BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — Three wins in two years.
That’s Rochester Stoney Creek’s story on the gridiron.
The Cougars hope a coaching switch can help give the program, which gained only four winning seasons in its first decade and posted a 40-52 record in that time frame, some new life.
New head coach Brad Zube and staff moves over from Pontiac. Zube led the Phoenix to a 6-4 record and a postseason berth in 2011.
“We hope to have some success here at Stoney Creek,” smiled Zube. “We have some really good kids that have been working real hard.”
Ironically, Stoney Creek has underclassmen that are used to winning. Two years ago, the current junior class finished undefeated on the freshmen team. Last season the Cougars finished 7-2 on the junior-varsity level, even with five sophomores on varsity.
Success at the sub-varsity level doesn’t always translate into success at the varsity level. Stoney Creek hopes to make sure it can start to turn the tables this season.
“We have a very talented junior class,” said Zube. “We might start as many as 18 juniors this season. Those guys are used to winning and we hope that can translate to wins at the varsity level.”
Stoney Creek, 1-8 last season and 2-7 in 2010, has also made the switch to the OAA Red Division. The Cougars won’t find the level of competition less difficult than the OAA-White, as four teams from the OAA-Red made the postseason last season.
“It’s still a very tough Division. I think the guys need to understand that,” said Zube.”Coaching at Pontiac the past couple of years, I already know a lot about the teams in the league and what to expect. (The coaching staff) won’t be going in blind.”
Personal wise, there is talent on the team and a re-energized group that is gunning for its first winning season on the varsity level since 2009.
Offensively, there are four returning starters, including senior lineman Jake Stablein (6-foot-3, 275) and junior linemen David Kerr (6-2, 215) and Stu Gadigan (6-2, 225). Junior
Sean Scullen (6-2, 175) also started some games at receiver last season and will also be one of the team’s two quarterbacks. The other candidate at QB is junior Justin Allor (5-11, 180), who played junior varsity last season and can also be used as a receiver.
“Both Scullen and Allor will start somewhere,” said Zube. “They have been battling out for the starting QB job but both are versatile enough that we can use them at other positions.”
Junior Joe Cox (5-9, 185), a starter on the Cougars’ baseball team the past two years, will be the featured back in the ground assault. Junior Noah beck (5-7, 165) is also a capable threat from his fullback position. Junior Alex Schnurr (6-1, 185) is one of the team’s top receivers and also is back as placekicker.
On defense, senior Sam Clayman (6-0, 210) is the top linebacker. Clayman was one of several Cougars that battled injuries last season. Scullen leads the secondary, along with seniors Kyle Bricknell (5-10, 170) and JaQuis Jamison (5-11, 170) and junior Brandon Ballard (5-9, 180).
Junior linebacker Jack Van Almen (6-0, 185) and junior defensive end Peter Price (6-2, 215) are two others to watch on the defensive side.
While the pieces to the puzzle are there, the Cougars still must turn it around on the field.
“I think they want to turn it around. But they have to understand that it takes a lot of work and dedication and I think we’ve seen that since I took over back in (February),” offered Zube. “Those are all positives. We definitely have the right attitude and work ethic.”
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