11-09-2017 Tri-City Area Sports


Hildebrand continues to lead pack after week 11 in AQB contest

By Kristy Noack

The number of high school games on the docket in the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback Contest has dwindled as playoffs begin and the regular season closes out. However, the AQB contest continues its march toward the Super Bowl.

The TCR AQB contest is an opportunity for six die-hard, local football fans to predict the winners of eight games, from high school to college and professional games.

Additionally, one game is selected as the tie-breaker game. The ‘backs must determine how many points will be scored in that game. The tie-breaker game is used if two or more AQBs end up with the same record for the weekly contest; it determines their place in the standings.

The roster was all knotted up last week with ties for second and fifth place. This week, the players gained a little breathing space, except for second place.

It was a three-way tie for first initially.  Tim Hildebrand, RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht, and Rodney Lynch all predicted their way to 6-2 records.

The tie-breaker game between Watervliet and Delton Kellogg came into play.  The 58-50 Watervliet victory kept the Panthers’ perfect season intact and gave Rodney-Isbrecht the number one spot after she guessed 70 total points would be scored.

Hildebrand took second place as he predicted 61 points would be scored. That left Lynch in third with his 49-point guess.

Chris Leach took fourth place with her 5-3 record for the week.  Bryan Conrad finished fifth as he went 4-4.

Rounding out the six competitors was Greg Krell with a 3-5 record. Krell picked some pretty strong contenders who were upset, which left him feeling the same.

Overall, Hildebrand leads the TCR AQB contest with a 67-21 record. He holds sole possession of first place.

Rodney-Isbrecht and Lynch are chomping at his heels tied for second place with 65-23 overall records, just two games out of first.

Krell lost three games to the leaders and is in fourth place. He holds a 60-28 record and remains seven games out of first place.

Leach closed the gap on Krell. Trailing five games last week she moved two games closer and is now only three games behind Krell and 10 out of first place. Leach holds a 57-31 overall record.

Conrad is in sixth place with a 56-32 overall record. He gained one game on Krell but lost ground to everyone else.  Conrad is 11 games out of first place.

This week’s games feature some big matchups, including Watervliet’s continued march to Ford Field and the Spartans take on Ohio State while the Packers visit Chicago.

Jackson Lumen Christi @ Watervliet

Lansing Sexton @ Edwardsburg

Saugatuck @ Cassopolis

Michigan State @ Ohio State

Notre Dame @ U of Miami (FL)

Michigan @ Maryland

Cleveland @ Detroit

Green Bay @ Chicago

The tie-breaker game is the Panthers battle in the regionals finals. With an 11-0 record, the squad continues to make the community proud!

Find out next week how our AQBs fared.

Big Texas win sends Harvick cruising into finals

Kevin Harvick earned a spot in the final four after he grabbed the checkered flag Sunday in the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Harvick, who previously won only once this season, stole the win away from Martin Truex Jr., who has dominated the NASCAR season.

Harvick earned his 37th career victory and led 38 of the race’s 334 laps. He started in the third position Sunday in the season’s 34th outing.

With the win, Harvick seals up his bid to race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship at Homestead later this month.

Truex Jr. has seven wins under his belt this season. He picked up a second-place finish and added to his 17 top five race endings for the year. Truex Jr. led a race-high 107 laps.

Speeding into third place was Denny Hamlin. He led 65 laps. Matt Kenseth was fourth after he led 29 laps. Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.

Pole sitter Kurt Busch finished in ninth place Sunday.

The race featured 16 drivers finishing on the lead lap. There were 27 lead changes and eight caution periods for 40 laps.

Drivers who did not finish in the top five but also led laps included: Joey Logano (1), Chase Elliott (1), Kasey Kahne (3), Austin Dillon (1), Kyle Busch (7), Ryan Newman (1), Michael McDowell (4), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (3), and Kyle Larson (74).

Speaking of Earnhardt Jr., he continues to compete in his final season of full-time driving. He has yet to win a race this season and has just one top five finish.

The Round of Eight competition has one more race to go before the final four field is set for Homestead.  Kyle Busch won at Martinsville in the first Round of Eight races and guaranteed his spot in the final four.

With Sunday’s win, Harvick ensured his spot. Truex Jr. can breathe a little sigh of relief; he automatically advanced on points. With three of the four spots filled and one race to go, five drivers will be in an all-out battle.

That leaves Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, and Jimmie Johnson in the hunt for the victory. They will duke it out at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday in the Can-Am 500.

Earlier this year, Newman collected the checkered flag. He’s out of contention for Homestead, so Phoenix will be anybody’s ball game!

Pickens nearly perfect as Panthers pick off Delton Kellogg in wild showdown

 The faithful fans of the Watervliet Panthers can all exhale at this point. There was a collective holding of breaths Friday, November 3 as Watervliet welcomed Delton Kellogg to Panther Stadium for a district title – and continued berth in the playoffs – hunt.

DISTRICT CHAMPS… The Watervliet Panthers won their District Championship Trophy last Friday night against Delton Kellogg High School. The Panthers continue their quest for a state title this Saturday at 1 p.m. (TCR photo by Sarah Brant)

Watervliet won the back-and-forth battle 58-50 to take the district championship title, retain their perfect record, improve to 11-0 on the season, and continue their march to Ford Field.

Watervliet opened the game by kicking off to Delton Kellogg. The first possession by DK resulted in a whole lot of nothing, and before you knew it, Delton was forced to punt.

On their first possession, Watervliet quarterback Zack Pickens completed a 52-yard pass play to the waiting hands of Bryant Kieft. Kieft scored the pick six and the Panthers led 6-0. The two-point conversion pass was caught by Garrett Matthews for the early 8-0 Watervliet lead.

It didn’t last long. Minutes later, Delton Kellogg scored on their own long-ball pass play. With the PAT good, Delton trailed 8-7.

PANTHER POWER… Water-vliet Panther #5 Bryant Kieft keeps a steady distance between him and the opposing Panther player from Delton Kellogg in last Friday nights District finals. (Photo by Shawn Mead Photography)

Nearing the half-way point in the first quarter, Watervliet’s Pickens again aired out a long pass. This time, the toss was caught by Trent Boone and the 59-yard play resulted in six points for the Panthers. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but Watervliet increased their lead to 14-7.

Delton Kellogg ate up some time while the first quarter clock dwindled and time ran out as they were first and goal.

It took Delton four tries, but they did find their way into the end zone and marked the first score of the second quarter with six points. After their kicker put up a good point after, Delton had tied the game at 14 apiece.

Watervliet returned the favor with ease. Kieft continues to be go-to guy when Pickens needs points. This time, Pickens and Kieft teamed up for 73 yards and six points, regaining the lead for the Panthers.

Matthews caught the two-point conversion pass from Pickens, and Watervliet led 22-14.

A not-so-pretty punt gave Delton Kellogg excellent field position to start their next possession. They were only one yard into their own territory, needing only 51 to get into the end zone.

In that instance, what helps is a 41-yard rushing touchdown, which Delton Kellogg got. They attempted a two-point conversion pass which failed but the visitors had tied the game once again, this time 22-22.

Watervliet’s offense was back on the field and headed straight for the end zone. With only 19 yards to go for a touchdown, the Panthers coughed up the ball and Delton Kellogg recovered the fumble.  That set up the Delton Kellogg offense, which scored on a 66-yard rushing TD. The PAT was good, and Delton Kellogg led 29-22 for the first time in the contest.

The game clock ticked off the final two minutes in the first half as Watervliet got the ball back and made their way downfield. The Panthers have excelled all season long at two things: scoring on their initial possession and scoring in the final two minutes.

It should not have been a surprise, then, that Pickens would work the ball downfield and then find an open receiver. Matthews nabbed the 26-yard pass play reception and scored six points for the Panthers. Matthews also caught the two-point conversion, and Watervliet reclaimed the lead 30-29.

Fans in the stands may have gotten a little nervous as Delton Kellogg received the ball and started their own fast paced march to the end zone. They were nearing the Watervliet 10-yard line when they lofted the ball up into the night air.

Pickens picked off the errant pass and was downed at the one-yard line to close out the second quarter and first half.

Watervliet received the kickoff to open the second half of the ball game. After Pickens sent a long pass to Boone, who caught it, Watervliet looked like they would score again. However, if one fumble a game by Watervliet is rare, two fumbles would equal a unicorn sighting. Well, fans saw a unicorn.

Watervliet was unable to recover their fumble and gave Delton Kellogg prime field position early in the third quarter.

But, wait!

It was senior defensive linebacker Anthony Wade who put the brakes on a Delton Kellogg score. Wade snagged a DK fumble and ran 79-yards downfield for a Panther TD.

Pickens threw the two-point conversion attempt pass to Jakob Aldrich. Aldrich made the catch and Watervliet increased their lead to 38-29.

Delton Kellogg got the ball back and ate up some serious time off the clock. Eventually, they snaked inside the end zone on a one-yard run for the TD.

Their attempt at a two-point conversion failed, and Watervliet led 38-35.

Pickens once again picked up the reins and led Watervliet downfield. He would eventually throw the ball to Matthews who hustled into the end zone on the 11-yard play for the six-point score.

Pickens threw the two-point conversion pass to Kieft, who caught it, and Watervliet led 46-35. The third quarter closed with 11 points separating the squads.

Delton Kellogg’s first possession of the fourth quarter was turned over to Watervliet on downs.

Then Watervliet went to work once again. After covering some serious real estate, Pickens completed a 19-yard pass to Aldrich for another Watervliet touchdown.  The two-point conversion failed, but Watervliet held a 52-35 lead, and things looked good.

But looks can sometimes be deceiving. After receiving the ball on their 32-yard line, Delton Kellogg worked the ball downfield and, on a 30-yard run, scored a touchdown.

The two-point conversion run was successful, and Delton Kellogg began to close the gap. They trailed 52-43 with just over half the quarter remaining.

It was Watervliet’s turn to eat some time off the clock. Eventually, the Panthers would find themselves in the red zone and, on an 11-yard rush by Pickens, find the end zone. Watervliet’s two-point conversion failed, but the Panthers led 58-42.

Delton Kellogg tried to make some magic happen with just under one minute left in the game. They scored on a long pass and kicked the PAT to narrow Watervliet’s lead to 58-50.

The game wound down a few plays later, and it was the Panthers with the victory!

Watervliet improved to 11-0 on the season and won the district championship title.

Watervliet ran 66 plays to the 40 by Delton Kellogg. The Panthers notched 22 first downs and were only whistled three times for 30 yards. Delton Kellogg had 17 first downs and gave up 70 penalty yards on five flags.

For Watervliet, Pickens was 16 of 17 for 399 yards and six touchdowns. He carried the ball 20 times for 106 yards.

Dylan Lynch had two carries on the night for 10 yards.

Kieft caught nine passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Matthews had three receptions for 44 yards and two TDs.

Boone caught two passes for 92 yards and one TD.  Aldrich’s two receptions were good for 21 yards and one TD.

The Panthers racked up 399 yards in the air and were limited to 114 on the ground.

Watervliet head coach Jeremy Andrews knows that his squad will have to play better as they continue to march towards a state title. The squad can’t give up two fumbles and must find a way to score on the ground. You can bet the Panthers will be hitting practice hard for both offense and defense this coming week.

Watervliet heads into the regional finals and will host Jackson Lumen Christi Saturday at 1:00 p.m. JLC is 10-1 this season and beat Watervliet at their last meeting.

Get to the field early. The stadium will be packed as the Panthers continue to seek perfection and trip to Ford Field.

Coloma falls in Class B District Semi-Finals

 The Coloma varsity volleyball team finished up their season Wednesday, November 1 after falling 3-0 to Niles in the Class B District 33 tournament at South Haven.

Coloma received a first round bye. In the semi-final match, they faced the Niles Vikings.

DIVE BALL… Coloma’s Kelly Walter (left) and Mya Potter dive for the ball Wednesday, November 1 in their game at South Haven. The Class B dis-trict semi-final game was won by Niles 3-0. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The Comets earned the first point of their first game and led 2-0 before Niles scored a point.

Coloma led 6-5 before Niles scored seven straight points. Coloma called for a time-out and Coloma roared back for two points.

Coloma couldn’t overcome the deficit and trailed for the remainder of the first game.  Niles scored the final three points of the game and won 25-17.

Niles also took the second game 25-20 and won the third game to end Coloma’s season and championship hope.

Coloma head coach Kim Gear will say goodbye to seniors Kayla Yore, Kelly Walter, Morgan Wagner, Mya Potter, and Mika Anderson.

Although the squad did not win a district championship, they did clinch their third consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division championship title. Great job, ladies!

Hartford and Watervliet suffer first round defeats in district volleyball

 Class C District 65 volleyball competition proved rough for Hartford and Watervliet Monday, October 30.

Hartford traveled to district host Bridgman and lost 3-0.

The Indians started off the contest in great form. They proved strong on defense and battled all game long. However, Hartford just couldn’t finish the set and lost 27-25.

In the second game, the Indians lost 25-16. They also dropped the third game 25-14 to close out their season.

Senior AJ Jackson led Hartford with one ace, five kills, and three blocks. Cora Wesaw chipped in one ace and 17 digs.  Megan Nelson added one ace, one assist, and 45 digs.

Jessica Cortes contributed two aces, two kills, and eight assists.  Mikenzie Chambers had six kills and two blocks. Mary Pultz tallied one kill and two assists.

Coached by Patty Matheny, the squad ended their season with a 15-30 overall record.

Watervliet also ended their district title run Monday, October 30 in a 3-1 loss to Cassopolis on the Panthers’ home court.

The Panthers lost the first game to the Rangers 25-22. Cassopolis scored five of the seven final points in the game.

In the second game, Watervliet led 2-0 before Cassopolis responded with four consecutive points.

The teams volleyed back and forth and switched the lead several times before Watervliet pulled away for the 25-21 win.

Another hard-fought battle was held in both the third and fourth games of the night, with neither team interested in giving up.

Cassopolis would go on to win the third game 25-21 and sealed their semi-final destiny with a 25-23 win in the fourth game.

Watervliet head coach Edie Daugherty commented, “There was a lot of tough defense and effective offensive plays executed by the Panthers.  Though [they] did not advance in district play, every athlete made great personal gains and had a season to be proud of.”

Zoe Smith led Watervliet with 22 kills, two aces, and 14 digs.  Elaine Koshar had four kills, two blocks, and two digs.  Jaelyn Pitre accounted for 39 assists, three kills, and seven digs.

Grace Smith tallied two kills, one ace, and 17 digs.  Caley Simmons chipped in one assist, two aces, and 11 digs.

Kara Liles added 10 kills, four blocks, and one dig. Emma Armstrong had six kills, two aces, and six digs. Mikalah Clay hit one ace, two blocks, and three digs. Brenna Langston served up three aces and one dig.