Central Montcalm misses playoffs after perfect start

By Chip Burch • Last Updated 2:51 pm on Monday, October 31, 2011

Central Montcalm coach Marty James instructs Will Plavan (5) during a timeout in the fourth quarter of a season opening win against Lakeview.

STANTON — Central Montcalm’s football team looked like it was going to make he playoffs for a fifth straight year.
The Green Hornets started 3-0 and didn’t give up a point in those three games. But things turned sour in a hurry.
Starting with a loss to Manistee in a nonconference game, Central went 2-4 over the final six games and missed the playoffs.
“We got off to a great start and we didn’t finish the way we wanted to,” coach Marty James said. “Except for the last game (against Morley-Stanwood) we had a chance to win every one. The ball bounced the other team’s way. But we gave ourselves a chance to be successful and couldn’t finish.”
Not being able to finish disappointed the team, James said.
“They were obviously disappointed, especially after losing to Chippewa Hills and they took that loss hard because that would have made us 6-2,” he said. “They wanted to keep that rolling.”
James said there were spurts where the Hornets had trouble, which ultimately caused the team’s undoing.
“We had some moments in every game where we had some mental breakdowns, some physical breakdowns and it was for short periods of time,” James said. “And those short periods ended up costing us in the long run. For example, we were up on Reed City by two scores and for a five-minute span we stopped doing the things that made us successful and we didn’t recover.”
The Hornets also lost their starting quarterback, Tyler Ruffer, to an injury. Will Plavan took over and completed 40 percent of his passes for 346 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
The leading rusher was Jon Fickle, who had 572 yards on 89 carries, scoring a team-high 10 touchdowns.
But there were others who James noted made big contributions to the team.
“I think Tyler James had a good year on the offensive line,” he said. “We were very right-handed for a reason. The last five ball games we became very heavy on the run between the tackles and Tyler was a big part of that. Jesse Judge was next to him on the line and they ended up pancaking a lot of guys. We ran a lot behind those two.”
On the defensive side, it was Brandon Antes who got the special mention.
“Brandon Antes had a great year, caused a lot of disruption for a lot of offenses and made if very tough for teams to run,” James said.
He said the team will have players coming back.
“We have some quality young men coming back that are juniors from this year’s varsity team,” he said. “Our JV team started playing their best football in the last few games. If we can get kids to commit to our offseason program and get faster and stronger, I feel good about getting back to the playoffs and continue to be a team to be reckoned with in our league.”
The league, the Central State Activities Association, is within the Hornets’ grasp, James said.
“We were close,” he said about the 5-3 record within the CSAA. “We have to feel good about our chances to compete. We’re going to have to pay the price in the offseason. It’s not going to come easy. Our league is getting very balanced from top to bottom. We’re going to have to do the little things.”

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