FAYETTE CROSS: A year ago Fayette’s Jill Stuckey just missed moving on to regional cross country competition while teammate Melani Seiler advanced.
That wasn’t the case Saturday at the district run in Spencerville. The sophomore crossed the line in 10th place to assure another week of competition and Seiler, following closely behind in 12th place, will also run in Saturday’s regional race.
As a team, the Eagles just missed qualifying for the regional run, finishing fifth with 134 points. Fairview was the final qualifying team with 127 points.
Coldwater won the meet by capturing five of the top seven spots, and three of those finishers are freshmen. Their top runner won the meet at 18:29, more than a minute ahead of the second place girl.
Stuckey finished at 20:47 and Seiler came through at 20:59. Both girls topped their rival from Pettisville, Tanner Hostetler.
Other than a race on North Central’s speedy course, Stuckey ran her fastest of the season. She’s trailed Seiler in all but one race this season.
It’s easy to get second place on the brain, said coach Bryan Stambaugh, and he talked with Stuckey about not hesitating to pass Seiler if the opportunity arose.
“Jill looked really strong and confident,” Stambaugh said. “She was giving it her all.”
Seiler now has another opportunity to make the cut for state. She came close last season.
“Melani feels like she hasn’t had her best race yet, but she knows she has another chance,” Stambaugh said.
He has to remind himself that the junior used to be a sprinter and is still gaining experience as a long distance runner.
“They definitely have their work cut out for them at regionals,” Stambaugh said, “but I’m excited for them.”
Liz Maginn placed 29th for Fayette at 22:32, followed by Sarah Kovar (46th, 23:38) and Ashtyn Baker (51st, 24:36). Madelyn Maginn missed the meet due to an injury. Liz Maginn ran with a hip injury.
Stuckey and Seiler will run Saturday at Tiffin on a course where they competed earlier in the season.
BOYS—Fayette freshman Skylar Lantz placed 21st at districts with a time of 18:09. Next through was Trevor Cox, 28th at 18:25. The remainder of the Eagles’ pack were Dylan Stannard (45th, 19:00), Dalton Goeltzenleuchter (46th, 19:05), Tim Stoltzfus (52nd, 19:28), Ian Schrock (54th, 19:35) and Dylan Aschemeirer (63rd, 20:01).
Three runners broke the 17-minute mark, led by a Rockford Parkway athlete at 16:46.
St. Henry won the team trophy with 36 points. Fayette placed sixth with 182.
Cox barely made it to the race, hurrying to Spencerville after taking an ACT test that morning.
“He’s the captain of the team and I think it gave them a mental boost when he arrived,” Stambaugh said.
Although the boys team wasn’t likely to advance, Stambaugh wanted to see their best effort and he thinks he got it.
“Some kids don’t try hard if they think they won’t make it, but I’m pleased I got out of them what I did,” he said.
The boys will lose four seniors through graduation.
MORENCI CROSS: Morenci cross country coach Brad Brown received a pair of personal bests Monday in the Bulldogs’ final run before the regional meet Saturday.
This is the time of the season when he needs the squad to peak and show its best if they hope to compete at the state meet Nov. 5.
Morenci girls run at 10 a.m. Saturday at Hudson and the boys follow at 10:30. The top 15 individuals and the top three teams will qualify for the state run at Michigan International Speedway.
Based on performances so far this year, Coach Brown expects sophomore Tatyana Pless to make a return to the state meet. She qualified last year when she was a member of Blissfield’s team.
The boys team leader, junior Luke Spaulding, also has a good chance of making the cut and Brown would like to see sophomore Mariah Gillen make a return trip.
Other Bulldogs will have to show a large improvement Saturday to qualify.
SAND CREEK—At the Sand Creek Invitational on Monday, Spaulding came through with the top place among the Bulldog runners, capturing ninth with a time of 18:22.
Jake Spaulding took 13th at 18:58 and Reagan Stowell came through with a personal best at 19:41 for 29th place. Spencer Elliott was 39th at 20:15 and Tyler Sterling placed 75th at 25:45.
Morenci placed sixth among 10 teams.
The Bulldog girls squad was ninth of 10 teams. Hanover-Horton won both the boys and girls races.
Pless finished 19th at 22:19, followed by Gillen (25th, 23:02), Taylor Baugh (41st, 24:52, personal best), Kourtney Cousino (52nd, 26:17) and Mary Margaret Hollstein (76th, 31:54).
In the middle school run, Nathan Smith placed 19th with a time of 14:59.
MORENCI FOOTBALL: OK, so it wasn't all about the mysterious disappearing touchdown. There was also….
But wait a minute. For Morenci fans, that’s what it was all about. The touchdown that might have sealed the victory was registered on the scoreboard and then it was taken away. Instead, Britton-Deerfield drove all the way down the field to score and win the game, 20-15.
Morenci received a B-D punt on their own 18-yard line and began a steady drive toward the goal line.
On fourth and five on the five-yard line, Bulldog quarterback Cody Powell saw an opening to the right and ran wide toward the corner. He dove across the goal line and the referee standing nearby signaled a touchdown. The points went on the scoreboard as the Patriots’ coach ran onto the field to dispute the call. He stood there holding his ground until the referees convened to discuss the situation.
There was no replay recording to review. There was no other referee any closer than the one who called it a touchdown. There was only an angry coach who claimed that Powell stepped out of bounds.
After a lengthy discussion, the touchdown was nullified and B-D took over the ball at the one-foot line.
Morenci coach Taz Wallace just shakes his head in frustrated amusement when the topic is brought up. It was something he’s never before witnessed.
But with that strange episode out of the way, there really was more to the game than a disappearing touchdown. First and foremost, there was the Patriots’ 99-2/3 yard drive to win the game.
The B-D offense moved easily through the Bulldog defenders and needed only 10 plays to reach Morenci’s eight-yard line. With four minutes left to play, they scored the go-ahead touchdown.
The Bulldogs were unable to get a first down in the ensuing drive and the Patriots took over possession on the Morenci 37-yard line to run out the clock.
Mistakes were made, Wallace said.
“We didn’t play that well,” he said. “It’s easy to blame that touchdown, but we put ourselves in that position.”
It wasn’t only missed assignments. There was also the matter of three lost fumbles and an interception.
The Patriots punted on the opening possession of the game, but soon had the ball back when Morenci fumbled the punt. B-D scored, but the Bulldogs came right back when Austin Sandusky returned the kickoff for a touchdown.
B-D scored again on its next possession and held a 14-7 lead until mid-way through the second quarter.
A 47-yard sprint by KC Clegg—on his way to a 178-yard night—moved the ball to the Patriots’ 20. Four plays later, Powell found Hayze Wolf alone in the end zone for a touchdown pass.
With a bad snap on the kick attempt, holder Simon Jeffers grabbed the ball and passed to Austin Thomas for two points and a 15-14 lead.
That’s where the scored remained until Morenci’s touchdown that wasn’t and the B-D drive that followed.
PLAYOFFS: Morenci takes its 5-4 record on the road Friday night to Pittsford (7-2) for its first playoff action since 2007.
The Wildcats, on the other hand, are no strangers to post-season play. Pittsford has made the playoffs in all but five of the past 21 seasons. In two of those off years, the Wildcats finished with a 7-2 record but not enough points to qualify.
Morenci and Pittsford used to appear annually on each other’s schedule, but that was a long time ago. The last time the two teams collided, 51 years ago, the Bulldogs claimed a 20-7 victory.
The two teams have no common opponents from the past season, but Pittsford has already faced both of the other teams in Morenci’s district. The Wildcats lost to Climax-Scotts and defeated Bellevue.
Add up the records of each team’s opponents this year and the results are similar. Morenci’s foes finished with a combined record of 41 wins and 40 losses. Pittsford’s stand at 35-42, but four teams on the Wildcats’ schedule played only eight games this year.
Morenci plays in a predominantly Class C league while the majority of Pittsford’s foes are in Class D. As far as playoff points go, Pittsford finished with 47.667 to Morenci’s 40.111.
In the other bracket, Climax-Scotts has the best record (8-1) and the best playoff points standing at 57.222.
After watching a tape of a Pittsford contest, Morenci coach Taz Wallace said the Wildcats have been running a wishbone offense and they have a very capable passer. The defense really comes at you, he said.
Pittsford - 2011
Southfield Christian (1-7) 7-6
Climax-Scotts (8-1) 14-20
Colon (4-4) 33-0
Bellevue (6-3) 14-6
Battle Creek St Philip (1-8) 20-0
Waldron (0-8) forfeit win
North Adams-Jerome(5-4) 29-14
Camden-Frontier (2-6) 54-6
Reading (8-1) 0-25
MORENCI VOLLEYBALL: Morenci’s volleyball squad added three losses to its record last week, but that wasn’t all bad, said coach Dennis Owens.
“It was a difficult week with three losses,” he said, “but in two of the losses we played really well and they were great matches to watch for fans.”
The first loss came at home Oct. 18 when state-ranked Lenawee Christian School needed five games to claim the match.
Morenci took the opener, 26-24, and the visitors turned it around to take the second game by the same score.
The Bulldogs gave their weakest showing in the third game, falling 16-25, but stormed back to win 25-20. LCS took the deciding game 17-15.
Hitting: Brooke Bovee, 30 kills; Chelsea Phillips, 10 kills, 3 blocks; Matea Garcia, 7 kills; Hannah Jeffers, 2 blocks.
Setting: Garcia, 20 assists; Bovee, 15 assists.
Passing: Erin Vanderpool, 26 digs, 33/42 serve reception; Carolyn Blaker, 22 digs, 20/21 serve reception; Jeffers, 18 digs, 14/16 serve reception.
Serving: Garcia, 20/21, 4 aces, 14 points; Jeffers, 21/22, 4 aces, 13 points; Phillips, 14/16, 2 aces, 9 points; Vanderpool, 17/18, 9 points; Bovee, 14/15, 5 points; Blaker, 11/11, 2 points.
CLINTON—The Bulldogs dropped a league double-header at home Thursday to Clinton, but again they showed some strong play.
Morenci played fairly well in the first match and much better in the second match.
“It was great volleyball to watch and again we came up just short,” Owens said.
Clinton took the first match 20-25, 14-25, 25-23, 22-25. They needed five games in the second match, 21-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19 and 9-15.
Hitting: Bovee, 46 kills; Phillips, 22 kills, 6 blocks; Garcia, 10 kills; Jeffers, 7 kills.
Setting: Garcia, 46 assists; Bovee, 31 assists.
Passing: Jeffers, 58 digs, 25/29 serve reception; Vanderpool, 51 digs, 39/45 serve reception; Blaker, 40 digs, 25/31 serve reception; Jessica Storrs, 29 digs, 30/32 serve reception.
Serving: Garcia, 42/46, 4 aces, 30 points; Storrs, 29/29, 4 aces, 17 points; Phillips, 22/23, 2 aces, 12 points; Bovee, 27/27, 4 aces, 12 points; Jeffers, 27/29, 3 aces, 10 points; Blaker, 23/23, 1 ace, 11 points.
The Bulldogs fall to 15-14-1 overall and 6-6 in the Tri-County Conference.
• Britton-Deerfield visits Thursday for a single match to close out the league season. Morenci competes Saturday in the Hudson Invitational.
North Adams is the host site for Morenci’s Class D district tournament beginning Nov. 1.
The Bulldogs take on Pittsford in the second match of the night, scheduled at 8 p.m. The winner faces North Adams at 8 p.m. Nov. 3.
Waldron and Jackson Christian play at 5 p.m. Nov. 1 and the winner takes on Lenawee Christian School on Nov. 3.
The finals are scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday.