Harper WoodsAugust 22, 2014
Return to the gridiron: Advertiser Times
By Jason Carmel Davis and Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writers
Grosse Pointe North Norsemen
Last season’s record: 6-4
League: Macomb Area
Conference Blue Division
Returning starters: approximately 10.
Opening game: at Hartland,
7 p.m., Aug. 28
Coach Frank Sumbera expressed confidence that North is going to be able to put points on the board. His confidence is likely aided by the players North is expected to have in its backfield. Sumbera said quarterback Daniel Robinson threw for over 1,100 yards last season, and in his opinion, running back Lawrence Bryant is capable of rushing for 1,500 yards. While Sumbera cited the importance of the offensive line providing protection, the offense may go as the backfield goes.
“Dan’s very talented, very athletic,” Sumbera said. “He’s got size, speed. He’s got a great arm. In the backfield with him is Lawrence Bryant. He’s a strong, fast, hard-running back. Those two in the backfield together give us a really good option.”
“Our strength is really in our linebacking core and our secondary,” Sumbera said of the defense.
Corner back Odell Snyder could go a long way toward helping North’s cause on defense.
“In the secondary got one of the best D-backs we’ve had,” he said of Snyder. “We’ve had good ones for a lot of years, but this kid is outstanding.”
Although the Norsemen didn’t win the Blue Division last season, they did make the playoffs, and Sumbera would like more of the same.
“We look for a very good year,” he said. “We’re looking to win our division, we’re looking to beat South and we’re looking to make a run in the playoffs this year.”
Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy Eagles
Last season’s record: 7-3, 6-0
League: Charter School League
Returning starters: 13
First Game: vs. University of Detroit
Jesuit, 7 p.m. Aug. 28
Chandler Park Academy coach John Jergovich said the team is set at the skill positions, with the return of sophomore running back Omar Twilley, junior wide receiver Jalen Martin, senior wide receiver Norris Moore and sophomore quarterback Delvin Washington. Jergovich, looking to guide the Eagles to their sixth straight straight playoff appearance, said the play of his offensive line is crucial to his team’s prospects. The line must be able to protect Washington and open holes for Twilley, Jergovich said.
Jergovich said line play will be key on the defensive side of the ball, as well. The Eagles defensive line must put pressure on opposing offensive fronts. Jergovich tapped senior defensive tackle Darius Harper as the leader of the group.
“This is the toughest schedule we’ve had to this point in our six years as a varsity program. We open with (UD Jesuit), then we go to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. I think the Catholic League Central is the best division in the state. To be mentioned with teams like those, you have to play them. Our kids love playing tough competition.”
Harper Woods High Pioneers
Last season’s record: 3-6
Returning starters: Four
First Game: vs. Ann Arbor Gabriel
Richard, 7 p.m. Aug. 28
Harper Woods High coach Jimmy Henry said it’s important for the Pioneers offensive unit to jell. He said the team is small up front, but the offensive line is anchored by senior center Ronald Robertson. Senior quarterback Naylan Johnson leads the Harper Woods High attack.
Smith said the Pioneers must come up with big plays on defense if they hope to get back to their winning ways. Harper Woods High has finished better than .500 in six of the last eight seasons, with the exceptions being 2010 and 2013. Senior linebacker Deshawn Williams, senior linebacker Brandon Gainer and senior safety Stanley May anchor the defense.
“We just want to continue to work and field a competitive team that competes at a very high level.”
— Jason Carmel Davis and Mark Vest