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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bonus Bytes - Nuggets of Knowledge

In 2010, the AH Avondale football team averaged over 40 points per contest, relying almost exclusively on the passing game. If the Yellowjackets season-opening win is any indicator, this year will be different and the same all at the same time. It will be the same because the 'Jackets will still stack up the points at a prodigious clip, alas their 55-18 stomping of Warren Fitzgerald last Friday. It will be different because this season Avondale will be considerably more balanced. 'Jackets gunslinger Mitch Robinson still had his requisite 4 TDs in the game – he passed for a state-record 46 in 2010 –, but tailback Mike Johnson did his best Chris Johnson impression by touching up the Fitzgerald defense for 160 yards and two scores, averaging a whopping 16 yards per carry. Expect more of the same from MJ in the future. This kid has star written all over him!
Recent Southfield HS grad and Bluejays basketball star Desmond "Pee Wee" Barnes has landed out west to continue his hoops career at New Mexico State Community College. Barnes joined forces with current UofM freshman Carlton Brundidge to take the Bluejays to back-to-back appearances in the Class A final four in 2010 and 2011.
Oak Park HS has hired Alonso Littlejohn has its new varsity basketball coach. Littlejohn has been at Southfield Christian the past two seasons.
The Oakland Activities Association will add a fourth division in basketball this winter.
Former Novi Detroit CC football star Mike Martin was named captain of the 2011 University of Michigan Wolverines this week
QUICK THOUGHT; Burney thinks that Troy HS hoops stud James Young should suit up for the Colts football team. Can you imagine 'The Chosen One' as a wide out, going up for jump balls against 5-9 defensive backs? 
OL St. Mary's senior Keith Stonestreet (WR/RB) has decided to don the No. 1 jersey for the Eaglets in 2011, taking the honors from Allen Robinson (WR), now at Penn St, who wore it last year

IMO - RH Adams Cory Clemons could be the best back-up quarterback in the area....just start calling my man CC the Johnny Moxon or Matt Saracen of the Highlanders gridiron squad.

Speaking of great fictional prepsters, there's been a Tim Riggins sighting iin Oakland County and his name his Rochester HS running back Cody Devoe....just like his fictional football counterpart, my main man Cody is a STRAIGHT PUNISHER in between the tackles for the Falcons and has some pretty awesome flowing locks!
Tweets of the week;
"With success, comes sacrifice," – Former North Farmington basketball star Kyle Vinales (Central Connecticut State)
"I love a girl who loves basketball' – Former Southfield-Lathrup star hoopster, Bryan Coleman (Wayne State)
"Don't try to be perfect….Perfection often makes for a boring person" – Birmingham DCD girls basketball star Aerial Powers
"I'm so ready for the fall 'cause that means were that much closer to the start of the hoops season," – Former Southfield-Lathrup basketball star, Roy Marble, Jr. (Iowa)
Caleb Stanko, a recent graduate of AH Oakland Christian, decided to bypass playing soccer in the college ranks as a Michigan Wolverine and jump right to the pros, signing with a club in German. As a sophomore in 2008, Caleb and his older brother Jacob, led the Lancers to a Class D state championship on the pitch
Lee Bailey, the recent DCD grad, has decided to not play football in college at UofDayton as originally intended and play hoops at Chaminade in Hawaii instead. When he was a junior, Bailey started at guard on the Yellowjackets Class B state title squad.
RIP Tom "The Killer" Kowalski

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Burney's Prep Soccer Preview

OC Top 10 Teams
1 Novi – The Wildcats have one of the best offensive players in the area in senior forward Chase Jabori and one of the best pair of defenders in the area in Philip Soong and Sean Hazen. All that firepower could translate into another state title for head coach Brian O'Leary and  NOVINATION!
2 Birmingham Brother Rice – An OUTSTANDING junior class made up of pitch studs Matt Harbrowski, Russ Cicerone and Philip Nosseler and star senior captains Alex Krupiak and A.J. Washelesky team to make the Warriors frontrunners to repeat as Catholic League champs!
3 RH Adams – There's NOT much opposing teams can do to stop the Highlanders all-stater Dylan Knott!
4 Birmingham DCD – The Yellowjackets, state champions two years ago, are deep once again and will benefit in a drop in Divisions in 2011 from D2 to D3. Tariq Akeel is a magician with the ball and Jack Brown will control tempo from the center-mid spot for longtime DCD head coach Paul Bartoshuk
5 Troy – Junior goalie Matt Smolinski, in Burney's opinion, the best net-minder in Oakland County, gives the Colts a leg up on the comp with his AMAZING play in between the posts!
6 Walled Lake Northern – Knights head coach Chris Stevanovic is one of Burney's all-time favorite prep coaches regardless of sport; This dude is a GAME-CHANGER on the sidelines to say the least. CS has built the Northern program from the ground up and he has done a masterful job. His passion and knowledge of the game rub off on his players and that's why he's GREAT!
7 AH Avondale – TWO WORDS; Nate Chapman……ENOUGH SAID!!
8 Troy Athens – Burney has a feeling that Red Hawks new head coach Todd Heugh, an Athens alum following in the footsteps of the legendary Tim Storch, is in for a SUPER SEASON back in the old Red and Yellow! His trio of stars (Sweratzka, Shettigar and Mouch) have the chance to take Athens far!
9 Lake Orion – The Dragons will be very balanced this fall and be a top contender for the OAA Red crown!
10 BH Lahser – Everyone knows about Knights all-state defender Eric Kelly, but Burney's telling everyone to look out for Keegan Kelly, who missed last season with a broken leg, this year, helping Lahser get in the mix to return to the state championship game
OC TOP 10 Players
1          Matt Harbrowski         Jr         Brother Rice
Could be the best high school defender in the whole Midwest in the Class of 2013
2          Chase Jabori                Sr         Novi
Offensive wizard with the ball when let loose in the box
3          Dylan Knott                 Sr         RH Adams
The area's most complete player
4          Tariq Akeel                  Sr         Birmingham DCD
His ball handling skills are second to none in the state's prep ranks
5          Jack Brown                  Sr         Birmingham DCD
The consummate on-field leader and tempo-setter from the Yellowjackets midfield
6          Alex Sweratzka            Sr         Troy Athens
This Red Hawk is RED HOT on the pitch!
7          Philip Soong                Sr         Novi
No-nonsense presence helping anchor the Wildcats' backend
8          Sean Hazen                 Sr         Novi
Is so steady on 'D' for NOVINATION, he sometimes unfairly gets overlooked
9          Russell Cicerone         Jr         Brother Rice
The latest in a long line of Rice scoring machines
10        Eric Kelly                     Sr         BH Lahser
This quiet assassin will spearhead the Knights in 2011
TOP 5 Goalies
1          Matt Smolinski            Troy
2          Mitch Thompson         Walled Lake Northern
3          Jake Shiffman              Berkley
4          Brett Schmitz              Troy Athens
5          Zach Walker                Birmingham DCD

Monday, August 29, 2011

Prep Football Rankings - After the Bell

OC Top 10
1 FH Harrison – JACK OF ALL TRADES Jake Vento is just as a good as a quarterback as he is as a receiver and that's downright SCARY!!!
2 (tie) Birmingham Brother Rice – Burney can't decide whether the Warriors Travis Ferguson is a better wide receiver, defensive back or baseball player……what a tough call!!!
2 (tie) Novi Detroit Catholic Central – Like the sun rising in the morning or the stars in the sky at night, CC is CC on the gridiron and that's darn good!!!!
3 Southfield – Just like your boy Burney told everyone before the season Bluejays star Brandon Watkins is a BEAST!!!! After missing most of last year, Watkins made his return to the field count in his squad's opener, busting loose for 4 TDs in a 54-0 demolishing of Detroit Northwestern
4 Clarkston – You want to know whose underrated in the local prep football scene - The Wolfpack's Travis Smith.....and that's a FACT!
5 OL St. Mary's – The Eaglets do-everything threat Keith Stonestreet is STONE COLD, plain and simple!
6 Oxford – All Burney can say after the Wildcats opening game thrashing of defending state champion Lake Orion is……….WOW!!!
7 Lake Orion – The Dragons defense needs to improve, but senior quarterback Sean Charrete, coming off an injury that ended his campaign early last year, looked in mid-season form on Friday night in LO's loss to Oxford
8 Walled Lake Western – Warriors will give crosstown foe Central a run for its money for city bragging rights
9 Farmington – Calling my shot - The 2011 Falcons will be better than the 2010 Falcons!
10 Walled Lake Central – The standout senior tandem of K.J. Schultz and Zac Leimbach will make sure the Vikings bounce back with a vengeance in WEEK 2 following a loss to Canton in WEEK 1

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Instant Feedback - Friday Night Lights

Clarkston linebacker Chris Calvano did his big and bro and former Wolfpack linebacker Matt Calvano proud by snagging the game-winning interception in his squad's 28-21 victory over Rochester Hills Adams
WELCOME TO THE OC – Oak Park head coach Greg Carter, who got his Knights a win in their season opener over Detroit Loyola courtesy of a last-second touchdown connection between senior quarterback Chris Wesley and junior wide receiver Brandon Harding
The Oxford Wildcats went all Johnny Cash on Friday night as they WALKED THE LINE with senior RB Prescott Line. The future SMU Mustang put forth a SUPERSTAR effort by rushing for 235 and 5 TDS in O-Town's big-time upset defeat of Lake Orion
It's obvious after Friday night that WL Western's Brett Zdebski won't just be a standout linebacker this season. Zdebski will also be the Warriors featured running back and he showed that he's just as good on 'O' than he is on 'D' when he put up a 147 spot and one touchdown in his team's 51-14 beatdown of Saline
Bloomfield Hills Lahser sophomore signal caller Spencer McCourt looked AWESOME under center in his first career varsity start at quarterback on Friday, tossing a pair of touchdowns and leading the Knights to an impressive 2-TD victory over Birmingham Groves
Mitch Robinson (4 TDs in AH Avondale's opening-night win) is THE MAN! College scouts please take note
Just start calling OL St. Mary's senior LB James Ross JUSTIN VERLANDER……the Ross-led Eaglets defense pitched the shutout in their opener, going on the road and punking defending state champion GR West Catholic 35-0.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Instant Feedback - Football Field Day

I was really impressed by the Rochester Falcons on opening night. Mark my words, they'll be better than last year. Tim Riggins aka Cody Devoe is an animal rushing the rock and the team's air assault, featuring quarterback Jack Glancy and receivers T.J. Dean, Demetrius Magee and Manny Mendoza is UNDERATTED DANGEROUS!!!! Watch for Devoe's backup junior James Ward to be one of the best No. 2 runners in the area.
I've been saying all summer long that Troy Athens senior running back Lonnie Bolden is in for a mega campaign on the gridiron this fall and my main man LB proved me right Thursday, going for 137 yards and two TDS in an Athens 'W' over Warren Mott
Getting his first career start in the Farmington HS backfield, Bryan Green was nothing but MONEY, exploding onto the local prep scene by torching a West Bloomfield defense for 237 and 3 TDs in a resounding Falcons victory.
END ZONE POPULATION – Brandon Watkins; Southfield's FACTOR BACK took four to the HOUSE in the Bluejays opener, a 54-0 punishing of Detroit Northwestern.
Seaholm's John Glazier went all JOHN GLAZIER on North Farmington in its own crib, surgically picking up apart a host Raiders' secondary by completing 12-15 passes for 167 yards and scoring a combined four touchdowns on the night in the Maples' blowout

In my picks blog yesterday, I said Damon Hannon was the next Hazel Park Viking to have a huge season toting the rock in 2011. Well, obviously Josh Tucker is pretty darn good as well, going for 210 yards and 3 tds in HP's narrow takedown of BH Andover.

Super special congrats to the entire Royal Oak Ravens gridiron gang for snaring the program's first victory in 4 years. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Great Burnzini - Kick Off Time

Week 1 Prep Football Picks
Lake Orion v. Oxford – Dragons senior quarterback Sean Charrete gets back to business after missing the end of last season's state championship run with an injury and tosses four TDs in a LO win, spoiling opening night in O-Town and getting the college recruiters back looking in his direction.
LO 38 Oxford 26
FH Harrison v. Detroit Cass Tech – Evan Bisco, C-Tech's quarterback, is starting his first career game under center on varsity and that will translate into a FIELD DAY for Harrison pass rush specialist Mario Ojemudia and the Hawks 'D'
Harrison 31 Cass 14
Birmingham Brother Rice v. Detroit King – The Brian Walker Era begins!!!!!!
Rice 27 King 18
Clarkston v. RH Adams – The Wolfpack's outstanding linebacker tandem of Zach Collins and Matt Dellinger WILL combine for 200 tackles this season……TAKE IT 2 THE BANK!!
C-Town 24 Adams 16
West Bloomfield v. Farmington – The last time was saw Kimani Elliott, he was starting at cornerback for OL St. Mary's in the state finals. Now, he's at WB and his first game in a Lakers uniform is going to be one to remember…..Burney SEZ; 2 picks, one of which he takes back to the house for SIX! Elliott will be a difference maker for head coach Ron Bellamy's ball club.
WB 23, Farmington 21
OL St. Mary's v. GR West Catholic – Eaglets linebacker David Talley is in for a huge campaign and will team with UofM-commit James Ross to headline a vicious St. Mary's 'D'…….THE NASTY BOYZ LIVE ON!
OLSM 18 West Catholic 17
Ferndale v. Berkley – The Bears Omar Sitto is about to go all OMAR SITTO all season long for new head coach Jeff Burnside ad the Berkley faithful
Berkley 26, Ferndale 22
WL Central v. Canton – The Vikings will have another great season, it just won't get off the ground for another week…..per last year when they went all the way to the state semifinals
Canton 36 WLC 25
Troy v. Romeo – TEAM GRIFF will be making a return trip to the playoffs in 2011, however, they'll have to kick off the season with a loss……ROMEO is that good.
Romeo 33 Troy 20
Birmingham Seaholm v. North Farmington – MAPLESNATION will make Nick Deane proud this fall!!!
Seaholm 27 NF 9
Birmingham Groves v. BH Lahser – Get SUPER BUSY my main Groves gridiron homeboy Keon Collier……KC goes for 5 TDs on opening night!!
Groves 35 Lahser 28
Southfield-Lathrup v. Pontiac – Chargers running back Collin Parks is one of Burney's top prep sleepers this year and he shows why against a rugged Phoenix defense, going for 150 yards and three TDs in a SL victory
Lathrup 26 Yaktown 21
BH Andover v. Hazel Park – Damon Hannon will be the next VIKINGS RB to have a monster campaign carrying the rock, busting loose for at least 1500 yards and 20 TDS. Hannon will set the tone against the Barons, dropping 2 BILLS and 4 scores
HP 43 Andover 29
Novi Detroit CC v. Dearborn Fordson
You can't stop the Shamrocks' THUNDER&LIGHTNING running back duo of Wyatt Shallman and Anthony Darkangelo, you can only hope to contain them
CC 44, Fordson 34

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Burney's Prep Football Rankings

OC Top 10 Football Teams
1.      FH Harrison – The only team that can stop the freight train known as the Harrison gridiron gang from pulling the REPEAT is the Hawks themselves!!! Not just the best ballclub in the state, but one of the top prep squads in the whole country.
2.      Birmingham Brother Rice – TEAM FRACASSA will go all TEAM FRACASSA on the rest of the CHSL this fall!!!
3.      Novi Detroit Catholic Central – Can't wait to see senior field general Kyle Cooper show off his powerful cannon of an arm this season for the BIG BLUE at the quarterback spot
4.      Southfield – Bluejays sideline general Tim Conley took Southfield its first ever final four three years ago and with the kind of team he has this season he could very well be making a return trip in November
5.      Clarkston – Burney can't decide if his C-Town M&M homeboys Mitch Baenziger and Matt Dellinger are a better dynamic duo on the gridiron or on the hardwood? I guess only time will tell
6.      OL St. Mary's – Two words; JAMES ROSS!!!! Enough said!
7.      Lake Orion – The Dragons will be breathing fire once again in 2011!!! I love the underrated LO receiving tandem of Chazz Miller and Robert Aiello, who will team with fourth-year starting quarterback Sean Charrete to form a mighty air attack in the Dragons' run to a REPEAT
8.      WL Central – Get busy my main man K.J. Schultz!!!!
9.      WL Western – The more Zdebskis the better for Western!!!
10.  Oak Park – New Knights head coach Greg Carter alone makes Oak Park one of the Top 10 teams in Oakland County…..not to mention over two dozen high quality transfers!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Burney's Top 25 Players

OC Top 25 - Prep Football Players
1.      James Ross LB (OL St. Mary's) – Best defensive player in the state!
2.      Aaron Burbridge WR (FH Harrison) –Best offensive player in the state!
3.      Jamal Lyles LB (Southfield-Lathrup) – Biggest upside of any player in the area, EXPECT COLOSSAL campaign from this future Spartans' menace
4.      Matt Godin DL (Novi Detroit CC) – Pure monster in the trenches who might as well call himself a quarterback he spends so much time in opponents' backfields
5.      Devin Funchess TE (FH Harrison) – Mega talent who could have best pro potential of this state's 2012 recruiting crop
6.      Mario Ojemudia DL (FH Harrison) – The state's most dominant pass rusher
7.      Ron Thompson TE (Southfield) – Absolut beast in the red zone…..think better-man's Martell Webb (Pontiac Northern/Michigan)…….and that's saying a lot        
8.      Jonny Reschke LB (Birmingham Brother Rice) – The next in the great lineage of superb Brother Rice linebackers….area's top defensive player in the Class of 2013
9.      Wyatt Shallman RB (Novi Detroit CC) – Definition of a prototype powerback, but he's got speed and smarts, too, making him one of the Class of 2013's most highly coveted recruits
10.  Leviticus Payne CB/WR (Southfield) – Is there anything on the gridiron that LP doesn't do and do really, really well?  Burney says….I DON'T THINK SO….might be most versatile player in Oakland County
11.  Brandon Watkins RB (Southfield) – When it's all said and done on the 2011 prep football campaign, Watkins will be the best high school running back in the state
12.  Devin Church RB (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Shifty, speedy and strong best describes this Warrior workhorse's game in the Rice backfield
13.  Mitch Robinson QB (AH Avondale) – In terms of statistics, a field general with few equals in the entire illustrious history of high school football in the state of Michigan
14.  Danny Larkins WR (MH Madison) – Nothing fancy, just plain dangerous catching the ball
15.  Tony Annese QB/S (RH Adams) – More than lives up to his family's longstanding pedigree on the gridiron
16.  Prescott Line RB/LB (Oxford) –Equally crushing on both sides of the ball with the heart of a champion
17.  Collin Goetz OL (Oxford) – As a good as an anchor on the line of scrimmage as there is around
18.  (tie) Zach Collins LB (Clarkston) – GREAT high school football player!!!!
18.  (tie) Matt Dellinger LB (Clarkston) – Could teach a class in HUSTLING 101…….This C-Town two-sport stud simply outworks the comp
19.  Jake Vento QB/S (FH Harrison) – Some of his teammates might be considered bigger college prospects, but make no mistake about it, JV was the most important player on last season's state championship squad as a wide receiver and will be again this year for the Hawks in their quest for the repeat as a quarterback
20.  Dylan Anderson OL (Birmingham Brother Rice) – The leader of a Warriors O-Line set for a huge year clearing the way for a downright SCARY Rice rushing attack
21.  Matt Doneth TE (Novi Detroit CC) – This kid has 'BIG PLAY' written all over him
22  Brian Walker RB (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Burney is declaring his boy B-Dub the best sophomore in the state
23.  Keon Collier RB/DB (Birmingham Groves) – Best player in the OAA nobody knows about….THEY WILL after this fall
24  Brent Zdebski LB (WL Western) – A downright tackling machine as captain of the Warriors defense
25.   (tie) Sean Charette QB (Lake Orion) – Smooth and savvy signal caller with a chip on his shoulder due to missing out on last season's state title run……..that kind of motivation is going to help him KILL opposing secondaries
25.   (tie) Zac Leimbach QB (WL Central) – A born winner in every way possible
Senior to watch – Mark Cargle RB (Pontiac)
Junior to watch – Conor Mohr RB (Farmington)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Training Camp Report - Wilding Out

Last season the Oxford High School football team, playing its innaugural season in the always rough and rugged OAA, finished below the .500 mark for the first time in nearly three decades.
Don't expect it to become a trend.
The 2011 Wildcats are primed to make a statement this fall and that statement is; WATCH OUT!
"This squad is very experienced and very talented," said legendary Oxford head coach Bud Rowley of his current team. "We have a lot of seniors in the mix and that has traditionally translated to a good deal of success for this program on the field. We're all hoping that this season brings more of the same and we can end up showing our new league what Oxford Wildcats football is all about."
Starting his third straight season under center, senior quarterback Vito Gianola will lead a potent Wildcats' offense, featuring two D1 studs and possibly more in the near future.
Running back Prescott Line verbally committed to SMU and will be a tough bring-down for Oxford opponents while rushing the rock. His brother Zach, a Wildcats alum, is currently a starter in the SMU backfield down in Dallas and was named all-conference in 2010. Clearing the way for Line and delivering grade-A protection for Gianola is Central Michigan-commit Collin Goetz, a colossal force in the trenches checking in at 6-7 270.
Gianola's No. 1 threat in the Wildcats' passing game will be Matt Economou, a fast and strong presence on the end getting a number of D1 looks for his hard-hitting play at safety. Augmenting Economou at receiver will be durable Grant Ingalls and underrated tight end Tyler Hunsucker.
Senior Ryan Reason and juniors Logan Money and Zach Ahdorn start on the O-Line alongside Goetz. The Oxford D-Line will be headed by Goetz, Hunsucker Dakota Westmoreland and Marty Gianola, Vito's little brother.
Besides being an all-league running back, Line is a standout linebacker as well, a position he might wind up playing in college. With Line captaining the Wildcats' linebacking unit and getting help from the likes of aggressive ballhawks Matt Anger and Matt Cappucello, opposing ball-carriers should be in trouble.
Economou's playmaking in the secondary will give quarterbacks and receivers in the OAA fits. His presence in the team's defensive backfield will also serve to tutor emerging freshman standout Glacier Wallington, who recently earned the nod at starting right cornerback opposite Ingalls on the leftside in practice.
TEAM ROWLEY hasn't made a trip to the postseason since 2008, an unusually long absence for a program that before 2010, had put together 28 consecutive winning seasons.
Oxford opens the season at home against defending state champion Lake Orion on August 26,  a game the Wildcats will be debuting their brand new blue turf alas Boise State.
Coaching at Oxford since the mid-1970s, Rowley has racked up over 220 career victories roaming the sidelines. Between 1990 and 1993, Rowley took the Wildcats to three state finals, bringing home the 1992 Class B state championship.