AUBURN HILLS AVONDALE PREVIEW: Yellojackets hope season of disappointments will spurn season of memories
BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — A season of disappointments can often spurn a season of memories. Auburn Hills Avondale is hoping for just that in 2012.
The Yellowjackets finished just 5-5 last season, which ended abruptly with a 48-13 loss to Lapeer East in the first round of the Division 3 state tournament. Avondale did garner a rare at-large postseason berth thanks to a tough schedule and a league that produced 14 playoff teams from its three divisions. Nevertheless, the Yellowjackets did not reach expectations.
Avondale was picked by some to win the OAA Blue Division last season and ended going 4-4 in the conference, tying for fourth place in the nine-school division. The Yellowjackets were also outscored 294-264 last season.
Perhaps this season Avondale can live up to expectations as one of the league favorites.
“We have a lot of guys back and probably the most experienced line we’ve had since I’ve been coach here,” said veteran Steve coach, Avondale’s 11th-year head coach who is in his 28thseason overall coaching high school football in the area.
Two years ago, Deutsch and his staff took a gamble with an offensive and defensive line that featured several sophomores and freshmen. Today, the lines are full of experienced, third-year veterans who have bulked up since 2010. That will be one of the Yellowjackets’ strengths this year.
“We have a lot of size on both lines. A lot of those guys are in their second and third seasons with us on varsity,” reminded Deutsch. “Two years ago, we knew we could score points. We just tried to outgun people because we were very inexperienced on the lines.”
Avondale will need the experienced big bodies in the trenches as its spread offense tries to work in a new quarterback. Juniors J.T. Ozerities (5-10, 170), an all-stater in the 1,600 relay on the Yellowjackets’ state championship track team, and junior Spencer Smith (6-0, 170) are the two hopefuls to try to replace all-time leading passer Mitch Robinson (Northwood), a three-year starter.
Whoever gains the starting nod will have plenty of options to work with on offense. Senior Eric Stubbs (6-0, 180) is back at receiver and senior Michael Johnson (5-9, 195) had a big junior year rushing the football. Senior Treyvon Munson (6-6, 180) and sophomore Joshuwa Holloman (5-11, 170) are a pair of receivers who also should also see their fair share of action.
Senior Clark Clancy (6-5, 280) is a third-year starter on the offensive line who committed to Division I Bowling Green over the summer. He’s joined by junior Mitch Williams (5-11, 275) as another wide body on the offensive line.
Another key weapon is senior kicker/punter Kyle Siroka (5-9, 155), whose powerful leg was clutch the past couple of years. Sikoka also played on Avondale’s D-2 state championship soccer team last season.
On the defensive side of the football, Clancy, Williams, junior Paul Czartorski (6-1, 265) and sophomore Tiroca Battle (6-2, 185) form quite a contingent of pile movers. Seniors Dillon Brancheau (6-2, 190) and Chris Bracewell lead the linebackers unit.
Deutsch wants his defensive group to cut down on the points against. Avondale has yielded 678 points combined the past two seasons.
“We took a gamble a couple of years ago with all of those young (lineman).Now we hope it all pays off,” said Deutsch. “Although we’ll have a new quarterback, I know we can score a lot of points this season with the weapons we have. If our (defensive linemen, linebackers and secondary can keep other teams from scoring points like last season, then I think we can be a dangerous football team.”
Auburn Hills Avondale
HEAD COACH: Steve Deutsch, 11th season at Avondale (50-46); 28th overall.
ASSISTANT COACHES: Torre Robinson, Anthony Epperson, James Prince, Roderick Reed, Stephen Watkins, Mike Kuhn, Andy Cox.
2011 RECORD: 5-5, 4-4 OAA Blue Division (tied-fourth); Postseason: Lost to Lapeer East (48-13) in division 3 pre-districts.
POSTSEASON APPEARANCES: 13, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011.
RETURNING STARTERS: Clark Clancy, sr. OT (6-5, 280; committed to Bowling Green); Michael Johnson, sr. RB (5-9, 195); Eric Stubbs, sr. WR (6-0, 180); Treyvon Munson, sr. WR (6-6, 180); Mitch Williams, jr. DT (5-11, 275); Chris Bracewell, sr. LB (6-0, 180); Paul Czartorski, jr. DT (6-1, 265); Dillon Brancheau, sr. OLB (6-2, 190); Kyle Siroka, sr. K (5-9, 155).
KEY PROSPECTS: Tiroca Battle, soph. DE (6-2, 185); J.T. Ozerities, jr. QB-DB (5-10, 170); Joshuwa Holloman, soph. RB-WR (5-11, 170); Spencer Smith, jr. QB-DB (6-0, 170).
NOTABLES: The Yellowjackets have their biggest offensive and defensive lines in over a decade, a roster of three-year starters, great team speed with some members of their state champion track team aboard and a team hungry to win its first league crown since 2004.
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