FHC's Hallock Shines in Green & White

August 22, 2018

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for Second Half

GRAND RAPIDS – It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Tate Hallock would eventually wind up wearing green and white.

The Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central senior receiver already has had plenty of success wearing those colors, and he’s always wanted to follow in the footsteps of his family members.

In June, Hallock verbally committed to sign with Michigan State’s football program. He will join his brother Tanner, a second-year walk-on who redshirted last year.  

Hallock’s father, Ty, played at MSU from 1989-92 and was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1993. Ty Hallock played eight seasons in the NFL with three teams (Detroit, Jacksonville and Chicago). Tate’s mother, Jennifer, also graduated from MSU.

“I think my whole life I knew I wanted to go to Michigan State,” said the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Tate, who also was recruited by Notre Dame and several Mid-American Conference schools.

“Obviously my brother plays there, so that was a huge factor, and overall the legacy of my family going to Michigan State played a huge role in that, too. My brother and I had a plan when we were younger that we were going to play together there, so I was able to get that opportunity and commit.”

The Spartans will get a playmaker who produced on both sides of the ball last season as the Rangers turned in one of the best in school history.

Forest Hills Central set a school record for wins, finishing 12-1 with the lone loss a shutout by Livonia Franklin in the Division 2 Semifinals.

Hallock had 779 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns a year ago, while also recording 81 tackles on defense.

“He is a threat to score on every down on offense,” FHC coach Tim Rogers said. “He has excellent speed and can go up and take the ball away from most defensive backs. We will move him from free safety to strong safety this season. He’s always around the ball, and he’s a violent tackler.”

Tate Hallock is in daily contact with his brother, who played a major role in FHC’s resurgence two years ago as the starting quarterback.

Tanner Hallock helped lead the Rangers to a nine-win season and playoff berth in 2016.

“We are very close, and I talk to him every day,” Tate Hallock said. “We’re always keeping each other in line, and I’ve learned a ton from him. He was a huge leader two years ago, and he really helped put the program back on track.”

Tate Hallock was just born when his father retired from the NFL, but he’s been around football his entire life.

He credits his father for teaching him the game and providing encouragement when needed.

“My dad has really taught me everything, and he just talks to me about being a leader and playing my role,” Tate Hallock said. “He’s my best motivator and the one I really look up to.”

While Tate Hallock waits for his time in East Lansing, he’s excited to play one more high school season and build off last year’s historic run.

“I’m definitely looking forward to next year, but I’m glad I’m finally done with the recruiting process so I can focus on this year and bringing home something for FHC.”

Hallock will benefit from having his longtime friend around to throw him the ball.

Senior dual-threat quarterback Luke Majick returns to engineer a potent Rangers’ offense. He threw for 1,787 yards and 21 touchdowns last season while also rushing for 840 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“I think it’s very important that we’re both back, but definitely Luke, because you need a quarterback and he brought a lot to us last year,” Tate Hallock said. “I think that will be the key to our success this year.”

Tate Hallock and Majick aren’t just teammates. They’ve known each other since elementary school and have developed a bond on and off the field.

It’s a connection that has enabled both of them to thrive.

“We’ve been best friends since fourth grade,” Tate Hallock said. “I think I’m capable of getting open, and he just knows where I am. We have good chemistry because he’s used to throwing me the ball.”

Majick echoed those sentiments, as both seem to always be in sync.

“We have great chemistry because we’re best buds, and I always know where he is going to be at on the field,” Majick said. “He’s so fast and tall, he makes my job a lot easier.

“Going to Michigan State has always been his dream, and I’ve been to a couple games with him. It seems that’s where his heart’s at, and I’m sure he’ll do great there.”

Tate Hallock hopes to prove last season wasn’t a one-time phenomenon. The Rangers have similar goals in mind, and ending the season at Ford Field instead of watching at home would be at the top of the list.

“I think you should prove something every year, and we definitely showed that last year and the year before,” he said. “The senior class really took a step forward last year, and now we need to take another step forward and show what we are all about.

“We definitely want to go undefeated during the regular season again and get to the state championship, but it’s really a day-by-day process starting with Jenison (on Thursday) and going from there.”

Dean Holzwarth covered primarily high school sports for the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years and more recently served as sports editor of the Ionia Sentinel and as a sports photojournalist for WZZM. Contact him at dream100@comcast.net with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Tate Hallock (3) turns up field looking for yardage last season against Traverse City Central. (Middle) Hallock works to pull away from a Muskegon Mona Shores defender. (Action photos courtesy of The Central Trend.)

For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

March 17, 2023

Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.

Northern Lower PeninsulaLast year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.

That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.

The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.

But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer. 

Eagles coach Matt Barnowski coaches up his team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick.The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.

Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.  

Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.

Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.

“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing. 

“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”

Dylan Barnowski and Brammer also teamed up during successful football careers. Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.

The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.

The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.

“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit. 

“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”

This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.

Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.

The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.

“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.  

St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Brammer, Jack Gwynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. “They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”

Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.

“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”

With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.

“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”

Bramer agreed.

“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at tomspencer@chartermi.net with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)