4-Year QB Leads with What He's Learned
October 2, 2020
By Doug Donnelly
Special for Second Half
BLISSFIELD – Gavin Ganun is like a seasoned veteran.
“I’m really confident now with everything I’m doing,” said the Blissfield quarterback. “I’ve seen a lot of things happen. There’s nothing that surprises me.”
Clinton’s football team might have something to say about that tonight when it travels to Blissfield for a colossal Lenawee County Athletic Association clash.
But there’s no denying that Ganun has seen just about everything by now. He’s making his 37th career start at quarterback for Blissfield and is having a sensational season.
“To me the game feels really slow now,” Ganun said while preparing to face the 2-0 Clinton squad this week. “I have plenty of time to see everything. I can calm myself down in the pocket. Even if there is pressure, I don’t feel it like I used to. I’m not worried about getting hit. I just stand back there, make the reads and find the open receiver.”
This year Ganun has had plenty of open receivers. He has great targets in wide receivers Zack Horky (6-foot-4) and Ty Wyman (6-6) and tight end Nick Ostas (6-2).
“One of them gets open every play,” Ganun said.
Over the first two weeks of the season, Ganun threw for a combined 611 yards and 10 touchdowns – five scores to Horky and three to Wyman – as Blissfield piled up wins over Dundee and reigning LCAA champion Hillsdale.
Ganun has looked great behind a Royals offensive line that has five new starters – tackles Blaine Pifer and Scott Jackson, guards Luke Nofzinger and Ricky Eisenmann and center Henry Smith.
“It all starts with the line,” Ganun said. “They have come so far. They worked really hard to get better. Their pass blocking has been amazing.”
Ganun has been the starting Blissfield quarterback since game one of his freshman year. He has led Blissfield into the playoffs three straight seasons. For his career, he enters tonight’s game against Clinton with 4,953 passing yards and 56 passing touchdowns.
Ganun was coached his first two seasons by Ryan Love, who is now coaching at Morenci. Ron Estes returned to the Royals’ sideline last year and inherited Ganun as his QB. He couldn’t be happier with his signal-caller.
“There’s no panic in him,” Estes said. “He knows the offense inside and out. He knows what to do when things break down. He knows what to do and when to do it.”
Ganun said Estes gives him a lot of freedom to change the play at the line of scrimmage if he sees something when looking over the defense.
“When I was a freshman, we weren’t doing that,” he said. “But, now, I’m fine to do that anytime. If the defense is running what we think they will run, I don’t have to, but if they change things up, I can change things up.”
Ganun’s audibles have resulted in a couple big plays this season. Horky has caught two touchdown passes in the first quarter of both games.
“We have a good connection,” he said. “We’ve played together so long that we know what each other is going to do before we do it. We’ll just look at each other or say something really quick when we leave the huddle.”
Clinton, which returned to the LCAA this season after just over a decade as a member of the Tri-County Conference, will be a stiff test for Blissfield. Clinton has been rolling during the first two weeks of the season, piling up more than 900 yards of offense – all on the ground.
Clinton coach Jeremy Fielder has watched a lot of film of Ganun lately and is impressed.
“He’s always been pretty good,” Fielder said. “You see it all with him. He’s an outstanding quarterback.”
Ganun plays three sports for the Royals and has been on varsity for all his entire career. He committed to play college baseball at Bowling Green State University, which announced in the spring that it was dropping baseball before re-examining that decision a month or so later. He’s happy he gets to play for the Falcons.
“I’m super excited,” he said. “I love that place. Everything about it is amazing.”
The Royals are trying to win their first LCAA championship since 2007, the same year Estes guided them to the Division 6 championship game before he stepped away – then returned – as head coach. Ganun knows Clinton stands in the way of that goal.
“It’s going to be very tough,” he said. “They are very physical. Both teams know what the other team wants to do.”
He also knows the Royals are playing at a high level right now.
“We have a great team bond,” he said. “We have been clicking on all cylinders.”
Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.
PHOTOS: (Top) Blissfield quarterback Gavin Ganun prepares to take on an Ottawa Lake Whiteford defender during the 2019 season. (Middle) Ganun winds up to pass, also last season. (Below) Ron Estes returned as Blissfield coach in 2019. (Photos by Mike Dickie.)
MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 27, 2023
The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.
The one-day camps will take place between May 15-18 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.
Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.
“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”
Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.
All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.
MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.
“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”
The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.