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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Next Level Landings

This past weekend's top college commitments in the OC:
Cedric Boswell (Birmingham Groves) – Total FACTOR BACK, has a Swagger Level headed towards the stratosphere, one of the state's best tailbacks on the football field, committed to the University of Iowa 
Evan Foster (West Bloomfield) – The definition of a "sleeper stud," pure athlete, innate playmaking ability as a defensive back or wide receiver, upside that's through the proverbial roof, committed to play on the gridiron at Bowling Green just like big bro
Robert Iaccobelli (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Burney's MIP on the baseball diamond this past spring, a smart and sweet-slugging catching prospect who helped spur his Rice Warriors on to league and district crowns while beautifully handling the Orange&Black pitching staff committed to Eastern Michigan

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pair Of Aces

The most dynamic two-tailback tandem in the OAA on the gridiron this fall might be the Birmingham Groves duo of senior Cedric Boswell and junior Ernest Allen. You've heard of fire-and-ice backfields in the past right? Well, these two are FIRE-AND-FIRE as in an ERUPTION of flames every time either of these two MEGA BALLERS touches the rock and gets a head of steam chugging towards the end zone.
Boswell is a beast – he can beat you up the middle or around the edge. The scouts are starting to drool.  Does the term 'Home Run Threat' mean anything to you? He was offered by Iowa this week and the FBS dam appears to be ready to burst, so expect more power conference schools to get in on the mix with THE OC BOZ soon. Last season, he collected 1,330 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground on a Falcons playoff club.
Allen is a savvy speedster that showed a knack for the big play at a young age last year as a sophomore before he got hurt midway through the campaign. Now, he's healthy and ready to begin re-inflicting pain on the opposition in just a few weeks.
So, in closing: Note to OAA defenses
Hide the women and children and get ready for the fight of your lives in 2015 whenever Groves and it's superstar twin rushing studs come to town. Remember, Burney warned you!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Second Thought

Although I officially threw my endorsement/support behind Ed Sack for the vacant Birmingham Roeper AD job in a recent blog post, this is to no way discount Cliff Russell, a Roeper alum from the 1970s and one of its all-time greatest athletes, who is also a candidate and IMO would also be an outstanding selection.
The original blog was more in response to how Sack, after over two decades of loyal and high-quality service to the school and athletic program, was being disrespected in this whole process. Yes, Russell has been affected negatively by it, too and like Ed (not to mention departing AD Ernie Righetti), deserves better considering his long, influential ties to the school and sports program.
Cliff was an all-state basketball player for the Roughriders, a 1974 grad and college hoopster at UTEP for the legendary Don Haskins and then at Wayne State, who has gone onto become a successful businessman, media and political presence in the area in his professional career

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five For Fighting - The D In The OC

FIVE FOR FIGHTING – Top 5 Defensive Players On The OC Prep Gridiron
1 Khalid Kareem (FH Harrison Sr. DE) – Note to the OC QB trade: Be afraid, be very afraid!!!
2 Josh Ross (OL St. Mary's Jr. LB) – Smartest linebacker this area has seen since his big bro, James…..Yeah I said it!!
3 David Reese (Farmington Sr. LB) – REESE the BEAST is a pure playmaker in every sense of the term, natural leader, natural BALLER & SHOT CALLER
4 Ade Ogundeji (WL Central Sr. DE) – Best pass-rushing prospect in the KLAA, maybe the overall defensive player in the county with the most upside at the next level……That's a Burney-certified fact!!
5 Navon Mosley (West Bloomfield Sr. DB) – Let's start calling my main Lakeshow Pigskin Homeboy Navon "Mr. Versatility" aka "I GO HAM FOR A LIVING"

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Do The Right Thing - The Sequel

I wrote earlier this month about how my alma mater Birmingham Roeper needs to name their basketball court in honor of departing longtime hoops coach and athletic director Ernie Righetti (close to 800 wins, 18 district titles, 18 league titles). It should be a no-brainer. It should have been done a long time ago.
Well, here's Part II of how my beloved RoughridersNation could be making another GINORMOUS mistake and what they need to do right now to avert it. What's the right thing to do.
Name Righetti protégé and state-championship winning soccer coach Ed Sack Righetti's replacement.
The 'Riders are in the midst of a three-ring circus which is parading as the selection process for hiring a new athletic director. Sack, who led the school to its FIRST-EVER team state title back in the fall on the boys soccer pitch, was passed up in Round 1 of the AD search. Now, after the recent announcement of the Roeper family and its original hire, Danny Herz (born in S. Africa, went to college in Ohio, coached HS bball in FLA and CA) parting ways after less than 6 weeks – only one of them actually spent in the state of Michigan – SPECIAL ED needs to get the nod. The powers that be at the school made a mistake the first time around IMO and this can make it right.
Sack is a tried-and-true Roughrider – he's been at Roeper for over 20 years and has headed one of the best small-school soccer programs in Metro Detroit for almost just as long. In terms of rock-solid human beings and high-quality work ethic, he's an ace's ace. This is your guy, Roeper, you need to embrace him, instead of seemingly trying to usher him out the door.  
In a twisted, almost-inconceivable way, the fact that Sack is a Righetti disciple seems to have hurt his cause in the initial race for the job, more than it helped him. Why Righetti himself doesn't have more (if any) say in this decision is a TRAVESTY for another blog post.
This is the way to right the wrong. Hire Ed Sack, call it a day and you'll have your AD for the next 10-15 years guaranteed. The Herz choice was risky for a number of reasons – one of which doesn't need to get brought into a public forum at this moment and the other for his apparent restlessness in prior positions despite his obvious sterling reputation as a highly-successful coach and mentor of young athletes and men (including the 2011 campaign, Roeper was school No. 4 for him).
Burney's hoping that my main man Ed Sack (he was a teacher there when I was in high school) finally ends up where he deserves – as Righetti's successor and Roeper's new athletic director.

Monday, June 22, 2015

An Aerial Assault For The Ages

Let's introduce the new No. 1 QB-WR duo in the OC's KLAA crop:
The Waterford Mott transfer tandem of senior signal-caller Jake Baldwin and senior split end Dez Fitzpatrick.
Baldwin arrives in Corsairs Country from Grand Ledge and steps into the starting field general just vacated by CMU-bound Dakota Kupp, one of the area's most prolific quarterbacks the past few years. He's getting looks from several colleges at this time and will be playing at the next level in 2016.
DFitz matriculates to Mott via an intra-country relocation from Farmington, where he helped take the Falcons to an OAA league title last year. He's already committed to Louisville and is considered a top recruit in the state in his class.
The music they will make in Team Fahr's high-octane offense will be sweet as candy. Get ready for a cavity or two in the coming months from all the touchdown hook-ups on the horizon for this priceless pair of Gridiron Gladiators!!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Weekend To Remember

When he's a dad someday, West Bloomfield football star Navon Mosley will remember Father's Day weekend 2015 as the time he found his home on the gridiron in college.
Mosley, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive back and wide receiver destined for the secondary at the next level, has decided to head out-of-state and committed to Purdue University in Indiana Saturday. If you look up versatility in the dictionary, you'll find this kid's picture staring right back ya. He does it all, able to line-up at cornerback, safety, wide receiver, running back and slot back. No matter where he's at, he makes plays, hears oooooooos and ahhhhhhhhhs of the crowd.
Mosley's hook-up with the Boilermakers is the second in five days for TEAM BELLAMY over at THE WB, following on the heels of quarterback-wide receiver Trishton Jackson committing to Michigan State Wednesday.
Last fall, Mosley and Jackson led the LakeShow to a program-record 10 wins and the team's first win in the postseason. They form a fierce tandem with a killer instinct and collective SWAGGER that is practically illegal in all 50 states. Jackson is a 4-star recruit, Mosley currently checks in at a 3-star stud.
When he arrives on campus at Purdue in 2016, Mosley will join his former teammate Eddy Wilson (defensive line), WB's emotional leader of their "Grocery Boyz" D and senior captain this past year, who just arrived in BOILERMAKERLAND. Mosley is the 7th commit in Purdue's 2016 recruiting class.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Youth Troop - Southfield's S&B Express

The next great pass-catch tandem on the OC football landscape will be Southfield's fab-frosh Sam Johnson chucking the rock to sophomore sensation Brandon Gray. Both have exploded onto the college recruiting scene this offseason so far, accumulating DI offers prior to playing their respective first down of varsity ball. We've got a couple of BLUE CHIPPERS on our hands here, people.  
Johnson is the state's No. 1 player in the incoming freshman class. He's a DIAPER DANDY to say the least – the arm, the legs, the size, the swag, the natural instinct for the big play and the QB IQ are all there. YOU WILL BE AMAZED!!! He balled out at Ohio State's one-day camp this week.
Gray is a tall, fast drink of water with soft hands and what appears to be limitless talent in his ability in stretching the field. The Bluejays new GRAY GHOST will be on the receiving end of a hefty amount of touchdowns thrown by its freshly-minted signal-caller SUPERBAD SAM in the years to come.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Action In SpartanLand

Action Jackson is headed for the E.L..... as in East Lansing and Michigan State University. West Bloomfield two-sport SUPERSTAR Trishton "the Action Man" Jackson committed to play on the gridiron in college for TEAM DANTONIO. Jackson is the most accomplished football-player-combined-with-a-basketball player in the area. PURE ELECTRICITY in both sports. In football, he's a playmaking qb-wr package. He'll play wr at MSU. On the basketball floor, he's a total tornado of a point guard and practically a human highlight film out of the backcourt. Next year, should be a lot of fun: Action J is back on the loose for one more year of OC prep madness and it certainly will be another show to remember. I've got goose bumps just thinking about it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Solid As Oak

There's a new era in Oak Park boys basketball about to start. Earlier this week, the Knights hired Jamie Thomas to head the school's ship on the hardwood. Thomas is the definition of a high-energy, high-character tactician on the bench and the former WL Central girls coach and assistant for West Bloomfield's girls and boys cage program as well as for the LakeShow's football program. This is a super hire and just the kind of stability the Knights need on the court right now. In his athletic heyday Thomas was a force to be reckoned with in both basketball and football, earning varsity letters in college in each sport at Western Kentucky and Kentucky Wesleyan.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Five For Fighting - Sound Mind, Sound Body

FIVE FOR FIGHTING – Top 5 OC SMSB Performances
1 Trishton Jackson (West Bloomfield ATH-WR-QB) – was his usual amazing self, added a star to his recruiting rating, wowed in receiving drills, picked up Iowa offer
2 Ade Ogundeji (WL Central DE) – pass-rush menace with a soaring recruiting stock and a nose for finding his way around the quarterback, collected Oregon offer
3 Marquan McCall (Oak Park OL) – Pure power and ferocity at the point of attack, a GRADE-A road grader with tons of upside, pulled a Michigan offer
4 Dez Fitzpatrick (Waterford Mott WR) – Simply a technician at his position, the Louisville commit showed off his OFF-THE-CHARTS gridiron IQ and super soft hands and made a strong argument for being the best route runner in the state
5 Tamarion Johnson (Southfield Bradford DE/TE) – This kid is a 0-to-100 HUSTLER award-winner, Johnson had a breakout camping experience, snatching a pair of MAC offers (Miami-
OH, Toledo)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Rare Air Club

All-OC Sports Power Rankings From 2015 In The Big 4 (football, basketball, baseball and softball)
1 D.J. Zezula (Clarkston QB) – Best HS football player to ever wear a C-Town uniform
2 Alex Malzone & Grant Perry (Brother Rice QB/WR) – Most dominating pass-catch tandem the OC has ever seen
3 Destiny Pitts (Country Day F) – Can you say 3PEAT? Has chance to reach Peggy Evans status….Yeah, I Said It!!
4 Drake Titus & Greg Loukinen (OL St. Mary's P) – Twin ace hurlers = state crown on the diamond for TEAM PETRY
5 Nick Plummer (Brother Rice OF) – Became the state's first opening-round MLB Draft pick in almost two decades, when he went No. 23 overall to the STL Cardinals last week…..Five-Tool Terror with an upside that has tongues wagging in the Cards' organization
6 Foster Loyer (Clarkston PG) – We call him "Foster the Phenom" for a reason!!
7 Alex Sobczak (FH Mercy Pro Power Hitter) – Most prolific power hitter on the softball diamond in OC history
8 Rachel Vieira (Clarkston SS) – Swagger level was off the charts this spring, a captain's captain, a playmaker's playmaker
9 Khalid Kareem (FH Harrison DE) – Turned himself into the top college-recruited defensive player in the whole state for the Class of 2016 with pure pass-rush tenacity and killer instinct..…does the term RARE BREED mean anything to you?
10 Brittany Gray & Kara Holinski (Marian F) – All heart, hustle and ambition, total skill-and-leadership package, the picture of the kind of young ladies you'd want for a daughter

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The South Is One

The city of Southfield will only have one high school soon.
Last week it was announced that after next school year, Southfield HS and Southfield-Lathrup HS will merge.
Bye, bye Bluejays. Bye, bye Chargers.
But think of the superpower sports program that lies on the horizon. We're talking GOLIATH TITLE GRABS in the future.
Stay Tuned!!

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Drive To The Park

Some names Burney is throwing out there to discuss as possible candidates for the vacant Oak Park boys basketball coaching job:
Al Kattola – former OP varsity coach, longtime freshman/JV coach, passionate, love and knowledge of the gane, deep ties in the Knights community
Bobby Thompson – former Academy of Oak Park & River Rouge head coach, works in the district, cool, rock-solid track record,
Mike Avery – former Southfield-Lathrup head coach, fierce competitor, tactician with a clipboard in his hands
Durand Shepherd – former Detroit DePorres and Inkster head coach, close ties to OP AD Greg Carter, excellent resume, master motivator
Tom Staton – former Ferndale head coach and hoop legend, been out of the coach's seat for a few years, might want back in

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Five For Fighting - Four Square Dance

FIVE FOR FIGHTINGBest individual outings for OLSM in the Eaglets baseball team's throwdown in the quarterfinals (a 4-2 downing of Divine Child) to advance into the final four the first time in six seasons
1 Greg Loukinen – Looked like David Price chucking the pill, painting the corners like a true Picasso
2 Drew Boyd – Miggie Mode, shredding like a salad maker at the dish, two MEGA clutch RIBS, half of his club's 'O',
3 Griffin Sheposh – Most underrated primetime player in the CHSL? GINORMOUS 2-run triple in the first inning to jumpstart the OLSM victory freight stop: Ring No. 2 for Eaglets' Nest G-FUNK MASTER!!
4 Drake Titus – Mariano Rivera mode, picking up the save by recording the last two outs of the game, just doing what had to be done when he got the nod aka "The Ace's Ace"
5 Matt Petry – Sparky Anderson mode.....whatever St. Mary's skip Baby Peaches said to his troops in his pregame pep talk, it worked, these Eaglets were all-out VULTURES from the word jump

Monday, June 8, 2015

Back In The Day

The Clarkston Wolves softball club is in the Elite 8 for the first time since 2004.
The '04 Wolves beat Lake Orion 3-2 in the quarters at Birmingham Seaholm before losing 5-4 to Portage Northern in the final four in Cereal City
2004 Wolfpack Roll Call:
Heather Giroux (C)
Suzie Giroux (OF)
Laura O'Neil (OF)
Caitlin McLean (SS)
Katie Jorgenson (3B)
Courtney Bollman (IB)
Trisha Martens (U)
Amber Giroux (2B)
Megan Ronk (OF)
Kelly Robinson (P)
Sara McGinnis (P)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Do The Right Thing

Time to do what's right.
It's imperative that Birmingham Groves and Birmingham Roeper honor their retiring coaching legends the appropriate way.
I'm talking about Groves naming its baseball field Jim Crosby Park and Roeper naming its basketball floor Ernie Righetti Court. This is something that has to be done. And NOW!
These are the plain and simple facts: Crosby WAS Groves baseball and Righetti WAS Roeper basketball for longer than the majority of the people reading this have been alive on this earth. They embodied their programs, both bastions of character, integrity, hard work and dedication, and their respective programs were proud reflections of the men who led them. Oh, yeah, they were also both members of the 700-win club.
Crosby is leaving Groves' baseball program after 46 years, the past 42 as skipper. Righetti is departing the Roeper hoops program after 32 seasons, the majority of which were spent as boys and girls bball coach as well as the school's athletic director.
Their collective absence will be felt throughout the city of Birmingham, Oakland County and the whole state of Michigan for that matter, in the years to come, their winning touch and devoted mentoring dearly missed in the community. Their former stomping grounds, their "classrooms of life," need to bare their names. There would be nothing more fitting.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Date Is Set

The No. 1 overall prep football recruit in the OC is ready to make a choice.
FH Harrison defensive end Khalid Kareem, a complete FREAK of a pass-rushing prodigy, has told people he will select among his 40 major D1 scholarship offers on June 24
Kareem (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) posted 18 sacks and 85 tackles last fall, spearheading his Harrison Hawks to a spot in the final four. He's considered possibly the No. 1 rush-end in the Midwest after starting his HS career a few miles north on Orchard Lake Rd. at West Bloomfield as a linebacker

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hey, I Remember You

Old is new again at Lake Orion High School. At least in the boys basketball program.
Former Dragons head coach Jim Manzo is new Dragons head coach Jim Manzo.
The leader of the LO cage crew through most of the 2000s, Manzo was last on the local prep hoop scene during the Drew Maynard era.
His squads were always up-tempo and fun to watch. Welcome back, sir! Let's make it a fun ride in the Dragons Den once again with some high-octane JIMMY BALL!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dog Days Of Fall

Novi Detroit Catholic Central alum Dylan Roney is a Bulldog. We're talking literally and figuratively.
On the football field, Roney (Class of 2014) is a relentless animal of a pass rusher, a quarterback's worst nightmare. Now, he's actually a real-life Bulldog to match his Bulldog-type tenacity on the gridiron.
After spending first semester at the Naval Academy, Roney (6-foot-3, 250 pounds) is currently enrolled at defending GLIAC champion Ferris State and will be eligible immediately come the kickoff to the Bulldogs season in August.
A two-time first team all state selection as a prepster in SHAMROCKnation, he registered 100 tackles and 10 sacks during his senior campaign in 2013. Starting on the line for TEAM MACH's Big Blue Machine, the always versatile Roney (he can play on the line or linebacker and in HS ran it as a fullback and stretched the field as a sticky-handed tight end) helped lead CC to three straight appearances in the state championship game.
Transferring back in-state, Roney will reunite with CC running buddies like Anthony Darkangelo (LB), Danny Collins (CB) and Chris Okoye (DL) in Bulldog Pigskinland this fall

Monday, June 1, 2015

Spring In His Step

The OC 'Q Factor' is staying in-state for his college ball.
North Farmington's Anthony Qasawa, a diverse talent of a 6-foot-4 swingman and one of the most improved boys hoopsters in the area in 2015, signed with Spring Arbor this week.
Qasawa is a scoring threat, able to drop a 20-spot in the blink of an eye, an aggressive rebounder and adept at using his length on defense to pop in and out of passing lanes with lethal efficiency.
A three-year varsity performer and two-year starter in RAIDER CAGE NATION, the Q-FACTOR helped lead TEAM NOGO to a pair of Class A district crowns – this past summer, North Farmington flew all the way into the SWEET 16. In Burney's opinion, it was Qasawa that was the straw that stirred the Raiders soup in 2015, coaxing a winning brew that resulted in the most victories in school history and its deepest tourney run.
Spring Arbor was 13-18 this year. When Qasawa lands on campus in a couple short months he'll be joining former Raiders teammate Caleb Hogans (Class of 2013), the program's starting point guard entering his junior campaign. Hogans was a senior at NF during the            Q-FACTOR's sophomore season, breaking in the then-aspiring NET MAGNET for the big time. Only more nifty net work on the horizon for this NorthTown DYNAMIC DUO in the next two years.