Detroit — West Bloomfield quarterback Bryce Veasley was enjoying himself with head coach Ron Bellamy and a teammate at the Fowling Warehouse to promote the Prep Kickoff Classic, which will be Aug. 24-26 at Wayne State University.
Veasley is playing in the fowling tournament against other Prep Kickoff Classic players in a competition that combines football and bowling.
Veasley, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior, helped West Bloomfield reach the playoffs last year, throwing for more than 2,500 yards and 22 TDs after transferring in from Southfield Lathrup.
Now, Veasley will have more weapons to work with, hoping to go further than the Division 1 district finals, which West Bloomfield reached last year, falling to Southfield A&T.
“Coming in last year I really didn’t know coverages so I learned a lot about coverages,” said Veasley, who committed to Bowling Green last month, picking the Falcons over Toledo and Central Michigan.
“We run the spread so it was reading our offensive scheme, just reading from the curl to the flats, just reading safeties and stuff. I feel more comfortable now, having that year of experience.”
Now Veasley is looking forward to working with Taj Mustapha and A.J. Abbott, a transfer from Northville, along with receiver Collin Heard, a transfer from Birmingham Groves who can play multiple positions, including running back and cornerback.
Abbott earned a spot on The Detroit News All-West team last year and Heard a spot on The News All-North team. Mustapha and Abbott have both committed to Wisconsin.
“We have two weapons with A.J. joining Taj, and even my tight end James (Faulkner) and my other receiver Tre Mosley, they’re all go-to guys who should all be good in winning one-on-one matchups so it should be fun,” pointed out Veasley.
It certainly should be fun for Bellamy to watch West Bloomfield’s offense in action.
“We like to think we’re the top receiving core in the state of Michigan and we put that type of pressure on our kids and the addition of A.J. Abbott only solidifies that group.
“We have five receivers with Division 1 football offers.”
Faulkner has offers from a few FCS schools, including Youngstown State, Indiana State and Illinois State. Sophomore Christian Fitzpatrick, the younger brother of Desmond Fitzpatrick (Louisville), has four Division 1 offers, including Louisville and Illinois and junior Tyrone Broden, CMU. Heard has five Division 1 offers.
Bellamy wants a OAA Red Division championship and a long journey in the state playoffs that ends on Thanksgiving Day weekend at Ford Field, but he is focused on the season opener in the Prep Kickoff Classic Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. against Division 2 state finalist Walled Lake Western.
“Our No. 1 goal for the 2017 season is to beat a tough Walled Lake Western team,” pointed out Bellamy. “Coach Z (Mike Zdebski) has done a great job over the years of establishing his program and came up just short against (Detroit) King in the state title game.”
Southfield A&T senior quarterback John Darby was also competing at fowling.
Darby replaced an injured Sam Johnson — who has since transferred to Walled Lake Western — late last season, leading his team to a share of the OAA Red title and to a Division 1 regional final appearance.
Darby threw 225 yards and four TDs in a Week No. 8 35-20 comeback win over Oxford, then led A&T to a 41-6 district title win over West Bloomfield, throwing for for 246 yards and three TDs.
“That four-TD game definitely boosted my confidence,” said Darby, recalling the win over Oxford. “I feel I can really do it all as a quarterback.
“I can run, but I can also throw from the pocket. I still have some work to do to get my footwork down as a pocket passer.”
Darby and A&T will be playing Davison at 7 p.m. Aug. 24.
Xenith Prep Kickoff Classic
All games at Wayne State
Thursday, Aug. 24
■Walled Lake Western vs. West Bloomfield, 4 p.m.
■Davison vs. Southfield A&T, 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 25
■Almont vs. Grosse Ile, 4 p.m.
■Lowell vs. Warren DeLaSalle, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 26
■Detroit East English vs. River Rouge, noon
■Oak Park vs. Utica Eisenhower, 3 p.m.
■Detroit King vs. Indianapolis Cathedral, 6 p.m.