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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Prep Football Picks - Week 6

Week 6 – Top Games in the OC
Birmingham Brother Rice v. OL St. Mary's – My main man Cheyne Lacanaria aka 'The Polynesian Pistol' connects with senior captain Brian Roney for the game-winning touchdown, grabbing Coach Fracassa his epic 400th win
Rice 27, OLSM 23
Oxford v. Rochester Hills Adams – You know whose "under the radar" good for the Highlanders? Andrew McBride and Ben Hart!!!!! This durable duo keep at on Friday against the still-dangerous O-Town Kitties
Adams 31, Oxford 28
Farmington v. Southfield – This might wind up being the best Blue Jays squad in school history!!!
Southfield 33, Farmington 26
Walled Lake Central v. Lakeland – Central gridiron stud Curtis Booth doesn't get enough credit….we'll I'm about to give him some right now……..…Get busy CB!!!!
WLC 34 Lakeland 25
Pontiac NDP v. Dearborn Divine Child – I think the lower tier CHSL Fighting Irish could take on higher tier teams like CC, DLS, Rice and St. Mary's and give each of them one heck of a good game, possibly even pull an upset or two
NDP 31, DC 16
Clarkston v. Rochester – C-Town might be the best team in Oakland County not named FH Harrison…..I guess only time will tell!!!!
C-Town 38, Rochester 20
UofD-Jesuit v. Novi Detroit Catholic Central – UofD=Raw meat, CC=a pack of hungry wild animals!!!!
CC 45, UofD 10
Berkley v. North Farmington – Raiders safety Kevin Penny should think about changing his name to Kevin Dollar, 'cause he's that MONEY!!!!
NF 32 Berkley 30
Novi v. South Lyon – TEAM PENNYCUFF starting to come around…..'Cats make it four straight!!!
Novi 28, South Lyon 22
AH Avondale v. Birmingham Groves – 'Jackets sophomore linebacker Chris Bracefull is making a name for himself in prep football circles around Metro Detroit and deservedly so!!!!!!
Avondale 36, Groves 35
Lake Orion v. Troy – I see another big game from sophomore sensation Corey Ester on the horizon, helping the Dragons snare a tedious and rewarding road 'W'
LO 31, Troy 21
Hazel Park v. Birmingham Seaholm – Senior Sterling Johnson is quite STERLING for the Maples!!!
Seaholm 47, HP 27

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Boys of Zimmer

Back in the summer of 1989, the Chicago Cubs, nicknamed "The Boys of Zimmer" due to their manager being Don Zimmer, captured the hearts of Chicagoians everywhere with their winning antics on the baseball diamond.
This fall, Oakland County has its own version of the Boys of Zimmer on the prep gridiron in the Pontiac Notre Dame Fighting Irish – coached by Kyle Zimmerman. AND They're capturing quite a few hearts and minds these days by CRUSHING the competition at every opportunity.
The 2011 NDP football squad is CRAZY GOOD and poised to make a run at having the best season in school history. I was out at the Fighting Irish's demolishing of Madison Heights Bishop Foley last Friday night and let me just say I was VERY IMPRESSED at what I got a gander at.
Over the last three games, TEAM ZIMM has averaged 45 points per game and has outscored its opponents 134-28. Ford Field and the CHSL Championship Game are calling their name. However, unlike what went down back in '09, I predict the Green and Gold will be the ones hoisting the hardware at game's end.
Owners of a 5-0 record heading into their game with Dearborn Divine Child in Week 6, the Fighting Irish are riding a nine-game winning streak dating back to the 2010 season.
NDP is stacked with super tough and talented seniors. These guys are DEEP and love to get DOWN-and-DIRTY in between the sidelines.
Quarterback Danny Durkin is the pace-setter for the team's offense. He's sturdy and efficient and can make the big throw when needed. Shane Frakes and "Good Looking" Jake Romeo are a fantastic tandem in the backfield, with Frakes bringing the THUNDER, as the squad's power back and Romeo, providing the LIGHTNING, as NDP's fleet-footed edge specialist.
Big and sure-handed Troy Sassack is as good as any wide receiver in the Catholic League. He's a pretty impressive defensive back as well, demonstrated by a 31-yard PICK-6 against Bishop Foley.
Patrick Bartoli can do a little bit of everything, whether rushing the pigskin, catching it out of the backfield, returning kicks, or splitting out wide at receiver. Holding things down in the trenches for the OC GOLDEN DOMERS is Bobby Secord and Conner Servone, a pair of SWAG NASTIES, who don't mind deferring the headlines in favor of being the meat and potatos of the squad up front.
In addition to NDP's outstanding senior class, the program's youth movement is also bearing fruit. Sophomore Jeremiah Johnson, who also sees time in the Fighting Irish backfield, is a STAR in the making, with moves as good as any sophomore I've seen this year.
WAR the BOYS OF ZIMMER aka TEAM ZIMM aka the NDP FIGHTING IRISH running the table for the rest of the season!!!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mid-Season Player Reports - Part 2

Part II
1 Mario Ojemudia (FH Harrison)
2 Matt Godin (Novi Detroit CC)
3 Marquise Wallace (Oak Park)
4 Antar Otis (Southfield)
5 Jason Gamble (WL Western)
1 James Ross (OL St. Mary's)
2 Zach Collins-Matt Dellinger (Clarkston)
3 Mike Fisher (RH Adams)
4 Willie Duncan (Southfield)
5 (tie) Reschke/Bouchard/Cherrochi (Birmingham Brother Rice)
5 (tie) Jamal Lyles (Southfield-Lathrup
1 James Hendrix-Eddie Kidd (Birmingham Brother Rice)
2 Leviticus Payne (Southfield)
3 Dave Racey (Novi Detroit CC)
4 Aaron Burbridge-Garius Coleman (FH Harrison)
5 (tie) Travis Smith (Clarkston)
5 (tie) Nate Cole (BH Lahser) 
1 Cody Ellwanger-Jordan Rabbon (Birmingham Brother Rice)
2 Jake Vento-Ken Russ (FH Harrison)
3 Tony Annese (RH Adams)
4 Ronnie Craft-Bush (Pontiac)
5 (tie) Lonnie Jaynes (Troy Athens)
5 (tie) Jeff Douglas (AH Avondale)
1 Kyle Sroka (AH Avondale)
2 Alex Barta (Clarkston)
3 Ryan Ceisel (RH Adams)
4 Sean Murphy (Troy)
5 Brandon Buckner (FH Harrison)
Breakout Stars
1 Byran Green (Farmington)
2 Mike Johnson (AH Avondale)
3  Oliver Jiang (Troy)
4  Kezlow Smith (Pontiac)
5 Lorenzo Collins (FH Harrison)
6 Kyle Cooper (Novi Detroit CC)
7 Chazz Miller (Lake Orion)
8 The McInnis Brothers (OL St. Mary's)
9 De Shun Brown (Birmingham Brother Rice)
10 Kris Gervin (Troy Athens)
Workhorse Award
1 (tie) Tony Annese (RH Adams)
1 (tie) Jake Vento (FH Harrison)
2 Kezlow Smith (Pontiac)
3 Joey Goss (Clarkston)
4 Jarrett Bochniak (Troy)
5 (tie) Brett Zdebski (WL Western)
5 (tie) Kirk Thomas (WL Northern)
5 (tie) Zac Liembach (WL Central)
1 Tony Annese (RH Adams)
2 Jake Vento (FH Harrison)
3 (tie) Brandon Watkins (Southfield)
3 (tie) Prescott Line (Oxford)
4 Mitch Robinson (AH Avondale)
5 Devin Church (Birmingham Brother Rice)
Coach of the (Mid) Year
1 John Bechtel (Farmington)
2 Tony Patritto (RH Adams)
3 (tie) Josh Heppner (Troy Athens)
3 (tie) Kyle Zimmerman (Pontiac NDP)
4 Brendan Flaherty (Birmingham Groves)
5 (tie) John Goddard (RO Shrine)
5 (tie) Gary Griffith (Troy)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mid-Season Player Reports - Part 1

Prep Gridiron Outlook; Midpoint of 2011 Campaign
Part 1
1 Jake Vento (FH Harrison)
2 Mitch Baenziger (Clarkston)
3 Mitch Robinson (AH Avondale)
4 Sean Charette (Lake Orion)
5 John Glazier (Birmingham Seaholm)
1 (tie) Prescott Line (Oxford)
1 (tie) Brandon Watkins (Southfield)
2 Keon Collier (Birmingham Groves)
3 Devin Church (Birmingham Brother Rice)
4 Brett Zdesbki (WL Western)
5 Jacquis Woods-Kevin Miller (North Farmington)
1 Wyatt Shallman (Novi Detroit CC)
2 Omar Sitto (Berkley)
3 Grant Niemic (OL St. Mary's)
4 Austin Hunter (FH Harrison)
5 (tie) David Jagow (RH Adams)
5 (tie) Greg Marzec (Birmingham Brother Rice)
1 Aaron Burbridge (FH Harrison)
2 Danny Larkins (MH Madison)
3 Mike Schwartz (Clarkston)
4 Leviticus Payne (Southfield)
5 Josh Curtis (Farmington)
1 Mike Jocz (Novi)
2 Ron Thompson (Southfield)
3 Devin Funchess (FH Harrison)
4 Matt Doneth (Novi Detroit CC)
5 Joey Warner (Birmingham Brother Rice)
1 Collin Goetz (Oxford)
2 Marquise Wallace (Oak Park)
3 Dylan Anderson (Birmingham Brother Rice)
4 Matt Carreathers (WL Western)
5 Jake Slobin (FH Harrison)
1 Tony Annese (RH Adams)
2 Keith Stonestreet (OL St. Mary's)
3 Kirk Thomas (WL Northern)
4 Lonnie Boldem (Troy Athens)
5 Johnny Williams (Holly)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Prep Football Rankings - Hitting The Back 9

OC Top 10 – Prep Football Teams
1 FH Harrison – Sensational sophomore Lorenzo Collins is SUPERBAD, SUPERFLY and just plain SUPER toting the rack on the gridiron for HAWKSNATION!!!
2 Novi Detroit CC – 2011 Shamrocks starting to resemble 2009 Shamrocks…..Result=BEWARE!!
3 (tie) Birmingham Brother Rice – Senior cornerback James Hendrix might be the best cornerback in Oakland County….All this kid does his make big plays in the Warriors secondary!!!
3 (tie) Southfield – Burney's homeboy Ron Thompson aka "THE MANCHILD" finally had his much-awaited breakout game for the Bluejays in Week 5…….FEED THE GIANT!!! There's will be more to…Result=DANGEROUS!!!!
4 Clarkston – I've seen the future and it says; Wolfpack placekicker Alex Barta and his GOLDEN FOOT is going to win a game for C-Town very soon!!!
5 Lake Orion – Dragons wide receiver Chazz Miller is developing into a genuine force of nature!!!
6 (tie) WL Western – You cannot stop TEAM ZDEBSKI on the prep gridiron, you can only hope to contain them…..Actually, that's pretty hard to do too!!!!
6 (tie) OL St. Mary's – The 2011 Eaglets are not as multi-dimensional as previous St. Mary's squads, but with the services of such a versatile stable of running backs, it doesn't seem to matter
7 (tie) RH Adams – Mike Fisher, the heart of the Highlanders defense, is one of the most underrated linebackers around!!!
7 (tie) Farmington – Get busy my main man Isaiah Gourdine!!!
8 WL Central – As a motivator, mentor and tactician, it doesn't get much better than Vikings sideline general Bob Meyer!!!
9 Troy Athens – Coach HEPP is putting in one of the better jobs in the area this fall with the way he has his Red Hawks playing!!
10 (tie) Pontiac NDP – This fall, these Fighting Irish are better than the ones in South Bend!!! WAR TEAM ZIMM and the IRISH!!!
10 (tie) AH Avondale – Henry Paul and Jeff Douglas are a pair of playmakers on both sides of the ball for the Yellowjackets!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rocking The House

Back in 2009 it was a big-play defense and a powerful rushing game on offense that took Novi Detroit Catholic Central to a state championship on the gridiron.
This season, the Shamrocks are a perfect 5-0 and doing more of the same.
Exhibit A; Saturday evening's slug-it-out 14-10 come-from-behind win on the road over previously undefeated Warren De La Salle.
Catholic Central roared back from an early 10-0 deficit to grab the victory. Alex Kozlowski's 16-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter was the game-winner. Kozlowski is part of a crowded group of Shamrocks running backs that compliment each other nicely, shifting gears between sly and elusive and smashmouth in nature.  
Star junior fullback, Wyatt Shallman, a menacing force in between tackles, led the Shamrocks ground attack with 16 carries for 65 yards, including a momentum-swinging 2-yard trip into the end zone in the closing seconds before halftime.
The team's go-ahead score by Kozlowski was set-up by a controversial interception by senior cornerback Dave Racey, on a play De La Salle felt should have ended with an interference call rather than a turnover.
Racey came through in the clutch once again in the game's final moments, deflecting a pass near the Catholic Central goal line on fourth down to sew up things up. Senior quarterback Kyle Cooper and the Warriors' offense converted a pair of critical fourth down plays late in the game, opening the door for Kozlowski's score. Earlier in the week, Cooper, a two-sport standout at the school, verbally committed to play basketball in college at Hillsdale.
De La Salle junior quarterback Shane Morris, already committed to the University of Michigan, looked sharp operating the Pilots offense and connected on 14-of-25 pass attempts for 140 yards. Against Birmingham Brother Rice last week, he scored the game-tying touchdown in overtime of an emotional 21-20 Pilots' triumph.
Pilots' placekicker Andrew Palazzolo, who booted the game-winning extra point in Week 4, added a first-half field goal on Saturday that put De La Salle (4-1) in front 10-0 early in the second quarter.
Head coach Tom Mach and the Shamrocks will look to stay perfect in Week 6 when they host University of Detroit-Jesuit, victims of a 42-7 smashing at the hands of Brother Rice on Saturday afternoon.
Niko Palazeti, the star workhorse running back of the '09 state title team, is currently playing his college ball up in East Lansing with Michigan State. Palazeti's co-captain on the '09 squad, all-state linebacker Mike Kinville, is currently playing at Central Michigan.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Instant Feedback - Past the Midway Point

Thoughts from Friday night's action on the local prep gridiron;
AH Avondale kicker Kyle Sroka could be owner of the most clutch foot in the OC!!! The 'Jackets came away with a down-to-the-wire 29-26 victory over Birmingham Seaholm thanks to a little big-time defense and Sroka's deciding fourth quarter FG
Here's to coach Brendan Flaherty and the Groves Falcons for taking one step closer to a long awaited return to the playoffs with a 28-27 defeat of BH Andover
Let's just rename Oxford's Prescott Line (another colossal night rushing the pigskin, going for 240 and 5 TDs) ADRIAN PETERSON!!!!!
Clarkston is just so multi-faceted…..I had to get that off my chest….GO WOLFPACK!!!
Lakeland's three-headed monster of Anthony Waite, Josh Orlando and Chuck Sanders (300-plus yards and 4 TDs on the ground in an Eagles' win) is VERY UNDERATTED!!!
Burney thinks Novi senior signal caller Derek Ince might be the reason the Wildcats get back into the postseason in 2011….INCE has a great backstory. After starting most of last season, he lost the job in camp, only to get it back in Week 2 when he promptly began setting the KLAA on fire with his aerial antics. On Friday in a 60-13 thrashing of SL East, Ince threw for 340 and three TDS
TEAM ZIMM over at Pontiac NDP has one SUPER TALENTED senior class….YEAH, I'M TAKING 2 U; Danny Durkin, Shane Frakes, Troy Sassack, Shane Frakes, Jake Romeo, Patrick Bartoli, etc…….5-0 for first time in school history….way to go FELLAS!!!
Props to WL Western's Josh Jones for going all DEVIN HESTER and returning a kickoff 95 yds for a TD in the Warriors 26-21 takedown of crosstown foe WL Northern
I'm going to start calling Troy Athens senior Sam Haskell "The Hawk" because this kid as a rare nose for the football!!!! REDHAWKS NATION is 4-1 and smelling playoffs
MH Madison senior two-sport stud Will Bradley is showing he's just as good as a quarterback than he is a point guard on the hardwood. In his first varsity season playing football, Bradley looks like a seasoned vet under center and is a big reason the Eagles are on a 3-game winning streak right now.

With all due respect to the plethora of skilled players on FH Harrison this season, quarterback Jake Vento is the Hawks offense. Without him, they would not be nearly as good as they are. WHAT A GEM!!1

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Fantasy

If there existed fantasy football for the OC prep football ranks, this is how Burney's team would stack up
QB Mitch Robinson (AH Avondale) – I don't usually like taking quarterbacks very high in my drafts, but the OC GUNSLINGER is so good, I snared him with my first overall pick
RB Devin Church (Birmingham Brother Rice) – A top-flight running back is the cornerstone of any good fantasy squad and DC is my anchor rushing the pigskin
RB Mike Johnson (AH Avondale) – My ULTIMATE SLEEPER in 2011……. I got good value snaring Johnson late, knowing he was in for a big year
WR Robert Aiello (Lake Orion) – You can't go wrong taking Sean Charette's No. 1 target for the defending state champion Dragons, always one of the most prolific offenses in the area
WR Jack Wangler (RO Shrine) – This kid might go to a small school, but there is absolutely nothing small about Wangler's game….simply put; A GRADE-A PLAYMAKER
FLX Leviticus Payne (Southfield) – Whether running the ball or catching it, Payne does damage game-in, game-out  
TE Mike Jocz (Novi) – I knew this sleeper prospect was in for a productive year, so I grabbed him after some of other more celebrated TEs in the area (the FUNCHISE & Co.) had gone and got super value
K Brandon Buckner (FH Harrison) – Lots of points for team=lots of point for kicker
D/ST Clarkston – There the C-Town Wolfpack, would else do you need to know?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Prep Football Picks - Week 5

WEEK 5 PICKS – Top Football Games In Oakland County
Birmingham Seaholm v. AH Avondale – Coach PO gets his Maples one step closer to the playoffs
Seaholm 30, Avondale 28
MH Lamphere v. MH Madison – Eagles running back Denzel Manning is the MAN!!!
Madison 27, Lamphere 20
Novi Detroit CC v. Warren DLS – It's a Shamrocks world, we're all just living in it!!!
CC 31, DLS 24
BH Lahser v. Berkley – Lahser sophomore signal caller Spencer McCourt is REALLY MCGOOD!!!
Lahser 25, Berkley 22
UofD-Jesuit v. Birmingham Brother Rice – The Warriors and junior kicker Andrew Toth REDEEM themselves against the Cubs, helping coach Fracassa get one game closer to 400!!!1
Rice 26 UofD 17
MH Bishop Foley v. Pontiac NDP – The Fighting Irish keep fighting their way to the top of the Catholic League!!!!
NDP 33, Bishop Foley 29
WL Northern v. Lakeland – You cannot stop Knights QB Kirk Thomas, you can only hope to contain him
WLN 38, Lakeland 28
Ferndale v. North Farmington – Two Words; JACQUIS WOODS….'NUFF SAID
NF 31 Ferndale 30
RH Adams v. Southfield – Brandon Watkins goes all BRANDON WATKINS, spurring the Blue Jays on to the victory in front of their home crowd
Southfield 24, Adams 18
Pontiac v. Clarkston – The party's only getting started this season for the Wolfpack and its line led by Nick Azzopardi!!!
C-Town 32, THA YAK 23
Rochester v. Troy Athens – Ben Bartnowak will look more like BIG BEN ROTHLIESBERGER on Friday night against the Falcons secondary
Athens 28, Rochester 24
Troy v. West Bloomfield – The Lake Show pulls the upset thanks to C.J. Bratwaithe, who GOES BONKERS on the Colts 'D' running for 175 yards and 3 TDS
WB 38, Troy 35 (OT)
Flint NW v. Hazel Park – Josh Tucker and Damon Hannon GET SUPER BUSY, combining for 300 yards on the ground and 6 TDS
HP 47, Flint NW 20

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Heading For The Hill

The GLIAC is full of glee these days because it recently landed one of the state's top prep hoop prospects.
Kyle Cooper, a 6-foot-7 small forward out of Novi Detroit Catholic Central, committed to Hillsdale last week, taking a leading recruit from the area's Class of 2012 off the board.
This fall, the multi-talented Cooper is quarterbacking the Shamrocks football team, the No. 1 ranked team in Michigan in Division 1.
A three-year starter for the CC basketball squad, he averaged 17 points, eight rebounds and close to three blocks a game, while being selected both all-Catholic League and all-state and helping take his team to a spot in the Class A regional finals last season. His inside-outside arsenal is as good as anyone in Oakland County, in this journalist's opinion.
Snaring Cooper is a real coup for the GLIAC, since he was considered in many circles a sure-fire D1 recruit. He will join forces with fellow Shamrocks two-sport standout Matt Doneth (D1 recruit as TE in football) on the hardwood this winter to give head coach Bill Dyer and his CC Cage Crew a great shot at making a trip to the Breslin Center in East Lansing come March.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In The Phoenix Nest

By handily taking care of Rochester in Week 4, the Pontiac Phoenix football squad evened up their record at 2-2, keeping their hopes for a return to the playoffs alive and well. Although they might be flying under the radar this season, the Phoenix should not be taken lightly – They are potential poison for anyone who underestimates them and look to be gelling at the right time.
ATTN; C-Town Wolfpack, be sure to bring your best in WEEK 5 at home against the Phoenix because the Yacktown Ballers are on the prowl and feeling good about themselves after their walloping of the Falcons on Friday.
Not only do the Phoenix as a team seem to be under the radar right now in the local prep gridiron scene, some of their best players are too. Head coach Brad Zube has some real game-breakers in the bunch this fall.
Kezlow Smith is a one-man wrecking crew whenever and however he touches the ball. In a mere eight touches against Rochester, he totaled 291 yards from scrimmage.
Starting safety Ronnie Craft-Bush has been the team's top playmaker from the secondary. He has returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns and proved to be a big-time hit specialist.
The Yaktown linebacking unit of Romain Johnson and C.J. Hall could be the most underrated defensive duo in the OAA. The agile and aggressive duo were both all-league selections last season as juniors and are back DOING THEIR THANG in 2011.
Running back Mark Cargle, another all-league pick last year for the Pontiac Purple People Eaters, is still getting into the swing of things since missing the first two weeks of the season, but is certain to be back in top form in no time.
Junior quarterback Jody Harrison is also in the process of finding his comfort zone in the pocket and is showing many signs of maturity and improvement through the first half of the campaign. Third-year starting center Josh Guy, one of the team's emotional leaders, is making Harrison's assimilation much easier and makes most of the line calls for Pontiac in the trenches.
Jeff Johnson and Trajan Seay are another two rising Phoenix ascending from historic Wisner Stadium, blasting onto the OC landscape with fearsome flair and tenacity. Johnson is a slick-footed edge runner and Seay an up and coming deep threat.
In their inaugural year of existence as a program after the city's school merger in 2009, the Phoenix surprised the state and qualified for the playoffs with an impressive 7-2 record. Last season in Zube's first year at the helm, replacing Gary Ganfield, who departed for another job following the '09 campaign, Pontiac finished 5-4, just missing out on a repeat trip to the postseason.
Even if the Phoenix drop their Week 5 matchup with Clarkston, their schedule is set up nicely for a solid shot at getting into the playoffs. Future opponents, Royal Oak, Troy and West Bloomfield are all winnable games.
Burney wishes TEAM ZUBE the best of luck for the rest of the season!!!