A Game for Every Fan: Week 2

August 29, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

It's part of the intrigue of high school football: At no other level of the sport is there as much roster turnover from year to year, or so many teams with the potential to shine when August begins.   

The latest proof? Last season's MHSAA finalists (11 and 8-player) went a combined 9-9 last weekend in their first games of this fall.

Not that those results will mean much by the time November rolls around. But this week, we'll find out a little bit more about which could be in the mix as league races ramp up in September.

Remember to visit the MHSAA Score Center early and often on game nights for updated scores and standings, and eventually playoff points as soon as results come in.

These are the games you should go see first – something within somewhat close proximity, no matter where in Michigan you call home.

(All are tonight unless noted. Go to Score Center for additional dates and kickoff times.)

West Michigan

Zeeland West (0-1) at Zeeland East (1-0)

West leads this rivalry 5-2 since the schools split in 2005, with a 26-21 win last season on the way to winning the MHSAA Division 4 title. But the Dux lost Friday for the first time since 2010, 59-58 to Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, and the Chix appear to have another high-powered offense after putting up 64 points in an opening-night win over Holland Christian.

Others that caught my eye: Grand Rapids Catholic Central at Muskegon Catholic Central, East Grand Rapids at East Kentwood, Comstock Park at Grand Rapids West Catholic (Fri.), Grand Rapids Christian at Cincinnati (OH) Moeller (Sat.)

Southwest and Border

Schoolcraft (1-0) at Constantine (1-0)

These former St. Joseph Valley rivals came to the Kalamazoo Valley Association together in 2008, and Constantine has continued to own this matchup with seven straight wins including two last season – both by seven points, in the regular-season finale and then the District Final on the way to finishing Division 6 runner-up. But the Eagles’ Benny Clark III made some of the largest waves in the state last week with 215 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a win over Parchment, and he should be tough to stop.

Others that caught my eye: Sturgis at Mattawan, Kalamazoo Central at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix, Fenton at Adrian, Battle Creek Harper Creek at Stevensville Lakeshore.

Mid-Michigan

DeWitt (1-0) at Lansing Everett (1-0)

These are arguably the top two teams in the Greater Lansing area, and this should be much closer than last season’s 48-7 Panthers win. DeWitt’s newest group of standouts – led by sophomore quarterback Jacob Johnson – showed they’re up to the usual tasks last week with a 38-14 win over reigning Division 3 runner-up Mount Pleasant. But the majority of Everett’s lineup has started for three seasons and appears ready to shine, led by quarterback Lucas Barner, receiver Jaleel Canty (Cincinnati University prospect) and linebacker James Mills.

Others that caught my eye: Rockford at Holt, Chelsea at East Lansing, Laingsburg at Fowler, Haslett at Okemos, Jackson Lumen Christi at Jackson (Fri.), Flint Powers at Mount Pleasant (Fri).

Greater Detroit

Detroit East English (0-1) at Detroit Martin Luther King (0-1) (Fri.)

These two lost by a combined eight points in their games at last weekend’s Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State University, but both should finish among the best in the Detroit Public School League. East English is a new school replacing Crockett and Finney, and the former especially had been a strong playoff contender of late. King fell last week by a point to a solid Southfield team, but might rival Cass Tech again to be called best in the city led by standout quarterback Da'Vaun Williams. Winning tonight will go a long way toward giving the Crusaders that opportunity.

Others that caught my eye: Brighton at Canton, Dearborn Fordson at Redford Thurston, Oxford at North Farmington (Fri.), Farmington at Southfield (Fri.), Detroit Catholic Central at Toledo Whitmer (Fri.).

Bay and Thumb

Davison (1-0) at Midland (1-0)

Both needed overtime last week to start with a win – Davison against Lapeer West and Midland against Canton – but both also stand as potential favorites in their divisions of the newly-split Saginaw Valley League. Davison’s opening-night victory avenged one of its six 2011 losses, and the SVL South stacks up well for the Cardinals to get back to their usual playoff ways. Midland will likely have a little tougher road in the North, but set the tone by beating the frequently highly-ranked Chiefs. A win in this one would provide another boost of momentum.

Others that caught my eye: Cedarville at Deckerville, Midland Dow at Flushing, Croswell-Lexington at Richmond, Lansing Catholic at Saginaw Nouvel.

Upper Peninsula

Newberry (1-0) at Iron Mountain North Dickinson (1-0)

Newberry made this the game to watch with last week’s 34-6 rumbling over Rudyard, which hadn’t lost on opening night since 2003. The Indians are in their first season in the Mid-Eastern Conference after previously playing in the Straits Area Conference, and can make a strong impression by beating the reigning MEC champ Nordics. This is the first of a tough three-game string for North Dickinson, which next faces 2011 league third-place Munising and runner-up Stephenson over the following two weeks, respectively.

Others that caught my eye: Mancelona at Rudyard, Negaunee at Calumet, Traverse City Central at Escanaba, Lake Linden-Hubbell at Hurley (WI) (Fri.).

Lower Up North

Marquette (1-0) at Cheboygan (1-0)

These teams have met five times over the last 13 seasons, including in each of the last three. The three times Cheboygan won, it made the playoffs, and the two times the Chiefs lost to the Redmen, they didn’t qualify. That’s probably just an odd coincidence. But Cheboygan can start 2-0 for the first time since 2009, its last playoff year. That won’t be easy, as Marquette is coming off a solid 34-12 win over Detroit Denby.

Others that caught my eye: Pellston at Gaylord St. Mary, Kent City at Boyne City, Bay City John Glenn at Cadillac, Kingsley at Elk Rapids.

PHOTO: Detroit Martin Luther King quarterback Da'Vaun Williams (14) prepares to hand off during last week's 21-20 overtime loss to Southfield. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

Lawrence's Schuman Sets Example for Well-Rounded Success

By Pam Shebest
Special for MHSAA.com

December 14, 2022

LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.

Southwest Corridor“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.

John GuilleanGuillean 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.”

Great anticipation

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.

Derek GriblerGribler 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 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 pamkzoo@aol.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.)