Varsity Football team qualifies for MHSAA Playoffs for first time in school history


For the first time in school history, the Black Hawks Football team has clinched a playoff berth

“It is a combination of a few factors,” said 16-year varsity head coach Dan Loria on the reasons for his varsity team’s success.  “It’s experience, returning players from last year, attitude, and, without a doubt, their discipline.  They have taken it from the end of last season and wanted to be the ones to turn this ship around and get us in the direction we need to be in.  They have taken that seriously from December of last year until where we are right now and have never let up.”

The team has not only secured a spot in the playoffs in record time, they have also won the OAA Blue while maintaining an undefeated 8-0 record.

“It’s been a long time coming for us to finally get to this place in the program where we’re back to where we were before the school merger,” said twelve-year varsity special teams coordinator Matthew Macleod. “We have seen a lot of growth. This group of kids has been through a lot with the school merger and the different practices over the summer and now, everything is finally coming together. As a result, we are seeing many great performances on the field after many years of struggles.”

Senior defensive lineman Spencer Haisha describes the mental impact of the team’s newfound success. “I played as a sophomore on varsity as well, so I’ve been through a 2-7 season and a 1-8 season back-to-back. Winning just makes everything about football more fun,” he said. “You’re more willing to practice harder and there is just overall more pride in the football program.”

“One both sides of the ball, this group of kids takes a lot of pride in doing the little things from the get go. Doing so many little things turn into some great things and they have done that. Like everybody else we watch film, coach them on the little things and sometimes they don’t want to hear about it over and over again, but they suck it up, they communicate, they talk to each other and even when we leave, they are still out there throwing the ball around,” said Loria.

Along with the focus on the little things, Loria believes that the team’s success is also accredited to addition of their new quarterback.

“We are able to do a lot of things because of his sense of the game,” he said. “Paddock is extremely good at what he does and we’ve got receivers that can catch the football. I’ve always said, if you can throw the football, you’re always going to be in games. It’s exciting to watch. And the pass sets up the run. When you can balance run and throw, it’s hard to defend.”

Junior John Paddock has taken over as quarterback after transferring from Brother Rice last year. During the Homecoming game against Berkley, he threw for 327 yards and led touchdown drives on each of the offense’s first four possessions.

“The kid is unbelievable. His confidence level, and really how much he knows the offense,” said Loria in an interview with the Detroit Free Press. It’s like the more I put in every week, the kid just eats it up… he just does an outstanding job.”

“The success isn’t all me,” said Paddock. “There’s other parts involved with Devon (Lynch), Derek (Lynch), Elijah (Sherman) for example. Everyone just worked really hard in the offseason. All the leaders of the team got people lifting. We knew we had the talent, we just had to transfer it to the field.”

As the playoffs approach, Loria describes what he believes will be the effect of the season on the school and future seasons. “First of all for the school, it changes everything. I’ve always said, it’s a great way to kick off the school year, especially with the way things have been the past couple years,” he said. “It’s been a process, every senior class has given us everything they’ve had and everything we’ve asked for. And these guys have fed off of that and learned from it. I’m really hoping that this is the kickoff for years to come.”