GLIAC football preview: Ferris streaks into new season
Geoff Robinson of The Detroit News previews the Michigan teams for the GLIAC football season.
Last year: 11-1 overall, 10-0 GLIAC
Coach: Tony Annese (fifth season, 37-9)
Notable: Ferris State has won back-to-back GLIAC championships after a drought that spanned 14 seasons from 1999-2013. The Bulldogs are currently on a 25-game regular-season win streak after back-to-back undefeated regular seasons. FSU won its first playoff game in 19 years in 2015. It enters the season ranked 12th in the American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches' Poll. The Bulldogs will be hard-pressed to replace many of the seniors from last year's roster, including dual-threat quarterback Jason Vander Laan. Jahaan Brown is back after rushing for 572 yards and three TD, and on defense, linebacker Anthony Darkangelo (Brighton) had 73 tackles, 10 for loss.
Last year: 12-3 overall, 8-2 GLIAC
Coach: Matt Mitchell (seventh season, 57-19)
Notable: Grand Valley State enters the season as the No. 3 team in the AFCA Division II Coaches' Poll. It reached the semifinals of last year's Division II playoffs, where it fell to Shepherd University (W.Va.), 34-32. Bart Williams (Grand Blanc) enters his sophomore year coming off a big season in which he threw for 45 touchdowns and 4,206 yards. He did, however, toss 20 interception and will look to bring that number down in 2016.
Last year: 5-6 overall, 5-5 GLIAC
Coach: Keith Otterbein (15th season, 80-66)
Notable: After a successful run that saw the Hillsdale program win 49 games from 2007-2012, the Chargers have not made a playoff appearance since 2010. Joe Reverman returns for his sophomore season after being named GLIAC Freshman of the Year and team MVP. Despite not starting a game until midseason, Reverman still totaled 1,083 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. He also posted back-to-back 200-yard games in his first two starts.
Last year: 7-3 overall, 7-3 GLIAC
Coach: Tom Kearly (11th season, 66-38)
Notable: After reaching the postseason for just the second time in school history in 2014, the Huskies fell a little short last season despite registering their sixth consecutive winning season. Senior running back Kevin Miller (North Farmington) and junior running back John Williams (Holly) return to join senior dual-threat quarterback Brandon Cowie in the backfield. The trio tallied 1,505 yards on the ground in 2015.
Last year: 5-6 overall, 5-5 GLIAC
Coach: Leonard Haynes (second season, 5-6)
Notable: Haynes enters his first season as the full-time coach after having the interim tag removed from his title. In the summer of 2015, he took over for the late Pat Riepma. Linebacker Michael Fisher (Rochester Adams) is back for his senior season after leading the GLIAC in tackles per game (10.3 in 2015) for the second consecutive season.
Last year: 5-6 overall, 4-6 GLIAC
Coach: Chris Ostrowsky (fifth season, 15-28)
Notable: The Wildcats registered their best finish since 2010 with a 5-6 mark last season. They'll have to replace some big-time talent as they lost all-GLIAC first team wide receiver Marcus Tucker. Quarterback Shaye Brown is back for his senior season and needs just 404 passing yards and two TD to become the school’s career leader in both categories. He has 6,927 yards and 52 TD. Senior defensive back C.J. Washington had 48 tackles and 12 pass break-ups in 2015.
Last year: 1-10 overall, 1-9 GLIAC
Coach: Jim Collins (ninth season, 47-42)
Notable: Despite a good track record, Collins' team took a step back in 2015. Collins has led the Cardinals to the playoffs in three of his eight seasons. He also picked up at least a share of a division championship in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Junior linebacker Bryan Jones returns after a second team all-GLIAC nod last season. He's registered 106 tackles in 2014 and 103 in 2015.
Last year: 6-5 overall, 5-5 GLIAC
Coach: Paul Winters (13th season, 69-65)
Notable: In 2015, the Warriors notched their seventh winning season in eight years. Junior running back Romello Brown (Livonia Churchill) is back after putting on a show in 2015. As a sophomore, Brown rushed for 1,287 yards and 19 TD. He was named to the all-GLIAC second team. Offensive tackle Nate Theaker (White Lake Lakeland) is a D2Football.com preseason All-American; he was named to the first team. Middle linebacker Anthony DeDamos had 87 tackles, 16.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks and two pass break-ups.
GLIAC PRESEASON POLL
(Voting by conference coaches)
1. Grand Valley State
2. Ferris State
3. Michigan Tech
4. Wayne State
6. Saginaw Valley State
T7. Northern Michigan
2. Ohio Dominican
6. Lake Erie