Football previews: Independents / others

By Eric Coughlin
Special to The Detroit News
Saline defensive end Brad Wisniewski hits the sled during practice.

Eric Coughlin of The Detroit News previews independent teams and other area teams for the high school football season.

ALGONAC (10-2)

Coach Scott Barnhart returns three starters on defense. Leading the way will be a couple of two-way stars in all-conference senior fullback/defensive lineman Jack Jewell and senior halfback/defensive lineman Noah Babin. Senior Mark Langewicz will spearhead the secondary. Three starters return on offense, including senior offensive linemen Zack Randall and four-year starter Michael Nykoriak, who's never missed a snap. Junior Grant Stephenson takes over at quarterback after not playing last season due to injury.

ALMONT (7-3)

Six offensive starters return for coach Scott Barnhart, led by three seniors in running back/outside linebacker Jace Rinke, running back/outside linebacker Colton Kruse and offensive guard/defensive end Nick Wilson. Junior pass-catcher Colby Schapman is expected to lead the team in receptions after only playing three games last season due to injury. Junior running back/defensive back Jack Paupert and junior guard/inside linebacker Jacob Housmann also return on offense. Junior Josh Hellebuyck takes over quarterback duties this season. Defensively, six starters return, including Housman and Rinke, plus inside linebacker Blake Kapron and two defensive tackles, sophomore Nolan Panduren and senior Christian Buckmiller.


Second-year coach Broderick Smith has four returning starters on offense and will be led by a first-year starter at quarterback, junior Camron Donell, who had more than 100 yards rushing in Week 9 last season. Junior linebacker Tyree Hill and senior free safety Ibraheem Joseph lead a defense that returns four starters. Look for a pair of running backs, junior Aaron Winston and senior Mayco Hall, to try and get Huron its first win since Oct. 2, 2014, a 14-point victory over Ann Arbor Skyline.


Five total starters return, including senior running back Nate Chadwick and senior wide receiver Lagan Jacobs, an all-leage performer last season. Senior defensive linemen Dennis Simmons and Komarus Hatch will lead coach Bill Bellers' defense.


Senior quarterback Davion Pipkins, who primarily played wide receiver and had eight total touchdowns last season, will start at quarterback, supported by senior H-back Brian Scurlock and six total returning starters on offense. Coach Andrew Soragatz has seven starters returning on a defense that will be led by a pair senior ends, Arik Rorie and Aiden Tate.


Senior running back Aaron McDaniels, senior wide receiver Hunter Ness and senior tight end Nick Christian lead an offense that has four returning starters. Quarterbacks Quinn Starkey and Kyle Knight, a senior and junior, respectively, are in a battle for the starting spot. On defense, senior defensive end Dion Mite and senior cornerback Doug Zarinnia are the only returning starters for new coach Josh Lucas, who takes over this season from longtime head man Brad Bush.


New coach Kevin Whitfield only has two seniors on this season's squad, but that includes athlete Raequon Hereford, a natural at almost any position, who will see time at wide receiver, quarterback and running back on offense, plus play in the secondary on defense. Junior offensive tackle Keith Simmons and junior running back Kamani Chandler, along with Hereford, lead eight total returning starters.


Eight starters return for coach Dan MacLean, including the strength of the team, senior running back Josh Winowich. Senior wide receiver Darrin King had 18 catches and six touchdowns last season, and sophomore quarterback Ahlon Mitchell is in a battle with senior quarterback Mason Colean to determine a starter. On defense, senior defensive end Demetriess Champion is back after showing consistent improvement last year, and Country Day's best overall player, senior Anthony Toma, will occupy a hybrid safety/linebacker role.


Senior offensive lineman Jabari Jefferson and senior offensive lineman Rashawn Thomas join four other returning starters on offense for Coach Cedric Dortch. Sophomore tight end/outside linebacker Tahj Miller steps into a starting spot. Four starters return on defense, including junior inside linebacker Cedric Dortch Jr. and junior outside linebacker Javar Grandberry.

MONROE (4-5)

Senior quarterback Malik Linton brings back eight total touchdowns from last year for third-year coach Nick Notario. Junior running back Jared Banks, who ran for 1,300 yards and 16 scores in 2017, is also back and will lead seven returning starters on offense. On defense, seven starters also return, including senior outside linebacker/strong safety Hayes Brooks, senior cornerback Jalen Johnson and senior safety Cole Sulfaro.


Mount Clemens has four returning starters on offense, including quarterback/wide receiver Don Williams, junior wide receiver Vermonte Cannon and junior quarterback Tashawn Peterson. Four starters return on defense, including Williams, Cannon, Peterson. Freshman defensive end Jeremiah Walker steps in at defensive end for coach Anthony Warchol.


Five starters return on offense, highlighted by senior quarterback Mathew Harrison, the team's leading receiver last season, four-year starter Matt Hill at left tackle and junior running back Adrien Williams, who rushed for 450 yards last year. Five starters also return on the defense, which will be led by a pair of three-year starters at linebacker, Mike Nicaj and Jake Irwin. Senior Devin Krause returns at cornerback for coach Brad Zube.


Running back Connor Gaeske returns for his junior year after a 1,000-yard season. Nick Pollock anchors the offensive line along with three other returning starters. Six starters return on defense for coach Pat Fox, including senior inside linebacker Michael Winiarski and senior defensive end Joe Lopez.


Four starters return on the offense, which will be led by junior running back Noah Monpanari, senior center Ethan Wyatt, senior right tackle Aiden Collins, junior left guard Luke Davis and junior receiver Zachary Schorman. Brand Schorman will start under center for the first year for coach John Kocher. Senior inside linebackers Eric Barr and Andrew Ball are the heart of the team and combined with senior cornerback Logan Boyd make up the only returning starters on defense.

SALINE (7-2)

Skill players will be a strength for Saline, where a pair of all-league players return in senior running back Brendan Munday and senior tight end Brendan Murphy, but they make up the only returning starters for coach Joe Palka on offense. Senior defensive end Brad Wisniewski, senior linebacker Connor Terech, senior safety/cornerback M.J. Griffin and junior linebacker Alex Morrison are the returning starters on defense.


Former Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson has reduced his role at Ypsilanti, where he was head coach, which will allow him more time to see his son, Joshua Jackson, play football. The younger Jackson is entering his second year as signal-caller for Virginia Tech. In the older Jackson's place steps Andre Parker, who has four returning starters to work with on offense, including junior wide receiver Trey McGee, senior running back/quarterback/defensive back Len Naylor, senior lineman Markus Bezier and senior running back Emerson Wilson. Four starters also return on defense, including senior defensive end Alonzo Hollie, senior linebacker Michael Post and junior linebacker Justin Hinton.


Three starters return on an offense that will feature 500-yard rusher Trevon Davis and junior left tackle Tate Mackenzie. Cornerback Tahj Chatman, senior safety Dylan Thompson, plus senior defensive linemen Trevor Watson and John Hillebrand will lead an experienced defense that returns six starters for coach Chris Westfall.