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Jason Schmitt is the editor of, the high school sports website for The Oakland Press. He has served as the sports editor for a number of newspapers, including the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak and the Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens. In his time in the industry, he has covered every high school sport and has served a a beat writer for boys and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, hockey, wrestling, bowling and cross country.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

MIPrepZone Football Picks Contest CENTRAL (Winners announced)

I'd like to thank everyone for their participation in our latest contest on MIPrepZone. You, the readers, had a chance to pick the winners of last week's Oakland County playoff games. The top-five received a MIPrepZone t-shirt. There were a total of 23 entries. Here are the final results. I will be in contact with the winners to get them their shirts. Thanks for participating and check back for future contests.

Nathan D. 18
Zachary S. 17
Todd R. 17
Tim E. 17
Curtis P. 16
JASON SCHMITT 16-4 (Not eligible for t-shirt)
Kyle M. 16                     EVERYONE ABOVE THIS LINE WON T-SHIRTS                            
Al M. 15
Guy P. 15
Jake T. 15
Jake W. 15
Kam H. 15
Bryon S. 14
Jeff W. 14
John C. 14
Russell J. 14
Scott M. 14
Albert K. 13
Chris E. 13
Jake S. 13
Sammy T. 13
Steve S. 13
Tommy O. 13
Winston C. 13

First round winners included: Detroit Catholic Central over Northville; Clarkston over Pontiac; Walled Lake Central over Lake Orion; Romeo over Troy Athens; Walled Lake Western over Milford; South Lyon over Holly; Port Huron over Ortonville Brandon; Rochester Adams over Oxford; Farmington Hills Harrison over Birmingham Seaholm; Birmingham Brother Rice over North Farmington; Farmington over Detroit Henry Ford; Southfield over Birmingham Groves; Lapeer East over Auburn Hills Avondale; Redford Thurston over Bloomfield Hills Lahser; Orchard Lake St. Mary's over Detroit Pershing; Detroit Crockett over Detroit Country Day; Pontiac Notre Dame Prep over Marysville; Almont over Clawson; Madison Heights Madison over Detroit PEC; Royal Oak Shrine over Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Football playoffs - Prediction time - Round 1

No time to waste. Let's get right to my first-round predictions for this week's Oakland County football playoff games, round 1:

Division 1
Region 2, District 2 - Northville (8-1) at Novi Detroit Catholic Central (8-1) CATHOLIC CENTRAL 24-10
Region 3, District 1 - Pontiac (6-3) at Clarkston (6-3) CLARKSTON 37, PONTIAC 19
                                 - Walled Lake Central (6-3) at Lake Orion (6-3) LAKE ORION 31, WLC 17
Region 3, District 2 - Romeo (7-2) at Troy Athens (7-2) TROY ATHENS 21, ROMEO 20

Division 2
Region 2, District 1 - Milford (6-3) at Walled Lake Western (8-1) WLW 24, MILFORD 20
                                 - South Lyon (6-3) at Holly (7-2) HOLLY 27, SOUTH LYON 20
Region 2, District 2 - Ortonville Brandon (5-4) at Port Huron (8-1) PORT HURON 31, OB 13
                                 - Rochester Adams (6-3) at Oxford (7-2) ADAMS 24, OXFORD 23
Region 3, District 1 - Birmingham Seaholm (6-3) at Farmington Hills Harrison (9-0) HARRISON 41, SEAHOLM 3
                                 - Birmingham Brother Rice (5-4) at North Farmington (7-2) BROTHER RICE 23, N. FARMINGTON 7
Region 3, District 2 - Farmington (5-4) at Detroit Henry Ford (7-2) FARMINGTON 20, HENRY FORD 19
                                 - Southfield (6-3) at Birmingham Groves (6-3) SOUTHFIELD 34, GROVES 17

Division 3
Region 4, District 1 - Auburn Hills Avondale (5-4) at Lapeer East (7-2) AVONDALE 30, LAPEER EAST 21
Region 4, District 2 - Bloomfield Hills Lahser (6-3) at Redford Thurston (8-1) THURSTON 19, LAHSER 10
                                 - Detroit Pershing (7-2) at Orchard Lake St. Mary's (7-2) ST. MARY'S 48, PERSHING 6

Division 4
Region 4, District 1 - Birmingham Detroit Country Day (7-2) at Detroit Crockett (8-1) CROCKETT 20, COUNTRY DAY 14 (OT)
Region 4, District 2 - Marysville (8-1) at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (9-0) NOTRE DAME PREP 23, MARYSVILLE 20

Division 5
Region 3, District 2 - Clawson (6-3) at Almont (8-1) ALMONT 28, CLAWSON 13

Division 6
Region 4, District 2 - Detroit PEC (6-3) at Madison Heights Madison (7-2) MADISON 38, PEC 13

Division 7
Region 4, District 2 - Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (9-0) at Royal Oak Shrine (8-1) SHRINE 27, LIGGETT 16

Check back here at this blog or stay tuned to for more details on an upcoming football picks contest for fans.

Monday, October 24, 2011

MHSAA playoff pairings announced - Oakland County well represented

The MHSAA playoff pairings were announced Sunday night, and a slew of Oakland County teams qualified. Though I haven't taken the time to break down every county in the state, I think you'd be hard pressed to find another county that collected 28 bids. Nearly half the field in Division 2 is from this county (14 teams).
The parity in many of the county's leagues spilled over across the state. There were just 29 undefeated teams (of 256 playoff qualifiers). The MHSAA does its best to disperse talented teams, while trying to geographically place them together. Doesn't always seem fair, though, as some districts are stacked, while others don't quite stack up.
There are seven 5-4 teams in Division 8, including three in one district (Region 2, District 2). On the opposite end of that, in the same Division, just one region down, there is a district that includes the Nos. 1-2-5 ranked teams in it.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep finds itself in a similar situation. The No. 9 ranked Irish will face 10th-ranked Marysville in the first round. On the other half of their district is No. 1 ranked Marine City, and 7th-ranked Croswell-Lexington.
In Division 1, Novi Detroit Catholic Central (No. 3) will face No. 7 Northville in round one. Awaiting the winner of that game will be the winner of No. 2 Plymouth and No. 6 Canton. Too bad all that talent is in one district.
Check back in a day or two and I'll have predictions for all Oakland County games. And we'll be putting together some form of contest, a beat the experts here at The Oakland Press. I'll have the details here, but you can also follow us on Twitter @MIPrepZone or Like our MIPrepZone Facebook page to find out the latest.
Here's a look at all of Oakland County's first-round matchups.

Division 1
Region 2, District 2 - Northville (8-1) at Novi Detroit Catholic Central (8-1)
Region 3, District 1 - Pontiac (6-3) at Clarkston (6-3)
                                 - Walled Lake Central (6-3) at Lake Orion (6-3)
Region 3, District 2 - Romeo (7-2) at Troy Athens (7-2)

Division 2
Region 2, District 1 - Milford (6-3) at Walled Lake Western (8-1)
                                 - South Lyon (6-3) at Holly (7-2)
Region 2, District 2 - Ortonville Brandon (5-4) at Port Huron (8-1)
                                 - Rochester Adams (6-3) at Oxford (7-2)
Region 3, District 1 - Birmingham Seaholm (6-3) at Farmington Hills Harrison (9-0)
                                 - Birmingham Brother Rice (5-4) at North Farmington (7-2)
Region 3, District 2 - Farmington (5-4) at Detroit Henry Ford (7-2)
                                 - Southfield (6-3) at Birmingham Groves (6-3)

Division 3
Region 4, District 1 - Auburn Hills Avondale (5-4) at Lapeer East (7-2)
Region 4, District 2 - Bloomfield Hills Lahser (6-3) at Redford Thurston (8-1)
                                 - Detroit Pershing (7-2) at Orchard Lake St. Mary's (7-2)

Division 4
Region 4, District 1 - Birmingham Detroit Country Day (7-2) at Detroit Crockett (8-1)
Region 4, District 2 - Marysville (8-1) at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (9-0)

Division 5
Region 3, District 2 - Clawson (6-3) at Almont (8-1)

Division 6
Region 4, District 2 - Detroit PEC (6-3) at Madison Heights Madison (7-2)

Division 7
Region 4, District 2 - Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (9-0) at Royal Oak Shrine (8-1)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Football playoffs are near - what are the odds?

If you'd have told me at the beginning of the season that Friday night's Lake Orion-Clarkston football game would decide the OAA Red championship, I would probably have replied with a sarcastic response not suited for this blog. Of course. These are the two best programs in the division.
But if you'd have told me that for one of these two teams, a win would be necessary for automatic inclusion into the state playoffs, I'd have said "get outta here."
But, because the Wolves (5-3) have had to battle their way through some off-the-field adversity this year, they find themselves needing to beat their biggest rivals to get that critical sixth win. Now, could they qualify with a 5-4 record? Sure. Based on the current playoff point standings, Clarkston would be a good candidate to make it in based on playoff points. They currently sit behind only Macomb Dakota among 5-win teams in Division 1. Last year, two 5-win Division 1 teams made it into the playoffs.
But anything can happen. A win in our MIPrepZone Game of the Week would take all the guesswork out for the Wolves. I think that'll be the case on their home field.
Clarkston isn't the only team fighting for its playoff life, a handful of other county teams are in dire need of a win Friday night. Here's a look at the other 5-win teams needing a victory, and a pair of 4-4 squads with perhaps an outside chance of qualifying with a fifth win:

Win and they're in
Ortonville Brandon (5-3) vs. Holly (6-2)  The Blackhawks are looking for their first playoff appearance since 2000. They face a tall order, even at home, against a Bronchos team looking to capture a share of the Flint Metro League title.
Walled Lake Central (5-3) vs. Westland John Glenn (4-4)  The Vikings have everything going for them. They're at home and must win to get into the playoffs. Expect them to make it back in.
Walled Lake Northern (5-3) at Northville (7-1)  This is not the situation Northern wanted to be in with its playoff life on the line. Northville is very good, and they are at home. The Mustangs are 4-0 all-time against the Knights. Northern's first-ever playoff appearance may have to wait.
Milford (5-3) vs. Lakeland (4-4)  The host Mavericks find themselves in a very familiar situation, hovering around .500 heading into Week 9 for the fifth-straight season. They lost in this exact same position at Lakeland a year ago, 32-31. Too much emotion playing at home. Milford gets in.
Birmingham Groves (5-3) at Birmingham Seaholm (6-2)  Toss a coin. Both teams have a lot riding on this one. Seaholm, a shot at a share of the OAA Blue title in a season in which they lost their coach to a heart attack back in the spring, lays in the balance. Groves is also playing for a share of the league title, as well as its playoff life. Seaholm, at home, wins by four.
Bloomfield Hills Lahser (5-3) vs. Bloomfield Hills Andover (0-8)  An upset of all upsets if it happens. But I'll pull out my Sharpie and lock the Knights into the playoffs.
Pontiac (5-3) vs. West Bloomfield (2-6)  The Phoenix have won three straight to put themselves in this position. At home, they'll finish things off and sail into the playoffs.
Rochester Adams (5-3) at Stoney Creek (1-7)  The Highlanders have two things going for them, to say the least. They've made 14-straight trips to the playoffs; and they've never lost to Stoney Creek. Trends like those are hard to bet against.
Southfield-Lathrup (2-6) at Southfield (5-3)  Seven straight wins over the Chargers. No reason to think this year will be any different, especially with all the talent on the Southfield sideline and the home-field edge.
Farmington (5-3) at Harrison (8-0)  The Hawks are ranked No. 24 in the country by Rivals. Enough said.

On the bubble
Brother Rice (4-4) at Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy (7-1)  A win over a solid Class B team like Chandler would give Rice some much needed points. But it's still up in the air as to whether the Warriors can pass a handful of other potential 5-4 teams currently ahead of them.
Our Lady of the Lakes (4-4) vs. GP Woods University Liggett (8-0)  Throw the records out. Liggett is a good team, but they play in an inferior league than do the Lakers. And WOLL's losses have come to Cleveland St. Joseph (5-3), Country Day (6-2), Shrine (8-0) and Detroit Loyola (8-0). Three wins over Class B schools have set the Lakers up as the top 4-4 team in Class C. A win this weekend would bode well for Lakes.

See what Keith Dunlap and Scott Burnstein had to say about some of these games in our latest MIPrepZone Football Picks Show. And read who KOSMO thinks will win this week.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Once again, Oakland County tennis shines at states

It never ceases to amaze me how well represented Oakland County is at the state tennis finals. This year, 17 county teams qualified for the state finals. And to no surprise to me, the teams, and their individuals, did an outstanding job once again.
Congratulations to coach Tom Ellis and his Detroit Country Day team. The Yellowjackets had the most impressive showing of any team, in any division, in capturing the Division 3 title. They scored 34 team points, sending seven out of eight flights to the championship match. Four of those walked away state champions. Cranbrook, the defending Division 3 champions entering the tournament in Holly/Grand Blanc, finished a solid fourth overall.
The bulk of the county teams which qualified for the finals were in divisions 1 and 2. Eight were at the Division 1 tournament in Midland, where Brother Rice, Catholic Central and Novi finished 2-3-4 behind champion Ann Arbor Huron. West Bloomfield and Rochester Adams finished tied for eighth, giving the county five of the top 10 teams at the tourney. Troy was 11th overall.
In Division 2, in Kalamazoo, Andover had the county's top finish, placing third behind now three-time defending champion Midland Dow and runner-up Forest Hills Central. Groves and North Farmington tied for sixth, and Seaholm was 10th overall.
And in Division 4, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep did its school proud, finishing 12th overall.
Individually, a number of players walked away state champions. Here is a list of those who captured those titles:

No. 2 singles - Gunnar Peery, Birmingham Brother Rice
No. 3 singles - Michael Trupiano, Novi Detroit Catholic Central
No. 4 singles - Andrew Ying, Novi
No. 1 doubles - Willy Willson and Kevin Hodges, Novi Detroit Catholic Central
No. 3 doubles - Joey Hildebrand and George Hamaty, Birmingham Brother Rice

No. 4 doubles - Andrew Murtland-Rob Chapekis, North Farmington

No. 1 singles - Kevin Renehan, South Lyon East
No. 3 singles - Rishi Patel, Birmingham Detroit Country Day
No. 1 doubles - Abhay Hukku-Alex Gruskin, Birmingham Detroit Country Day
No. 2 doubles - Patrick Adams-Andrew Sun, Birmingham Detroit Country Day
No. 3 doubles - Blake Burstein-Max Lee, Birmingham Detroit Country Day

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We're seeing something special with Oxford's Prescott Line

Every time his team takes the field, he knows they're coming. Prescott Line knows the defense has prepared to stop HIM. But it doesn't seem to matter.
The Oxford senior running back/Mr. Everything continues to amaze. On Friday night, he willed his team past unbeaten Clarkston* (* - no, they haven't been beaten on the field prior to Friday). Line scored four rushing touchdowns and another one via an interception return.
That's 33 total touchdowns this year. Looking at the MHSAA Record Book, it won't be long until you see his name in the single season categories.
The thing that amazes me most is that he's done it against superior competition. No disrespect to anyone on this list. They're great players. But only a few (Kevin Grady - East Grand Rapids), Chris Lomasney (Chippewa Valley), Noel Aleman (East Kentwood), Issac Harper and Randy Kinder (East Lansing) and Gabe Dean and Austin Graham (Lowell) played against comparable competition.
Line has put up great numbers against some really good teams. He scored six times (to go with a school record 391 yards) against Southfield, five times against both Lake Orion and Clarkston, had three against Rochester Adams, and he also had five against Stoney Creek and Southfield-Lathrup and four against Farmington. Only Harrison, the best team in the state, kept Line out of the end zone.
Amazing to say the least. For Line to make his way into the state record books, he needs two more touchdowns. That'll also put him among the state's all-time best for points scored in a season.
He's got at least two more games to do it (regular season finale vs. Oak Park and at at least one playoff game). My guess is ... he'll get there!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Boys tennis finals ... the way I see 'em playing out

This past spring I blogged my predictions for the girls tennis finals. And I wasn't too far off. I'm going to try and do the same for the boys here.

Division 1
Ann Arbor Huron 28, Birmingham Brother Rice 24, Detroit Catholic Central 23, Novi 21, Troy 16, Port Huron Northern 13, Ann Arbor Pioneer 12, West Bloomfield 12, Northville 11, Rochester Adams 8

Division 2
Midland Dow 34, GR Forest Hills Central 21, Bloomfield Hills Andover 19, Portage Central 17, North Farmington 16, Battle Creek Lakeview 15, Birmingham Groves 14, Traverse City Central 13, Okemos 13, East Lansing 11

Division 3
St. Joseph 29, Detroit Country Day 29, GR Forest Hills Northern 24, Cranbrook 23, East Grand Rapids 16

Division 4
Ann Arbor Greenhills 27, Lansing Catholic 26, University Liggett 17, Portland 16, Grosse Ile 13

For the record, here's how I projected the girls' finals:

Division 1
Clarkston 29 points, Ann Arbor Pioneer 24, Midland Dow 23, Grosse Pointe South 19
ACTUAL: Clarkston 27, Ann Arbor Pioneer 25, Midland Dow 21, Grosse Pointe South 17

Division 2
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 30, Birmingham Marian 27, Bloomfield Hills Andover 26, Birmingham Seaholm 24
ACTUAL: GR Forest Hills Northern 33, Birmingham Seaholm 26, Birmingham Marian 23, Bloomfield Hills Andover 22

Division 3
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood 33, Birmingham Detroit Country Day 32, East Grand Rapids 26
ACTUAL: Cranbrook 33, Country Day 32, East Grand Rapids 26 (yes, dead on)

Division 4
Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 27, Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart 24, Grand Rapids South Christian 18, Kalamazoo Christian 16, Williamston 16
ACTUAL:  GR Northpointe Christian 25, BH Academy of the Sacred Heart 22, Monroe St. Mary's Catholic 18, Kalamazoo Christian 16, Portland 14, Williamston 14

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Football rules

OK, so a blog is a spot where people can voice their opinions. Like I stated in my Clarkston blog (below), as a journalist you must be objective. Tell the story. "Just the facts, maam."
People always say to me, while I'm on assignment, 'why do you always cover football?' Or, 'why do you always cover basketball?' Or, a more direct question I get is, 'why don't you cover more (insert sport here)?'
Well, like any business, it's a matter of supply and demand. Football sells, and it sells well. In the winter season, basketball is big business. If you have a buyer (or audience in our case), you have to supply more of the product. It's that simple.
So, that leads me to this, a question I have for anyone who reads this blog: Why is it that followers of "lower profile" sports don't have quite the passion of those who follow football, or basketball? I mean that with all due respect. I cover high school tennis here for the paper and put a great deal of effort into my work, be it feature stories or videos. I played high school tennis, and coached it while in college. So I love the sport. I'd love to see it get more attention. I'd love to give more of my time to covering more matches/tournaments, and do more feature stories.
But as editor for, I must balance my time appropriately. I have to give a greater amount of my time to football. It sells. It sells really well.
I produce a tennis story/video and I get the player(s), their coach and mom and dad reading it, maybe some relatives or friends. I produce a football video/show and I get player(s), coaches, moms, dads, family and friends, neighbors, the entire community and even their rivals and other opponents checking in to read/watch the piece.

It's that simple. So spread the word, share the stories (via Facebook or Twitter, or email the link around). Give me/us a reason to cover your sport more. It really is that simple.