Portland Makes Right Moves for March

November 29, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Dylan Carroll and Adam Goodman knew the request was coming long before coach John Novara asked them to make a big change for their senior seasons on the Portland football team.

The writing was on the scale, so to say. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Carroll was among the three most sizable players on the Raiders’ roster this fall. And Goodman, at a solid 6-0, 200, wasn't far behind.

Still, it’s fair to assume not a lot of players want to trade in the opportunity to carry the ball for a jersey in the 50s. But Novara had no choice but to ask; he needed two new guards, and the best fits were tight end Carroll and the fullback, Goodman.  

“At first, it was block, block, block. But after that, you get to pancake guys when you pull. Especially in this offense, guard is one of the best positions that we run,” Goodman said. “At first, it wasn't so exciting. But after that, it’s the best position. I would've played it all four years if I’d had the chance.”

Their one season on the line helped the Raiders produce unprecedented results.

Portland gets a Second Half High 5 this week after finishing a 13-1 season with its first trip to the MHSAA Finals – and first championship, thanks to a 12-9 win over Grand Rapids West Catholic.

The Raiders won in the same way they've made the playoffs every season over the last decade – with a mix of physical play up front, tough running and stout defense. That style often has been made possible by big bodies up front – a standout or two like alum and recently-graduated Eastern Michigan University 300-pounder Bridger Buche have been more the usual than occasional for Portland of late.

Not this season. For the Raiders to win again like they always have, it took the sacrifices of a couple smaller but just as tough seniors to be the catalysts.

“I think that was one of the keys to our success, offensively,” Novara said. “They graciously moved there. Without them moving to guards, I don’t know that we could've done this.”

Portland scored 500 points this season, likely its most ever (Michigan-football.com records date back to 1950). No other Raiders team had scored even 400.

Carroll and Goodman also were two of only three Portland players who pulled double duty, with Carroll also a starting defensive end and Goodman a starting linebacker. They helped key a defense that gave up just 13 points per game.

That defense gave up more than 14 points only once during the regular season – in a 41-32 loss to 2011 Division 5 runner-up Lansing Catholic. It gave up more than 20 twice in the playoffs, but hung on when it counted in a 45-28 win over reigning champion Flint Powers Catholic in the Regional Final and then the next week in a 28-23 nail-biter against Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard.

Portland scored all of its points of the MHSAA Final during the game's first 15 minutes. But the defense came up with three interceptions and two turnovers on downs, plus blocked a field goal attempt. The Raiders ended West Catholic’s final drive with a fourth-down stop on their 12-yard-line.

“The defense had been there all season, and we were just happy to make that one last play to win a state championship,” Goodman said.

And if he and Carroll’s moves to the offensive line hadn't been worth it completely before, they certainly became so that afternoon. As Carroll said after, he and most of his teammates are three-sport athletes who grew up together in their small town midway between Lansing and Grand Rapids. A position change hardly qualified as a sacrifice for an opportunity like this.  

“I wasn't going to go out without a state championship this year. Our seniors deserved it,” Carroll said.

“We kept our mouths shut. We did whatever was best for the team, and we still worked as hard as we could this summer. It was well worth it.”

PHOTO: Portland linemen Adam Goodman (52) and Dylan Carroll (54) lead the way for teammate Auston Brandt during Saturday's Division 5 Final at Ford Field. (Click for more from Terry McNamara Photography.)

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.