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Updated: Mar 5

By Dan Stickradt

Director News


50. MASON (8-14-1): Another team with a historic past, Mason last won a Division 2 state title back in 2015 and before that crowns in 1989 (Class B) and 1997 (D-2). Last season the Bulldogs turned a corner with a district championship and this year. The program started 2-1-3 and is ranked in the top 15 in Division 2 behind a 15-3 scoring edge and a very tough schedule of quality opponents from D-1, D-2 and D-3. Senior Lucas Nay (M, All-State Second Team) and juniors Blendi Jahiri (M, All-State Honorable Mention), Nady Omar (F) and Jackson Shadaker (D), Colllin Winters (M) and Alex Palmer (D) lead the way. Juniors Mendi Rexhepi (F/M) and Colin Lomax (D), senior Luke Petee (D) and sophomore Brock Straub (F) will also help the cause.

49. LINDEN (14-2-4): The Eagles are trying to recapture their Flint Metro League title which went to Goodrich last season. So far Linden is off to a 6-0-0 start behind three clean sheets and a 21-5 scoring edge to help prepare the group for a wide-open race. Seniors Daniil Dupree (M, All-FML First Team), Luke Haney (F, All-FML Second Team), Evan Light (D, All-FML Third Team) and Austin Huyck (G, All-FML Honorable Mention) all earned some postseason honors last season. Seniors Aiden Walker (F), Hunter Allen (M), Jason Shirshun (M) and Garrett Holmquist (D) and sophomore Aidan Teeter (M/F) are also key parts to an explosive engine.

48. FRUITPORT (10-8-2): Not a traditional power, Fruitport graduated some fine goaltending from last year, when the Trojans finished a respectable fourth in a loaded OKC-Blue Division behind a 46-21 scoring edge and nine shutouts. This year Fruitport is off to one of its best starts in school history at 6-1-1 and is one of four ranked teams from this very deep eight-school division of the OKC.

47. ORCHARD LAKE MARY’S (6-5-3): After finishing third in the CHSL-AA Division last season, the Eaglets might have enough to unseat Cranbrook Kingswood atop the standings. With a group the keeps climbing the Division 2 state rankings, St. Mary’s is led by seniors Brett Wojkowski (M, All-State Third Team), Cole Plagens (CB, All-League, All-District), Sam Karrick (OB, All-League, All-District) and Rhys Golden (G, All-League, All-District) re all back. Juniors Gabe Richer (F), Luke Richer (F) and Cameron Stewart (CB) along with sophomores Ricky Marinco (M) and Tommy Rushwin (F) are also key players for OLSM.

46. HOLLAND (7-12-3): After winning the D-2 state crown back in 2017, Holland was consistently hit hard by MLS Next defections. The Dutch are making a comeback and have been ranked in the state after the first few weeks of the season. Senior midfielder Owen Ceithaml (All-State Honorable Mention), senior Noah Kelly (G) and junior Odis Fickel (F) are the top returnees. Seniors Malakai Lopez (M),

45. ELK RAPIDS (18-8-2): It’s remarkable what this Division 3 school has done over the last 40-years. Each year a small group graduates and along with it some stars and each year the Elks just have the next group step up and produce winners. Elk Rapids owns two state titles (1997, 1998), three state runners-up and reached the Final Four a total of 17 times dating back to 1989. In fact the Elks reached the D-3 Final Four each of the last three seasons. The program often will play D-1 and D-2 schools early in the season to prepare them for the league season and state tournament. Senior Cooper More (All-State Honorable Mention) and juniors Noah Hilley (M, All-State Third Team) and Koa West (G, All-State Honorable Mention) are all key figures back. Seniors Alex Smith (F/M) and Owen Spencer (M) and sophomores Carter Denoyer (M) and Jayden Hresko (M) are also back. Tyler Standfest (F) is part of five-player talented freshmen class that is either starting or gaining plenty of minutes off the bench along with Drew Plum (M), Dalton Timmer (D), Mason Hilley (D) and Jacke Carrow (M).

44. PONTIAC NOTRE DAME PREP (12-2-9): The fighting Irish recorded one of the highest numbers in MHSAA history with nine ties in the regular season., This year they open back in their usual top 15 spot in the state rankings. Since the late 1990s, NDP has consistently boasted of state ranked teams but have not played in a state finals since 2000 (a 2-0 loss to Plainwell) and finished as the state runner-up. Junior midfielder Willaim Lanham (All-State Honorable Mention) leads the way.

43. AUBURN HILLS AVONDALE (9-3-4): Since capturing its first and only Division 2 state crown back in 2011, Avondale slowly faded from the limelight and had some recent seasons under the five-hundred mark. Last year the Yellowjackets turned some heads with a district semifinals upset of 2021 state runner-up Birmingham Brother Rice and reached the district finals along with winning the OAA Blue Division championship. Junior Safe Ahmamad (M, All-State Honorable Mention), senior Lizandro Munoz (M), sophomore Carlos Escotto (F), junior William Taylor (F) and senior Hunter Petras (D) all return. Freshman Mason Petras (D) and junior Kevin Andino (F) lead the newcomers.

42. ALLENDALE (9-8-0): Just two years ago Allendale finished just 5-11-3 before climbing over the five-hundred mark last season. Being a ranked team was an afterthought. Although the Falcons have one senior, they are off to perhaps their best season to date. The team also features 14 juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. Freshmen Kolby Malott (M/F) and Magnus Meyer (M/F) hae made an impact. Chase Tiethof (D) is the lone senior who also plays football, while juniors make up most of the starting lineup as the Falcons are making a surge in the Division 3 rankings coming out of a loaded OKC Blue Division. Miller Dyke (G/D), Gavin Blanksma (D), Jacob DeVito (M/F), Jacob Dykstra (F), Jakob Karsten (D), Hudson Kragt (F), Hogan Malott (D), Jackson Meyers (F), Kanon Reister (G/D) and Andrew Scholten (M) are some of the many junior aiding the cause. So far this season Allendale holds a 24-5 scoring edge with five shutouts.

41. UTICA (9-5-4): Despite one early-season hiccup, Utica is looking for a great year on the base of 17 hungry seniors and some talented underclassmen. The Chieftains finished third to Utica Ford and Romeo in the MAC White Division last season and look to challenge Romeo, Fraser, Grosse Pointe South and Warren Cousino this season. The Chieftains started the campaign 7-2-0 with a 43-6 scoring edge and six shutouts. Compared to five clean sheets and a 40-19 scoring edge for all of last season. Seniors Luke Cacaj (CB), Michael Yatooma (M/F), Gabriel Capelj (M/F), Conner Griffin (M),and Dominic Jarbou (G), have looked solid, while junior Diego Arce is the leading goal scorer already fast approaching double digits. Sophomore Anton Cacaj (M) comes over from the MLS Next Academy system and is a dynamic and crafty playmaker who is making an impact in the attack.


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