10-29-2020 Tri-City Area Sports

KICKING THE FINISH… Watervliet’s German Casiano outraces Hartford’s Jacob Morales to the finish line in Saturday’s pre-regional cross country meet at Watervliet High School on Oct. 24, 2020. Casiano came in 13th with a time of 18:56. (TCR photo by John Oliphant)


Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant


Panther volleyball keeps winning

The SAC coaches chose three Lady Panthers as recipients of SAC All-Division honors in volleyball this season. Sophomore Samantha Dietz was recognized as a First Team outside hitter and freshman Grace Chisek was recognized with First Team honors as a setter. Senior Abbigayle Roberts earned Honorable Mention as an outside hitter.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20 the Panthers played their final regular-season home match against Lawton, coming away with a 3-1 win by scores of 25-17, 18-25, 25-16, and 25-20. The team and parents also honored seniors Yanna Winters and Abbigayle Roberts.

Stats: Grace Chisek 32 assist, 2 kills, 7 aces, 13 digs, 3 blocks; Samantha Dietz 21 kills, 8 aces, 19 digs, 1 block; Natalie Hart 6 kills, 13 digs; Addison Riley 7 kills; Jaylie Querfurth 2 aces, 12 digs; Abbigayle Roberts 3 kills; Yanna Winters 4 digs; Ellie Golden 4 aces, 5 digs; Myah Hobson 3 kills, 4 blocks

The Lady Panthers visited Coloma on Thursday, Oct. 22, winning a match that wasn’t ever very close, 25-21, 25-11, and 25-19. Both the offense and defense played strong and stayed strong all three games.

On Monday, Oct. 26 the team faced Lawton in the first of two matches. The Blue Devils struggled to return serves as the Panthers racked up 17 aces in the match. The Panthers were consistent with their offense and defense all three games, winning the match 25-16, 25-25, and 25-16. Ellie Golden led the team with 9 digs. Samantha Dietz had 13 kills.

To close out the evening the Lady Panthers faced Paw Paw for the second time this season and won this time also. The Panthers came out strong surprising Paw Paw with their aggressive play winning game one 25-20. In the second game Paw Paw fought back for a 26-24 win. In game three the Panthers battled for every point and won 25-20. Addison Riley, Myah Hobson and Samantha Dietz led in offensive kills. Jaylie Querfurth led the team with 4 aces and Grace Chisek had 30 assists along with 27 digs.

Panther football falls at Parchment

The Watervliet Panthers and a handful of fans traveled to Parchment last Friday, Oct. 23 on a windy and drizzling night and fell to the Parchment Panthers 24-8. Watervliet started strong, passing and running down the field in the first quarter to take an 8-0 lead. From there the short-handed Panther squad couldn’t sustain a drive long enough to score again, and gave up 24 unanswered points. Don Smith scored the lone touchdown on the night, while leading the team with six tackles. Isaiah Yazel and Royce Daugherty each recorded sacks for the defense.

Everybody gets a playoff berth this season and the Panthers will travel to Constantine for the opening round game on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1:00 p.m.

Boys cross country team qualifies for regional finals

The Panther boys cross country team qualified for a spot at Saturday’s regional meet on Oct. 24 by finishing 4th at the pre-regional meet held on their treacherous home course. Ezra Troyer (17:55) placed sixth to lead the team and German Casiano (18:56) was 13th. Jimmy Kolosowsky (19:26) and Camdon Geisler (19:30) paced each other over the 5K course to cross the finish line in 19th and 20th places. Aaron Leoni (19:54) wrapped up the Panther scoring capturing 26th place with his second consecutive race under 20 minutes.

The girls cross team brought their season to a successful end as they put together their best race on the home course Saturday. Morgan Lowell (22:14) extended her season by finishing 12th and qualifying for the regional finals meet coming up on Saturday. Megan Trapp (26:16) and McKenna Kirksey (24:32) continued their late-season improvement by posting new PRs. Amara Olexa (26:00) also grabbed a new PR knocking over a minute off of her time. Coach Aaron Weber said the girls’ consistent hard work resulted in the team making incredible improvements from the start of the year to the finish.

Boys soccer bows out of district tournament

The Panthers hosted the South Haven Rams last Tuesday night, Oct. 20, for a second-round district match. The Panthers nearly scored twice in the early going as they came out firing on all cylinders. South Haven’s solid defensive play kept the Panthers out of the goal until the last few minutes of the game when Brady Bornas scored and then Andrew Chisek, each scoring within about a minute to make the final score 3-2.

Following a great season with valuable contributions from a number of players, five Panther soccer team players were recognized for SAC and MHSAA District honors. Nathan Isbrecht, Brady Bornas, and Brennan Bornas were all selected for SAC All-Division First Team Awards. Andrew Chisek and Eric Perez-Cruz have both received Honorable Mention. All five were also selected as All-District players.

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath


Constantine runs over Comets 70-32; Coloma comes up short for SAC title

Coloma was playing for a share of the SAC Lakeshore Division crown when they traveled to Constantine on Friday, Oct. 23. But came home empty handed, as they could not stop the Constantine running game. The Falcons ran the football right at the Comets all night long. Coloma just could find no answer, as the Falcons ran up an astounding 471 yards rushing and over 500 yards overall.

It was another wet, windy, and very cool evening, and one which anyone would think could not be very conducive to putting the ball in the air too many times. But Coloma quarterback Drew Goodline found great success throwing the ball, mainly to Comet standout wide receiver Cody Palgen.

Goodline finished with 12 completions in 14 attempts for 261 yards and two touchdowns, with four of those passes to Palgen for 121 yards and one touchdown. Coloma also picked up 134 yards on the ground. James Mathis, who had a pair of big games coming into this contest, was held to 42 yards on 21 carries. He had three touchdown runs of one yard each.

Jacobie Bonds was the leading Comet rusher piling up 60 yards on seven carries, but offense was not the issue on this night. The Comets had a great deal of trouble dealing with the Constantine offensive line, and also had trouble identifying exactly who had the ball coming out of the Falcon backfield. Brandon Clark had three TDs for the home team on runs of 38 yards, 43 yards, and 38 yards, and he was never touched coming out of the backfield as he raced toward the end zone.

Constantine had two players with over 100 yards rushing, and multiple other big runs that chewed up huge chunks of ground against the undermanned Coloma defense. Constantine scored on their first possession and led 14-0 after one quarter, then put the game away in the second quarter and led 36-12 going into the locker rooms at the half. Although Coloma kept Constantine below the running clock threshold of a 35-point advantage until the final score, they also never got close enough to give the Falcons any reason for concern.

Noah Schwanke added to the Coloma rushing total with 19 yards on six carries, and Goodline tacked on 15 yards in three carries. On the defensive side Schwanke led his team with seven tackles, Treighton Draughter had six tackles, and Dylan Nelson also had six tackles on the night. Timmy Schroeder also had 60 yards receiving with a nice 45-yard reception and a 15-yarder for a touchdown. Schwanke had four catches for 58 yards including a longest of 32 yards.

Coloma ends the regular season with a 4-2 overall record, and now prepares for the playoffs which begin on Oct. 30 at home against Parchment. The Comets defeated Parchment the 4th week of the season by a final score of 36-25, in game played on the Parchment field. It’s never an easy task to defeat the same team twice in the same year, and the Comets will not be going into the game lightly.

According to head coach Joe Stephens, he says he likes the Comet’s chances and they are having fun playing and playing hard for each other. He believes that the variety of games the Comets have competed in this season has them well prepared for anything they may come up against in the playoffs, and that anything can happen in the postseason.

Should the Comets prevail in their first district game, they would next meet up again with the winner of the Watervliet vs. Constantine game. Information on attendance restrictions can be found on the Coloma High School website, or the Coloma Boosters Facebook page.

Comet boys soccer team loses in district semi-final to Dowagiac, 8-1

The Coloma Comet soccer season came to a grinding halt on the Dowagiac pitch, as the Chieftans ran over Coloma winning by a wide 8-1 margin. The district semi-final game was never really in doubt. The home team scored twice in the first few minutes, and had four points on the board before the teams had played 12 minutes.

STEAL AND PASS… Coloma sophomore #14, Seth McQuillan, looks for a teammate to pass to after stealing the ball from a Dowagiac player. The Comets didn’t have too many answers in slowing down the Dowagiac offensive attack, and were knocked out of district action 8-1 by the Chieftans. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)


After that initial onslaught the Comets caught their breath, and slowed the Chiefs down somewhat. But this team was just too strong and the Comets couldn’t stop them completely, or put together enough scoring opportunities of their own.

Lucian Whitaker scored the lone Comet goal when he converted a penalty kick in the 62nd minute, keeping the Comets from being shutout. The Comets end their season with a 6-8 record, and 4-5 in the SAC.

Coloma boys and girls cross country teams qualify for regional

The Coloma girls and boys cross country teams ran in the pre-regional at Watervliet, on Saturday, Oct. 24. Both teams ran well enough to qualify for the regional run on Saturday, Oct. 31 at Portage.

The Comet boys ran well as a team and finished in second place in the pre-regional event with 55 total points, and only two points behind first place Bloomingdale who scored 53. Leading the way for the Comets again was freshman sensation Boden Genovese, who finished the race 4th overall in a time of 17:35. The first place time was 16:58.

Coloma then had a trio of runners who finished 9th, 10th, and 11th. Jake Ickes ran a nice 18:19, Blane Sutherland ran an 18:29, and Ethan Vandermolen crossed the finish line at the 18:31 mark. The 5th member of the team to score was Aiden Cripe who finished 21st, in a time of 19:39.

The girls also ran well as a team and finished their race in 3rd place with 69 points, behind Bloomingdale’s 42 and Bridgman’s 59 points. Leading the way for the Comet ladies was Ava Genovese who finished 3rd overall with a time of 20:43. Abby Vandermolen ran a very nice race and finished next for Coloma and 7th overall in a time of 21:36. Chloe Williams finished in 14th in a time of 22:24, Camryn Brown was 16th with a time of 22:40, and McKinleigh Kraemer finished in 33rd place with a 24:29.

Panthers beat Comets on Coloma volleyball court

Coloma lost to Watervliet on the Comet’s homecourt on Thursday, Oct. 22 in straight sets, 25-21, 25-11, and 25-19. For the Comets, Mia Cole had 12 digs and two kills, Brielle Hicks had six assists, Maurissa LaGrow had three digs, Olivia Palgen had one dig, Chloe Mathis had five digs, Madison McQuillan had one dig, four kills, and eight assists. Also for Coloma Gracie Whitaker had two digs and five kills, Addy Kimmerly two digs, Clara Kimmerly had one block, Adian Allmon had two digs and two kills, Taryn Blazier had six kills, Kiely Moore had one kill, and Maddie Hicks had two kills.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele


Hartford football goes into playoffs 0-6 after South Haven rout

Friday night Oct. 23, the Hartford Indian Football team traveled to South Haven to take on the Rams in their final game of the regular season. The word “disappointing” may be an understatement on how the season has gone so far. The team came into the year with a fresh batch of enthusiasm, but they have struggled through a lot of hardships and they came into this game at 0-5 on the season.

South Haven came into the game with a solid 3-2 record, especially for a team that had registered three straight winless seasons and has not had a winning record in a dozen years. What was initially expected to be a close game turned into a rout pretty quickly against the good guys, as the Rams went on to dominate the Indians, 63-20. To put this season into context from statistical standards, the Indians have been outscored 254-60 and the 20 points the team scored in this game was the highest offensive production to date.

In terms of the box score, South Haven pretty much put the game out of reach after one half of play thanks to a 16-0 scoring advantage in the first quarter. They extended their lead to 30-8 at halftime, thanks to a slimmer 14-8 scoring advantage in the second quarter. The Rams also won the second half in total scoring, 35-12, thanks to scoring advantages of 21-6 in the third quarter and 14-6 in the fourth quarter.

Hartford managed to put three touchdown scoring plays on the scoreboard in the game, with three different dimensions: rushing, passing, and a kickoff return all putting points up for the green and white.

The first touchdown of the night was scored with just :07 remaining in the second quarter, when quarterback Donovan Sikes carried the ball three yards into the end zone for the score. The touchdown was set up courtesy of a blocked punt by Tanner Kinchen, which left Hartford with a very short field. The Indians went for two, and it was successful on a pass from Sikes to Andrew Michael.

The second touchdown of the night was scored on the opening kickoff of the second half when Aaron Sinclair weaved his way through the entirety of the South Haven special teams and rumbled down the near sideline 85 yards for the score. The Indians went for the two-point conversion again, but this time the attempt was unsuccessful.

The third, and final, touchdown of the night was scored with 6:07 remaining in the game, as the Indians continued playing hard despite a running clock. This time it was a passing play that led to six points, as Donovan Sikes found Jared Foerster on the post route and Foerster did the rest with the scoring play going 58 yards to pay dirt. The two-point conversion on this drive was unsuccessful.

On offense, the Indians managed 218 total yards. Of that total, 130 yards were passing and 88 yards were rushing. Donovan Sikes was 10-of-25 passing for 130 yards, with a touchdown and an interception on his stat line. Tye Phillips and Aaron Sinclair led the team with three receptions each; Phillips had 41 yards and Sinclair 28 yards. Sinclair led the team on the ground, as well; rushing for 93 yards on 12 carries.

On defense, the Indians were led by Oscar Trevino who was the only player in double-figures with 10 tackles, while Brock Schaner added six tackles, and two players, Chris Fillmore and Sinclair added five tackles each.

Hartford is currently 0-6 on the season. Due to the COVID-19 situation, all teams that played this year qualify for the football playoffs (unless they opted out). This means the Indians will get a seventh guaranteed game, and one that will see them travel to Lawton to take on the Blue Devils on Friday, Oct. 30. The Blue Devils will come into the game with a 5-1 record on the season.

Hartford boys soccer upset in district finals, finishes season 13-3

Last week, the Hartford Indian boys soccer team played in two matches. But the matches played last week were huge, as the team entered postseason territory. It was another successful regular season for the team, compiling a 12-2 record and winning an eighth conference crown in the last ten seasons. Hartford has made a habit of playing some of their best soccer in the run-up to the postseason; would this year be similar?

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, the team traveled to New Buffalo for their postseason opener, a district semifinal match against the Bison. These two teams did not play this season, but who could forget the heart-pounding match they played last year for the district championship at the Indian Soccer Pitch; a match that the Indians won, 1-nil, on an own goal late in the match. Considering the situation of the postseason, a close match was guaranteed once again and it lived up to it.

The Indians had just three quality scoring chances all night, but took advantage of one of those, leading to another 1-nil victory over New Buffalo. The Indians got their lone goal in the match from Kevin Parra. An assist was credited to Danny Gutierrez. The Indians goalkeeping wasn’t busy, thanks to a lack of attacking by their opponents with Kaden Johnson recording a one save shutout.

On Saturday, Oct. 24, the team traveled to Saint Joseph to take on Michigan Lutheran in the district final. These two teams played just a few weeks back, with the Indians dominating the Titans, 7-2. But this one would be different, as it was close throughout the entire match. With the Indians being down their number one goalie, and a good attacking team like the Titans, the match would be an uphill climb.

Michigan Lutheran actually led the Indians, 2-1, at the half, and a little bit of panic set in. Hartford responded by scoring two goals in under ten minutes to take a 3-2 lead in the second half, but Michigan Lutheran used two goals: one on a penalty kick and another on a corner kick with less than two minutes remaining to score the 4-3 upset victory, ending the Indians season earlier than expected.

Hartford finishes the season with a record of 13-3. The Indians, as mentioned earlier, won the conference championship once again this season, expanding the trophy case even further. The team is rather young, as they will graduate just three seniors, including only one that was on the starting eleven. The talent this team has with its younger athletes is undeniable, and you can expect next fall that they will be in the conference and postseason conversation once again.

Congratulations to Head Coach Nick Blackmer, assistant coaches Abel Robles, Francis Aboagye and Kyle Wright and the boys soccer team on another fantastic season!

Hartford cross country teams sending seven runners to regionals

Last Saturday morning, Oct. 24, the Hartford Indian cross country teams ran in an MHSAA pre-regional meet. Due to restrictions on the amount of participants allowed to run at the same location this season, the athletic association decided to break down the larger regional events and create smaller pre-regional meets. From there, teams were drawn-in based on schools that were nearest to the host sites.

At the aforementioned pre-regional, held at Watervliet High School, teams competing included Hartford and the host, Watervliet, along with Bangor, Bloomingdale, Bridgman, Buchanan, Coloma and Niles Brandywine. In the team race, Bloomingdale was victorious in both the men’s and ladies races, while Hartford finished in fifth place overall in both races. Unfortunately, that means both teams, as a whole, did not qualify for the upcoming regional meet.

On the men’s side, the top three runners in the final results qualified individually for the regional meet. The team was led by Jacob Morales, who placed 14th overall with a time of 18:57, while Bo Janicki clocked in with a time of 19:18, good enough for 17th place. Arulio Delgado also qualified for the regional meet, thanks to his 22nd place finish, with a time of 19:43. Other top finishers included Hunter Bloom in 32nd place (20:30) and Luis Barcenes in 48th place (26:46).

On the ladies side, the top four runners in the final results qualified individually for the regional meet. The team was led by Mikaela Cowgill, who placed 19th overall with a time of 22:56, while Gillian Kuehnle clocked in with a time of 23:11, good enough for 20th place. Jasmin Janicki and Jamie Smith also qualified for the regional meet; Janicki thanks to her 22nd place finish, with a time of 23:19 and Smith thanks to her 25th place finish, with a time of 23:39. Other top finishers included Mayra Naranjo in 31st place (24:23), Descenya Rodarte in 39th place (25:40) and Brianna Bailey in 44th place (26:43).

The seven runners of the Hartford cross country teams that continues on in the postseason will return to action this weekend, by traveling to Portage West Middle School to compete in the regional meet on Saturday, Oct. 31.

As always, GO INDIANS!

Press Box Player of the Week!

By Dave Vollrath

TCR Press Box Player of the Week for Oct. 29, 2020 is Coloma Comet football senior wide receiver Cody Palgen.

Cody has played a big part all season in the Comet’s winning record of 4-2 during the regular season, and it’s a sure bet that he will be expected to carry on the same role as the Comets move into the playoffs this Friday against Parchment on the Comet home field. Cody has been the number one target to move the ball deep down the field for Coloma quarterback Drew Goodline, and he has been extremely dependable when called upon.

Cody has caught a total of 28 passes for 574 yards and nine touchdowns on the season, with long range catches of 40-plus yards in four of the Comet games. The first game of the season Cody caught a pass from Goodline for a 90- yard touchdown, his season high and a great indication of what the season had in store with the fleet footed senior receiver. Cody has great hands and has caught most every pass thrown his way this season, with most of his catches giving the Comets touchdowns, first downs, and digging them out of holes.

Comet head coach Joe Stephens says of Cody, “He has worked super hard on his craft all summer, and I’m so happy that all that hard work has paid off, for himself and his team.” Coach Stephens also says that many times this year Cody has been the equalizer when the offense needed a lift, or when the offense was struggling.

Cody had a huge hand in the Comet win over archrival Watervliet, as he caught nine passes for 129 yards and the tying and go ahead touchdowns. On defense Cody intercepted Watervliet’s last ditch pass in the end zone ending the drive and preserving the 24-16 victory. Cody’s defense was also outstanding all year, playing safety and many times making a touchdown saving tackle as the last line of defense.

Cody’s parents are Lisa VanPelt and Randy Palgen from Coloma. Cody also has a twin sister Olivia who plays on the Comet volleyball team. Cody is currently carrying a 3.9 GPA in the classroom, and hasn’t decided yet on a college after graduation in the spring but would like to study sports or business management. Cody has a part-time job and has participated in basketball, baseball, and soccer.

We congratulate Cody on this award, and wish him the best of luck in his college and career choices.

Lynch makes bid to retake AQB lead, Sunday surge keeps Jones in first place

By Dave Vollrath After going into this week of the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback contest trailing Dan Jones by three points, Rodney Lynch had things going his way following the high school and college games. Lynch was at 5-1, with only the upset of Michigan State by the lowly Rutgers Scarlet Knights keeping him from being 6-0. Everyone on our panel of football pickers was tripped up by the Spartan loss, and rightly so. Rutgers last win in a Big Ten game was in November of 2017, 21 losses ago. The same six games of high school and college had Jones standing at 3-3, with the two NFL games yet to play on Sunday. Jones and Lynch had picked different winners for Sunday’s games, and if Lynch’s teams had won he would have found himself back in first place. However, Jones hit on both winners with the Lions and the Steelers each barely coming out with wins. The top two AQB contenders finished the week tied at 5-3, keeping Jones on top by the same 3-point cushion. Taylor Prestidge also went 5-3 and so claims the third place position by one point over RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht, who went a pedestrian 4-4 for the week. Taylor now trails Jones by four points, and is only one point out of second place. 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,