Way Too Early H.S. Football Predictions: GLAC
My continuing series on the way too early look at the upcoming high school football season.
The Greater Lansing Activities Conference is the next stop for my way too early predictions.
- Lakewood Vikings
- Olivet Eagles
- Perry Ramblers
- Stockbridge Panthers
- Leslie Blackhawks
- Maple Valley Lions
Lakewood is coming off the most successful 3-year stretch in school history. The Vikings won their first ever District Title in 2016 and have made the playoffs in each of the last 3 seasons. Their only regular season loss in 2017 came to GLAC champ Olivet and their offense has been putting up major points. Despite departures of all-area QB Parker Smith & ATH Kaden Heins, Lakewood could be poised to win their 3rd GLAC championship in 4 years. Olivet nearly completed an undefeated regular season in 2017, losing their final game to Battlecreek Pennfield in a close contest. The Eagles made a 3-game win improvement last season, but could see a small slide in 2018. Gone is Lansing State Journal Dream Team defender Nick Jungel, along with a slew of other talented seniors. But RB/LB Heath Flower is back for his Junior year, so the Eagles have a solid returner to help the incoming players. Perry has been on the verge of turning the corner and making their first playoff appearance in school history. The Ramblers have come close in 2016 & 2017, going 5-4 and 4-5. A mostly young squad last season, Perry returns several now experienced players, now notably senior OL/LB Brendan Shooltz and WR/LB Tanner Orweller. 2018 could finally be the year for the Ramblers to break into the MHSAA postseason. Stockbridge had a high-powered offense that many teams coveted back in 2015. But since then, the Panthers have gone from playoff team to winning only one contest last year. They gave up a ton of points in 2017 and struggled to find the end zone. The 2018 version has the potential to make some noise, as the GLAC could be wide open (especially with teams in the bottom half). Junior QB Brandon Nelson & TE Daniel Ballagh may be the key putting more points on the board for Stockbridge. Leslie hasn't eclipsed 3 or more wins in a season since they last made the playoffs in 2012. The Blackhawks did improve on their 1-win season in 2016 to get 3 victories last season. And of their 6 losses, 3 were 10 points or less. Senior Anthony Smieska was a Lansing State Journal All-Area Honorable mention, along with Thomas Coltrain. Leslie is another one of those teams that may surprise some squads and finally make that leap back into the postseason. Maple Valley experienced some very successful years at the turn of century and into the early 2000's, with 7 consecutive trips to the playoffs starting in 1999. But the Lions have been mostly tamed since then, with only last year's return to show since 2005. Making it two straight years will be tough, with the biggest core of players having graduated this summer. It will be up to RB Tristan Clark & OL/DL Aaron Goorman to lead the Lions back to the promised land.
Some key returning players: Austin Leazenby, RB/LB, Lakewood; Payne Hanna, Lakewood, RB; Heath Flower, RB/LB, Olivet; Brendan Shooltz, OL/LB, Perry; Tanner Orweller, WR/LB, Prrey; Brandon Nelson, QB, Stockbridge; Daniel Ballagh, TE, Stockbridge; Anthony Smieska, Leslie; Thomas Coltrain, Leslie; Tristan Clark, RB, Maple Valley; Aaron Goorman, OL/DL, Maple Valley
The last installment will take a look at some Lansing area teams that are not in local conferences.