Romulus coach Thomas Patterson talked highly of Immanuel Stinson heading into the season, feeling his standout defensive end could have a special senior year.
Well, Stinson has lived up to expectations so far, collecting 10 sacks to help Romulus to a 4-1 record.
"He's an absolute impact player," said Patterson of Stinson, a three-star recruit offered by several Mid-American Conference schools, including Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan, and also recruited by Michigan State. "His athletic talent is unmatched."
After a season-opening loss to River Rouge, Romulus has come back to match last year's win total (4-5), earning four straight while outscoring opponents by a 181-12 margin. Romulus had two shutouts — 39-0 over Dearborn Heights Annapolis and 40-0 over Redford Union — during that stretch and defeated Livonia Clarenceville, 46-6, Friday.
"Our defense has played well, keeping our opponents down, and Immanuel has been a big part of it," Patterson said. "We've had two shutouts and we're real excited about how we're playing. He had four sacks (against Redford) so that was his best game so far."
Stinson had another sack in the win at Clarenceville before being slowed by an injury.
"I took a shot to my hip from an opponent's helmet and was limited after that," explained the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Stinson, who has 4.6 speed. "I punt, too, and we had a muffed punt and I picked it up and tried to run when I took a shot, getting hit in the hip by a helmet. I'm not doing much (this weekend), just taking care of it."
Stinson wants to get back on the field getting more sacks when Romulus plays host to unbeaten Dearborn Heights Robichaud (5-0) Friday in a Western Wayne Athletic Conference Red Division showdown. Robichaud averages 40 points.
"We're working well as a team, working hard in our preparation," Stinson said. "Everybody is just playing their own position and that's why we've had success. We're effective because everybody's getting after it, going after the ball.
"Our goal is to win the league title. We have three seniors on our defensive front and all of our linebackers are seniors. We know this is our time."
Stinson had 16 sacks in eight games last season.
"My speed is the key," he said. "I have the ability to beat them off the ball and then I just grab the quarterback and haul him down. My goal this season was to help the team get better. I want to play my position as perfectly as I can and have my teammates do the same. I watch a lot of college and NFL games, just to see how the defensive ends get to the quarterback."
Stinson had to work hard in the classroom this summer so he could play his senior year.
"I waited too late my freshman year before I took care of business so I had to go to summer school to make up for it," he said. "I'm doing fine now, have a 2.9 grade-point average and have two As, two Bs and a C in psychology this semester. I know I have to get qualified by the NCAA clearinghouse to play college ball."
As for the recruiting process?
"It's going well," Stinson said. "I'm going to take all my visits before I make up my mind, but I'm leaning toward Western. I took a visit to Western and loved the environment and coaches. I looked at it as a place I could call home. Central, Eastern, Toledo, Akron and Pitt have also offered.
"I've also had heavy interest from Michigan State, but haven't had an offer yet. Coach Dantonio came to my school, talked to a couple of teachers about me. I took a tour of MSU, the facilities, a couple of months ago and enjoyed it."
Yes, Stinson is enjoying his senior year and that's bad news for opposing quarterbacks.
Great day for Weber
Michigan-bound running back Mike Weber said it felt great to get back on the field again after sitting out Detroit Cass Tech's previous two games with a sprained toe.
Weber sat out the first three series in Friday's game against Denby, but then showed fans why he was invited to play in the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl by breaking loose for a 50-yard TD run on a fourth-and-two play to open up a 30-6 lead minutes before halftime.
And, what a halftime ceremony it was with Weber getting his official invitation to play in the bowl game — set for Jan. 3 at the Alamodome in San Antonio — and being presented the U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey by bowl representatives.
"It was a dream come true for me," said Weber. "Coming into high school I saw the All-American banners in the gym of all the other players from our school and I wanted to have my name up there, too.
"It was a great ceremony. I had my brother, sister, grandparents, parents, coaches and teammates all there so it was cool."
It's good that Weber could remember it. On his first carry of the game, he was greeted by a few Denby players at the line of scrimmage, one crashing into him with a helmet-to-helmet blast that brought on a penalty.
"Yes, I did," he replied when asked if he had had his bell rung. "I shook it off."
Weber was held to short yardage on the next two carries before busting loose on the fourth-down play, shaking off one defender with a hold on his jersey, then blazing down the right sideline for the score.
"I just followed my block, then ran the ball hard," said Weber, who rushed for 100 yards in 1½ quarters, including another TD run in the third quarter.
"I'm glad I took a couple of weeks off to heal. I'm about 75-80 percent right now and I plan to play the whole game next week."
Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher would love to have Weber at full strength, especially with a home game set for noon Saturday against Detroit East English Village Prep, a team which has outscored its opponents by a 199-0 margin during the last four games.
Fordson beefs up schedule
Dearborn Fordson (5-0, 3-0 Western Wayne Blue) has been dominant this season, a reason it is ranked No. 16 in The News' Super 20 this week.
Fordson's closest decision was a 41-21 opening-game win over a Temperance Beford team which was Southeastern Conference Red champion and a regional finalist last year.
Fordson has outscored its last four opponents by a 131-12 margin, including a 35-0 rout of rival Dearborn Friday.
"It's a different monster ahead of us so it's going to be a big challenge for us," Fordson coach Walker Zaban said of having to play Warren De La Salle Friday night at Wayne State. "This is the type of game we measure where we're at because it's against such a proven program. We feel they do things the right way and we feel we do, too.
"(De La Salle coach) Paul Verska is one of the guys I look up to since he's done such a terrific job. Their kids have been executing and they are tough to run and throw the ball against."
De La Salle is 3-2, losing a pair of close games against No. 3 Birmingham Brother Rice (28-21) and No. 8 Orchard Lake St. Mary's (14-10) Friday.
CMU-bound running back/safety Jamil Sabbagh, who has 4.4 speed, has more than 1,000 all-purpose yards for Fordson this season. He will be going up against four-star De La Salle linebacker Eric Rogers, who took a visit to Michigan earlier this month to watch the Wolverines play Miami (Ohio). Rogers' older brother James played for the Wolverines.
C.C., Lake Orion in tough spots
It looks like Detroit Catholic Central and Lake Orion could have long state playoff runs come to an end unless the perennial powers quickly turn around their seasons.
Catholic Central — which reached the playoffs the last seven years, winning the Division 1 championship five years ago and advancing to the title game the last three years — slipped to 2-3 with a one-sided 41-14 Catholic League Central Division loss at Brother Rice Friday.
C.C. will play host to 2-3 U-D Jesuit Friday before games against Orchard Lake St. Mary's (Oct. 11) and Warren De La Salle (Oct. 19).
Lake Orion, a playoff team every year since 2000, Division 1 champion in 2010 and runner-up in 2008, was blanked Friday, at home, 39-0 by West Bloomfield to fall to 2-3.
It plays at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (3-2 ) Friday and at Bloomfield Hills (2-3) on Oct. 10 before a matchup with defending Division 1 champion Clarkston.
Topping 1,000 yards
Lake Orion senior running back Matt Krause reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark Sept. 19th with Holt's Trent Stone topping the milestone Friday.
Stone rushed for 273 yards and two touchdowns in Holt's 30-21 win over East Lansing to push his total to 1,114 yards.
WMU-bound Alex Grace of Saginaw Swan Valley should be next to top the mark. He has run for 992 yards (94 carries) and scored 15 TDs for unbeaten Swan Valley after setting the single-season state record (2,952 yards) last season.
And don't forget Detroit Western senior Romello Ross, the CMU recruit, who has 933 yards, including 247 and five TDs in a 49-46 loss to Detroit Northwestern Friday.
Jordan Lewis, Sterling Heights Stevenson:
Lewis, a sophomore defensive lineman, had five sacks to help Stevenson blank L'Anse Creuse North, 42-0. Stevenson has allowed just 36 points all season.
By the numbers
18 — Consecutive games Clarkston has won since an opening-game loss to Rochester Adams last season
39 — Receptions for Birmingham Brother Rice senior Grant Perry, who has picked up 714 yards and scored nine TDs
3 — Touchdown receptions by Clarkston senior Shane Holler in a 42-14 win over Oxford Friday, after returning from an assortment of injuries.
"Our receivers are just outstanding. We have five of them and they do a great job."
Kurt Richardson, Clarkston coach, after D.J. Zezula threw four TD passes, three to Shane Holler and a 75-yarder to Jacob Fisher.