By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
To provide for the convenience and safety of spectators attending the MHSAA 11-Player Football Finals on Nov. 23 and 24 at Ford Field in Detroit, attendees are being advised of a variety of items related to transportation and security – including policies regulating types of bags allowed into the stadium.
Parking will be available in Ford Field facilities and lots to the east and north of the stadium and costs $6. A map identifying the designated Ford Field lots (4, 5 and 6) and parking deck can be found on the Football page of the MHSAA Website. (There also are a number of privately-operated parking facilities close to Ford Field, but their pricing may differ.)
Fans also are advised that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Ford Field parking facilities and lots, and smoking – including use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers – is prohibited inside the stadium. Tailgating, including the setting up and use of grilling equipment, is allowed only in Lot 5.
Gates A, B and G will be available for public entrance during the event. Ticket sales will begin near Gates A and G at 8 a.m. each day, and the building will open its doors to spectators at 9 a.m. Tickets must be paid for in cash only.
Tickets are priced at $10 and allow a fan to see all four games in a single day. Spectators leaving the stadium will be required to purchase another ticket for re-entry. Infants able to be held in arms will be admitted without charge for this event. There will not be a public Will Call window.
Upon arrival in the building, fans will find their designated seating areas on the South side of the field if their team is the designated home team for their contest and on the North side for the designated visiting team. Home teams this weekend are Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, Muskegon Mona Shores, Muskegon, Edwardsburg, Portland, Jackson Lumen Christi, Madison Heights Madison and Reading. Brightly lit video boards above the seating areas will display the names of the participating teams each day, and fans should sit on the side of the stadium where they see their school’s name. For general fans, the entire lower bowl of Ford Field will be open for the event.
Security measures also will be in place to help assure spectator safety. Fans will be subject to metal detector screening, and Ford Field personnel reserve the right to request patrons open their coats, bags and other item-carrying vessels for visual inspection and deny entrance to individuals who do not cooperate. Spectators should remove cell phones, cameras, keys and other large metal objects before passing through the metal detectors.
Items which fans will be prohibited from bringing into the building include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, cinch bags, grocery & paper bags, duffle bags, luggage of any kind, computer and camera bags and large camera cases.
• Aerosol cans (hairspray, mace, pepper spray, etc.)
• Animals (except service animals to aid guests with disabilities)
• Balloons (air or helium)
• Balls (beach balls, footballs, etc.)
• Banners or large flags
• Cameras with lenses longer than five inches. Selfie Sticks also are prohibited.
• Decals, stickers, confetti or glitter
• Drones and/or remote controlled aircraft.
• Electronic equipment including laptop computers, video recorders (hand-held video cameras are allowed), tripods and wearable video cameras including Go Pros.
• Food, beverages or liquids (cans, bottles, boxes, flasks, etc.)
• Illegal substances
• Knives, pocket knives, box cutters, scissors, etc.
• Laser pointers
• Markers (permanent) and/or paint
• Noisemaking devices (bells, horns, kazoos, whistles, etc.)
• Objects that can be used as missiles or projectiles (sticks, bats, clubs, Frisbees, etc.)
• Seat cushions
• Strollers and infant car seats or carriers
• Umbrellas (large size)
The following items will be permitted after inspection:
• Small bags, purses and fanny packs that do not exceed 8½ inches by 14 inches by 10 inches. An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose.
• Diaper bags (only if accompanied by a child)
• Binoculars and binoculars cases
• Cameras and small camera cases (lenses may not measure longer than five inches, and no tripods or extension cords)
• Small radios (no larger than the size of a football and used with an earpiece)
• Small, compact umbrellas (must be placed securely under seat)
• Posters and signs without poles or sticks, or larger than what one person can hold.
The complete list of prohibited items can be found on the Ford Field Website. Prohibited items that are discovered during security inspections at stadium entrances must be returned to the owner's vehicle or discarded. Items will not be held for later pickup.
Fans are reminded that all image taking (still and video) may be only for personal, non-commercial use.
LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.
“We don’t want to lose this kid ever,” said Derek Gribler, the Tigers’ first-year varsity football and baseball coach.
“If we could put a red shirt on this kid every year, we would.”
Athletic director John Guillean, who also coaches varsity basketball, agreed.
“He is what we strive to have all our student-athletes achieve: high GPAs, multi-sport athletes, good, overall well-rounded human beings,” Guillean said.
Schuman has participated in five of the seven boys sports Lawrence sponsors.
As a freshman and sophomore, Schuman played football, wrestled, ran track and played baseball.
He had wrestled since he was 4, and went from the 119-pound weight class as a freshman to 145 the following year. That sophomore season he qualified for his Individual Regional. But as a junior, he traded wrestling for basketball.
“My older brother wrestled at Lawrence, so I would come to practices,” he said. “I quit for a couple years (in middle school) because I liked basketball, too. It was hard to do both. Obviously, in high school, I still struggled with choosing,” he added, laughing.
Guillean is thrilled Schuman made the switch.
“He’s 6-(foot-)4, he’s super athletic, defensively he’s a hawk, offensively he can put the ball in the bucket. But really, aside from his skills, just that positive attitude and that positive outlook, not just in a game, but in life in general, is invaluable,” the coach said.
Last season, Schuman earned honorable mention all-league honors in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference, averaging 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Lawrence left the BCS for the Southwest 10 Conference this year, joining Bangor, Bloomingdale, Hartford, Decatur, Comstock, Marcellus, Mendon, Centreville, White Pigeon and Cassopolis. Schuman and senior Tim Coombs will co-captain the Tigers, with Guillean rotating in a third captain.
At a school of fewer than 200 students, Schuman will help lead a varsity team with just nine – joined by seniors Andy Bowen and Gabe Gonzalez, juniors Christian Smith, Noel Saldana, Ben McCaw and Zander Payment, and sophomore Jose Hernandez, who will see time with the junior varsity as well using the fifth-quarter rule.
“I attribute a lot of (last year’s successful transition) to my coach, helping me get ready because it wasn’t so pretty,” the senior said. “But we got into it, got going, and my teammates helped me out a lot.”
Gribler is one coach already looking ahead to spring sports after seeing what Schuman did during football season.
In spite of missing 2½ games with an injury, the wide receiver caught 50 receptions for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“I just like the ability to run free, get to hit people, let out some anger,” Schuman laughed.
Gribler said the senior is “an insane athlete.
“On top of his athletic ability, how smart he is in the classroom (3.88 GPA), he helped mold the culture we wanted this year for football. He got our underclassmen the way we wanted them. He was a big asset in many ways.”
Schuman earned all-conference honors for his on-field performance in football as well.
“I would say that my main sport is football,” the senior said. “That’s the one I like the most, spend the most time on.”
In the spring, Schuman competed in both track and baseball, earning all-conference honors in both.
“Doing both is tough,” he said. “I have to say my coaches make it a lot easier for me. They help me a lot and give me the ability to do both, so I really appreciate that.
“Throughout the week you’re traveling every day, it seems like. Baseball twice a week and track, but it’s worth it.”
Schuman’s commitment is so strong that he made a special effort not to let his teammates down last spring.
“He qualified for state in the long jump and did his jumps up in Grand Rapids, then he drove all the way to Kalamazoo to play in the District baseball game,” Guillean said. “That speaks volumes about who this kid is. He did his jumps at 9 a.m. (but did not advance) and made it back to Kalamazoo for a 12:15 game.”
Big shoes to fill
As the youngest of four children of Mark and Gretchen Schuman, the senior was following a family tradition in sports.
Oldest brother Matthew played football, basketball and baseball as well as competed in pole vault and wrestling.
Middle bother Christopher competed in football, wrestling and baseball.
Sister Stephanie played basketball, volleyball and softball.
“I like to say they blazed a pretty good trail for me at this high school,” Schuman said.
As for feeling pressure to live up to his siblings, “I used to when I was younger, but now I feel like I’ve made my own way and done enough things to be proud of that I’m happy with it.”
His own way led him to achieve something none of the others did.
He was named the Tigers’ Male Athlete of the Year, just the third junior to earn the boys honor over the last 25 years.
“I was very honored to win that as a junior,” Schuman said. “There were good athletes in the grade above me. I guess hard work pays off.”
Guillean said while Schuman is “darn good at every sport here,” an athlete does not have to be a “top dog” in every sport.
“Learn how to take a back seat,” he said. “Learn how to be a role player. That will make you a better teammate and a well-rounded human being.
“Johnny has that work ethic, in the classroom, on the field, on the court, on the track. It doesn’t go unnoticed and, obviously, he’s reaping the benefits now.”
Pam 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@example.com with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Lawrence’s John Schuman has participated in five varsity sports during his first 3½ years of high school. (Middle) Lawrence athletic director John Guillean. (Below) Lawrence football and baseball coach Derek Gribler. (Action photos courtesy of John Schuman; head shots by Pam Shebest.)