12-3-2020 Tri-City Area Sports

Khashya McCoy

Press Box Player of the Week

By Jerrod Birmele

Khashya McCoy, a junior at Hartford High School and a member of the Lady Indian Volleyball team this fall, is the Dec. 3, 2020 Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week. Several players made an impact for the Lady Indians this fall and Khashya was one of those players, whether in the front or back court. For the season, she registered 36 kills, five aces, 50 digs and 18 blocks. For her work this season on the volleyball court, Khashya was one of two ladies on the team that received Honorable Mention All-Conference honors in the Southwest 10 Conference.

Off of the volleyball court, Khashya is involved athletically in basketball and track and field. If winter sports are played as scheduled she will feature as one of the guards on the Lady Indian basketball team, and has the ability to speed up the tempo and get to the basket. And, should spring sports be allowed to compete, she will return to the track as the defending conference champion in the 300 Meter Hurdles and as the runner-up in the league in the 100 Meter Hurdles and 4×100 Meter Relay.

Academically, Khashya also takes her studies seriously and received honors on the most recent honor roll at Hartford High School.

Congratulations on this great honor, Khashya! We look forward to seeing what you and your teams accomplish the remainder of the school year!

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Coloma Comet volleyball players make all-conference team

The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SAC) announced the all-conference teams recently, and the Comets placed four seniors on the volleyball squad. Earning their way onto the all-SAC first team were seniors Taryn Blazier and Mia Cole. Being named to the SAC, honorable mention team were also a pair of Coloma seniors in Gracie Whitaker and Madison McQuillan. Congratulations from the Comet Press Box on earning these awards

Waiting it out again, winter seasons currently on hold

The Coloma sports programs are currently on hold just like every other school in Michigan. The hope being that when the current hold on all in-school related activities ends on Dec. 9 they will be able to begin practicing again while the students get reacclimated to being in the classroom in person. The MHSAA, the governing body over Michigan high school athletics, has a time table for restarting the fall sports programs which are still competing in their championship stretch, if the state opens up for these activities as scheduled on Dec. 9.

Set to hold their tryouts and begin practicing for the season are all of the winter sports, which are also currently on hold because of the COVID-19 shutdown. The fall championships including football, volleyball, and soccer will wrap their championships up before the end of December, if things go as planned. The winter sports would then begin their games after the students return from Christmas break, in January.

If a halt had not been placed on the season in November, the girls basketball schedule would have begun this week with the boys beginning next week. We will just have to, once again, be patient and hope that the virus spread has slowed enough to get back to the sports we love. Until that time, we will try and keep you abreast of what is happening in the collegiate and pro sports, in our great state.

Wolverine woes continue, as they lose to 0-5 Penn State 27-17 at the Big House

The Penn State Nittany Lions came into the Big (empty) House, on Saturday Nov. 28, as the only team in the Big Ten who had yet to win a game, at 0-5. It was the first time PSU had ever begun a season by losing their first five games, and no signs were pointing toward them changing that anytime soon. However, they came to the big house where the Wolverines had yet to win a game this season, so something had to give.

Unfortunately for Michigan fans it was the Wolverines who fell behind early and could never quite catch back up in falling to 2-4 on the season, after taking a stunning 27-17 loss to Penn State. PSU scored first to go up 7-0, but the Wolverines came right back and tied it at 7 heading into the second quarter. PSU did all the scoring in the second quarter and led 17-7 at halftime.

The two teams traded field goals in the 3rd quarter and went to the fourth quarter with PSU still leading by 10 points, 20-10. The fourth quarter saw Michigan pull within 3 points, 20-17, only a couple of minutes into the quarter. But PSU drove the length of the field and scored the final points of the game at the 8:12 mark, and put up the final margin of 27-17.

For Michigan fans it’s another horror game in a season that seems to be full of them, as Michigan at 2-4 has the worst early season record in many decades. The fans are again calling for the end of the line for head coach Jim Harbaugh, who came back to his alma mater a few years ago and was immediately given Sainthood. He was expected to get the Wolverines back to the big stage, where Big Ten and National Championships are expected to be won. That hasn’t happened just yet and the fans are getting restless as this just isn’t Michigan football.

All college teams were hampered by the COVID-19 restrictions, as the usual spring camps were canceled and on campus attendance was made optional. Many players across the country opted to transfer rather than sit out a season when some conferences early on had decided to play in the spring. And many players just opted out to get ready for the NFL draft and not take a chance on contracting the coronavirus or sustaining injury.

Michigan was hurt more than most teams, as they have six players who were named to be in the first 100 picks of the NFL draft in the spring of 2021 who have not played for the Wolverines at all this season. There aren’t many teams who can lose six NFL caliber players and compete anywhere near the level that they could have played with them. Because of this fact, Harbaugh may get a pass this year. There’s just too much going on that he cannot control and that should be taken into account. Harbaugh will be in the final year of his contract next season, and not extending his contract could send the wrong message to high school players and parents as the Wolverines hit the recruiting trail.

Lions heading back to square one; head coach and GM sent packing following Thanksgiving Day debacle

In a move that surprises almost no one, the Lions principal owner and chairwoman Sheila Ford Hamp wasted little time in pulling the trigger on a pair of firings following an embarrassing Thanksgiving Day loss to the Houston Texans in Detroit. The Lions, who have not won an NFL Championship since 1957, will now once again be in search of the magic combination of general manager and head coach to lead the Lions following the firing of GM Bob Quinn and Coach Matt Patricia. It is never a good time to fire a coach, but doing so with five weeks left in the season should give the Lions a leg up on the other teams in the league who will ultimately also be looking for new coaches and GMs.

The Lions have an extremely loyal fan base that has been patiently waiting for the Ford family to bring a winning team back to Detroit. But since 1963, the year the Lions were bought by the Fords, they have only advanced past the first round of the playoffs once following the 1991 season the Lions lost in the NFC conference championship. The disappointment mounts for the Lions fans that only a couple weeks ago had hopes that with a good finish to the season they could make a playoff run. That hope was dashed however as the Lions fell to Carolina and then Houston, both ugly losses to teams who had underwhelming records before facing Detroit. We can only hope that the 19th time is the charm, the next hiring will be the 19th head coach for the Lions under the Ford ownership.

WATERVLIET VARSITY BOYS SOCCER TEAM… (from the left): Front row – #12 Austin Wilmoth, #2 Dominick Mandujano, #16 Jesus Garcia, #11 Brennan Bornas, #8 Erick Perez-Cruz; Middle row – #25 Norberto Palacios, #1 Able Villarreal, #20 Andrew Fish, #19 L.T. Oetjens, #9 Nathan Isbrecht (Captain), #10 Ziki Alvarado, #17 Alex Mejia; Back row – Head Coach Doug Bornas, Coach Mackenzie Houlehen, #6 Ryan Knapp, #15 Ryan Chisek, #13 Drew Van Lente, #24 Jakob Stibal, #14 Zachary Hastings, #7 Brady Bornas (Captain), #18 Isaiah Brooks, #3 Bryan Perez, Coach Tom Isbrecht. (Photo courtesy of A&A Sports Photography)

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

It’s the same every year between the holidays, very little in the way of school sports competition other than the fast and furious middle schools boys basketball season, which got started but is now halted. This is the time of the year for plenty of optimism as high school basketball teams imagine themselves winning 10 or 15 games and wrestlers dream of a couple dozen first-period pins during the finals of their upcoming Saturday tournaments.

We already know the basketball seasons will be abbreviated, and we know too that there will be no wrestling tournaments every Saturday between Christmas and March. Sadly, we also know that the virus data throughout the Midwest is still headed in the wrong direction.

Panther boys basketball

The Panther boys bring back the bulk of their 2020 roster after graduating just two seniors. They expect to improve on their 7-14 record this season. Coach Dan Hoff built a team that won more games and was more competitive than expected, and one that put up an unexpectedly tough game against top-seed playoff opponent Niles Brandywine in their last game. This season’s team, still a young one, promises to grow even more and is poised to be a handful for many opponents throughout the season. Their challenge is getting talented players to buy into Hoff’s proven system which doesn’t tolerate showmanship, selfish play, or bad attitudes.

Panther girls basketball

Last year’s freshmen took the reins of this storied program and another group of talented incoming freshmen promise to make this an exciting season. They could easily double their win total this year if their young big players grow into their roles and if one or two of them develop a solid outside shot. This is another team that graduated a couple seniors and may not have many upperclassmen this season either. They remain young and scrappy and as talented as any team over the last few seasons. Under Coach Ken Dietz this is definitely a team to watch.

Panther Wrestling

The Panther grapplers are poised to repeat last year’s level of success after bumping up to Division 3, where they are now one of the smaller teams in the district and region. The challenge this season is a schedule lacking any of the weekend tournaments where many wrestlers come away with three or four wins and others get valuable experience. That potentially cuts their competitive mat time in half, putting some of the team in jeopardy of being unable to reach career goals in their senior seasons. Meanwhile they will be solid at the big weights and should do well in the lower weights.

HARTFORD VARSITY VOLLEYBALL TEAM… (from the left): Front row – Marissa Solis, Vanessa Delarosa, Ariah Jordan, Paris Rondo and Melissa Muller; Middle row – Karly Manning, Alyssa Birmele, Emilie Fillmore and Kashya McCoy; Back row – Assistant Coach Sarah Manning, Mary Pultz, Breanna Truelove, Meghan Deckard, Alexis Snodgrass, Mackenzie Burfield, Kaelyn Johnson, Mercedes Requenes and Head Coach Patty Matheny. (Photo courtesy of A&A Sports Photography)

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele

Hartford soccer nets nine players on Southwest 10 all-conference teams

Despite not having the opportunity to celebrate like a team should with a formal awards banquet, there are still several reasons to celebrate every great athletic accomplishment that Hartford’s student-athletes achieve. Recently, the Southwest 10 Conference publicly released their all-conference teams for the 2020 fall season, and nine members of the Indian boys soccer team received their well-deserved recognition.

Five players received distinction on the first team all-conference list, headlined by junior defender Aaron Lopez-Robles who was given “captain” honors as the top player in the Southwest 10 this season – an award that is voted on by league coaches. Other players that received first team honors included midfielder Alan Gonzalez, goalkeeper Kaden Johnson, midfielder Kevin Parra and forward Caiden Smith.

In addition, a total of four other players received recognition from the conference for their hard work; with two taking home second team all-conference honors and two others receiving honorable mention. Receiving second team all-conference were defenders Danny Gutierrez and Yael Lopez-Sanchez, while defender Erik Morales and midfielder Jose Rios earned honorable mention status.

Once more, congratulations to these exemplary student-athletes and to all the soccer players and coaching staff for their achievements all season long! Hartford football puts three players on Southwest 10 all-conference teams Like their soccer brethren, the Hartford Indian football team did not have the opportunity to get together and host an awards banquet due to circumstances outside of their control. Certainly, for players, coaches and fans alike, it was a difficult season for the team. But that should never take away from the accomplishments that student-athletes make. When the dust settled, three players ended up representing the Indians on the Southwest 10 all-conference list.

Tanner Kinchen and Aaron Sinclair were featured on the first team all-conference list for offense, while Donovan Sikes put his name on the first team all-conference list for defense. Kinchen and Sinclair added to their awards by earning second team all-conference on defense this fall. Once more, congratulations to these exemplary student-athletes and to all the football players and coaching staff for their achievements all season long!

As always, GO INDIANS!

RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht leaps from third to first place; all ‘backs still keep hope of AQB Championship

By Dave Vollrath

All of the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterbacks had a good Thanksgiving week of picking games. With only six games separating our group from first to last place, all of our pigskin pickers still hold out some hope of unseating Rodney Lynch who has run off three straight championships. And he has no intention of handing over the crown (hat) without a battle to the end. RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht made a huge leap this week jumping all the way from 3rd place and into the first place slot, moving Dan Jones out of first place and knocking him down to third. RoxAnn is now actually tied with Rodney, each sporting a record of 66-29 with RoxAnn getting the first place nod based on the tiebreaker game. Dan had a good record for the week at 5-3, but was nudged backward by RoxAnn who went 7-1. RoxAnn only missed on the huge upset loss Northwestern suffered at the hands of the MSU Spartans. Rodney finished the week one game behind RoxAnn and had an impressive 6-2 mark for the week, as just one game still separates the three pigskin pickers at the top of the standings.

With 10 more weeks until the Super Bowl, even the bottom three of Taylor Prestidge, Greg Krell, and Tim Hildebrand still have a chance to win the championship. But they’ll have to string together several more weeks like this week, as Taylor and Tim each went 6-2 while Greg was just one game worse at 5-3. Taylor remains in 4th and had another fantastic tiebreaking pick, as she predicted 65 points in the Houston win over the hapless Lions. The Texans embarrassed the Lions at home on Thanksgiving 41-25, or 66 total points. Greg holds on to 5th place leaving Tim in 6th.

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 from the high school, collegiate, and professional ranks. Following the conclusion of the Super Bowl one winner is crowned champion and will have the honor of wearing the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback Championship hat. In the event that two or more ‘backs have the same record for the week, or the yearly total, their place in the standings will be determined by a weekly tiebreaker game. In addition to trying to correctly pick the winners of each week’s games, they try and predict the score from a specially selected game. The AQB who comes the closest to the total number of points scored by both teams will get the higher spot in the standings.

The “COVID game” is an additional game which only our panel sees and picks each week, but it is only used if one of our regular games is postponed too late to make changes.

The COVID game came into play once again this week, as the Steelers and Ravens game was moved out to Tuesday night. Each of our panelists selected Alabama to defeat Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl, played yearly between the two schools, as the Crimson Tide outlasted the Tigers 42-13. Alabama also currently sits in the number one spot to get into the college football championship.

RoxAnn of course with her 7-1 mark also wins the weekly battle, as Taylor slides into the second spot with Rodney third and Tim 4th based on the tiebreaking game. Also for the weekly spots, Greg lands in 5th and Dan in 6th.

Be sure and check back next week, as the intensity of our games continues to heat up and we head toward the collegiate conference championship season. Our pigskin prognosticators cannot afford to have an off week if they want to remain in the hunt for the AQB championship.

Maryland vs. Michigan Ohio State vs. MSU Syracuse vs. Notre Dame Texas A&M vs. Auburn (Tiebreaker) Detroit vs. Chicago New England vs. LA Chargers Dallas vs. Baltimore NY Giants vs. Seattle

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