Prep football preview: Downriver League

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News

2016 record in parenthesis; listed by predicted order of finish.


Despite heavy losses at the skill positions, coach Keith Christnagel brings back an imposing offensive line led by twin brothers Joe Barney (6-foot-2, 275 pounds) and Josh Barney (6-2, 275). Woodhaven will rely on the two behemoths to open up running lanes for junior running back Dom Preiss and senior quarterback Doug Baldensperger. Woodhaven’s big advantage this season could be its depth, as Christnagel predicts he’ll be starting 21 different players at 22 positions while being able to rotate his guys in and out.


Senior quarterback Richie Miller will be asked to elevate his game this season after throwing for 772 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2016. Senior running backs Kendrick Stanley and Allen Woodward rushed for more than 1,000 yards combined last fall and round out a talented group of skill players. The biggest challenge for coach Ron Adams will be finding depth in the trenches on both sides of the ball.


After winning a Division 6 state championship at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central in 2014, Jack Giarmo decided to step away. After a two-year hiatus, he’s returned. Senior quarterback Jaylan Franklin, a three-star athlete who is committed to Wisconsin, will lead Carlson.


Despite a banner season last season and a run in the state playoffs that ended in a Division 3 regional final for the second straight year, coach Tom Danosky and Allen Park are set for a rebuild with just one returning starter on each side of the ball.


After three consecutive state playoff appearances, coach Bob Czarnecki has a project on his hands with just one returning starter on offense and defense. Trenton will have a new set of skill position players this season. Junior Jay Solano (6-3, 185) takes over as the starting quarterback.


Coach Mitch Dobek returns a lot of key players from last year’s squad, including senior quarterback Lance Martin, who will be asked to make more plays this season to take some pressure off senior running back and workhorse Shawn Trigge.


Mark Shea takes over as coach at Lincoln Park and will have seven starters back on both sides of the ball. Senior running back Elijah Cross will be a name to watch, as he’s generating interest from a couple of Division I schools entering this fall.


Receiver/defensive back David Carter Jr. (6-1, 165) is expected to turn some heads this fall in his sophomore campaign. As a freshman, Carter had 17 receptions for 331 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he had two interceptions and 10 pass breakups.


Coach Jeff Morrow’s team gave up an average of 41.4 points per game in 2016. Relief may be on its way in terms of depth when Truman combines with Taylor Kennedy in 2018.


This will be the final year of Kennedy football, as the school will close after the 2017-18 school year and merge with Taylor Truman. Since 2013, Kennedy has posted a 2-24 record with both of its wins coming against Truman. Dearborn Edsel Ford will replace Kennedy in the Downriver League starting in 2018.

Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.