Orchard View Buy-In Reaps Big Turnaround

October 30, 2019

By Tom Kendra
Special for Second Half

It was far from love at first sight.

When returning Muskegon Orchard View standouts like senior Dayton Rose and junior Owen Swanson first met their new varsity football coach Fred Rademacher back in January, they weren’t so sure what to expect moving forward.

“I was very skeptical,” said Rose, who at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds was asked to move from tight end back inside to guard in Rademacher’s wing-T offense. “I caught a lot of passes last year, and I really didn’t want to go back to the wing-T.

“Then I told him that I was a second-team all-state punter. He told me: ‘That’s nice, but I don’t punt.’ At that point, I was really wondering about this dude.”

Fast forward to present day, and there’s overflowing mutual admiration between team and coach at this eastern Muskegon County school district, which had emerged as a mid-sized state powerhouse for a solid decade from 1995 to 2005 before falling off the map.

The Cardinals are not only back in the MHSAA Playoffs after a 10-year hiatus, but they returned in style improving from 2-7 last fall to a perfect 9-0 this regular season. OV is ranked No. 2 in Division 4 heading into Friday night’s home showdown against No. 7 Sparta (8-1).

“We have a great senior class,” said Rademacher, whose most recent head coaching job was at Hastings, where he was 44-43 over nine years. “There are 14 seniors that are great football players, and they like to work hard. You add in a coaching staff that has bought in and an administration that is backing us, and it’s a formula for success.”

Orchard View opened the season with a hard-fought home win over Spring Lake, then went on the road for three straight weeks – coming home a perfect 4-0 after wins over Kent City, perennial power Muskegon Catholic Central and Belding.

The Cardinals did it on the field by ditching the spread offense and going back to the wing-T, which they ran to so much success under John Shillito (making the MHSAA Finals in 1995 and 1999) and Matt McDonald (winning the school’s lone championship, in Division 4 in 2004).

Rose, a dominating pulling guard, is one of six seniors among the starting front seven on offense – with the only underclassmen junior guard Jayshawn Sandin-Davis. The other starters up front are center Jordan Tuttle, tackles Dominic Baushke and Xavier Ruiz and ends AJ Herrera and Hayden Stanfield.

The ground game is keyed by the 1-2 punch of shifty junior fullback Brendan Hyatt and bruising senior halfback Edmari Mitchell, along with regular subs in senior Alex Andrews and sophomore Darius Williams.

“I like my backs to be unselfish,” said Rademacher, 51, who was an assistant at East Kentwood for four years under Shillito before taking the Hastings job. “They have adopted my viewpoint that it doesn’t really matter who scores the touchdown as long as we score a touchdown.”

Rademacher is a Flint native whose father, Fred, was the first varsity football coach at Flint Powers Catholic. His varsity assistants include OV principal Dan Bolhuis and defensive coordinator Brian Andrews, along with Morgan Wansten (running backs and defensive line), Eric Prow (offensive and defensive lines) and Pete Vellenga (defensive backs and offensive line).

The trigger man for the Cardinals is Swanson, who has done an admirable job distributing the ball and carrying out all of the fakes that are an integral part of the wing-T. He has been deadly on keeper runs, and his strong arm adds another dimension to the attack – which may be required to win a loaded District that also includes Grand Rapids Catholic Central, which has won two Division 4 titles over the past three years.

“I love to throw the ball, like any quarterback, so I wasn’t real happy at first about the new offense,” said Swanson, who plays four sports – football, basketball, bowling and baseball. “But going 9-0 makes up for everything.”

The Cardinals capped their turnaround tale with a 32-20 home victory last week over North Muskegon. OV raced out to a 24-0 lead in that game, before NM rallied back behind the arm of senior quarterback John Hayhurst.

Rose, the leader of the Cardinals’ defense at middle linebacker, knows that unit is going to have to play much better pass defense against Sparta, which is led by four-year starting quarterback Jakel Davis.

The secondary of Hyatt and Andrews at safety and Brendan Nelson and Williams at cornerback will be put to the test, both in coverage and in knowing when to come up and fill on keeper runs.

True to his coach’s word, Rose has punted just three times the entire season, as Rademacher has chosen to go for it on fourth down from all over the field.

Rose said he and his teammates have come to understand that there is a method to their new coach’s madness, and that belief has produced a new-found confidence in the OV program. Rademacher got a head start on preparation this week, skipping the team’s playoff selection show watch party Sunday to map out this week’s practice plan.

“He’s a little weird, and it takes awhile to get to know him,” concedes Rose, who hopes to continue playing football at the Division II or Division III college level next year. “I mean, we have no music at our practices and he doesn’t get any of our jokes. He is the definition of an old man. But hey, we’re winning.”

Tom Kendra worked 23 years at The Muskegon Chronicle, including five as assistant sports editor and the final six as sports editor through 2011. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake, Oceola, Mecosta and Newaygo counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Senior guard Dayton Rose pulls down the line as Alex Andrews gets a handoff from quarterback Owen Swanson during Orchard View’s 42-35 win at Belding on Sept. 20. (Middle) First-year coach Fred Rademacher (gray hat) talks to his team during that Cardinals' win. (Below) Orchard View is back to playing wing-T football as the backfield, from left, of Alex Andrews, Brendan Hyatt and Edmari Mitchell get their proper spacing before a play during a 32-20 win over visiting North Muskegon on Oct. 25. (Photos by Katie Ream.)

Ubly Offense, Kicker Pile Up Record Book Listings During Championship Run

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

April 12, 2024

Ubly finished a combined 27-1 over the last two seasons, following up a Division 8 runner-up run in 2022 with its first MHSAA Finals championship this past November. And the Bearcats stacked plenty of record book performances along the way.

Individually, senior Brett Mueller made the single-season extra point list again this past season with 76 in 81 tries, and he set the MHSAA career record with 220 extra points over 232 attempts, 40 games and three seasons. He has signed with Saginaw Valley State.

As a team, Ubly was added to the record book 13 times for achievements over the last two years, most notably in the rushing game. The Bearcats topped 5,200 total yards both seasons, and also made the rush yardage list twice including with a sixth-best 5,148 in 2022. Their 90 touchdowns in 2022 rank seventh all-time, and their 85 this past fall tied for 13th, and they tied the record with 10 rushing touchdowns in a 2022 win over Reese and set another record with 84 rushing touchdowns total that season.

See below for more recent record book additions in 11-player football, and click the heading to see the record book in full:

11-Player Football

Dundee’s Ben Miller has a pair of basketball record book entries, and he’s also been added in football for scoring seven touchdowns in his team’s 72-36 win over Erie Mason on Oct. 20, 2017. A senior that season, he ran for five scores and caught two touchdowns passes.

Nearly four decades later, Howard City Tri County’s Mike Wagoner has reached the record book for his work on defense in 1985. A junior that season, Wagoner returned three interceptions for touchdowns – 65, 55 and 35 yards – which would have been second on the list at the time and remains tied for third-most for one season.

Jaxon Lippert tops the list of 21 who have returned kickoffs 99 yards. Lippert, now a senior at Walled Lake Western, joined the list against Davison during his junior season.

A handful of records from Warren De La Salle Collegiate’s recent run of Ford Field teams and also one from decades ago were added. Jake Badalamenti was added three times for kickoff returns between 96-99 yards, one as a junior in 2016 and two as a senior the following fall, and Marty Wyzlic was added for his 95-yarder in 1976. Mason Muragin is the new leader for tackles for loss in a career with 71 over three seasons, and he also was added to the single-season list with 31 as a junior in 2021, as was Will Beasley for 38 as a junior in 2020. Wayne Wright was added for his 16 sacks over nine games as a senior in 1984, and Josh Cox was added for his 100-yard interception return as a senior in 2012. Muragin plays at Illinois, Beesley plays at Princeton, Cox played at Central Michigan, and Badalamenti played baseball at Wayne State.

Pinckney junior Nolan Carruthers caught 16 passes during a 13-7 loss to Jackson on Sept. 15, good to tie for ninth-most in one game and breaking the Livingston County record of 14 by Hartland’s Greg Matthyssen in 2007 – a listing that also was added.

Ethan Wissner did some major lifting, or rather carrying, during Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s 28-14 District Final win over Montrose in 2022. The then-senior ran 42 times to make the record book, for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He’s continuing at Siena Heights.

Senior quarterback Andrew Schuster and junior receiver DeShaun Lanier formed a game-changing pass-catch combo this past season for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, with Schuster finishing his career with nine record book listings and Lanier totaling six with a season to play. Schuster most notably was added for 212 completions on 301 attempts for 2,766 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, and 321 completions and 4,199 career yards over two years and 22 games. Lanier was added in part for 73 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs this fall. Junior kicker Juliano Haddad also earned impressive mentions with 10 field goals and 50 extra points – and he’ll carry a streak of 35 straight extra points into next fall. Schuster has committed to Grand Valley State.

Fulton’s Evan Barton has been added to the single-game touchdowns list after catching four scoring passes Sept. 8, 2017, against Potterville. He was a senior that season.

Saginaw Heritage’s Braylon Isom completed his career this past fall as arguably the most accomplished receiver in MHSAA history. His name is listed in the record book eight times, with career records of 3,837 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns over 34 games and four seasons, and with a single-season record 26 touchdowns this past fall over 12 games. His 91 career receptions rank fifth, and he’s also listed for 82 catches and 1,617 yards (seventh-most) as a senior and 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He will continue at Miami (Ohio).

Evart’s 24-8 run over the last three seasons has been its most successful of the MHSAA playoff era, and senior quarterback Preston Wallace has played an enormous part. He finished his 33-game career in the fall – he came up for one game as a freshman – on record book lists twice for single-season passing yards and touchdowns and on career lists for 662 attempts, 421 completions, 6,955 yards and 88 passing touchdowns over those 32 games and three seasons. The yardage ranks 15th all-time, and the touchdowns are tied for sixth-most for one career.  

The 2005 Midland Bullock Creek team was added for scoring 547 points over 12 games. The Lancers finished 11-1, their only loss in a Division 5 Regional Final.

PHOTO Ubly's Seth Maurer (30) carries the ball during the Division 8 championship win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in November.