The excitement is starting to pick up as the time winds down, as there are only two weeks to go in the high school football season.
4Frenzy’s eighth Game of the Week was a matchup between the Farmington Falcons and Seaholm Maples for the OAA-Blue championship at Farmington High School.
A win for the Maples would give them the OAA-Blue championship outright. Granden Kinney scored the first touchdown of the game. Seaholm led 14-7 at halftime.
But the Falcons soared after that. Cam Pettaway ran away into the endzone, waving bye-bye to the Maples’ perfect record as Farmington won 39-21.
Highlights will air on Local 4 News Friday at 11p.m., Saturday at 6 a.m. and streaming on Local 4+.
Seaholm enters this game with a 7-0 record coming off a 56-0 blowout win over Berkley last week. If the Maples win, they’ll win the OAA-Blue title outright.
Seaholm has greatly improved upon their 1-8 record from last year after switching from the OAA-White to the OAA-Blue division at the start of this season. Seaholm Head Coach Jim Dewald says that the improvement came from the players gaining experience and showing great work ethic during the offseason.
“I believe our culture started in our weight room this offseason with our strength coach, Coach Lugar,” said Dewald. “That work ethic and trust continue through summer workouts and camps. Every coach likes a player led team as opposed to a coach led team. Right now we have a player led team.”
“We were a very young team last year,” Dewald said. “The experience from last year against a very tough schedule has prepared us for this year.”
Seaholm returned 10 starters from last season. The offensive and defensive lines have plenty of playing experience. The team has an all-senior offensive line with John Jokisch, Ben Rosenfield, Dylan Buese, Brendan Barrett, and Zach Miketa. The play of the offensive line is pivotal to this team’s run-heavy veer offense. Behind the offensive line, is returning starting quarterback Colton Kinnie, receivers Jack Lewis and Kyle Robbins, and a running back room of Jack Hulgrave, Granden Kinnie and Brock Hartwig.
Seaholm’s defense has returning starters Andrew LaBarge, Jack Hulgrave, and Granden Kinnie at linebacker. The Maples also have Kaz Villarire, Sean Emerson, and Kyle Robbins as defensive backs. The defensive line is led by two-way linemen Brendan Barrett, John Jokisch, Ben Rosenfield and Dylan Buese.
Seaholm aims to keep the momentum going in their resurgent season by winning an outright league title. The final obstacle in between the Maples and their goal is Farmington, but DeWald knows Farmington is a team that should not be overlooked.
“We are extremely excited to play for a league title this week,” Dewald said. “Farmington is a very good team that is well coached. We are looking forward to watching the game unfold.
“Every week our message to the kids is we are playing a faceless opponent,” said Dewald. “We need to work on improving ourselves every day in practice. If we can do that, the score at the end of the game takes care of itself.”
Farmington enters this game with a 5-2 record coming off a 34-20 victory over Ferndale last week. If the Falcons win, they will share the OAA-Blue league title with Seaholm and clinch playoff berth.
“Seaholm is a well-coached team and has some great players,” said Farmington Head Coach Jason Albrecht. “We are preparing like we would any other week. Based on what they do in all three phases, we adjust what we have in our schemes to what we think will make us most successful. We don’t try to change everything we do each week. With their type of offense there is definitely some adjustments we can make through our base stuff.”
Last year, Farmington had a roller coaster ride of a season that was full of highs and lows as they finished with a 4-5 record. The Falcons went 0-5 through the first five games and ended on a high note winning the last 4 games of the season. Several key starters from last season returned, aiming to carry the momentum from the end of last season into this one and establish their program as league title contenders in Albrecht’s second year as head coach.
“We have worked at developing a culture of hard work, accountability, and discipline, both on the field and in their everyday lives,” said Albrecht. “My coaching style is directed by these principles. How we act in the hallway in school to on the practice/game field. Having players learn to communicate with each other in their accountability of being on time and doing the right thing.”
Now contending for a league title, Albrecht says that having a full offseason to develop his team was a big reason for their improvement.
“Having a full offseason with the kids was huge,” said Albrecht. “We also had a better idea of what our kids could do and were able to build upon what we accomplished this year. In my first year as FHS HC last year, we brought in different schemes than what we ran in previous seasons and when kids understood the why and how for our offense and defense they were able to play faster.”
Dominic Pesci, two-year team captain quarterback, threw for over 1,200 yards and 19 touchdown passes earning All-OAA-Blue honors last season. Pesci showed steady improvement over the course of last season and is a key part of the team’s offense. He has proven receivers in Jayden Vann, Michael Woods Jr. and Owen Matteson. They’re behind an experienced offensive line which returned three starters from last season led by Gavin Miller.
The defensive line is led by senior edge rushers Mecca Brooks and Jacob Braswell. Defensive backs, Michael Woods Jr., Cameron Humes, Aaren McCray and Owen Matteson cover the secondary. The Falcons’ defense is tough in the pass rush department and tight man-to-man coverage from the defensive backs shuts down opposing receivers.
“We make it a point to our players that everyone is a leader on the field, in the classroom, and in the community,” Albrecht said. “Everyone plays their part in how the season goes. We started emphasizing this through our offseason training. Dominic Pesci has been a two-year captain voted by his teammates, Gavin Miller is our leader in the trenches, and Owen Matteson is our third captain and was voted as a junior. We rotate each week a fourth captain for the games based on who has demonstrated these qualities we look for along with effort in practice.”
This game is an exciting final league matchup of the season that will decide league title winner. Both of these teams have dependable quarterbacks that are behind strong offensive fronts. If either team’s defense can win in the trenches and break the rhythm of the opposing team’s offense, they can greatly swing momentum in their favor.
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