Morning Huddle: Westland football coach steps down after third losing season


JJ’s Morning Huddle: A daily dose of News, Notes & Nuggets from around the state

• McNicholas coach earns 200th win

• Harlan tapped to coach girls basketball at Withrow

• Trotwood-Madison grad sets record for U-M football

• Jonathan Alder grad sets numerous collegiate records

Westland football coach steps down after third losing season: After a 1-9 season at Westland, head coach Brian Smith has stepped down. “We have a good group of kids,” Smith said. “It was tough decision for me because I always see the potential in them. We had a lot of young kids playing this year and they’re looking for guidance. For me, it got to the point where I felt like I was doing everything in my power and we weren’t succeeding, so maybe I owe it to them to get out of their way and maybe somebody else has what I don’t have.” In three seasons under Smith, the Cougars were 2-28 overall and 0-19 in OCC play.

McNicholas coach earns 200th win: McNicholas High School football coach Steve Klonne earned his 200th career victory last weekend when the Rockets toppled Dayton Dunbar 28-0 in the first round of the Division III state playoffs. “It’s been so long since McNick has gone to the postseason…(this team) started to believe they could do this,” Klonne said. “We’ve got a team that’s had some tough games and a tough schedule. One thing this team has done is they don’t find a way to lose, they find a way to win, no matter what the odds and no matter the score…they figure out a way to get it done.” The Rockets will face Roger Bacon High School – a team they beat during Week 7 – in the regional semifinals, Nov. 13. Klonne and his squad will be gunning for Win No. 201.

Harlan tapped to coach girls basketball at Withrow: We could speculate about why Dante Harlan stepped down from his highly-visible post as the girls basketball coach at Mount Notre Dame High School, but it would be just that: speculation. We do know the coach has taken on a new role as the girls basketball coach at Withrow, though. “I fell in love with the whole situation,” he says. Indeed, the coach had planned to take the winter off following the loss of his grandmother, but the offer at Withrow “just felt right.” “To me, coaching is never about a name or uniform,” Harlan said. “Coaching basketball is something I have a passion for. The kids want to be better and achieve something special.”

Trotwood-Madison grad sets record for U-M football: Michigan Wolverines receiver and former Trotwood-Madison star Roy Roundtree proved crucial in Michigan’s 67-65 triple-overtime win over Illinois on Saturday. Indeed, the redshirt sophomore broke UM’s record for receiving yards in a game with his 246-yard outing. The day started well and just kept getting better for Roundtree. On Michigan’s first play of the game, Roundtree caught a 75-yard touchdown, the longest TD catch of his career. Roundtree bettered Jack Clancy’s 197-yard record which has stood since 1966.

Jonathan Alder grad sets numerous collegiate records: Fairmont State’s Zack Page, a Jonathan Alder grad, is still trying to wrap his mind around the Division II records he has set for kickoff returns. “I know it’s something special – amazing – and I’ve got three of them,” he says. “I hope those records never get broken. I’m sure they will in time.” Page holds career marks for most kickoff return yardage (3,265), kickoff returns (133) and combined yardage for kickoff and punt returns (3,809), and he is the record holder by a wide margin, 635 yards on kickoff return yardage and 431 yards in kickoff and punt return yardage. The 5-foot-7, 165-pounder should graduate this spring with a degree in sports management. He hasn’t decided what to do although he’s thinking about joining the military or trying out for a professional indoor football league team. “I’d like to keep playing,” he says. “I never expected to be this good.”

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