2016 record in parenthesis; listed by predicted order of finish.
Five starters return on offense for coach Tim Baechler including junior fullback Steven Walker. Senior Connor Engel steps in at quarterback. Coach’s son, Lou Baechler, Canton’s leading tackler the last two years, is back on defense, as well as senior cornerback/running back Colin Troup, senior linebacker Noah Brown and two other returning starters.
Senior quarterback Cameron Tullar returns after throwing for 713 yards and six touchdowns, along with senior running back Luke Helwing, who ran for 535 yards and five touchdowns a year ago. Returning on defense are leading tackler and senior linebacker Jack Johnson, as well as junior defensive end Keenan Stolz, who had three of his team’s seven sacks last year.
LIVONIA STEVENSON (5-5)
Randy Micallef’s returns five offensive starters from last year’s state-playoff team, highlighted by senior Parker Graham, who slides over to quarterback after playing running back last year, and senior receiver Devin Dunn. Senior lineman Giovanni Agazzi and senior cornerback George Ferguson will contribute on defense.
Howell was bounced in the first round of the state playoffs last year, by Detroit Catholic Central. It returns five starters on offense and defense from that team, including senior center Nick Tholen, senior guard Mike Pelic, and senior linebackers Hunter Klassen and Logan Ward.
Novi was another playoff victim of Detroit Catholic Central’s last season, falling in a Division 1 district final. Senior receiver Tre Maddox, who’ll play basketball (Oakland) in college, returns after a seven-touchdown effort in 2016. Senior defensive end Chad Howell and senior lineman De’Shaun Clayton will contribute on defense.
Running back Reece Potter, who had 20 touchdowns and 1,300 yards of total offense last season, and junior receiver Evan Metz are among three returning starters on offense. Six starters return on defense, including senior linebacker Tommy Lappin and senior lineman Ethan Martin.
Senior quarterback Ryan Young is back after throwing for 680 yards and five touchdowns in 2016. Senior running back Andrew Davis also returns after a season in which he racked up 1,107 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. Senior tackle Alexander Howie, who has offers from Indiana, Washington State, Virginia and several Mid-American Conference schools, will help Young and Davis put up big numbers.
Matt Ladach’s team was knocked out of the first round of the state playoffs by Canton last season, but has five returning starters on offense, including junior receiver Nick Prystash and senior tailback Abe Khoury. Two of Northville’s best athletes, senior Jonathan Michalak and sophomore Christian Williams, are competing for the starting quarterback job. Senior lineman Ryan Doroudian is the lone returning starter on defense. Senior kicker Jake Moody has offers from Army and Air Force.
LIVONIA FRANKLIN (7-4)
Three-year starter Isaac Moore returns at running back for coach Chris Kelbert, along with senior offensive tackle Jacob Mass. Five starters return on a defense that features senior safety Brad Gibson, who missed 2016 with an ACL injury, and senior defensive back Keion Harris.
LIVONIA CHURCHILL (5-4)
Five starters are back on offense for coach Bill DeFillippo, highlighted by senior running back Tyrese Williams and junior receiver Avery Grenier. Senior defensive end Jaren Carble and senior defensive tackles Brennan Mikel and Quantrez Pittman will anchor Churchill’s line.
GRAND BLANC (5-5)
Coach Clint Alexander brings his two-quarterback offense with him from Virginia as juniors Ryder Brotedeck and Colton Alexander will split time under center. Senior center Joel Linden is among three returning starters on offense. Junior linebacker Leonard Henry and senior cornerbacks Jayson Haralson and Jace Parrish are expected to bolster the defense.
Quarterback Zach Beadle is back after a 10-touchdown performance last season, along with junior Carson Miller, who had 451 yards rushing and five touchdowns in 2016. Senior cornerbacks Andrew Neal and Calvin Vos will help lead on defense.
WAYNE MEMORIAL (1-8)
Five starters return on offense for coach Donald Anderson, led by senior quarterback Gjerdonte Williams, who had 14 touchdowns last year, and receiver Reggie Micheaux, who also averaged three sacks a game last season at linebacker. Three other starters return on defense, including senior lineman Calvin Tuma-Hynes.
WESTLAND JOHN GLENN (2-7)
Quarterback Matt Nutt steps into a starting role this year and will be flanked by junior receiver Jared Tarrance. Senior linebackers Corey Williams and Hunter Cichocki are both back on defense.
Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.