Holland Rides 2nd-Half Surge to 1st Title

November 4, 2017

By Jeff Chaney
Special for Second Half

COMSTOCK PARK – When describing his senior all-state forward, Holland boys soccer coach Greg Ceithaml says Daniel Arellano is 'electric'.

It took Arellano just over a half to put a charge into his team and lead the Dutch to the school's first MHSAA Finals championship.

Arellano scored on a beautiful goal just more than four minutes into the second half, and later assisted on another in Holland's 3-0 win over East Lansing in the Division 2 Final on Saturday at Comstock Park High School.

"His goal was impressive. I thought his assist was more impressive," Ceithaml said. "The guys have a lot of confidence knowing that when we step on the field with him in front, good things usually happen."

The first good thing happened with 35 minutes, 43 seconds to play in the game when Arellano scored the game's first goal on a hard shot off the right side of the Trojans' goal. It was Arellano's 20th goal of the season.

His assist came later in the half, when he dribbled through the East Lansing defense and made a sharp pass to senior midfielder Sam Accardo, who finished the play with his 16th goal of the season.

In between those two scores, senior forward Jose Penaloza put in his eighth goal of the year at the 32:30 mark of the second half.

"We just needed to get a rhythm going," Arellano said. "We just remained focused, and that was key. While we were in the huddle (at the half), Coach was telling us, ‘You want this more. There is no other team out there that wants this more than we do.’ Now that just proves it, because it is our first ever state championship."

Ceithaml admitted there weren’t many adjustments made after a tough first half that included a steady cold rain. He just tried to will his team to play a little better and pay attention to the little details that got the Dutch to this point.

"I didn't think we possessed the ball very well (in the first half), and I give credit to East Lansing for that," said Ceithaml, whose team finished its historic season with a 19-5-2 record. "And the conditions, I told the team, we need to connect passes batter in the second half, and they did that. They executed."   

On the other side of the field, East Lansing coach Nick Archer said his team was just unable to finish.

"It was a game of two different halves," said Archer, whose team ended its season with a 17-10-1 record. "In the second half, when they broke through, they finished on us. They just got through our defense, and we got caught a little flat footed. We had a couple of opportunities; we just didn't put them in.

“They are very explosive, and the few seconds they were able to explode, they got through,” Archer added.

Now Ceithaml must say goodbye to a superb senior class of 14 players who struggled a bit when they were freshmen, but made history on their way out.

"We took our lumps (early), but we were learning," Ceithaml said. "Then last year Regional Finals, and then this year (the championship). I feel we have grown and evolved together, and I couldn't be happier for them.

“Right now I am speechless, I am just happy for the boys. I am glad they created a memory that I hope they carry with them for the rest of their lives."

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Holland’s players celebrate Saturday by hoisting the program’s first MHSAA championship trophy. (Middle) Daniel Arellano (7) looks for an opening between East Lansing defenders, including Alec Fordell (6).

Working Together, with Neighbor's Help, Schoolcraft Teams Making Selves at 'Home'

By Pam Shebest
Special for MHSAA.com

September 19, 2023

SCHOOLCRAFT — If it is a home game for the Schoolcraft football team, head over to Vicksburg.

Southwest CorridorIf it is soccer, go to Schoolcraft’s baseball field.

Things are a bit jumbled in the sports world for the Eagles this season.

With a new football field under construction and a new elementary school built on the site of the former practice fields, the two teams have been a bit displaced.

“Along with our football field, we had three practice fields that were utilized by a lot of our youth programs, Rocket football, youth soccer and our soccer and football programs,” Schoolcraft athletic director Bryan Applin said. “It’s taken a lot of understanding and flexibility from our coaches, players and our community to make it work out, and it has.”

Meanwhile, all four Eagles home football games will be played at Vicksburg High School.

If Vicksburg is home on a Friday, then the Eagles will play Saturday, including their Homecoming game this Saturday against Galesburg-Augusta.

The Eagles won their only “home” game so far, 33-14 against Kalamazoo United, and take a 3-1 record into Saturday’s contest.

The soccer team gave up its field to the football team for practices and has been practicing and playing their matches in the outfield of the baseball stadium.

For the soccer team, “It’s kind of an upgrade,” Applin said. “The soccer field they traditionally play on, they don’t have a scoreboard, they don’t have a bathroom facility, so we’ve been able to use the (baseball) scoreboard, the PA system, open up the bathroom building.

Schoolcraft’s Kolby Lloyd (10) works to break away from a tackler during a “home” game played at Vicksburg this fall. “The goal at some point is to give soccer a home, and we’re very, very excited about that.”

This year definitely has been challenging for the first-year AD, who credits Vicksburg athletic director Mike Roy with being a tremendous help.

“Mike Roy has been nothing but accommodating to us,” Applin said. “He’s been super helpful to me stepping in and assuming this scenario.

“The communities are so close, it almost feels like home for us.”

Roy said Jeff Clark, former Schoolcraft AD, reached out once the bond was passed for the new stadium last year.

“We had to make small accommodations as did Schoolcraft to make the schedules work,” Roy said. “By moving (Schoolcraft’s) games to Saturday, Vicksburg had to work with our Rocket football organization to make sure games were completed” before the Eagles varsity games.

Schoolcraft football coach Nathan Ferency said his team has been “rolling with the punches.

“These guys don’t care where it’s at; they just want to play football. We’re all taking care of each other. What a great place to be when everybody works together.”

When Jake Bailey heard the team would be playing at Vicksburg, “That got me excited,” the junior offensive tackle said. “They’ve got a really nice facility. I know the school will come out to support us no matter where we are, but it’s definitely different.

“Good thing we don’t play Vicksburg, although it would be fun because it would be both our home fields. The new facilities and being back at our home field at Roy Davis (Field next year) will be really fun.”

Vicksburg is Division 4, while Schoolcraft is Division 7.

Clockwise, from top left: Schoolcraft football coach Nathan Ferency, Schoolcraft boys soccer coach Jeremy Mutchler, soccer player Jack Curtis and football player Jake Bailey.The soccer team was “just being a team player” in giving up its own field for football practice, second-year head coach Jeremy Mutchler said.

“For the soccer team to be a team player and get behind the football team will help the community get behind the soccer team as well,” he added.

The biggest drawback is that part of the current field includes a piece of the baseball infield.

“The only odd thing is it is a smaller field, still regulation size, but smaller,” Mutchler said. “Part of the field is in the diamond, so we have to play in the dirt and it gets tricky, especially when you’re trying to throw it in or just play down the line.”

The move has cost the team a few home games.

“At the beginning of the year, we allowed schools, if they didn’t want to play here, we would go to their house,” Mutchler said. “We had to go to a few schools we would have played at home.”

Maintenance supervisor Eric McGehee was instrumental in preparing the field.

“He laid out exactly the parameters, so I was able to send that to all the ADs that were going to visit to give them an opportunity to decide whether that’s something they wanted to help us out for our home games,” Applin said. “A lot of schools were more than willing to come and play us to give our boys some home games. A couple wanted to be cautious and play on a more traditional surface, and we were able to make those arrangements as well.”

In only its second year as a varsity sport, the boys soccer team is still finding its identity, posting a 2-5 record so far.

Schoolcraft athletic director Bryan Applin has taken over the maneuvering of the teams’ home sites during his first year on the job.“We’re a very young team,” Mutchler said. “All juniors and freshmen. This is the juniors' second regular season. It’s all been a learning phase with maturity and sportsmanship.”

Junior captain Jack Curtis said he was a bit “bummed out” when he heard the team would move to the baseball field.

“The first practice, I drove over to our practice field,” he said. “No one was there.

“I drove over to the high school and saw everyone practicing (at the baseball field). I didn’t think a soccer field could fit on a baseball field.”

Curtis said in spite of the temporary move, “I’m just glad we can have some home games this year on Schoolcraft soil.”

As for Applin, he spent much of his career coaching basketball at both the high school and college levels and most recently worked as a salesman for Zeigler. His wife, Meredith, is an assistant coach for Western Michigan University’s women’s basketball team.

Ferency is appreciative of the work Clark and Applin have done to make this season’s changes relatively seamless.

“I’d like to highlight how great our athletic department is,” he said. “It takes a lot of moving pieces and parts to move people around and have a space for everybody.

“I’m really proud of our athletic department and all our coaches and kids for just rolling with the punches.”

Pam ShebestPam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Schoolcraft’s varsity boys soccer team, including Nyan Wonders (15), faces Comstock this season on its field in the outfield of the baseball stadium. (2) Schoolcraft’s Kolby Lloyd (10) works to break away from a tackler during a “home” game played at Vicksburg this fall. (3) Clockwise, from top left: Schoolcraft football coach Nathan Ferency, Schoolcraft boys soccer coach Jeremy Mutchler, soccer player Jack Curtis and football player Jake Bailey. (4) Schoolcraft athletic director Bryan Applin has taken over the maneuvering of the teams’ home sites during his first year on the job. (Action photos by Stephanie Blentlinger/Lingering Memories Photography. Headshots and Applin photo by Pam Shebest.)