What a weekend. The kickoff to the 2011 Oakland Activities Association football season did not disappoint.
Three new coaches debuted on the sidelines and all three picked up wins in their first game. There were two games decided by two points or less and two games decided by more than 35. Some preseason favorites looked as strong as people predicted while others faltered.
Here’s a look at what you might of missed in Week One.
Quote of the week: Berkley head coach Jeff Burnside committing 12 penalties against Ferndale in its 7-0 win: “That’s what will make me not sleep tonight. Honestly, I haven’t slept all week and I’m not going to get any sleep tonight even though we won the game. Everything should be euphoric, but we got to get that fixed.”
Stat line of the week: Cass Tech had seven possessions in the first half against Harrison; the results - punt (blocked), punt, interception, punt, punt, punt (blocked) and finally punt. On a related note, the Hawks went into halftime with a 29-0 lead.
Player of the week: Bryan Green (RB; Farmington) - The senior ran for 228 yards and accounted for 21 of the Falcons 34 points. His yards per carry? 15.2. In a week full of great performances, his was the best. Honorable Mentions – Jake Vento (QB; Harrison), John Glazier (QB; Seaholm), Mitch Robinson (QB; Avondale)
Out of bounds: Lahser beat Groves 34-20 on Friday night, but it was more than a football game to some members of the Bloomfield Hills community. Former announcer and Booster Club President Jim Belleau passed away in the offseason and the team has added a portable victory bell to the stadium that will ring after every victory. about the unique way Lahser is honoring Belleau.
1ST DOWN: GAME OF THE WEEK - ROYAL OAK over Saint Clair Shores Lake Shore, 21-20
What we learned: What a difference a year makes. Last year, the Ravens lost 37-7 to the Shorians. New head coach Jeff Hill picked up his first win as Royal Oak’s coach and more importantly stopped the team’s three-year losing streak.
The Ravens didn’t play many close games during that streak, so for them to win by preventing a 2-point conversion in the 25 seconds speaks volumes about the culture change Hill is bringing to the program.
Question marks: An emotional win can take a lot out of a team. Hill will have to get his team to forget about how important last week’s win was and focused on its next opponent. It won’t be an easy task considering how important the win was to the area, but it should be a good test for his senior leadership.
Video: For a look at how the student body celebrated, .
2nd DOWN: UPSET ALERT - OXFORD over Lake Orion 41-20
What we learned: Lake Orion has some work to do on the defensive line. Prescott Line ran for over 230 yards to help his team avenge a 45-6 loss to the Dragons last season on the road. The senior helped the Wildcats get out to a 21-6 first half lead and keep Lake Orion’s star quarterback Sean Charette off the field.
Question marks: Head coach Chris Bell said before the season he didn’t have much size up front on the line and that it was going to be an inexperienced group. One of those two things should improve as the season goes on.
But against bigger, stronger teams how will Lake Orion fare? The offensive line is probably less of a worry with a four-year starter like Charette under center. He doesn’t need much time to throw and be effective, he does need to be on the field though. The Dragons can’t allow teams to control the time of possession like Oxford did going forward.
3rd DOWN: FARMINGTON over West Bloomfield 34-12
What we learned: Bryan Green is good. And so is Connor Mohr. The pair combined for a ridiculous 328 yards. Green himself ran for 228 yards on only 15 carries. Some papers in the area have predicted a down year for the Falcons, but with all their offensive weapons it sure doesn’t look like that’s the case.
Question marks: How good is Farmington’s passing game? Senior quarterback Chris Morgan didn’t have to do much because of his team’s success in the running game. He only threw five passes in the game on Thursday (he completed three of them). Against teams like Harrison and Southfield, Morgan will need to be productive.
West Bloomfield will need to reevaluate what they did on defense. The Falcons team speed ripped through the Lakers line into the secondary with ease. Head coach Ron Bellamy is going to need to find some answers.
Full recap: if you missed the full article and a great gallery of photos.
4th DOWN: Harrison over Cass Tech 43-7 (at Rynearson Stadium; Eastern Michigan University)
What we learned: That Harrison is really, really good? Seriously, the Hawks were impressive under the lights on Saturday night. Defensively dominant, sound on special teams and efficient on offense. It won all three phases of the game convincingly against a top-25 team in the state.
Question marks: Harrison head coach expressed some concern last week about the short turn around time between his team’s first two games. The Hawks played the last game of the Big Prep Showdown on Saturday night and they have to play on Thursday afternoon. He’ll have two practices on Monday to try and simulate a full week of practice for his squad.
It shouldn’t be a huge deal, but something to keep in mind if Harrison starts slow.
Full recap: to find out more about the Hawks big win.
ROCHESTER over L’Anse Cruese North 42-13 – u
STONEY CREEK over Port Huron Northern 31-13
Troy Athens over WARREN MOTT 29-14
HAZEL PARK over Andover 28-26
Seaholm over NORTH FARMINGTON 48-14 -
AVONDALE over Warren Fitzgerald 55-18
LAHSER over Groves 34-20 Video after game
ROMEO over Troy 20-3
BERKLEY over Ferndale 7-0 –
Clarkston over ADAMS 28-21 –
Next week (all games have 7 p.m. start times unless noted)
Game to watch: Hazel Park at Avondale (Friday, Sept. 2) - The top two teams from the OAA Blue last year face off in a big time early season matchup. The teams combined for 108 points last season in a game that the Vikings won 58-50. Fans of offense should head up to the Yellow Jackets home field on Friday.
Thursday (Sept. 1):
Seaholm @ Andover
Flushing @ Berkley
Rochester @ Lake Orion
Clarkston @ West Bloomfield
Troy @ Royal Oak
Harrison @ Southfield (4 p.m.)
Oak Park @ Stoney Creek
Friday (Sept. 2):
Lahser @ Ferndale
North Farmington @ Groves
Pontiac @ Troy Athens
Adams @ Farmington
Full-color printable preview
Have you checked out our 17-team OAA preview yet? We have put together a special publication that compiles all our season preview stories along with schedules for each of the teams.