10-26-2016 Tri-City Area Sports

Watervliet captures perfect regular season record after cruising past Coloma

WATERVLIET FOOTBALL REIGNS SUPREME… Watervliet’s 2017 varsity football squad was crowned Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division champions Friday night. The team finished the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record and will head into the playoffs with a game against Schoolcraft at home Friday night.                                (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The Friday night battle between Watervliet and Coloma showcased the epitome of football here in the Tri-City area.

Coloma was searching for their sixth win of the season to guarantee their spot in the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s football playoffs. Southwestern Athletic Conference foe Watervliet sought to maintain their perfect record and defeat their Red Arrow Highway rivals. And, what a game it was!

With temperatures in the low 70s at kickoff and clear skies, the weather lent itself more to summer than the representative fall classic.

The game marked the final regular season football game for both teams, and it got good early.

PICKENS PURSUED BY COMET CREW… Watervliet quarterback Zack Pickens was pursued by a host of Comets much of the evening Friday as the teams reestablished their final week football rivalry of the 2017 season. Pickens picked apart the Coloma defense with ease. He was 13 of 16 and passed for 181 yards. He also scored four touchdowns on the ground as he rushed 23 times for 194 yards. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Coloma won the toss and deferred to Watervliet. The Comet kick was returned by Watervliet’s Jakob Aldrich.

On the first play of Watervliet’s first possession, quarterback Zack Pickens completed a pass to Ryan Chisek, who was drilled and dropped by Coloma’s Tevin Blazier. The sound reverberated throughout the stadium, and the rivalry football game was full on.

Pickens ran two plays himself before passing again. He picked up additional yardage after shucking off Comet defenders and traveled to the one yard line. It would be Watervliet and Pickens who scored the game’s first touchdown, six points for the Panthers coming just under three minutes into the game.

Blazier broke up the two-point conversion pass attempt, but Watervliet led 6-0.

Sincere Taylor of Coloma picked up the Watervliet kickoff. On Coloma’s first play, the squad lost a yard.

Caleb Ellis caught the pitch from Coloma quarterback Zack Goodline. Then, it was Goodline who went deep for Coloma on a rush.

After running two consecutive rushing plays that lost two and one yards, respectively, Coloma faced a third and 13 from the Watervliet 20 yard line.

Goodline threw a bomb to the end zone but the ball fell incomplete. Goodline tried again, facing fourth and 13, but Watervliet’s Bryant Kieft broke up the pass. On their first possession, Coloma turned the ball over on downs.

On Watervliet’s next possession, Pickens posted a big run into Coloma territory. But, a stout Comet defense made things difficult for Watervliet and forced a fourth and four from the 20 yard line. Following a dead ball foul, Coloma took over at their own 10 yard line.

Zack Lake went to work for the Comets. He picked up a first down. That was followed by a first down run by Goodline and another by Lake.  Ellis completed a nine-yard run before Goodline converted for the first down, which ended the first quarter of play. Watervliet led 6-0.

Coloma got on the scoreboard in the second quarter on a 10-yard rush by Goodline with 9:52 left in the first half. Derek Plitt kicked the point after attempt, and Coloma snagged the lead from Watervliet, 7-6.

Following the Plitt kickoff, which was fielded by Watervliet’s Garrett Matthews, Pickens rushed twice and then launched a pass to Kieft. With 8:22 left in the second quarter, Pickens picked up his second touchdown of the night on a five-yard scamper. Kieft successfully converted the two-point rush and Watervliet reclaimed the lead 14-7.

Coloma started their possession at their own 37 yard line following the kick return by Taylor. The Comets attempted to work the field but ended up facing third and three. It was Goodline’s pitch to Levi Wilkens that secured the Comet first down.

Goodline then completed a toss to Ellis who picked up another first down. With third down and seven showing on the scoreboard, Wilkens bounced and banged off Watervliet players as he moved downfield.  He gained three yards to force a fourth and four.

Ellis took the pitch on the left side and cleared the first down marker. The Comets moved the ball much of the first half but seemed to struggle finding open holes in the Watervliet defense.

Coloma, facing fourth and eight, was unable to convert after Blake Kinzler dropped Goodline in the backfield for a loss. Coloma turned the ball over on downs.

Watervliet’s final attempt at scoring in the first half was met with a strong Comet defense.  Pickens earned a first down on another scamper, but Coloma defenders brought down Kieft for a loss of five yards.

TUCK AND RUN… Coloma’s Levi Wilkens holds onto the ball as Watervliet’s Sheldon Tobar works to bring him down during the team’s Friday night faceoff at Panther Stadium. Wilkens rushed for 43 yards on 13 carries in the 36-14 Comet loss. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack

Pickens fired right back with another pass to Kieft and picked up the first down.

Coloma took down Pickens, and Ellis broke up a long pass intended for Watervliet’s Trent Boone, leaving Watervliet with a third and 10. The last play of the first half found Pickens being tackled. Watervliet 14, Coloma 7.

Coloma’s Taylor fielded the second-half kickoff. Goodline faked the handoff to Lake and tallied the first down.

The next series of plays featured Goodline picking up a first down on a quarterback keeper and another first down after Wilkens hoofed it downfield. He was brought down by Watervliet’s Sheldon Tobar.

In what would become one of the most talked about plays by the Monday morning quarterbacks, Goodline launched a long end zone pass, which was promptly picked off by Kieft.

Watervliet would work the ball downfield, as Pickens passed the ball around. He sent a pitch to Kieft, a toss to Boone, a pass to Chisek, and the Panthers found themselves with first and goal from the one yard line.

It was Pickens again finding his way into the end zone one-yard out with 3:06 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion pass to Kieft was good and Watervliet widened their lead to 22-7.

Coloma’s next possession resulted in a punt after the Comets were unsuccessful in creating plays that picked up significant yardage.

Following the kick, Watervliet stood on their 34 with first and ten.  Pickens would score again for Watervliet with 1:03 left on the clock in the quarter on a 58-yard run. The two-point conversion to James Bell failed, but Watervliet enjoyed a healthy 28-7 lead following three complete quarters.

Coloma again struggled offensively. At one point, they faced a fourth and four from their own 37 yard line. Goodline ran two keepers for two first downs.

Levi Wilkens caught a long Goodline throw at the one yard line amid three Watervliet defenders. He held onto the ball even with all the traffic in the air and gave Coloma great field position.

Goodline ran the ball into the end zone for Coloma’s second score of the evening. Plitt’s PAT was good, and Coloma closed the gap to 28-14 with 7:09 left in the game.

Coloma attempted an onside kick but it was touched by a Comet before the ball traveled the requisite 10 yards. Watervliet opted to take the ball from their own 49 yard line. But, Watervliet would end up turning the ball over on downs.

With Goodline back under center, he tossed the ball to Levi Starnes who turned backwards and pitched it into the outstretched arms of Wilkens for a gain of six yards.

Goodline then heaved another long pass downfield to Ellis but the ball was picked off by Lamarrius Smith as yellow hankies rained down.

The call was offsetting penalties and the ball was placed at the Watervliet 26 yard line with Watervliet receiving possession.

Kieft created a little magic on the next play as he raced 74 yards into the end zone for Watervliet’s final score of the night with 4:06 left on the clock. Pickens converted the two-point play and Watervliet led 36-14.

Coloma’s next possession saw Robbie Schroeder catch a pass for a first down.  Goodline ran with the ball and Pickens made the stop. Then, Goodline tossed a long pass downfield which was picked off by Pickens.

Watervliet took a knee four times to run out the clock for the 36-14 win.

Pickens was 13 of 16 for 181 yards. He also rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries.

Dylan Lynch picked up nine yards on three carries, while Kieft had 71 yards and one TD on four carries.

Kieft was Pickens’ favorite receiver; he caught seven passes for 78 yards.  Chisek had four receptions for 48 yards, while Boone caught three passes for 40 yards.

Matthews and Jakob Aldrich both caught one pass each for seven and eight yards, respectively.

Matthews led Watervliet on defense with nine tackles and four assists. Chisek added four tackles and eight assists.  Tobar tallied six tackles and four assists.  Anthony Wade accounted for three tackles and five assists, while Kinzler had five tackles and three assists. Kieft notched eight tackles.

Smith landed three tackles and three assists. Eric Kehrer Bell rang the Comets’ bells for two tackles and four assists. Pickens produced three tackles and two assists.

In contrasting the first half of play versus the second half, Coloma head coach Joe Stephens said, “The biggest issue was we had two long drives that we didn’t finish. We moved the ball the whole way but you can’t come up empty.  You have to finish drives. We didn’t.”

Unfortunately for Coloma, they were without two starters.  Jamane Smith Jr., star senior fullback and linebacker, and Rickie McClain, a senior center and defensive lineman, did not play in the game.

“Guys stepped up in their place and they gave Watervliet a half and little bit of the third quarter as good a game as they have had all year,” Stephens said.

“We played bend but don’t break most of the night on defense,” Andrews commented. “We gave up some yards, but we didn’t give up a lot of points. In the end, that’s the name of the game.

“Our offense was pretty tough to hold down all night. Considering we had a limited number of possessions, 36 points isn’t too bad.”

Goodline was five of 16 for 105 yards and three interceptions. He also ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries.

Ellis carried the ball 10 times for 88 yards. Wilkens rushed 15 times for 76 yards. He also caught three passes for 47 yards.

Lake caught one pass for seven yards and ran seven times for 27 yards.

Cody Reese led Coloma with five tackles and three assists. Calvin Hutchinson tallied two tackles and four assists. Billy Boyd contributed two tackles and three assists.

Blazier had three tackles and one assist.  Matthew Davis posted three tackles, one assist, and one sack.  Wilkens had one tackle and three assists.

Coloma ended their season 5-4, as they did not have enough playoff points to sneak into the post-season, with Stephens recognizing, “We’re a long, long shot in Class B. If anyone deserves [a playoff spot], they do.”

Watervliet maintained their perfect record and claimed the SAC-Valley division championship.

Watervliet head coach Jeremy Andrews was thrilled with his team’s performance. “We accomplished another one of our goals for the season which was win every regular season game. The regular season is special, but we have to make sure we’re not satisfied with that.  Our goals are much higher than that and we have to come ready to go on Monday.”

Pickens had high praise for his coach. “He’s been like another dad to me. He’s awesome. He’s been working with us. He knows we’re a special group and he treats us like his sons.”

Watervliet will face Schoolcraft Friday at Panther Stadium in the first playoff contest.  Be sure to get to the stadium early! Watervliet beat Schoolcraft in week eight competition but both teams will be playing for the win.

Hartford soccer claims Division 4 District Championship

 Hartford soccer continues its winning ways, this time achieving the 2017 Division 4 district championship hosted at New Buffalo.

Hartford faced Lake Michigan Catholic on Tuesday, October 17 in Benton Harbor and won 5-1.

EYES ON THE BALL… Hartford’s Lalo Jimenez maneuvers the soccer ball downfield Saturday as a Bridgman player works to defend. Jimenez and the rest of the Indians shut out Bridgman 3-0 at host New Buffalo to bring home the Division 4 district championship trophy. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

William Martinez led Hartford with two goals. Brandon Galvan, Nick Pultz, and Ulises Bacilio scored one goal apiece.

Lalo Jimenez and Herik Garcia were credited with one assist each.

The Hartford defense held strong against the Lakers and allowed only three shots on goal in the game.

Rudy Martinez and Riley Traver shared keeper duties for Hartford.

With the win, Hartford moved on and faced Michigan Lutheran in the district semi-final match.

The Indians made quick work of Michigan Lutheran, as they scored two goals in the first three minutes of play. In the end, Hartford shut out Lutheran 8-0 to earn a spot in the championship game.

Jimenez led Hartford with three goals. Galvan, Fernando Alvarez, Martinez, Elijah Cowgill, and Chris Yang each scored one goal.

Martinez was credited with two assists. Ulises Bacilio, Jovani Calderon, Isai Ordonez, Osvaldo Hernandez, and Inteus Dixon each had an assist in the victory.

The championship game was held Saturday, October 21. Hartford faced Bridgman.

Hartford’s defense was in fine form. The squad limited the Bees to just one shot on goal all night.

Hartford, on the other hand, had plenty of time in front of the ball and Bridgman net. William Martinez scored all three Hartford goals in the 3-0 blanking of Bridgman.

Hartford had 16 shots on goal.

“We anticipated [Bridgman] making adjustments [following intermission]. We changed how our defense moved,” Hartford head coach Nick Blackmer said.

The adjustments proved successful, as Hartford hoisted the district championship trophy.

Relishing the moment, Blackmer said, “I am the luckiest coach because I have wonderful kids. Talent-wise they are as good as any team [Hartford] has had.”

With the victory, Hartford moves into regional competition at Hope College Tuesday, October 24 for a game against Wyoming Potter’s House.

“We played them already this year and we tied and lost in a shootout,” Blackmer said. “They are a quality squad. They work the ball, they have a tough defense. But, we’ll be ready.”

(On press day, MHSAA reports Hartford beat Wyoming Potter’s House, 1-0. Hartford Indians soccer takes on Kalamazoo Hackett this Friday, Oct. 27.)

Hartford football returns to playoffs following 57-27 blowout over Bloomingdale

 Hartford headed into Friday’s game against Bloomingdale with a 5-3 record. The squad needed a win in their final week of regular season football to earn an automatic berth in the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s playoffs. They got it – in a big, big way.

The Indians bested Bloomingdale 57-27 to secure their chance for post-regular season glory on the gridiron.

TRIBE PRIDE… The Hartford In-dians will face Vermontville Maple Valley Friday at home in an MHSAA football playoff game. The Indians were 6-3 during the regular season and earned an automatic berth in the playoffs. The Indians will rely heavily on their ground game and quarterback Garrod Johnson. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The road game found Bloomingdale getting on the board first. They scored on an 88-yard run and successful PAT.

Hartford responded with a two-yard run by Robert Ledesma Jr. Danny Resendez nailed the point after attempt. The game would close out the first quarter in a 7-7 tie.

Hartford went to work in the second quarter.  Ledesma Jr. got the call again and scored his second TD on a 24-yard rush.  Moses Beraza converted the two-point run play, and Hartford opened up a 15-7 lead.

Bloomingdale responded with an eight-yard touchdown pass but was not able to convert the two-point play. Hartford led 15-13.

It was Aaron Sinclair that scored the next six points for Hartford. He caught the reception from Hartford quarterback Garrod Johnson on the seven-yard pass play. Resendez drilled the PAT again and Hartford opened their lead to 22-13 at intermission.

In the third quarter, Sinclair scored his second TD on the night. He ran a 69-yard play straight to the end zone. Resendez hit another PAT and Hartford led 29-13.

Bloomingdale’s answer was to score a TD on a 12-yard run. They also scored on the two-point conversion run to close the game to 29-21.

Moses Beraza was up next for Hartford. He scored on a 40-yard pass play from Johnson. Resendez’s kick was good, and the third quarter closed out with Hartford leading 36-21.

Beraza made it two TDs in a row as he scored in the fourth quarter, this time on a 41-yard pass play. The PAT by Resendez was good, and Hartford led 43-21.

Robert Ledesma scored his third and fourth touchdowns on the night. He scored on 11-yard and 20-yard runs. Resendez hit both PATs, and Hartford increased their lead to 57-21.

Bloomingdale capped off the scoring with an 80-yard end zone run. Their two-point conversion attempt failed, and the game ended 57-27 in Hartford’s favor.

Hartford ran 63 plays compared to 50 by Bloomingdale. Bloomingdale struggled to pick up any yards in the air; they tallied eight total passing yards and threw two interceptions.

Hartford had 530 total yards, with 198 coming through the air and 332 on the ground.

Johnson was impressive, going eight of nine for 198 yards and three touchdowns.  He also rushed for 35 yards on five carries.

Ledesma churned out 176 yards and four TDs on 28 carries.  Sinclair picked up 87 yards and one TD on four carries.

Evan Parker carried the ball 10 times for 37 yards. He also caught two passes for 26 yards and one TD.

Beraza racked up 162 yards and two TDs on four receptions.

Joe Beebe caught one pass for eight yards.  Alex Polus had one catch for two yards.

Buddy Earls and Luke Manning led Hartford with six tackles and two assists.  Garrett Brandt provided five tackles. Bobby Johnson accounted for four tackles, one assist, and one interception. Beraza had three tackles and one assist.

Parker notched two tackles and one assist, while Noah Wade chipped in two tackles. Cory Arnold had one tackle and two assists.

With the win, Hartford will face Vermontville Maple Valley in the playoffs beginning Friday at home. Kickoff is 7:00 p.m.

District volleyball set to open Monday

 District volleyball competition opens Monday, October 30.

Coloma has earned a first round bye in the Class B District 33 competition at South Haven. They will face the winner of the South Haven/Niles game at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1.

In Class C District 65 competition at Bridgman, Hartford will take on the host at 7:00 p.m. The winner of that contest will head directly to the championship game scheduled for Friday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Bridgman.

Watervliet will face off against Cassopolis at home at 5:30 p.m. The winner will move on to challenge Brandywine Wednesday, November 1 at Bridgman.

In Class D District 97 action at Lake Michigan Catholic, Watervliet Grace Christian has earned a first round bye. They will face the winner of the LMC/Lawrence matchup on Wednesday, November 1 at 7:45 p.m. at the host location.

Coloma and Watervliet tangle on the volleyball court

 Watervliet hosted Southwestern Athletic Conference rival Coloma Tuesday, October 17 in Senior Night volleyball action.

Coloma would win the contest 27-25, 25-13, 25-9. The two teams were evenly matched in the first game, but Coloma would overpower the Panthers in the final two sets.

Morgan Wagner led Coloma with eight kills, two assists, once ace, 12 digs, and three blocks. Kelly Walter offered up 19 kills, five aces, 11 digs, and four blocks. Kayla Yore chipped in 11 kills, 30 assists, two aces, 22 digs, and one block.

Hannah Mathis hit five kills, three aces, and nine digs.

Megan Neubecker contributed two kills, nine assists, four digs, and one block. Mya Potter posted 13 digs.  Sam Stewart had one kill, one ace, and nine digs. Mika Anderson added three kills, one ace, and nine digs.

Watervliet was led by Kara Liles with one assist, six kills, one dig, and four blocks. Emma Armstrong added one ace, 12 digs, and one block. Jaelyn Pitre posted 11 assists and two kills. Zoe Smith smacked five kills and seven digs.  Elaine Koshar contributed four kills and one block. Grace Smith had two kills and five digs.

Hartford’s runners win All-Conference honors in cross country

 The Hartford Indians’ cross country teams ran in the Southwest 10 Jamboree III at Centerville High School on Wednesday, October 18. Two Hartford runners earned All-Conference nods after they finished in the top 25.

Bangor won the men’s division with 50 points. Hartford took eighth place with 191 points.

Trey Ackerman was the first Hartford runner across the finish line. He took 22nd place overall with a time of 19:33. Teammate Francisco Loera trailed in 23rd place (19:39). Both runners won All-Conference honors based on their performance and finish place.

Evan Delarosa flew into 44th place (21:25).  James Lucero captured 51st place (22:28), while Blake Snyder (25:12) and Francisco Medrano (30:07) finished 70th and 77th, respectively.

In the women’s division, Bloomingdale won the meet championship with 43 points. Hartford tied with Centreville; both teams scored 80 points.

Adrianna Morseau finished eighth overall with a time of 21:37.  Brianna Morseau took 12th place (22:22).  Marisol Robles ran into 15th place (22:42).  Angela Saldana sailed into 21st place (23:05).  Abigail Lopez claimed 24th place (23:50) following her personal record setting run.

Both Morseaus, Robles, Saldana, and Lopez earned All-Conference honors.

Jamie Smith took 27th place (24:02).  Katherine Sanchez finished 29th (24:18).  Alexis Griffith ended the event in 38th place (25:52).  Esther Ugalde’s time of 27:47 was good for 47th place. Mariela Gutierrez finished in 56th place (28:39).

Hartford shut down at St. Joe

 The Hartford volleyball team played in the St. Joe invitational Saturday, October 21 and lost 0-3 amid tough tourney competition from the host, Edwardsburg, and Paw Paw.

In the quarterfinals, the Indians were edged out by Edwardsburg 25-6, 25-14.

Megan Nelson led Hartford with two aces, four kills, two assist, and 70 digs.  Elly Valdes had three kills and three blocks, while Jessica Cortes hit six assists and landed 66 digs.  Mikenzie Chambers contributed five kills and two blocks.  Jasmine Solis was credited with 18 digs.

Hartford cross country goes the distance in Gobles Little Guys Invitational

 The boys’ and girls’ varsity cross country teams of Hartford participated in Saturday’s Gobles Little Guys Invitational. With beautiful, warm weather, the meet produced quite a few new personal records.

Berrien Springs won the men’s division with 28 points, while Hartford finished 12th.

Francisco Loera led the Indians with his 30th place finish. His time of 19:13 set a new PR for the runner.

Trey Ackerman took 67th place (21:34), while Evan Delarosa ran to a 70th place finish (21:52).

Francisco Medrano took 78th place (24:28), and Blake Snyder earned 80th place (26:07).

For the young ladies, Bloomingdale won the championship with 70 points. Hartford finished third overall, just nine points from the championship position.

Adrianna Morseau set a new PR with her time of 21:34; she finished 12th overall.

Brianna Morseau ran to a 19th place finish (22:33). Angela Saldana cruised to a 26th place finish (23:10). She was followed by Marisol Robles in 27th place (23:12).

Jamie Smith set a new PR with her time of 23:27; she crossed the finish line in 33rd place. Katherine Sanchez also set a new PR with her 36th place time of 23:43.

Abigail Lopez finished 41st for Hartford (24:01).

Coloma cross country runs the course at Mustang Invitational

 The boys’ varsity cross country team at Coloma finished in second place at the Mustang Invitational Tuesday, October 17.

The trekkers took to the course at River Valley High School in Three Oaks and were just three points shy of champion Three Oaks River Valley’s 46-point win.

Coloma’s Adiel Granados finished first for the Comets. He was third overall with a time of 18:27.

Blane Sutherland coasted to a ninth place finish (20:07). Ian Ishmael took 10th place (20:14), while Josh Young raced to 11th place (20:18).

Willie Donald’s time of 21:27 was good for 16th place, while Hunter Crist finished in 17th place (21:39).

For the girls’ varsity cross country squad, Coloma finished third with 60 points. Niles was the invitational champion with 19 points.

Coloma’s Emma Vandermolen was fifth overall with a time of 21:58.  Abby Vandermolen took ninth place (23:04).

Gabby Ezell set a new personal record with her time of 26:09; she finished 19th.

Julia Sternaman took 20th place (26:21).  Samantha Scott raced to 26th place (27:16). Marissa Sherburn crossed the finish line in 27th place (27:20).

Phoebe Browne’s time of 28:44 was good for 31st place, while teammate McKenzie Ecker finished in 32nd place and Amaria Echols took 33rd place with times of 28:46 and 30:02, respectively. Kayla Walter finished 34th (30:50).

Facing do or die on the court, Watervliet volleyball bounces back for win

 Chalk the Thursday, October 19 game featuring the Panthers of Watervliet on the road against Galesburg-Augusta to one of the best this season.

Watervliet faced a true test on the hardwood as they dropped the first two games to the host Rams 25-22, 25-23. Watervliet hung tough with Galesburg-Augusta but it appeared the home team might just have the edge on the Panthers. That was until game three. The offense sparked to life with a new sense of urgency, and the Panthers blasted the Rams 25-15 for the win.

In game four, Watervliet continued with their hard-charging effort on the court. They won that game 25-21 to force a decisive game five.

It was Jaelyn Pitre who belted an ace to start the scoring, and the Panthers never let up. They won 15-10 to take the 3-2 victory.

Mikalah Clay had one assist, two kills, one ace, four digs, and three blocks.  Pitre hit 27 assists, two aces, and two digs.

Zoe Smith added seven kills, one ace, 12 digs, and one block. Kara Liles had nine kills and five blocks.

Grace Smith tallied 10 digs. Emma Armstrong accounted for six kills, two aces, and eight digs.

Caley Simmons had one ace and five digs.  Brenna Langston served up two aces and three digs. Elaine Koshar contributed four kills, two digs, and four blocks.

Coloma soccer season ends with loss to Dowagiac

 The Comets of Coloma ended their varsity soccer season with an 8-0 loss to Dowagiac on Wednesday, October 18.

Coloma earned a bye in Division 3 first round action. They faced the Chieftains in the district semi-final game, after Dowagiac shut out Brandywine 8-0.

Watervliet hits the course in Kalamazoo Christian Invitational

 The Panthers of Watervliet faced some pretty stiff competition Saturday, October 21 as they ran in the Kalamazoo Christian Comet Invitational.

Grand Rapids South Christian won the boys’ championship with 35 points. Watervliet claimed sixth place overall with 170 points.

Leading the Panthers was Ezra Troyer. He set a new personal record with his time of 18:16 en route to a 26th place finish.

Gus Hinch finished 27th (18:17). Trevor Pelton took 43rd place (19:12) and also set a new PR.

Alex Isbrecht set a new PR; he finished 45th with a time of 19:15. Nick Swanson sailed to 50th place (19:24).  Kade Van Niel’s time of 19:26 was a new personal best; he finished 53rd.

Austin Roberts took 63rd place (19:43). Matthew Hanks set a new PR; he finished the course in 19:59 in 74th place.

Trailing Hanks was Klayton Marshall in 75th place (20:03).  Tom Swanson was 122nd (21:36). Aaron Leoni finished 128th with a new PR time of 21:53. Josh Reeves completed Watervliet’s effort in 167th place (25:40).

The girls’ varsity cross country team did not qualify for a team score. Angelina Hammond was the first Panther finisher. She took 72nd place with a time of 24:05, a new PR.

Alyssa Hobson finished 75th (24:08).  Keyona Klimkiewicz took 132nd with her new PR-setting time of 26:42.  Bailey Swisher set a new PR with her time of 28:00; she finished the event in 151st place.

Coloma volleyball crushes Delton Kellogg

 The Comets earned another three-game victory this season as they defeated Delton Kellogg 25-22, 25-14 and 25-15 Thursday, October 19.

Megan Neubecker knocked out two kills, three assists, one block and four digs for the Comets.  Morgan Wagner whipped out eight kills, two assists, 12 digs, and two blocks at the net.

Kayla Yore crushed seven kills, 21 assists, 12 digs, one ace and two blocks.  Hannah Mathis hit three kills, three digs, and one ace.

Kelly Walter added 16 kills, three blocks, one ace, and nine digs. Mika Anderson accounted for four kills, seven digs, and three aces.

Mya Potter had 26 digs, and Sam Stewart chipped in six digs.

Truex Jr. wins big in Hollywood Casino 400

 Martin Truex Jr. is having a high-rolling, jackpot winning season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Truex Jr., who is the leader in the driver standings, came up aces in Sunday’s Kansas Speedway Hollywood Casino 400 where he nabbed a bonus trip to Victory Lane.

Truex Jr. won the third race of the Round of 12 competition. He also won at Charlotte, the first race in the Round of 12.

He led 91 of the race’s 267 laps. Truex Jr. started from the pole position and had plenty of clear track for a good portion of the race.  He notched his lucky seventh win of the 2017 season and earned his 14th career victory.

Kurt Busch, the only driver in the top five who did not qualify for a chance at the championship title, finished the race in the runner-up position. He has one win under his belt this season.

Ryan Blaney led three laps Sunday on his way to a third-place finish.  Blaney has notched one win and four top five this season.

Chase Elliott zoomed into fourth place.  Elliott, in his second year driving in the NASCAR Cup Series, has zero wins this year but does have 10 top five finishes.

Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five after he led two laps. Hamlin has two wins on the season.

Following Sunday’s race, four drivers were eliminated from championship consideration.  Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Jamie McMurray failed to qualify for Round of Eight competition.

Drivers who led laps Sunday but did not finish in the top five were: Kyle Busch (race high 112 laps), Kevin Harvick (37), Brad Keselowski (18), and McMurray (1).

Truex Jr. and Keselowski were the only two drivers who won races in the three-race Round of 12 competition. They automatically qualified for the Round of Eight.

Joining them in hot pursuit of the Cup championship will be:  Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Hamlin, Blaney, and Elliott.

The Round of Eight competition begins Sunday with the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Following that outing, races will be held at Texas Motor Speedway, and Phoenix Raceway.

Of the eight drivers fighting for their spot in the final round to run and gun for the championship, only four will qualify.  Sunday’s race will be the first step. Who will be the first driver to make it through to the final championship round? Find out next week!

Krell wins week with 7-1 record but Hildebrand leads AQB pack overall

By Kristy Noack

This year’s Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback contest is a tight one! Only six games separate all six contestants, and only three players are one game out of first.

The Tri-City Record AQB contest is comprised of six local football fans who celebrate their love of the game by predicting who will win eight high school, college, and professional football games each week.

Their records are tabulated weekly and at the end of the football season, following the Super Bowl, one AQB is crowned champion and receives a TCR AQB ball cap.

In the event there is a tie between our players, one game is specially selected each week as the tie-breaker game. The contestants must determine how many points will be scored in that game, and that guess is used to determine who lands where in the standings.

This week, Greg Krell posted the best record by going 7-1. Chicago’s win over Carolina tripped up every AQB – and everyone else in the entire world – this week.

Tim Hildebrand, RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht and Rodney Lynch tallied 6-2 records, so their place in the standings came down to the Coloma/Watervliet tie-breaker game.

The teams totaled 50 points in Watervliet’s 36-14 win over Coloma.

With his 55-point prediction, Lynch landed in second place for the week.

Rodney-Isbrecht laid claim to third place with her 84-point guess, which left Hildebrand in fourth place after he predicted 88 points would be scored.

Bryan Conrad’s 5-3 record earned him a fifth place finish, and Chris Leach took sixth place after she garnered a 4-4 record for the week.

Hildebrand continues to lead the pack with his 54-18 record overall. He remains in the lead, with only a one-game margin separating him from second place.

And in second place are three AQBs chomping the bit to knock Hildebrand from his perch.

Rodney-Isbrecht, Lynch, and Krell are all 53-19, just one game out. Krell gained one game this week and is back in the hunt.

Leach has a 49-23 record and sole possession of fifth place. She lost a game to Conrad, who inched a smidge closer to overtaking her. Conrad holds a 48-24 overall record.

Regular season football has ended for high schools across Michigan, and we are now into the playoffs.  Both Hartford and Watervliet will represent the Tri-City area this Friday. Also back in the mix is Detroit, who had a bye last week.

Here are the games on this week’s docket:

Benton Harbor @ Edwardsburg

Vermontville Maple Valley @ Hartford

Schoolcraft @ Watervliet

NC State @ Notre Dame

Rutgers @ Michigan

Michigan State @ Northwestern

Chicago @ New Orleans

Pittsburgh @ Detroit

The tie-breaker game for this week is the playoff game between host Hartford and Vermontville Maple Valley.

Can the Indians and Panthers continue their road to Ford Field for state football titles? Can Michigan finally start putting up some big numbers – and wins – against their opponents? Will Chicago make it two victories in a row? Check back to find out!


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