GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Comstock Park is the defending OK Blue champion, but several other conference teams have hopes of knocking the Panthers off of that perch in 2013, here is preview:
The Panthers have had quite a 3 year run that includes trips to the division 4 state semifinals each of the last 2 seasons and an outright conference championship last season as well. During that 3 year stretch, Comstock Park scored 1200 points, that’s 31.5 points per game. After 3 years of quarterback Jake Brown running the show, it’s time for a new era to begin and don’t be surprised if it is a sophomore that takes over just like Brown did back in 2010, Pat Naughton is competing for that job this season. The Panthers cupboard is far from bare, receivers Drake Baar and Tyler Gruszka, running back Jake Bush and 3 starting offensive lineman all return. On defense, linebackers Craig Armock and cornerback Sam LaRoche lead 6 returning starters. This is a team that should be really good again.
The Falcons were oh so close to knocking off Comstock Park twice last season, falling 13-8 in the regular season and 14-11 in the playoffs. With 14 returning starters, Allendale has to believe they can get past the Panthers this season. Quarterback Haiden Majewski is back, as is his favorite target Nate Couturier and running back Ethan Hovingh. 8 starters are back on defense led by Dayton Wierenga and Damon Schut. The 1st big showdown between Allendale and Comstock Park takes place in week 4.
The Broncos were 4-4 in 2012 and finished 3rd in the OK Blue. This season, 7 starters return, 5 on defense. Quarterback Tucker Kloote played a lot during his sophomore season, the only other returner on offense is left tackle Aaron Curtiss who also started at defensive end in 2012. Other returners on defense include linebacker Tom Rohloff and nose tackle Eli Terpstra.
In their 1st year after combining Rogers and Wyoming Park, the Wolves had a winning season at 5-4. This season Wyoming returns 11 starters and after a year with good numbers and success at the lower levels, Wolves coach Tom White has to be feeling good about his program. Domenik Hampton (rb/lb) and Jurquan Harris-Taylor (wr/cb) started both ways in 2012 as juniors. Wyoming must replace quarterback Jack Rozema who was such a good player for them, but with 7 returners on defense, this should be a team that can make the playoffs in 2013. The schedule, however, is tough with non-league games against Detroit East English Village Prep (9-3) and Muskegon Catholic Central (9-4).
The Spartans were 2-7 in 2012 and return 9 starters from that team. On offense, 7 starters are back led by quarterback Christian Pangborn and running back Nick Priest. On defense, Sparta returns just 2 starters, linebacker Thomas Cheslek and cornerback Shane Miedzelec.
The Redskins began the Joe Schwander era last season, as the 1st year head coach led Belding to a 2-7 season, this year, Belding brings back 13 starters from that team. Kole Hart began the season at receiver but played a lot of quarterback as well and he returns along with Neil McCully who started at both running back and outside linebacker. Garret Anderson (wr/olb) also started both ways in 2012 as a junior. Belding should be improved in 2013.