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OAA White Division preview: As many as five teams will challenge for the title including Harrison and Oak Park

Football   | Cameron Billes

OAA White Division preview: As many as five teams will challenge for the title including Harrison and Oak Park

Here is a preview of the Oakland Activities Association White Division

 

Teams are listed alphabetically.

  1. Birmingham Seaholm (4-5; 5th place OAA White)

Last season was the first time Seaholm didn’t make the playoffs since 2010.

By scoring fewer than 200 points it was the worst offensive output since 2009, and with a new starting quarterback in 2015 the Maples could struggle to score again.

Justin Newberry is expected to return as the starting running back, which is critical for coach Jim DeWald’s offense. Last season Newberry rushed for 517 yards and six touchdowns on 91 carries.

Seaholm gave up 282 points, which was the most in the program’s 66-year history.

With four teams over .500 last season and North Farmington in the mix, Seaholm has a tough road ahead. But it has historically been a successful program, so don’t rule them out of the playoffs in 2015 quite yet.

 

  1. Farmington (7-3; 1st place OAA Blue)

After spending just one season in the Blue Division, Farmington is back in the White looking to compete for a division title.

Farmington has made the playoffs six of the last seven years. Although it spent a year away from the OAA White, head coach John Bechtel has high expectations for his team.

“I think we have a pretty good idea of what to expect,” Bechtel said. “We worry about ourselves. We know who the quality programs have been.”

This season Farmington will have a new starting quarterback, sophomore Andrew McGovern.

Fortunately for McGovern he will have several returning players to work with, including starting running back Kyle Brunson and offensive linemen Andrew Mcleod and Phillip Norris.

Last season Brunson was effective on offense and defense. Brunson had 646 yards and 10 touchdowns on 93 carries and he had 17 tackles.

 Another key returner for coach Bechtel is David Reese, who plays running back, offensive line and inside linebacker. Reese, who committed to Michigan, led the team in tackles with 107 and he rushed 42 times for 297 yards and seven touchdowns.

Farmington has a lot of versatility and will look to use that to its advantage in 2015.

“We’re just like any other program. We just can’t wait to get started,” Bechtel said. “We’re entering the season with the idea that we can win it.”

 

  1. Farmington Hills Harrison (10-3; 1st place OAA White)

Harrison is always in the mix in the OAA White division.

With 13 state championships and several players going on to play Division I football, Harrison is set up for another terrific season in 2015.

Last season Harrison outscored opponents 437-206, with Khalid Kareem, the recent Alabama commit, leading the charge on defense.

Coach John Herrington said he fully expects his team to be in the hunt for another title, with Oak Park, Farmington, Southfield and Rochester Adams as his team’s primary competition.

Herrington said his team should be all right, but he is a bit concerned about his defense.

“We won’t be as experienced as last year,” Herrington said. “We need to replace our secondary.”

Herrington also said his linebackers are relatively set, but there are also some worries about his defensive line.

In regards to key returners, Herrington named receiver Tyrone Lyte as someone to keep an eye on.

“(Tyrone) is as good as any wide out around,” Harrington said. “He has some of the best hands that I’ve seen.”

Special teams also figures to be a strong point for Harrison, as David Vinsky and Alex Bolstrum, the starting punter and place kicker, return for their senior seasons.

 

  1. North Farmington (4-5; 6th place OAA White)

The previous decade has not been too kind to North Farmington football. Since 2005, it has only finished over .500 three times.

After finishing 5-4 in the Blue two seasons ago and making a playoff appearance, North Farmington returned to the White in 2014 with another losing record.

On a bright note for coach Todd Schultz 65 percent of his players return.

If North Farmington wants to start winning again, they will need to improve their record against division opponents. Last season they finished with a record of 2-5 against division rivals.

In such a tough division, expect a middle to lower tier finish for Schultz and North Farmington.

 

  1. Oak Park (8-3; 2nd place OAA White)

Oak Park has become a force in