Two of the top coaches in state history will meet at Farmington Hills Harrison Friday night when the school will dedicate its athletic complex before the game in honor of legendary head coach John Herrington.
Harrison (1-1) hosts Bob Lantzy and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (1-1) at 7 p.m.
“My family will be there for the dedication of the complex and I feel good that my name will be up there, and there’s also a plaque that was dedicated to my wife (Fran) when she passed away (in 2001) so that will always be there,” Herrington said. “Some fond memories for our alumni when they come back to see the field.”
Herrington has guided Harrison to a Michigan-record 13 state championships, but the school will close its doors after the 2018-19 academic year.
Herrington guided Harrison for the first time in 1970, going up against Lantzy, who was then also in his first year as head coach at Utica Eisenhower. Harrison prevailed in that game, 15-12. Now the two will coach against each other for just the second time.
Lantzy is in his second year at Stoney Creek after going 304-115-1 from 1970-2011 at Utica Eisenhower, including four state championship game appearances in a five-year stretch from the late 1990s to the early 2000s.
Herrington, 76, is in his 48th year as its head coach and is 426-105-1, just five wins away from becoming the state’s all-time winningest coach, closing in on Al Fracassa’s record (430-117-7, Royal Oak Shrine, Birmingham Brother Rice).
“They’ve improved a lot and Coach Lantzy is doing a great job,” said Herrington of Stoney Creek, which defeated Utica Ford 19-12 before falling to Birmingham Groves, 14-3. “We played Utica Eisenhower back in 1970 and that was our first games for both of us, and he’s a good man. We beat them and so I’m 1-0 against him so I have to keep that streak going after 47 years.
“They (Stoney Creek) looked good in both of their games. Their quarterback (third-year starter Frank Potenza) keeps their plays alive, has real good feet and a quick release, and when the pocket breaks down he goes out and does something.”
Stoney Creek is an improved team from last year’s 2-7 unit. Harrison’s defense, led by Notre Dame-bound linebacker Ovie Oghoufo and defensive lineman Divine Filemu, will have a challenge at trying to slow down Potenza.
“Ovie’s off to a great start,” said Herrington. “We have him doing a lot of things for us, returning kicks and playing tight end.”
Pick: Harrison by 6.
Livonia Churchill (2-0) at Livonia Stevenson (2-0), Friday, 7 p.m. – The teams are off to impressive starts with the quarterbacks, Drew Alsobrooks of Churchill and Parker Graham of Stevenson, playing at elite levels. Look for George Ferguson to be the difference for Stevenson on both sides of the ball after scoring on a 66-yard TD reception and a 70-yard interception return in last week’s 44-21 rout of Novi. Pick: Stevenson by 2.
Bloomfield Hills (2-0) at Clarkston (2-0), Friday, 7 p.m. – Clarkston has been the king of the OAA Red division for the past several years and its defense – which has played well in wins over Lapeer (42-7) and Southfield A&T (17-7) – will take on a competitive Bloomfield Hills team that has moved up two divisions after winning the Blue last year. Ball State-bound quarterback John Paddock led Bloomfield Hills back from a 24-7 deficit midway through the fourth quarter to a 28-24 victory over West Bloomfield Friday, directing a 92-yard drive in the final two minutes. Pick: Clarkston by 4.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (0-2) at Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn (2-1), Friday, 7 p.m. – Three-time defending Division 3 state champion St. Mary’s will attempt to avoid its first 0-3 start since 1984 and will have to be at its best to defeat a Penn team that has allowed seven or fewer points in each game, including a 38-0 rout of Birmingham Brother Rice last Friday. Pick: Penn by 10.