Blogs > Burney's Bytes

Burney's Bytes will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mid-Season Player Report part 1

1 Mitch Robinson (AH Avondale)
2 Tommy Vento (FH Harrison)
3 Nick Bradley (Rochester)
4 Luke Johnson (Milford)
5 (tie) Shane Mahaffy (Ortonville Brandon)
5 (tie) Matt Craven (Farmington)
6 Josh Harris (DCD)
7 Tony Lowry (MH Madison)
8 Sean Charrette (Lake Orion)
9 Steve O'Connell (Clawson)
10 (tie) Mike Sullivan (Waterford Lakes)
10 (tie) Branch Kampe (RO Shrine)
1 Valdez Showers (MH Madison)
2 Marques Stevenson (Lake Orion)
3 Terrell Porter (Berkley)
4 Dakota Ogles (Hazel Park)
5 (tie) Ryan Probst (WL Western)
5 (tie) Anderius Gray (Holly)
1 Ray Tillman (AH Avondale)
2 (tie) Jason Wilson (Farmington)
2 (tie) Shawn Conway (Birmingham Seaholm)
3 (tie) Aaron Burbridge (FH Harrison)
3 (tie) Kenny Knight (DCD)
4 Allen Robinson (OL St. Mary's)
5 Chris Canada (Clarkston)
1 CC
2 Kyle Foreman (Berkley)
3 Blake McGee (Lake Orion)
4 Da'Kwan Dillard (Hazel Park)
5 Spencer Cairo (RH Adams)
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cage Coaching Carousel

A couple of head coaching vacancies were filled recently on the Oakland County prep hoops scene:
Walled Lake Western has hired former Birmingham Detroit Country Day assistant-JV coach, Lee Bailey, Sr. to be its next boys varsity basketball coach
Lakeland has hired Bob Brugger as its new boys varsity basketball coach.
Bailey, Sr. is the father of Lee Bailey, Jr., DCD's star football and basketball player and was on the bench as an assistant coach last March when the Yellowjackets won a Class B state championship. Away from the hardwood, Bailey, Sr. is a very successful businessman in the Metro Detroit area (named to Crane Detroit Business' prestigious "40 under 40" a few years back). Plus, he has previous head coaching experience, leading the Michigan Powerstroke AAU program for several springs and summers throughout the 2000s
Brugger is quite familiar with Lakeland hoops since he was head coach of the Eagles just two years ago. Last season, Brugger made a quick exodus to Brighton, putting together a bunch of wins in his first year on the sidelines leading the Bulldogs, yet opting to resign his post in July. To say the least, the Eagles are very lucky to have Brugger back in the fold out there off Bogie Lake Road and considering he's such an outstanding coach and overall leader of young men, the county is all the better for it too. Welcome back COACH DOUBLE B!
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Burney's Prep Football Rankings - Half Way There

OC Top 10 – Week 6
1 (tie) Novi Detroit Catholic Central (5-0) – Junior QB Mike Birney isn't getting a ton of headlines but he's a big reason the Shamrocks are playing at such an elite level – MB has scored a TD in every game and has ran and thrown for one in four of the team's five wins.
1 (tie) Lake Orion (5-0) – Head coach Chris Bell and his Dragons have been ringing the victory bell quite a bit this season and Burney doesn't see things changing much between now and the playoffs.
2 OL St. Mary's (5-0) – This year's Eaglets team could be the school's most well-balanced squad since the program won multiple state championships in the early-2000s
3 (tie) FH Harrison (5-0) – It's finally official in 2010: You can't stop Hawks WR prodigy Aaron Burbridge, you can only hope to contain him!!  Austin Hunter has looked very nice lately emerging as coach John Herrington's lead running back…i.e. 3 TDs in 30-3 stomping of S-Lathrup last week. Hunter combined with Steve Slobin is a formidable 1-2 punch coming out of the Harrison backfield.
3 (tie) Farmington (5-0) – What about Jordan Degreffenreed stepping out of the shadows and into the spotlight for the Falcons and rushing for two TD's in the team's 46-0 roughhousing of Oak Park in Week 5? Get busy, JD and do it again against Southfield this week for your boy, Burney! God knows Neno Fletcher-Jones needs the rest so the squad can be at full-strength come crunch time later in the season
4 Birmingham Detroit Country Day (5-0) – Linebacker Patrick Dugan (7 tackles, 1 fumble recovery) did Burney proud by leading the way on fourth and two on the goal line in the 'Jackets 21-18 defeat of Muskegon Heights on Saturday, stopping the visiting Tigers from scoring and allowing DCD to stay perfect in the win column. Senior cornerback Troy Woodland continues to show his merit as one of the best "cover corners" in the area.
5 Rochester Hills Adams (4-1) – Highlanders uber-athlete Andrew Hammett is THE MAN, pure and simple!! He went all ANDREW HAMMETT on the Southfield defense last week, scoring 4 TDs (2 passing, 2 rushing) in his squad's 35-7 slashing of the Blue Jays, while playing all over the field at QB, WR, and RB
6 Clarkston (4-1) – Senior captain Chris Canada reminds Burney a lot of Patriots all-pro wideout Wes Welker….nothing fancy, but finds his way into the end zone like few others….ALL THIS KID DOES IS CATCH TOUCHDOWN PASSES!!!!
7 Madison Heights Madison (4-1) – Eagles will not lose again this season…….period! Valdez Showers has been at SWAGGER LEVEL THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION since last year and teammates Devonte Snyder and Tony Lowry officially joined him in last week's 33-10 takedown of crosstown rival Lamphere
8 Rochester (4-1) – I believe in FALCONS MAGIC this year!!!!! I love my man "Bullitt Billy" Klotz lining up on the outside and catching balls from gunslinger Nick Bradley
9 WL Central (4-1) – Burney foresees a much brighter playoff future in the coming weeks than what transpired in VIKINGS LAND last year……Junior QB Zach Leimbach is running the Central offense so well this year, you'd think it was 2009 all-conference signal caller Joe Diamond!
10 (tie) Berkley (5-0) – Quietly and confidently, the Bears might just sneak up and take the OAA Blue title right out from under the noses of Seaholm, Avondale and Hazel Park….time will tell as coach JIMMY MAC's Blue and Red run the gauntlet in the final three games of the season.
10 (tie) Milford (4-1) – Don't count my boy "Cool Hand Luke" Johnson and the rest of the Mavs out after dropping a heartbreaker in OT to Brighton last Friday, these guys have resilience and will come back STRONG AS STEEL….take that 2 THE BANK!
10 (tie) Walled Lake Western (4-1) – Warriors RB Ryan Probst is So So MONEY and soon everyone will know it like his boy Burney does right now!
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys

Like an ace major league baseball pitcher, the Novi Detroit Catholic Central football team's defense has been spinning nothing but gems this season on the gridiron. Sparked by their extra-stout defensive unit and some picture perfect ball-control offense, the Shamrocks throttled Warren De La Salle 27-7 in the 66th annual Boys Bowl game played at the pristine CC campus in Novi on Sunday afternoon.
The dominating win lifts Catholic Central to a perfect 5-0 on the year and extends the team's win streak to 14 games overall. The last time the Shamrocks lost a game of any kind was in November of 2008.
Catholic Central is averaging giving up less than five points per contest and has already put up three shutouts this season. Throughout a majority of the game, it appeared that head coach Tom Mach's defense was going to get its fourth shutout of the campaign as the Shamrocks raced to 27-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
However, De La Salle got on the board with less than two minutes remaining in the game on a 6-yard rushing touchdown. The Pilots drop their first contest of the year and now stand with a record of 4-1.
Last season, Catholic Central romped its way to a Division 1 state championship, decimating nearly every team in its site on the way to the crown. Two years ago, De La Salle advanced all the way to the Division 2 state title game and last fall made an appearance in the state final four.
Behind a pair of touchdown runs from tailbacks Justin Messner and Anthony Darkangelo and one from quarterback Mike Birney, the Shamrocks held a 21-0 lead at halftime. The third quarter was literally all CC. Taking the second half kick-off, the Shamrocks took possession of the ball and didn't give it back until Darkangelo had plunged into the end zone from 1-yard out, they had a four-touchdown advantage and there was less than 60 seconds remaining in the quarter. By that point, mind you, it was all academic.
The CC rushing attack led by the three-headed monster of Darkangelo, Messner and Justin D'agostino was just as effective as its heavily-lauded defense. Darkangelo carried the ball 11 times for 66 yards and two scores. Messner, the son of Shamrocks legend and former college All-American Mark Messner (Michigan), ran the rock 10 times for 93 yards and a 46-yard TD sprint in the first quarter. D'agostino, a three-year starter, carried the bulk of the load for the squad, rushing the ball 17 times for 82 yards.
Birney's TD run was a 22-yarder and Darkangelo's first trip into the end zone was a 20-yarder.

The Boys Bowl was started in 1944 by Father James Martin, CC's athletic director at that time, and was originally played at Tigers Stadium. For 22 years, the game pitted the Shamrocks against Boys Town Academy, an orphanage in Nebraska with a country-wide reputation for great football teams. The match-up of national powers would regularly draw upwards of 40,000 fans, onlookers and scouts throughout the 1940s and 50s. From 1967 until 2003, the game was played between CC and arch-rival Birmingham Brother Rice. Today, the opponent in the hallowed contest is rotated around the CHSL Central Division.
Next up for the Shamrocks is a road affair against University of Detroit-Jesuit, losers to Brother Rice on Saturday, 21-0

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just in The Nick of Time

The high-profile Birmingham Detroit Country Day offense started fast out of the gate but needed a bailout by the squad's less-heralded, yet equally good defense to keep its record unblemished on Saturday afternoon. Using a late goal line stand by the Yellow Jackets 'D', the DCD varsity football team staved off a frenetic rally from the visiting Muskegon Heights Tigers to come out of the game with a 21-18 win.
Both independents with no conference to call home, Country Day improves to 5-0 on the year, while Muskegon Heights drops to 3-2.  Junior tailback John Hill led the DCD attack by carrying the ball 18 times for a team-high 115 yards on the ground. Senior quarterback Willie Snead spearheaded the Tigers offensive assault by accounting for almost 300 all-purpose yards – 164 through the air (w/a pair of TDs)& 126 on the ground.
Racking up 11 first downs, 225 yards of field and three touchdowns in the first hakf of play, the Yellow Jackets were in control early and led 21-6 at halftime. 
Lee Bailey's 3-yard rushing touchdown got the day's scoring off and running and was quickly followed by Josh Harris' 2-yard sneak into the end zone. Harris, a highly-touted college prospect at the quarterback position, then found his No. 1 receiver, Kenny Knight, for a 26-yard scoring strike that capped a beautiful 86-yard drive down field. Hill, Bailey, Harris and Knight are all being recruited by Division I programs at the next level.
However, head coach Dan MacLean's team hit a bit of a wall in the second half and allowed the athletically-skilled Tigers to creep back into the game. MacLean's squad only accounted for 25 yards of total offense and a mere two first downs in the final 24 minutes of action.
With his usual point-machine of an offense on the frits, MacLean turned to his "no-name" defense to close out the team's fifth win of the year.
In front 21-12 with a little over six minutes remaining, the 'Jackets staged a triumphant goal line stop when DCD linebacker Patrick Dugan met Tigers running back Adam Ross as soon as he touched the ball on a fourth-and-two and was helped by a throng of teammates to drive Ross back into the dirt for a loss of yards and a switch of possession.  Dugan finished with seven tackles and a fumble recovery. Senior linebacker David Brown led the 'Jackets defense with a game-high 12 tackles and a sack.
Muskegon Heights scored on a touchdown pass from Snead to Darryl Terrell with 38 seconds left to make it 21-18 and Country Day's special teams unit then officially turned out the lights by recovering an ensuing Tigers' onside kick.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Great Burnzini - Week 5 picks

OC Top Games – Week 5
Pontiac v. Clarkston – You can't stop Wolves juniors Joey Goss and Nick Demattia, you can only hope to contain Them!!!
Clarkston 23, Pontiac 20
Southfield v. RH Adams – In prep football, one bad loss can ruin an entire season….that might end up being the case with Southfield this year, who dropped a head scratcher to Stoney Creek last week. One thing's for sure, playing on the road at Adams this week is going to be a mega-tough test. Tony Annesse is a rare talent and senior Desante Dinkins has been a nice surprise for the Highlanders and head coach Tony Partrito. This one goes down to the final few minutes before Adams scores on an Annesee-to-Annesse TD connection and the Highlanders go into celebration mode.
Adams 31, Southfield 24
AH Avondale v. Birmingham Seaholm – SUPERSONIC UPSET SPECIAL: Yellowjackets keep buzzing with their potent offense and go into Mapleland and play spoiler! Get busy my main men, Mitch Robinson, "Sugar Ray" Tillman and Tony "The Truth" Harris!! I want another pair of TDs each, at least this week!
Avondale 43, Seaholm 34
Walled Lake Western v. Walled Lake Northern – Burney loves the way Western is rebounding from a major letdown in 09 with a very nice start this fall. The Warriors have killed their last three opponents you with fundamentals and execution. Expect more of the same in Wk 5 on the road.
Western 27, Northern 23
Dearborn Divine Child v. Novi Detroit Catholic Central – Shamrocks continue to rock and roll down the yellowbrick road on their way back to Ford Field! Junior TE Matt Doneth will be the 2011 version of Jake Duzey
CC 45, DC 15
Berkley v. BH Lahser – Bears will feast on host-Knights as they try to keep pace with Hazel Park and Seaholm in the race for the league crown
Berkley 26, Lahser 17
MH Madison v. MH Lamphere – The Rams might be able to keep it close for a half, but Madison just has too much sheer power and speed for it to be refused a win in this rivalry game
Madison 36, Lamphere 24
Birmingham Brother Rice v. UofD-Jesuit – Rice can't afford to lose this one and it won't courtesy of senior Jimmy Pickens, who rushes for a trio of scores in a much-needed Warriors 'W'.
Rice 28, UofD 19
Rochester v. Troy Athens – Can JR RB Cody Devoe do it again (200 yards on the ground)? Burney sez YES!!!
Rochester 22, Athens 18
Milford v. Brighton – Mavs are on a mission this year and Cool Hand Luke and the rest will be up to the test against the Bulldogs on the road Friday night
Milford 33, Brighton 28
Southfield-Lathrup v. FH Harrison – Lathrup is in the midst of a nightmare season and the Chargers won't be waking up from it anytime soon, especially against the Hawks in Coach Herrington's own crib!
Harrison 37, SL 14

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Five For Fighting - MIP

OC Top 5 — Most Improved Football Players

1 Mitch Robinson (Jr QB - AH Avondale) - Stat machine so far putting up 18 tds against only 2 ints. Making major strides as a college prospect

2 Dakota Ogles (Sr RB - Hazel Park) - First year starting on offense and off to a monster start -ave over 200 yards and 3 TDs per game

3 Jared Eason (Sr WR/CB - MH Madison) - Probably the most improved two-way player, killing secondaries with his speed and field savy on the outside and bedeviling opposing QB's with his lockdown corner skills and playmaking ability at a DB spot

4 Rochester Falcons - The entire Falcons team has brought their "A game" into the 2010 season and will be riding the playoff train come next month

5 Devin Funchess/Matt Doneth (Jr TE - FH Harrison/Novi Detroit CC) -  Will be best TEs in he county next year

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Playing With a Stacked Deck

They might not be the best overall football team in the area, but the Auburn Hills Avondale Yellowjackets sport some serious firepower at the skills positions, especially the passing game, and could be the most exciting team to watch play this season in all of Oakland County.
Ninth-year Avondale head coach Steve Deutch has bred some high-octane talent on the offensive side of the ball in his near-decade tenure at the helm of the 'Jackets gridiron program (names like Adrian Cannon, Jeff Hines, D.J Lynch, Francois Mathews, Sean Mather, among others come to mind) and this year has brought more of the same.
Simply put, Avondale's vertical passing attack is one of the best in the state and as dominant as can possibly be on the prep level. After a meager 20-point output in Week 1, the Yellowjackets are averaging over 45 points per game!!! If you're from the old school, think the Air Coryell San Diego Chargers of the early-1980s or if you're from the new school think the 2007 New England Patriots who went 16-0 in the regular season before losing to the NY Giants in the Super Bowl.
Everything for this juggernaut point machine starts with the quarterback. Entering his second year starting under center, junior Mitch Robinson is by far the most improved player in the county. Through only four games, Robinson, also a standout baseball player in the spring, has thrown for over 1200 yards and 16 TDs against only two interceptions. He had 18 passing touchdowns through all of last season, leading the team to a 5-4 record. Robinson is 6-feet-1 inch tall and still growing. If he reaches 6-2 by next summer, he will most likely have his choice of sports to play at the D1 college level.
Then there is Robinson's elite receiving corps, headed by dynamic athletes like Ray Tillman, Tony Harris, Ryan Brancheau, Taylor Drabek, and Michael Johnson. Tillman (6-0, 170) is a deep threat with moves and wheels like few around. He's already gone for over 200 yards receiving in two games so far this year. Brancheau (6-3 215) is another stat-munching wide out with big play capability and Harris is an expert scat-back in the mold of Reggie Bush. Drabek is coming into his own as a top-flight tight end this season and Johnson is carrying the load at running back, doing an admirable job taking the place of departed star player Francois Mathews (Central Methodist).
During the winter, Tillman and Harris are an all-conference backcourt for the 'Jackets basketball team. Joining them on the hardwood is Brancheau, a sturdy and active power forward with a nice touch around the hoop. Drabek is an all-state baseball player in the spring on a team Robinson is the catcher for.         
Sitting at 2-2 right now, Deutch's "Jack Attack" could easily be 4-0. I suspect with the type of weaponry Avondale is playing with this year, they have a good shot at making it into the playoffs in spite of taking two bitter losses to kick-off the campaign.
If you're a fan of "pinball-style" football, back-and-fourth games and lots of airing it out, I suggest you get out to see the Avondale Yellowjackets this season and get a look for yourself in person.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flying High Now

One of the most exciting things about the start of the 2010-2011 county prep campaign is that it appears that multiple boys varsity sports teams at Rochester High School are poised for banner seasons.  I'm quite certain that this is welcomed news for all the Falcons faithful because the 2000s have not been the most blessed of years for the Rochester fan base. With the exception of a boys hoops squad that achieved moderate success with Mr. Basketball and future NBA'er Paul Davis almost a decade ago, there has not been that much to cheer about on the corner of Walton and Livernois. In terms of success on the gridiron, the Falcons have only made appearances in the post-season four times in the past two decades.
Now, I'm going to make a cheezy Facebook reference, please excuse me:
First off, the Falcons football team is on FIRE with a capital "F"!!! Head coach Erik Vernon has returned 17 starters from last season's team and the squad is playing at the caliber its experience level would indicate.  Entering his third year starting for the varsity, senior QB Nick Bradley is a stalwart under center who is finally blossoming into his own as a top rate field general. He has developed to a point with his play where he will simply wear defenses down with his pinpoint accuracy and heady game-management ability. The leadership factor is there in spades and this is always important when you're talking about quarterbacks. Mike Cmiek and Billy Klotz are a dangerous pair as Bradley's top receiving options and junior tailback Cody Devoe is emerging as a big play threat in the backfield, going for over 200 yards and a touchdown in the team's huge victory over Pontiac in Week 4.  Offensive lineman Grant Chenowith and Nick Bruewer join Bradley as three-year starters and are making things extremely difficult for opposing pass rushers, while at the same time making things extremely cheerful for their team's own running game with picture-perfect blocking technique.
The defense ain't that shabby either with playmakers such as Lawrence Walls (DL), Marcel Johnson (DL), Nick Reed (LB) and Diego Camp (LB) holding things down roughhouse-style with aggressive tackling and quality "sideline-to-sideline" instinct. On special teams, Reed doubles as an ace placekicker and could be the difference between some wins and losses for the Falcons down the stretch. Burney's going to say it….er write it right now, so get ready; Come next month, Rochester will make the playoffs on the football field for the first time since 1999!!!! TAKE IT 2 THE BANK!
The Falcons are 3-1 for the first time since 2007 and unlike in '07 when they dropped four of their next five contests, Burney sees this group following through on its early-season promise.
Head coach Chris Purgatori and the Rochester boys soccer team seem ready to make a nice run this season too. Led by all-state senior keeper Chris Stewart, a virtual iron wall in between the pipes, and captains Leland Trombley and Michael Bowyer, the Falcons' kick squad is 6-3-2.
On the hardwood in the winter, the Rochester varsity hoop team returns one heck of a talented power forward in Taylor Perry, recently committed to Western Michigan's recruiting Class of 2012and that could mean good things for the Falcons chances in the win column come March. Burney notes Perry for his capability to always come up in the clutch, having converted four game-winning hoops over the last year when you combine his play on the Falcons varsity and his 16-u Dorian's Pride AAU team.
Oh, yeah and my main man, Nick Bradley, is a dominant No.1 hurler on the baseball diamond (headed to Western Michigan on scholarship) and Rochester returns many key components from last season's district championship-winning team, so success in the springtime for the Falcons is a strong possibility as well.
Trevor Elliott and Billy Klotz also return for the Rochester diamond brigade, whose district title in 2010 was its first since the school captured a state title in 1998.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Burney's Prep Football Rankings - Gridlock at the Top

OC Top 10 – Week 5
1 (tie) Novi Detroit Catholic Central (4-0) – Just like last season, the Shamrocks are gaining momentum and keep getting better each game!
1 (tie) Lake Orion (4-0) – STEVENSON, NEY, CHARRETTE, ZOTT, McGEE, WILLIAMS KOHLER, FINE, MISIAK, ROURKE, GROSS, GALL…..Dragons head coach Chris Bell has so many weapons at his disposal with his football team that President Obama should consider tapping him as America's next Secretary of Defense!
2 OL St. Mary's (4-0) – Any other year, I would say it's a shoe-in for this season's Eaglets team to go undefeated, but this season they will have to face CC once and possibly even twice.  Burney loves himself some NASTY BOYZ 'D', Allen "AL B Sure" aka "A-1" Robinson and Co., however this year's Shamrocks are pretty devastatingly good. Burney loves the fact that his main man Keith Stonestreet (WR/KR/DB) is having the breakout year I knew he would have!
3 Birmingham Detroit Country Day (4-0) – The 'Jackets offense gets all the pub this season, but the defense is equally daunting for opponents, featuring the likes of 2010 breakout stars, Carter Elliot (DE), David Brown (LB) and Troy Woodland (CB)
4 (tie) FH Harrison (4-0) – This Hawks squad could end up being the best team coach Herrington has led since the Drew Stanton era!
4 (tie) Farmington (4-0) – With his point blank brilliant play early on, Falcons' senior WR/DB/KR Jason Wilson has already reached SWAGGER LEVEL THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION and teammates Matt Craven, Neno-Fletcher-Jones and Dae'von Scarber will be there by mid-week
5 RH Adams (3-1) – You can't stop the Annesse Brothers, you can only hope to contain them!!!
6 (tie) MH Madison (3-1) – The Eagles are really deep in the talent pool and can hurt you in so many ways with their pure athleticism. Another major league breakout star this prep season has been WR/CB Jared Eason, a slippery end with big play capability written all over him!
6 (tie) Hazel Park (4-0) – The word MACHINE comes to mind when thinking about Coach Guthrie's prodigious rushing attack!
7 Clarkston (3-1) – You probably wouldn't have been able to tell this in C-Town's first two games of the year, but the Wolves are going be VERY VERY tough to beat come late-October! Junior RB Joey Goss could be the hardest working runner in the county – this kids gets yardage by pure will!
8 Birmingham Seaholm (3-1) – I love how senior Matt Roden stepped right into starting QB John Glazier's shoes (out with injury early in game) and didn't let the Maples offense derail in Seaholm's bitter defeat to DCD last Thursday.  
9 Rochester (3-1) – I can't overstate the colossal nature 0f the Falcons win over Pontiac in Wk 4.  Burney can smell playoffs for Rochester! Get busy double-time my main men, Nick Bradley and Cody Devoe!
10 (tie) Berkley (4-0) – Bears are growling like it's the 1990s when former NFL'er Aric Morris led the school to multiple playoff berths. Coach MAC's squad made it back to the post-season in 2009 and Burney says this is the year they get their first victory in close to a decade and a half.
10 (tie) Milford (4-0) – The Mavs are SO SO DEF this year you might think they were being coached by music mogul and So So Def Records president Jermaine Dupri!
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Friday, September 17, 2010

The Great Burnzini - Week 4 part 2

OC Top Games – Friday/Saturday
Troy v. Clarkston – After a 250+ yard, 4 TD performance in his first varsity action under center, Wolves junior QB Nick Di Mattia appears on the verge of becoming a STAR! ND throws another trifecta of TD's and the WolfPack prevail late
C-Town 27, Troy 20
Birmingham Brother Rice v. Warren De La Salle – Tyler Lendzion does his best "Shoelace Robinson", for the second straight week and Adam Gorski boots a game-winning field goal as times expires to get the Warriors back to the .500 mark
Rice 24, DLS 21
UofD-Jesuit v. OL St. Mary's – What Eaglet is going to step up big time in Week 4? One thing's for sure whoever it is, they will be leading St. Mary's to another tally in the win column
OLSM 32, UofD-Jesuit 10
Pontiac v. Rochester – I love me some Nick Bradley, Erik Vernon and the ole' Blue and White of Rochester, but this year's Phoenix are simply too dangerous and speedy for you guys to keep up with in the end
Pontiac 33, Rochester 23
FH Harrison v. Oxford – I'm sad to say this 'cause I also love me some Bud Rowley, Anthony McDougald, Aaron Stuk and the O-Cats, but the toughest part of this game for Harrison will be the lengthy bus ride from one part of the county to the other.  Aaron Burbridge finally hits his stride and catches three TDs from Tommy Vento.
Harrison 41 Oxford 22
AH Avondale v. Ferndale – 'Jackets QB Mitch Robinson goes all MITCH ROBINSON, tossing 4 TDs and spearheading Avondale's second consecutive 'W' after starting the year 0-2
Avondale 38, Ferndale 30
Dearborn Divine Child v. Novi Detroit Catholic Central – Burney feels sorry for DC and anyone else for that matter that resides on the Shamrocks schedule this year…..CAN U SAY BACK-2-BACK!!!!!!
CC 44, DC 6
RO Shrine v. Riverview Gabriel Richard – Bertram Marks, Blake Washington and Jack Wangler make up one of the best receiving corps in the area!!! This super-slippery trio makes life good again for Knights QB Branch Kampe and Shrine shines again!!
Shrine 31, Gabriel Richard 15
Milford v. Hartland – Get busy my main Maverick homeboys, Drew Williamson, Luke Johnson, Nick Schatney, Joey Miller and Brandon Bell!!!!! Attention Milford bus driver, keep the engine running and the inside of the bus warm, 'cause this one is going to over fast!
Milford 45, Hartland 16
Stoney Creek v. Southfield – The SC Cougars have gotten off to a rough start to the 2010 season and things aren't going to get any easier when they head into the unfriendly confines of Blue Jays Stadium on Friday. Southfield's Leviticus Payne has been one of the pleasant surprises of the early season, quickly developing into one of the most lethal offensive weapons in the OAA. Payne and junior QB Justin Danzy hook-up for 3 scores and the 'Jays roll!
Southfield 35, SC 12

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Great Burnzini - Week 4 part 1

OC Top Games – Prep Football Thursday
Birmingham DCD v. Birmingham Seaholm – The Maples could very well wind up pulling the upset in their own crib on Thursday night, but Burney doesn't have gall to put it in stone. One thing Burney can say for certain is that unlike the past two seasons, this game will go down to the wire.
DCD 27, Seaholm 21
Berkley v. BH Andover – This ain't the NFL and these Bears won't need any funny stuff to grab this win when they go on the road to face the Barons….Watch Terrell Porter do his best Matt Forte impression and go for over 200 all-purpose yards in the Berkley rout
Berkley aka TEAM PORTER 38, Andover 17
WL Central v. Waterford Kettering – Is there a better offensive line in the KLAA than the Central Vikings? I DON'T THINK SO….Get busy my main men, Bryan Bell and Mike Strehl!!!
Central 43, Kettering 13
BH Lahser v. North Farmington – QB Bobby Brandon, WR Luke Dauch and the rest of the Knights gridiron crew hit the road and pull out their first victory of the year…….and BOY DO THEY EVER NEED IT!!!!
Lahser 20, NF 19
WL Western v. Lakeland – The Eagles offense is starting to take flight under the guidance of new QB Casey Palanca (Little bro of former Lakeland sports stud, Eric) and they will fly past the Warriors in dramatic fashion on Thursday in front of a boisterous home crowd
Lakeland 28, Western 22                                                     
Hazel Park. V Birmingham Groves – Leading rusher Dakota Ogles may be out of the lineup for HP, so look for Ralph Hopkins to have a big game carrying the pill for the Vikings in his stead….if this was "Fantasy" I would highly recommend picking up Hopkins in any and all leagues for a "one-time super start" in Week 4
Southfield-Lathrup v. Farmington – You can't stop Falcons senior QB Matt Craven, you can only hope to contain him!!!!
Farmington 34, S-Lathrup 14
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Five For Fighting - Personal Preference

Top 5 – Burney's Personal Favorite Prep Teams of the Last Five Years
1 2009 Novi Detroit Catholic Central football team – Playing quintessential smashmouth football, this Shamrocks squad won the D1 state championship and can brag about sporting one of the most dominating defenses this county has ever seen. Vince Lombardi and Bear Bryant would be proud!!
2 2010 Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes girls basketball team – Mrs. Fourth Quarter herself, Lauren Robak struck a blow for all Lakers' hoop squads before her that came to the cusp of state title glory (her aunts Patty, Theresa, and Sue Anne and uncle Paul can attest to that) and had fate go against them at the last second, when she finally brought home the hardware 2 the WOLL hoops program last March. Robak, Doetch, Topolewski & Co. will be back for a shot at the repeat in 2011
3 2007 Birmingham Detroit Country Day boys basketball team – In Burney's opinion there is NO QUESTION whatsoever that longtime Yellowjackets head coach Kurt Keener (8 rings and currently the most-tenured boys hoop coach in Oakland County)did the best coaching job of his career by far with his '07 state title squad; led by Darryl Nobles (Ferris State/Davenport), Clayton Beard (NC State), James Nelson (Davenport), Darnell Brown (Bowling Green), Dale Brundidge (Carlton's big bro, Wayne St.) , Jordan Dumars (Michigan), Da'Shonte Riley (Syracuse), Jonas Gray (Notre Dame for football)
4 2006-2007 Lakeland softball team – Two words: LAUREN MEMMER!!!!
5 2005 Birmingham Brother Rice football team – I loved this gritty group of Rice Warriors for the heart, passion and resillience they always displayed on the field. . Coach Fracassa's '05 team was spearheaded by the likes of LB Chris Colasanti (Penn State),WR Kaunda Hancock (Toledo), TE Charlie Gannt (Michigan State), and QB Mike Cappetto (Duke) and scratched and clawed its way to a 14-7 win over Hudsonville in the state finals. Andy Lentz did an awesome job of filling in for the injured Cappetto under center throughout the season, including splitting time in the state title tilt at Ford Field. This kind of success would be a sign of things to come for Lentz, who would also go onto the captain a Warriors state title team his senior year on the baseball diamond.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Decade of Dominance - Part 10 (Last Stop!)

OC All-Decade – All-Purpose Athletes
1 Josh Allison (DE – Lake Orion) – TOTAL MENACE on the field and in the trenches and the definition of a QB KILLER, making himself a permanent fixture in opponents' backfields his final two seasons (2005 and 2006)as a prepster. Set a state record for sacks his junior year with 25 and then added 17 more his senior year along with 103 tackles to etch himself at the top of the Lake Orion record books for single-season takedowns. Originally committed to Minnesota, before winding up at CMU
2 Marcus Woods (RB – FH Harrison) – Statistically this kid is the best runner in the history of the illustrious Hawks football program. As a senior in the fall of 2002, he ran for 1550 yards and scored 25 TDs. Started out fast as a collegiate at Missouri be named first team all-freshman in the Big 12 in 2004 as a redshirt and ended up as one of the better Tigers running backs of the decade.  
3 Maurice Alexander (RB – Southfield) – Super-fast tailback for the Blue Jays at the start of the 2000s, Alexander became the first player in school history to exceed the 4,000 yard rushing mark. Clocked as fast as 4.3 in the 40-yard dash, he wound up playing in the Big Ten at Minnesota for his college ball
4 Jim Pressley (FB/LB Milford) – This Milford Mav was the prototypical prep athlete…fast, strong, smart, hard-working. Nicknamed "The Hulk" by his coaches and teammates for his freakish physical attributes, he went to play in the Big Ten at UofMichigan in the fall of 2003
5 Kyle Brown (WR/KR/CB - West Bloomfield) – The ultimate jitterbug slot receiver/kick-returner both as a prepster with the WB Lakers and in college with the MSU Spartans. Brown had a cup of coffee in the NFL in 2007 with the Washington Redskins
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Burney's Prep Football Rankings - All Knotted Up

OC TOP 10 – Week 4
1 (tie) Lake Orion (3-0) – Senior running back Marques Stevenson is in the midst of putting together a season for the program's record books, defense continues to play  
1 (tie) Novi Detroit CC (3-0) – Shamrocks are known for playing power football at the most elite level and this season is simply more of the same!!! I must admit, I didn't think the 'Rocks would be able match what they did in '09 with its dominating run to the state title, but I now fully acknowledge I WAS WAY WAY OFF with my pre-season analysis 
2 OL St. Mary's (3-0) – The Eaglets have the look of a top echelon team because every week its different guys stepping up and getting the job done
3 Birmingham Detroit Country Day (3-0) – Burney's having a hard time deciding for himself which is better…Coach Mac and the 'Jackets explosive and multi-dimensional offense or their big play and ultra-aggressive 'D? Don't sleep on junior John Hill, probably the best second string tailback in the county.
4 (tie) Farmington (3-0) – Matt Craven, Jason Wilson, Dae'von Scarber, Neno Fletcher-Jones…..just how many major league playmakers is one team allowed to have?
4 (tie) FH Harrison (3-0) – By the end of the season, Hawks junior TE Devin Funchess (110 yds, 1 TD) could be one of the most lethal at his position in the state!!!!
5 RH Adams (2-1) – Get busy my main Highlander Homeboy, Jordan Gowman (3 TDs in 'W' against SLathrup in Wk 3)!!! JG came out of the shadows and rolled all over the Lathrup defense with his seemingly-endless end zone endeavors
6 (tie) Birmingham Seaholm (3-0) – Kevin Wilberding and Mike Nadowksi have filled in valiantly for injured starting running back Greg Joseph (expected back in 2-4 weeks)….having big ole' Dan Gibbs blocking up front for them doesn't hurt matters either.
6 (tie) Hazel Park (3-0) – Let's give a hardy round of applause to the Vikings O-Line for doing such an exceptional job for the second straight year!!!
7 MH Madison (2-1) – Valdez Showers making the most of his last year on the offensive side of the ball (300 yds on the ground in 'W' on Friday).
8 Southfield (2-1) – Junior slotback Leviticus Payne is BLOWING UP this year and showing some serious moves on the field while doing it….think former Adams star and current CMU slotback Cody Wilson.
9 Clarkston (2-1) – Could junior field general Nick Di Mattia (4 Tds and 40+ points in first career varsity start in Wk 3) be the answer to the Wolves early-season offensive woes? I THINK SO!
10 Birmingham Brother Rice (1-2) – Coach Fracassa and his Warriors got back to their winning ways against Highland Park in Week 3 behind Tyler Lendzion's 4 TD, 200-plus total yard performance. I love

Sunday, September 12, 2010

No Horsing Around

The terms "Big win" and "Statement game" are often thrown around way too freely in the world of sports journalism. That said, it would be no overstatement to say that Holly picked up an absolutely huge victory on the road Friday evening against Flint Metro League superpower Linden.
Utilizing a vicious rushing attack, the visiting Bronchos ran past, over and around the host-Eagles for an emphatic 40-23 triumph which both ended league-champ Linden's 12-game conference win streak and gave Holly its first win of the season.
The tailback tandem of Johnny Williams and Andarius Gray combined to chew up almost 400 yards on the ground in leading Holly's offensive assault. Williams carried the ball 25 times for 280 yards and five touchdowns, tying a league record for most touchdowns scored in a single game.  Gray (a senior and three-year starter) ran the pigskin 17 times for 117 yards and two scores.  Holly's defense was active all game and intercepted Linden quarterback Thad Kenney four times.
The 280 yards rushing by Williams is the most yardage accumulated by a Bronchos running back since Steve Taylor broke out for a conference record 339 yards in a game against this same Eagles squad back in October of 1992. Linden, defending Flint Metro champions, had not lost a game in conference play since 2008.
Head coach Ryan Culloty and the Bronchos are coming off back-to-back 2-7 campaigns and Friday's defeat of a team that is the caliber of Linden is a mighty large step in the right direction for a program looking to find some consistency in the win column. Culloty has six returning starters on both sides of the ball and that experience showed against the Eagles (2-1).
Even though the running game was on fire on Friday, Holly (1-2) has a number of new wrinkles in its offense courtesy of new offensive coordinator Jeremy Barkey. As a result, expect the Bronchos to be more versatile in their playcalling as the season progresses.  Despite the poor start to the year, junior quarterback Ryan Houldsworth has looked increasingly good calling signals under center and wide receivers Cody Brotherton and Jake Schuermann are quality options for him to make use of in the vertical passing game.
The Bronchos go back on the road for their next contest this week against Fenton before returning home the week after that to play host to Clio. Shooting for a berth in the state playoffs is a mighty tall task for Culloty and clan, since Holly hasn't qualified for a post-season appearance in close to a decade. However, Friday's primetime-worthy win against Linden, a team they usually get roughhoused by, is without a doubt a significant move forward.  
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Days Are Here Again!

Maples Keep Rebuilding Project Pointed in The Right Direction
It was only 11 months ago, but it might as well have been an eternity. Starting last season 0-6, following a 1-8 campaign the year before, October 2009 stood as a low watermark for the Birmingham Seaholm football team. Since then, however, the Maples have experienced a resurgence in the type of play that has made the school one of the most successful suburban prep programs in the Metro Detroit area over the past two decades, winning six straight ballgames and looking poised to contend for both a conference championship and a return trip to the playoffs.
Led by another gaudy offensive performance, Seaholm went on the road and won its third game of the 2010 season, 35-17, over Bloomfield Hills Lahser on Friday night to remain undefeated on the year at 3-0. Head coach Chris Fahr's team finished last season on a three game win-streak and the momentum has carried over into this fall, with the Maples averaging over 30 points per outing.
"I'm very proud of the way this entire program has bounced back from some real tough times," Fahr said. "The varsity, JV and freshman teams are all 6-0 since the last quarter of last season. We're building this thing back up here and those who have stayed and fought are being rewarded. I like the direction this team is heading in and I think we're going to end up seeing this thing through in the end."
Fahr is in his sixth season at the helm of the Seaholm program and hoping to guide the team to its first league title and post-season appearance since his first year on the job in 2005.
Junior quarterback John Glazier and senior wideout Shawn Conway, fast developing into one of the most lethal pass-and-catch combos in the state, hooked up for two scores through the air – making it a total of six on the year so far – and Kevin Wilberding's two rushing touchdowns anchored the Maples attack against the Knights.
Conway, one his way to the University of Michigan next season, caught five balls for 98 yards. Both of his touchdown grabs came in the first half to rally his team back from an early deficit.  Glazier, in his first year under center for the Seaholm varsity squad after quarterbacking the JV team last year, was 10-of-20 passing for 185 yards to go along with his pair of scoring tosses to Conway and one rushing TD for himself.
Wilberding played huge in the second half and almost single handedly delivered a deathblow to the Lahser cause. With the Maples clinging to a slim 21-17 advantage, Wilberding recovered a fumble on the second half kickoff to allow Seaholm to set up shop deep in Knights territory to open the third quarter. Moments later, Wilberding went in for the first of back-to-back 3-yard scoring runs that would put things out of reach and close the book on the Maples victory.
Mike Nadowksi was Seaholm's leading rusher, toting the rock 13 times for a game-high 75 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, the highlight of the game came from Tommy Lewis, who sacked Lahser quarterback Bobby Brandon in the end zone for a safety.
Two seasons removed from a trip to the Division 3 final four, Lahser drops its season record to 0-3, placing its playoff hopes on life support going into a must-win game in Week 4 against North Farmington.
A short week of preparation is in store for Fahr and his Maples as they get ready for arguably their hardest game of the year on Thursday night against Birmingham Detroit Country Day, a team that spanked them in the opener in '09.
Well aware of his looming opponents' strong suits, Fahr has nothing but respect for the Yellow Jackets.
"DCD is a great team, with a great coaching staff and great players, it's really that simple," he said.
He knows his team has little margin for error when squaring off with a squad as dangerous as Country Day is.
"There's no doubt that we're going to have to play our best game of the year to get that win," Fahr said. "We'll prepare as best as we can and continue to focus on getting better in everything we do. Whatever happens, I'm confident we'll play as hard as we've been playing these first few weeks."
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Friday, September 10, 2010

The Great Burnzini - Week 3 Picks

Top Games – Week 3
Record: 24-11
Lake Orion v. Pontiac – SUPERSONIC UPSET SPECIAL: The Phoenix play spoiler and ruin the Dragons shot at an undefeated season. One of the county's newest breakout stars, Pontiac junior RB Mark Cargle GOES WILD again, carrying the THE HIGH to the W!
Pontiac 25, LO 24
Birmingham Seaholm v. Birmingham Lahser – Everyone knows about UofM-bound Shawn Conway, but the Maples have lots of other talented players like John Glazier, Chris Barr, Kevin Wilberding, Kai Czajka, Charlie Doherty, Sterling Johnson, Neil Page,  Dan Gibbs, and Matt Roden! Can you say CONFERENCE TITLE?
Seaholm 32, Lahser 18
Novi Detroit CC v. Inkster – Where's that butter? Shamrocks continue to roll! Get busy my main men and CC varsity stalwarts, "The Andrews Brothers" aka Andrew "Pac Man" Nelson and Andrew "Easy E" Erickson!!!
CC 38, Inkster 12
Clarkston v. Troy Athens – Iowa-bound Jake Duzey goes all JAKE DUZEY and the Red Hawks beats C-town for the first time in a while and announce to the whole area that last week's abysmal outing against Pontiac was only a minor setback on their way to a memorable season
Athens 21, Clarkston 17
Walled Lake Central v. Walled Lake Northern – Vikings win again in final seconds, this year on a K.J. Schulz TD run followed by a Ramon Alexander pick on the last play of the game to secure victory for 'Big Brother" Central over perennial "Little Bro" Northern
WLC 29, WLN 26
Birmingham Brother Rice v. Highland Park – Desperate is the best way to describe the Warriors situation right now and Burney expects them to play that way this weekend when they host the HP Polar Bears. Look for WR Nick Dunn to have a bustout game, catching a couple of TD's from Tyler Lendzion and Adam Gorksi to boot a game-winning FG as time expires to, in a nutshell, save the Rice season

Rice 23, HP 20
BH Andover v. AH Avondale – Ryan Brancheau (150 yds, 4 TDs last week in loss to Hazel Park) is very underrated and when combined with Ray Tillman (227 yds and 1 TD last week) and Mitch Robinson (490 yds 7 TDs last week), make up a very dangerous passing attack for the Yellow Jackets. Avondale could be sitting 2-0 right now, but are 0-2 instead, dropping to last second heartbreakers and thus, like Rice, are the picture of desperate right now. 'Jackets get healthy at Barons expense and romp to first 'W' of the year with another volcanic offensive explosion
Avondale 44, Andover 21
Oak Park v. Southfield – Match-up of two great young coaching minds in Southfield's Tim Conley and Oak Park's Mario Evans, so you know this one will be a doozy. There will be lots of speed and athleticism on the field and this could lead to a boatload of points being put up. The Blue Jays are playing at home and just have too much experience for the Knights to overcome
Southfield 33, Oak Park 27
RH Adams v. Southfield-Lathrup – I feel bad for the Chargers 'cause Adams coach Tony Partrito is going to have his squad so jacked up after a poor performance last week in a loss to Farmington, this game might be over by halftime.  You might as well pack away some extra pencils and pieces of paper if you're planning on tracking the Highlanders statistical output on Friday night

Adams 35, SL 15
Troy v. Rochester – This will be a good one and a nice contrast of styles, which always makes for the best match-ups. Seniors Nick Bradley (Rochester QB) and James MacDonald (Troy RB) go toe-to-toe in an old fashioned shootout that I see going to the Colts when it's all said and done
Troy 38 Rochester, 34 (OT)
Oxford v. Farmington – Matt Craven, Jason Wilson and the boys have been living lately on the corner of AWESOME and AMAZING and I don't see any moving trucks on the horizon!
Farmington 28, Oxford 19
North Farmington v. Hazel Park – Vikings are playing at mid-season form right now and their vicious running game will smash through the Raiders for another win

Hazel Park 41, NF 18
Birmingham Groves v. Berkley – Coach Jimmy Mac has the Bears hungry and unfortunately the Falcons are easy prey this week
Berkley 31, Groves 17

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Five For Fighting - Field General Frenzy

Top 5 – Prep Quarterbacks in The OC
1 Josh Harris (Birmingham DCD) – Can beat you in so many ways and has all the tools to lead DCD to a state title…or at the very least back to Ford Field, where he took the 'Jackets to back as a sophomore in 2008
2 Ryan Horvath (MH Lamphere) – A three-sport star, Horvath has a super high on-field IQ, great leadership skills, accuracy, and poise to go along with a howitzer of an arm
3 Luke Johnson (Milford) – Prototypical gunslinger that will navigate the Mavs back into the post-season this fall...VERY, VERY undervalued around the Metro Detroit area 
4 Matt Craven (Farmington) – This three-year starter is really coming into his own this season as a senior...had a GREAT summer on the camp/combine circuit
5 (tie) Sean Charrette (Lake Orion) – Another in a long line of very good Dragons' signal callers (head coach Chris Bell comes to mind…) Led LO to the state championship game as a freshman and Burney says he will do it again (and maybe more) before he graduates
5 (tie) Tommy Vento (FH Harrison) – Waiting in the wings the past two seasons as the heir apparent to the Hawks starting QB job, Vento has come on the scene in 2010 and proved worth the wait not to mention solidifying himself as the REAL DEAL GENUINE GRADE A ARTICLE on the field under center.  Vento is drop back specialist with a very silky touch and underrated elusiveness outside the pocket.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fantasy of All Fantasies

I love myself some fantasy football and one of Burney’s all-time biggest dreams in life is that someone will one day create a prep fantasy football league for Southeast Michigan. Can you imagine how TOTALLY AWESOME that would be? Well, as long as we dreaming, I thought I’d give all my peeps out there in Cyberland a peak at what I could foresee my starting line-up being if such a thing really did exists.

QB Luke Johnson (Milford) – VERY, VERY underrated signal caller, I would snare in the late rounds

RB Dakota Ogles (Hazel Park) – The HP offense reminds me a bit of the old school Denver Broncos ‘O of a decade ago, no matter what running back you have carrying the ball, they are going to put up BIG TIME yardage. Applying that logic, I would have drafted Ogles in the mid-rounds and came away with the steal of the draft. KUDOS to Burney for his slick GM’ing and for, as always, being way ahead of the curve!

RB Terrell Porter (Berkley) – This straight-up THOROUGHBRED would have been my No. 1 pick

WR Allen Robinson (OL St. Mary’s) – The definition of a playmaker and Burney’s third rounder!

WR Chris Canada (Clarkston) – The C-town offense may be in rebuilding mode, yet Canada is the Wolves No.1, No.2 and N0. 3 option in the playbook, so he’s going to get a lot of touches and chances to put up big numbers

TE Jake Duzey (Troy Athens) – I like picking my tight ends early, so I would have jumped on this Rambling Red Hawk right off the bat

Flex Mitch Kozlowski (MH Lamphere) – The picture of versatility, THE KOZ Man would have been my second pick after Porter

D/ST Novi Detroit CC – I also like picking Defense/Special Teams early on and since CC is the gold standard, selecting the Shamrocks was a no brainer

K Justin D’Agostino (Novi Detroit CC) – D’agostino is a veteran special teams guy and ace placekicker that could wind up being one of the keys to success for the Burney’s Bytes fantasy prep football team