in 16th place overall in 18:24.38. Ethan finished in 23rd, with a time of 18:54.65. The next Comet across the line was Blane Sutherland in a time of 19:17.36, in 31st place, followed by Caeleb Ishmael in 37th, in 19:47.83. Riley Davis was 44th for Coloma, 20:17.12.

Saugatuck was the Conference winner for both the boys and girls teams.

Coloma Comet Volleyball wins at Watervliet

Coloma coach Kim Swisher took her team into the Panther gym, and the Comets easily handled the Watervliet team winning in three sets, 25-12, 25-20, and 25-12. The second set provided the most excitement. The teams were tied as late as 16-16, after a Panther point tied it. The partisan Senior Night crowd was loud and loving it.

The Comets pulled away slightly, and Marissa Sherburn slammed down the 25th point to end the set. The Comets jumped out to a 17-1 lead in the final set, and pretty much quieted the crowd as they cruised to victory.

Coloma volleyball hosted a 7-team invitational on Saturday, Oct. 12, and played against some of the better teams in southwestern Michigan. The competition began bright and early Saturday morning at 8:30, with a round robin of each team playing the others, two sets.

The Comets started by splitting with a very fine Brandywine squad winning 25-12 before losing 17-25. The Comets beat Lawton, 25-14 and 27-26. They split with Saugatuck 25-21, 24-26. They lost to higher division teams with Lakeshore 18-25, 15-25; Edwardsburg, 9-25, 18-25; and then Dowagiac, 19-25 and 18-25.

For the day Marissa Sherburn had 12 kills, seven digs, and five blocks. Kelsey Ellis had one kill, three assists, three aces, and 34 digs. Madison McQuillan had 17 kills, 60 assists, four aces, and 18 digs. Gracie Whitaker had six kills, three aces, 16 digs, and one block. Maurissa LaGrow had five aces and three digs, while Rozlyn Emrich had three kills, four digs, and four blocks. Marisa Pullins had two kills and one dig. Taryn Blazier had 20 kills, three aces, 27 digs, and two blocks. Megan Neubecker had 38 kills, eight aces, 15 digs, and 12 blocks. Mia Cole had one kill, eight aces, and 28 digs.

Coloma boys soccer team opens district play with 1-0 win over Constantine; ending with loss to South Haven

The Coloma Comet boys began district play at home by playing Constantine, a team they had beaten in conference play just a couple of weeks ago. This win however was much tougher to come by. They finally put the first score on the board at the 44:31 mark of the second half, and made that goal stand up as they were tough on defense all night. The Comets are hosting the finals of the district, and will play any of their games at home.

The young Comet soccer team ended their season on a high note, even though they were beaten, as they played on Monday night against the number 1 seed in the district, the South Haven Rams. This spunky Comet team which has 11 sophomores played even with the Rams all night long, before falling by a final score of 2-1. South Haven scored a goal just four minutes into the game, and then Coloma’s defense held them to just one more goal, a tremendous effort against this vaunted team from South Haven. Layne Whitaker scored the Coloma goal at 74:55, assisted by Tyler Russell.

Coloma can hold their heads high, and know even better things will be coming for Coach Gary Gagliardo’s team in the coming years.

Coloma Middle School cross country wins MHSAA regional

The Coloma Comet middle school boys won the division 2 regional championship on Saturday, Oct. 12, in the event which took place in Vicksburg. The Comets placed five runners in the top 15, led by Boden Genovese who finished first overall in a time of 11:11.1, on this 2-mile course. Boden beat the 2nd place runner to the line by more than a minute and eight seconds, a huge margin for a race of this type. Finishing third for Coloma was Eddie Granados, 8th Garrett Wolfe, 13th Aiden Cripe, and 15th Fletcher Todd. Congratulations to this young Comet squad. The middle school team is coached by Jenn Ickes.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele


Hartford Football returns to win column with 26-6 Marcellus victory

Last Friday night, Oct. 11, the Hartford Indian Football team played their final home game of the regular season under the lights at Indian Stadium against Marcellus. The Indians had suffered a tough defeat the week prior, and were looking to get back into the win column for the fourth time this season. Also, to keep their slimming playoff hopes alive, the team would have to win out, meaning that one slip would likely be the dagger and take them out of playoff talk.

On one wet and somewhat windy night, Hartford and Marcellus played what could be characterized as an “ugly” game. Both teams had their share of fumbles and turnovers, and for one half, it looked like it would be rather close. The game was deadlocked at 6 at halftime, but Hartford got their act together, scoring on both offense and defense in the second half and holding Marcellus scoreless. The final result was a 26-6 victory for the Indians, who beat the Wildcats for the 14th time in 15 meetings.

KINCHEN IN ACTION… Hartford’s Tanner Kinchen (72) races in to attempt a block on a punt by Marcellus’ Carter Thornburgh (84) during Friday night’s game, Oct. 11. While Kinchen did not get the block, he helped the Indians control the game on the offensive and defensive lines, which lead Hartford to a 26-6 victory in their final home game of the regular season. (Photo courtesy of Angie Johnson)


Marcellus scored the first points of the game on an 8-yard run in the first quarter to make it 6-0. Hartford responded on their next possession when Aaron Sinclair took the handoff and ran to his left, going untouched on an 8-yard touchdown run to even the score at 6-6. The extra-point try on a kick was no good, and the score remained tied. There was no scoring in the second quarter, as bad field position, along with fumbles and turnovers became the story.

The third quarter saw just one score by the Indians. They drove right down the field with their consistent rushing attack, and found pay dirt when quarterback Kyle Manning scored from one yard out on the QB sneak. Hartford went for two, and they converted, as the run was successful. That made the score 14-6 through three stanzas.

Hartford really opened the game up in the fourth quarter, scoring their final two touchdowns to put the game really out of reach. The first touchdown came via quarterback Kyle Manning, who plowed through the defensive line and kept his feet moving, carrying tacklers all the way to the end zone for a nearly 20-yard touchdown. The Indians tried for the two-point conversion, but the attempt failed, leaving the game 20-6 early in the final frame.

The final touchdown of the night came on a great defensive play. The Indian defense forced a fumble and recovered for the third time on the night. But, this one went back to the house, as Joe Beebe picked the ball up and rumbled over 30-yards for the score. Hartford tried for the extra-point kick, but a bad snap forced a pass, and it was unsuccessful, bringing the game to the final score of 26-6.

Offensively, despite the final score, Marcellus outgained Hartford in total yards, 178-167. Of the 167 yards of total offense for the Indians, 111 were rushing yards and 56 were passing yards. Aaron Sinclair led the rushing attack, carrying the rock 18 times for 67 yards and a score, while Kyle Manning added over 60 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. Manning was 2-for-8 passing for 56 yards and an interception. Joe Beebe made a reception for 31 yards, while Elijah Ledesma caught the other pass for 25 yards.

Defensively, Hartford was led by Ricky Baker with eight tackles, including three tackles-for-a-loss. Manning and David Fernandez added six tackles each, while Beebe and Yair Delgado pitched in five stops a piece.

Hartford is currently 4-3 on the season, and has the same record in Southwest 10 Conference play. The Indians finish the regular season with back-to-back road games, the first of which will be this Friday, Oct. 18, as they travel to Decatur to take on the Raiders. Kickoff this week is set for the normal 7:00 p.m. time until further notice.

Hartford Volleyball plays tough, suffers two more conference losses

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, the Lady Indians played a conference match at Marcellus against the Lady ‘Cats. The two teams usually play some close matches, but with Hartford’s recent struggles, any result was on the table. Unfortunately, the losing skid continued, as the Lady Indians were once again on the wrong end of this one, suffering defeat in straight sets: 25-19, 25-18 and 25-11.

In terms of statistics, Hartford was led in aces by Destiny Chacon, Lainey Goodson, Ariah Jordan and Alexis Snodgrass, all of whom served one ace each. Snodgrass led the team in kills with six, while Megan Nelson added five and Kenzie Burfield posted two. Gillian Kuehnle and Nelson led the team in digs with 10, while Goodson and Karla Robles added seven each. Other statistical leaders included Kuehnle and Nelson with five assists each and Snodgrass with three blocks.

On Thursday night the Lady Indians played host to the Lady Raiders of Decatur on “Senior Night”. Decatur is among the better teams in the league, and came in to the match having played solid volleyball recently. The Lady Indians hoped to turn things around in front of a nice crowd that filled Indian Gymnasium, but once again, were defeated in straight sets: 25-10, 25-12 and 25-13.