In Play with Tom Markowski

State playoffs got off to an early start for Fraser

Football   | Tom Markowski

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Fraser – For Fraser coach Pat Threet the state playoffs will enter week three this Friday when Fraser travels to St. Clair Shores Lakeview for a Macomb Area Conference Blue Division game.

Officially, the 40th Michigan High School Athletic Association state football playoffs begin on Halloween but that’s not the way Threet sees it.

His Fraser team was 1-3 after losing to Sterling Heights Stevenson 38-14 on Sept. 19 and the Ramblers needed to win its final five games to automatically qualify so each game became a must-win situation.

Fraser bested New Baltimore Anchor Bay 42-25 on Sept. 26 to move to 2-3 then defeated Roseville last week, 31-21.

  On Saturday Threet was at Detroit Cass Tech scouting for a possible playoff matchup against either Cass Tech or Cass Tech’s opponent, Detroit East English Village Prep.

“I just want to be prepared,” Threet said. “There are some great coaches out there. I’d like to be able to see for myself.

“We’re on the bubble. If we’re fortunate enough to make it we might be in Division 1 and go in a district with Cass Tech and Dearborn Fordson. Or we might go north into the Dakota district. If we are in Division 2 we could be with Grosse Pointe North and East English.

“Last week was a big one. We hadn’t won two in a row since my first year (2011) here.”

Fraser now plays Threet’s former team, Lakeview (2-4), on Friday at Lakeview. Threet guided Lakeview to its only playoff appearance in 2010 before taking over at Fraser. Threet is a teacher at Fraser.

Fraser hasn’t made the playoffs since 1998. The Ramblers are 11-22 under Threet but this is his best team. There’s experience at quarterback (Dylan Walker), a playmaker at receiver (Jeff Mainhardt) and Threet has one of the county’s top players, linebacker-running back Marcus Bowers (5-11, 215). Bowers has been accepted by the Air Force Academy and Threet said that’s where he’s likely headed.

After a difficult start Threet’s players have bounced back nicely. A 13-12 loss at G.P. North was especially disheartening.

“At 1-3 people were telling my players they stink,” Threet said. “I told them those are outsiders. Don’t listen to them. Now that we’ve won two straight some people are telling them they’re great. And now I have to guard against that.”

 

Another bubble team

 

At 5-1 Walled Lake Western looks like a shoe-in for the playoffs. Last season the Warriors lost to Detroit Catholic Central in a Division 1 district final.  Western coach Mike Zdebski said he thinks his team will compete in Division 2 this time.

“I think,” he cautions. “If the bigger schools, like Utica Eisenhower, get in that’ll push us down (to D-2).”

Zdebski said he and his staff won’t be out scouting other teams, especially with rival Walled Lake Central on the slate this week.

“Back in the day we (scouted),” he said. “That’s when you knew you were in Class A or AA. Besides, all of our coaches are involved with (Western’s) Friday night (games).

“Hudl is huge. All of the teams in our league (Kensington Lakes Activities Association), all 24 teams, are pooling it. Each (of the four) division has a pool. We trade every game.”

Hudl is a company that collects game footage and is available to all coaches for a price.

Zdebski estimates that he and his staff watch 20 hours of game film a week.

“That’s why I can’t get my math tests corrected,” he said.