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Weekly Choice - Section B - November 07, 2013

Weekly Choice - Section B - November 07, 2013

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Published by Baragrey Dave
Covering 40 Towns in Northern Michigan including Gaylord, Petoskey, Cheboygan, Grayling, Lewiston, Mancelona, Mio, Indian River and surrounding area.
Covering 40 Towns in Northern Michigan including Gaylord, Petoskey, Cheboygan, Grayling, Lewiston, Mancelona, Mio, Indian River and surrounding area.

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Published by: Baragrey Dave on Nov 17, 2013
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By Mike DunnGRAYLING – TheGunslinger came packing theheat on Saturday. Grayling senior QB Jake Swander, thegun-slinging senior lefty whohas engineered the prolific“Sanchez Spread” during themost successful two-yearstint in the history of the Viking football program,came loaded and ready in theDivision 5 pre-district opener with familiar U.P. rivalKingsford.Swander had the high-powered, high-velocity “T-Mac” weapon in his arsenaland used it to shred theFlivver secondary. He alsoemployed the “Latusek Special” to good advantageand when he wasn’t flooding the airways with missiles,Swander was launching twintorpedo blasts – code names“Branch and Harris” –straight into the heart of theenemy defenders and churn-ing out serious chunks of dis-puted real estate.In the end, the Vikings’ up-tempo, quick-strike assaultsecured a hard-fought 42-25victory and assured Grayling of a berth in the Division 5district finals for the thirdtime in four years under headcoach Tim Sanchez.“It feels great,” the smiling Sanchez said afterward.“This is the first time we’vebeaten a U.P. team (in theplayoffs) since I’ve been headcoach and it was great being able to do it today at home with so many of our fanshere.“Our kids played hard,” headded. “Kingsford’s a very tough team and we knew wehad to match their toughnessand be very physical on theline. I was really pleased withour effort.”Grayling improved to 9-1 with the victory, matching last season’s record, andreversed a 36-14 loss atKingsford in the pre-districtopener a year ago. The hard-battling Flivvers finished 6-4.Next up for the Vikings is atrip to Menominee to take onthe highly regarded andunbeaten Maroons (10-0) inthe Central Time Zone of thefar western Upper Peninsula.Menominee defeatedHoughton 63-6 in a real nail-biter in its district opener onSaturday.Grayling will be looking tobuck history on Saturday.The Vikings played theMaroons for the district titlein 2010 and again in 2011 andlost each time. The Maroonsscore points in bunches, asGrayling does, so a shootoutbetween these two potent,quick-strike assault forcesseems very likely.Sanchez knows it will be achallenge but he welcomes it.“As the season’s gone on,they’ve gotten better,”Sanchez said of the Maroons.“They’re crushing everybody.They have three very goodbacks and a tough line. We’llhave our work cut out for us. We’ll have a game plan when we go up there and we needto stay with it and execute it.”Part of the game plan willno doubt be for Grayling toput the ball into the hands of “T-Mac” as much as possible.Senior receiver Tyler “T-Mac”McClanahan has been rip-ping defensive secondariesapart for three years as a var-sity starter. Last year, he setthe Grayling school recordfor receptions in a seasonand this year he broke itagain.In Saturday’s high-scoring triumph over Kingsford, T-Mac corralled 10 aerials fromSwander for a whopping 191 yards, including touchdownstrikes of 11, 50 and 9 yards inthe first half as the Vikingsestablished a 28-13 lead onthe scoreboard and neverlooked back.McClanahan’s dangerouspresence benefits the Vikings’ other talentedreceivers and the running game. In the win overKingsford, the Vikingsamassed more than 600 yards of offense between theSwander air assault toMcClanahan, Scout Tobin,Danny Schultz and BrandonLatusek and the leg-churn-ing, yard-munching groundattack featuring strong-strid-ing seniors Michael Branchand Kevin Harris.There were numerousexplosive plays on both sidesof the ball in a game that wasdizzying at times and alsovery entertaining to watch. When Swander wasn’t gen-erating some of his 263 yardspassing with four air strikesfor TDs, he was handing theball to either Branch orHarris and watching the sen-iors slither, slash and slamtheir way straight up the gut. When he wasn’t handing theball off or tossing it to areceiver, he was running ithimself for 48 yards worth of real estate and a score.Sanchez said afterward the Vikings were just taking whatthe defense was giving themon any given snap.“When they doubled Tyler(McClanahan) and put six inthe box, the run was thereand that’s what we did,”Sanchez said. “When they put seven in the box and leftTyler in single coverage, Jakeput the ball in Tyler’s hands. When they had Tyler covered,Jake was able to find otherreceivers.“It was a good effort offen-sively. I was really happy withthe O-line today. We’ve hadsome injuries that we’ve hadto work through this seasonand I thought the guys cametogether and played a really solid game.”The Viking trench warriors– center Justice Junttila,guards William Romain andEmmett Helsel and tacklesNoah Kolka and Tyler Wyman– formed a black wall of defi-ance around Swander in thepocket on passing plays andfired out to create seams forBranch and Harris to bustthrough on running plays.The results speak for them-selves.Sanchez commended thephysical play of the entireline but was especially pleased with the effort of Kolka, a freshman who waspressed into service becauseof injuries to other starters.McClanahan said after thegame that the Vikings, espe-cially the seniors, had plenty of motivation to beatKingsford on Saturday.“Our mindset going in was
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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2013
 
 Athlete of the Week
(989) 705-8284
'''.M#S&%&G!$%d.$"
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 would like to congratulate the Athlete of the Week
FOR WEEK OF OCT. 27-NOV. 2
ALEXIS SMITH
GAYLORDHIGH SCHOOL
The strong-striding sophomore harrierearned All-State honors Saturday atBrooklyn, taking ninth place overall in18:57 in the Division2 state finals.
Next up is long trip to western U.P. to takeon Menominee for district title for thirdtime in four years
S
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CALL -
(989) 732-8160 •
FAX
(888) 854-7441
OR EMAIL:
MIKE DUNN - MIKE@WEEKLYCHOICE.COMANDY SNEDDON - ANDY@WEEKLYCHOICE.COM
 
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 Vikings in big at home!
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Pre-DistrictPlayoffs:
Div. 4, R-1, D-1Ogemaw Heights 41,Cheboygan 17Div. 5, R-1, D-1Grayling 42, Kingsford 25Div. 6, R-1, D-1Negaunee 51, Inland Lakes 0Div. 7, R-1, D-1Ishpeming 50, Mancelona 0Div. 8, R-2, D-1Johannesburg-Lewiston 26,Atlanta 20Div. 8, R-2, D-2Beal City 68, Mio 15
DistrictChampionship:
Div. 5, R-1, D-1Grayling at Menominee,Saturday 2 p.m.Div. 8, R-2, D-1Johannesburg-Lewiston at St.Ignace, Friday 7 p.m.
Grayling 42, Kingsford 25
 
revenge for them beating usup there last year (in theplayoff opener),” T-Mac said.“There’s no way we wanted tolose to them at home, espe-cially all the seniors. In three years on the varsity, none of us seniors have ever lost ahome game.“This is really sweet,” headded. “It was a great teameffort today and we had agreat crowd here supporting us. Now we have anothershot at Menominee. We know they’re tough. When I was asophomore we ended theseason there and we don’t want that to happen again.”The Flivvers closed the gapto 28-19 on their first posses-sion of the third quarter butthe Vikings answered rightback a minute later as seniorSwander fired his fourth TDpass of the game, a missilethat the leaping Latusek  wrestled away from converg-ing Kingsford defender ColeTengesdahl in the corner of the end zone.Kingsford trimmed thelead to 35-25 early in thefourth quarter when scram-bling QB Joe Hofer hookedup with Brody Sundquistdown the sidelines for a 44- yard strike on a fourth-and-11 play. The Vikings stuffedthe critical two-point conver-sion, however, as linebackerNick Swiercz and tackle William “Rock-a-Bye”Romain stuffed charging full-back Tyler Roberts at the lineof scrimmage. After that, the Vikingssealed the deal with a time-chewing18-play, 80-yardmarch culminating inSwander’s 3-yard keeper upthe middle with 2:50 remain-ing. Harris’s fifth successfulPAT of the game gave thehome team an insurmount-able 17-point lead.Swander found Danny Schultz for 19 yards and a key first down early in the march,then hooked up withMcClanahan for 16 yards foranother third-down conver-sion to bring the ball intoFlivver territory. On fourth-and-11 from the 14, Swanderfired to the leaping Latusek for 13 yards over the middleto set up the clinching score.Latusek was well-coveredagain but made the play withhis second Megatron-likecatch of the contest.The Flivvers got the ballback one final time after thatbut were unable to advanceas Hofer was sacked by blitz-ing linebackers Swiercz andBranch.Swander hit on 18-of-36aerials for 263 yards in thecontest. Latusek hauled inthree for 33 yards, including the two tough catches in traf-fic. Branch bashed, dashedand crashed his way to 152 yards on 23 carries with a 10- yard TD on his stat line andthe elusive Harris darted andslashed his way to 155 yardson 17 tries.Cornerback Jaxson Ferreereturned an interception 75 yards to put the Flivvers’ firstpoints on the board. Running back Alex Patterson raced 74 yards on a trap play to set upthe visitors’ second touch-down, a 1-yard plunge by Roberts. Patterson also tal-lied on a 4-yard sweep in thethird quarter. Long-armedlineman Hugh Harrisblocked a punt to set upKingsford’s final touchdownof the day, the 44-yard bombfrom Hofer to Sundquist.Harris also recovered a fum-ble, as did Roberts on amuffed punt.In addition to his receiving  yards, McClanahan also hada huge game defensively,making 10 tackles and a leap-ing interception inside the 5- yard line to halt the Flivvers’first drive of the game.The ubiquitous Branch, who covered the field likegreen on a grass blade, had ateam-high 11 tackles and wasgave the Flivvers fits with hisbonsai-like blitzes. “Rock-a-Bye” Romain was a fearsomeforce on both sides of thetrenches. Defensively hemade nine stops and had twosacks.
Page 2-B Tell our advertisers you saw their ad in the Weekly ChoiceNovember 7, 2013
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OCAL
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By Mike DunnISHPEMING – Mancelonahead coach Dan “Boo” Derrerknew it would be tough andhe was right.The Ironmen made thelong trip north to faceunbeaten Ishpeming in theDiv. 7 playoffs for the second year in a row and, for the sec-ond year in a row, theIronmen season ended in theU.P.The defending state cham-pion Hematites improved to10-0 and face unbeaten WestIron County in the districttitle game this week.Last year, the Ironmen wontheir playoff opener at homeagainst Whittemore-Prescottand met up with theHematites in week two withthe district title on the line.This year, the Ironmenopened the playoffs atIshpeming. The 50-0 loss inthe pre-district clash leftMancelona with arespectable 7-3 record for the2013 campaign.Mancy made the playoffsfor the sixth time in seven years in the Derrer Era. TheIronmen also captured theSki Valley title for the fourthstraight year and extendedtheir league winning streak to 26 in a row dating back toOctober of 2009. With both West Iron County andIshpeming in their playoff district, the Ironmen werenot able to accumulateenough points during theseason to host a playoff gamethis year. They ended up asthe No. 3 seed and had tomake the trip to Ishpeming for the opener. On the otherside of the bracket, No. 1 seed West Iron County played hostto Traverse City St. Francisand secured a 21-6 victory.The Ironmen played hardin the loss at Ishpeming butthe Hematites were simply the better team.“They’re a great team,”Derrer acknowledged. “Theirquarterback (Alex Briones) isthe real deal. He’s a D-1 kidand he played like it.“We couldn’t move theball,” he added. “We did apretty good job of stopping their run but when they wentto the pass, we couldn’t stopthem. We weren’t able to getpressure on their quarter-back and he was really accu-rate with his passes.”Briones, who is bound forCentral Michigan University next year, was super in thegame, hitting 7-of-10 for 246 yards and five touchdowns.The Ironmen were over-matched but still gave a gritty effort.“The kids played hard anddidn’t give up,” Derrer said. “A few of our kids had really good games. (Senior two-way lineman) Tristan Waters may have had his best game of the year. He was outstanding ondefense. He did exactly what we told him to do. He wasone of the guys who really stepped up and played well.”Derrer also commendedthe hard-nosed play of seniorlinebacker Luke “SmashMouthSmigielski, defensiveend Garrett Derrer and noseguard Cody Derrer.“Overall, the kids playedhard; they were just a lot bet-ter,” he said.Leg-churning senior full-back Logan Borst wasengulfed by blue Hematite jerseys every time hetouched the ball. He wasn’table to generate a ton of  yardage but he capped hisnotable prep career withanother blue-collar effort,running the ball like a loco-motive every time he carriedthe pigskin.Fellow senior backs JustinSpires and Erik Wheeler ranequally hard but ran into thesame blue wall of tacklers.The Ironmen were not ableto get a first down until thethird quarter. Spires smashedand bashed his way to ateam-high 23 yards in eighttries.On the defensive side,Garrett Derrer deliveredtakedowns nine times.“Smash Mouth” Smigielskiand Waters put the whack down eight times each.Boo will miss the seniors who will be graduating andleaving the program.“They’re a great group of kids,” he said. “They’veplayed a big part in keeping the winning tradition going.They’ve representedMancelona well and led the way for the younger guys.”Derrer said there were a lotof tears in the locker-roomafter Saturday’s game.“It’s always tough becausethey know it’s the end,” hesaid.
I!hpeming 50, Mancelona 0
Ironmen season comes to a halt
Ishpeming keeps Mancy runninggame in check, takes first step todefending state title
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Vikings Win
Continued...
 
By Mike DunnGAYLORD – Six teams fromthe coverage area of the Weekly Choice qualified forthe prep football playoffs this year. After the pre-districtround was completed overthe weekend, there were twostill remaining.Grayling moved on inDivision 5 andJohannesburg-Lewiston inDivision 8.Cheboygan, Inland Lakes,Mancelona and Mio all losttheir playoffs openers andsaw their season come to anend.Grayling earned a 42-25victory over visiting Kingsford in a thrilling slugfest of a game in theDivision 5 opener onSaturday. The high-powered Vikings of coach TimSanchez improved to 9-1 andadvanced to the districtchampionship game thisSaturday at 2 p.m. againstrugged Menominee. Theunbeaten Maroons (10-0)defeated Houghton 63-6 intheir opener.This is the third time infour years the Vikings makethe long trip to the far west-ern U.P. to take on theMarrons. They are hoping tobuck history this timearound. The last two timesMenominee has won by lop-sided scores.The Vikings will seek tooutscore Menominee with itsvaunted up-tempo, quick-strike assault featuring seniorsignal caller Jake Swander fir-ing missiles to a fleet-footedcorps of receivers including Tyler McClanahan, ScoutTobin, Danny Schultz andBrandon Latusek, and theground fire provided by sen-iors Michael Branch andKevin Harris. A big key in the game forGrayling will be its ability tokeep the Maroons from mak-ing explosive plays and piling up points in a hurry.Johannesburg-Lewistonimproved to 8-2 under first- year head coach JoeSmokevitch with a surpris-ingly tough 26-20 victory over stubborn Atlanta in thepre-district opener. TheHuskies, who came in with a5-4 record, made enough big plays from their talentedplaymakers to stay in con-tention to the end.The young Cardinals, whofeature a sophomore-richroster this season, will seek toregroup in a hurry and givethe Saints a four-quarter bat-tle. St. Ignace, which defeat-ed Hillman convincingly inthe pre-district game, alsoowns an 8-2 record.The Cardinals will look todiversify their offensivescheme a bit and throw theball more often to prevent St.Ignace from loading up thebox to take away the run. J-Lhas not had to throw the ballmuch this season, mainly because the running gamefeaturing the leg-churning bursts of fullback Nick May and halfbacks DillonCushman, Ethan May and“Lights Out” Logan Huff,among others, has been soeffective. QB Brandon Huff isvery capable of throwing theball, however, and has reli-able targets in tight endsCoalton Huff and CamNickert.The last time the Cardinalsfaced St. Ignace in the play-offs was 2009 inJohannesburg, with theCardinals earning a close winto advance to the regionalfinals.Cheboygan, the No. 2 seedin its district, saw a notableseason come to an end withthe 41-17 loss to Ogemaw inthe Division 4 opener. TheChiefs of coach Jack Coonfinished with a 7-3 mark.Ogemaw advanced to faceCadillac in the district titlegame.The Inland Lakes Bulldogsof coach Stan Schrammended their season with a 6-4mark after losing atNegaunee in Division 6. It was the battling Bulldogs’first trip to the postseasonsince the 2009 season.Mancelona made the long trip north to Ishpeming forthe second year in a row inDivision 7 and got eliminatedby the defending state cham-pions again. The Ironmen of coach Dan “Boo” Derrer fin-ished another playoff season with a 7-3 mark. They quali-fied for the playoffs for thesixth time in the seven yearsof the Derrer Era.The Mio Thunderbolts of coach Jim Genernalik alsohad a tough playoff draw, fac-ing Division 8 state finalistBeal City in the opening round. The Bolts opened theplayoffs at Beal for the sec-ond year in a row. They fin-ished another productivecampaign with a 7-3 record.
Division 5
Region 1-District 1Menominee 63, Houghton 6Grayling 42, Kingsford 25Finals: Grayling (9-1) atMenominee (10-0)
Division 8
Region 2-District 2St. Ignace 60, Hillman 19Johannesburg-Lewiston 26, Atlanta 20Finals: Johannesburg-Lewiston (8-2) at St. Ignace(8-2)
 Vikings travel toMenominee for third timein four years in D-5 districtfinals; Cardinals go northto take on St. Ignace in D-8
$+ G?/ %//   $/ #+@ + M+/++  #:;*? : 2 6..  :+ */:/: :/:+.
photo by
 m
ike
 D
unn
Grayling, J-L advance in playoffs
November 7, 2013 Tell our advertisers you saw their ad in the Weekly Choice Page 3-B
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