Remember the 40’s

Dexter icon Louie Ceriani is doing his best to help keep memories of Dexter’s roaring past from being forgotten

By Truman Stovall

People remember Dexter for the tornado and maybe its involvement in the Civil War, but with time turning every recollection of the past hazier every day, it’s important to keep strong memories alive before they’re lost forever.

In the 1940s, Dexter had a population of around 800 people. Despite the downtown area being nearly the same size as it is today, filled with various shops and manufacturing facilities, it still felt cramped. From high school kids walking to the confectionary store to eat burgers, drink Cherry Coke, and listen to jukebox music, to having difficulty finding a parking spot on the weekends as the whole town went bar-hopping between each of the four-or-five locations, it was easy to run into a familiar face.

Continue reading “Remember the 40’s”

BREAKING: Phil Jacobs Named DHS Football Coach

Jacobs comes to DHS from Siena Heights University

By Joe Ramey

With no usurp needed, Dexter’s former varsity football coach Garrett Chapel (who held the job for 22 days), resigned, calling for a new search to begin and a new spot to be filled.

Within a month of his resignation, the spot has been filled and it been filled heftily. Phil Jacobs, a former varsity coach at Adrian High School and current outside linebackers coach at Siena Heights, was named head coach on Thursday.

Jacobs plans to make an appearance next week to talk to student athletes about his decision to move to Dexter as both a coach and a teacher.

“I feel very privileged to be the head football coach at one of the top school districts in the state,” Jacobs said in a statement. “I am very eager to begin work at Dexter as soon as possible, to spend time with our student-athletes, and to get to work. We will work hard to bring a brand of football that the Dexter community will be proud of.”

His philosophy is one of strength and integrity. Literally. His plan has always been to better a program in the weight room and ensure his team is the “strongest pound for pound” in whatever league they play in.

With a career record of 67-45, Jacobs intends on bringing a winning record from his previous positions to Dexter. His former position included a head coach position at Adrian with five SEC titles and two district titles under his belt. Along with his head coaching position at Adrian was his involvement in the Siena Heights program, most recently as an outside linebackers coach. Of his 25 years of coaching, 11 came at the collegiate level, garnering praise nationwide.

His name was recognized as one of the top 20 turn around coaches in the state and in 2010, and he was recognized as the National Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly.

“We promised our kids we would find a successful coach and teacher to lead the program,” Superintendent Chris Timmis said in a statement. “Phil Jacobs was at the top of our list. Not only is he an incredible coach, but he is also a gifted teacher and tremendous role model for our student-athletes. We could not be more excited to have Coach Jacobs leading the DHS football program and teaching our students.”

Sport Specialization

Playing only one sport might not give you the athletic performance you are hoping to have

By Alex Strang

Many athletes only play one sport in their later years of high school, but if they want to take their athletics to the next level, that might not be the best option. It also causes overuse injuries because your body is not supposed to do the same movements all year long.

There are many reasons athletes choose to specialize. Some athletes feel pressured to excel at one sport and to put all of their effort into it. Others think that if they practice one sport all year they will have an edge over somebody who plays two or three sports and does not focus on only that sport. Athletes who have aspirations of playing at the next level might think that college coaches want them to play that sport as much as they can, leading them to specialize.

Dexter Athletic Director and Varsity Women’s Basketball Coach Mike Bavineau says that he has seen an increase in specialization. The decrease in two sport athletes has not been too dramatic, but there is a large drop off in three sport athletes: he said only three kids in the entire class of 2016 played three sports.

“You want kids to be in as many pressure situations as possible,” Bavineau said.

When winter rolls around, he wants his players to be used to that pressure of the game being on the line. He says there are many benefits to playing another sport: leadership skills, making them a better teammate, giving the body a rest from one sport, exposing the athlete to competition with different people.

Dexter Athletic Trainer Trevor O’Brien believes that the body needs a break and athletes should not play one sport year round.

“Statistics show that if you play more than one sport you’re less likely to get injured,” O’Brien said. “This is because overuse injuries are more common in one sport athletes. “Your body will adapt to multidirectional movement if you play multiple sports instead of just one movement year round like throwing a baseball.”

All you have to do to give your body a break from the same repetitive movements is to play another sport. Many sports complement each other and improve skills in the other sport. For example, cross country and soccer both have a focus on cardiovascular endurance. Since women’s soccer is in the spring and cross country is in the fall, these sports go hand in hand. Field hockey and ice hockey work similar skills as in lacrosse.

Many female athletes at DHS play field hockey and lacrosse while many male athletes on the ice hockey team also play lacrosse. Lacrosse and hockey are similar sports, but at the same time different enough where they work different movement patterns and planes that will prevent overuse injuries.

Junior Daniel Higgins believes it is a good idea to play two sports that compliment each other and he proves it works. In the fall, Higgins is a starter on the varsity soccer team. In the spring he runs varsity track. He is one of the fastest athletes on both teams.

Last spring he went to states and nationals as a member of the 4×800 meter relay team.

“Both sports improve my cardiovascular endurance and speed, so the two complement each other well,” he said. Soccer helps me with track and the track workouts help me for soccer.”

Most pro athletes played at least two sports in high school, and some even in college. Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson, Robert Griffin III, Jabrill Peppers, and Bo Jackson are all common names in football, but they all have something else in common, too. They all ran track. They are some of the fastest players in the game. If you could pick one athletic trait that separates Division I bound athletes from the average high school athlete, it is unquestionably speed. Speed is one of the most important skills for so many sports other than football, including soccer, field hockey, basketball, and hockey.

It’s no secret that the football program at Dexter has struggled in past years. Reasons for the lack of success are widely debated. But no matter what you think the program needs for success, one major skill that would help is speed. It puts the team at a disadvantage when they compete against teams like Chelsea, Saline, and Ypsilanti that have many of their skill players running track in the spring. The Dexter track team has lacked football players in recent years.

Former Dexter football defensive coordinator George Michos said if there is a good track coach, he would definitely want his skill players to run track.

“It teaches you the proper way to run and gets you fast. You can either pay somebody to coach you the proper way to run or you can just run track,” Michos said.

He believes the program will be more successful if more players run track because it will make the team faster overall.

There are always college recruiters at track and field invitational meets, but they are not only track recruiters. There are often college football recruiters and coaches talking to kids at meets in the spring. There are recruiters from a variety of sports watching kids that compete in track and field as a second sport.

If you only play one sport but want to be the best athlete you can be or have aspirations to continue a sport in college, the evidence suggests playing another sport too. If you can find a sport that complements one that you already play, your athletic performance can improve, and your risk of injury should decrease.

Coach Koenig Resigns

After four years as the varsity football coach, Ken Koenig was asked to resign due to poor on-field results.

By Nick LeBlanc

Assistant Principal Ken Koenig was forced to resign after going 1-35 in four seasons as Head Coach of the Dexter varsity football team.

Superintendent Chris Timmis, Principal Kit Moran, and Athletics Director Mike Bavineau all were involved with the decision to have Koenig resign.

“We all have jobs to do,” Bavineau said. “We have to try to do what was in the best interest of the football program to help move it forward.”

While he is often only recognized as being the head coach, Koenig has been a part of the program since 2001.  When Koenig was introduced to the Dexter community, he immediately became involved with the football program.

After six years at East Detroit High School, Koenig started his career at Dexter as an assistant coach to the varsity program.  To earn experience within the program, Koenig would tend to his duties as the defensive coordinator for the East Detroit football team and then travel west an hour to help out the Dexter football team at practices or games.  Through his travels, Koenig began to learn the new program more and noticed some dysfunction that ultimately brought him to his assistant coaching job at Dexter in 2001.

“I saw a program that looked disorganized in my eyes,” Koenig said. “I said, ‘Listen, I think I can do something to help the program.’”

That disorganized Dexter team lost all nine of its games in 2000. Once Koenig arrived as assistant, the Dreads improved to 5-13 over the next two seasons.

Leading up to 2013, when Koenig became head coach, Dexter had had five different head coaches, four of which having held the position in the same year.  That’s when Koenig stepped up to the position after 12 years in the program.

“The kids in the program, in essentially18 months, had four different head coaches. All the changes in head coaches led to there being no head coach for Dexter in March of 2013, which means the program was way behind in offseason training,” Koenig said. “I contacted Superintendent Desmarais (Desmarais was an interim between Mary Marshall and current superintendent Chris Timmis) and essentially said, ‘I’m tired of watching our kids get stuck, and I wish to be the head coach.’”

Once Koenig was given the head coaching job in 2013, he had a few goals he wished to accomplish.

“I had a plan for the next five years, and the biggest part of it was to bring stability and financial freedom to the program,” Koenig said.

Out of these two goals, Koenig feels he was successful in accomplishing at least one of them over his four years in charge.

“Through the annual gold card sale, our golf outing, and our contract with the golf course neighboring The Big House (the Dexter football team helps clean up the mess left from tailgaters after every University of Michigan home football game), we raised a lot of money for all three levels of our football program,” Koenig said. “In [the financial] aspect, I believe we were successful.”

However, despite this success, the thought of being forced to resign weighed heavy on Koenig’s mind towards the end of his 16-year career.

“I mean, going 1-35, you can kind of expect [being asked to resign],” he said. “The thought is always in the back of your mind that this could be the last bus ride or that this could be the last time on the field.”

Timmis, when asked about the resignation, didn’t mention wins and losses.

“We were fortunate to have him leading our football program for the past four years,” Timmis said. “As a direct result of Ken Koenig’s leadership, DHS football has the foundation to complete the turnaround started by Coach Koenig and his staff.”

To an outsider, the record over four years may seem to purvey that the Dreads weren’t motivated; however, players said quite the opposite is true.

“Koenig and the rest of the coaches always helped us to never give up and always play our hardest every game,” senior Travon Reid said.

Other players shared similar experiences inside Koenig’s football program.

“He always encouraged us to push the intensity in our practices,” senior Seamus McCurren said. “No matter the status of our season we always tried to push the intensity for the next game.”

Athletes in the Crowd

A look back at some memorable fall athletes along with a pair of winter athletes to keep an eye on.

By Jed Howell

Travon Reid, Football

 Fan favorite and four-year Dexter football veteran, Travon Reid touched the field for the last time this fall. His cardboard cutout will no longer fly over the student section on Friday nights. Reid was a two-year starter on varsity both his junior and senior year, and he contributed to the team as an offensive and defensive lineman. Reid described his final game as “relieving” and “emotional.” He enjoyed his time playing football, but wishes there had been more players that came out each year.

Claire Ketzner, Cross Country

Inspired by her friend Dani Waidley, Claire Ketzner decided to run cross country. Ketzner quickly made her way onto varsity, crediting soccer for keeping her in shape and giving her a solid starting point for the cross country season. Eventually, she worked her way into the top spot on the team. At regionals, Ketzner was the lone qualifier for the state meet finishing 15th with an impressive time of19:15.6. At the state meet, Ketzner ran a 20:23.5, finishing151st out of 244 competitors. “It was fun, but it didn’t go quite as planned. I didn’t run as fast as I wanted to.”

Drew Bishop, Basketball

“I was super excited to be able to make an impact on our team.” Last season Drew Bishop was one of two underclassmen on the varsity basketball team. He received a generous amount of playing time, and will get even more time on the court this season. His goals include winning both the SEC title and districts. Bishop also hopes to win at least 15 games this winter. Look for Bishop to have an impressive second season on the court.

Sammi Corcoran, Basketball

 “Intimidated, yet honored.” As a lone freshman on varsity, Sammi Corcoran quickly found out that she had a lot to learn. She was joining a group of girls who were very close and very skilled, but this didn’t stop her. Corcoran credits her success in her sophomore season to the girls she played with her freshman year. She learned how to be more confident on the court and how to trust her teammates. In Corcoran’s third varsity season, she hopes to win the SEC title and defeat Chelsea.

Stand Up

Instead of attempting to make a real difference in the world, many professional athletes are protesting during the National Anthem

There are certain things that you sit down for: watching television, eating dinner, doing homework, driving a car, but the national anthem shouldn’t be one of them. Usually the announcer will say something along the lines of “please rise as we honor our country with the playing of the national anthem, gentlemen please remove your caps,” and most Americans will stand and act accordingly.

In August, San Francisco 49ers back-up quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat for the national anthem during their preseason games.  Kaepernick has “improved” to kneeling every week since his initial protests.

Kaepernick’s protest has sparked more players to sit down during the national anthem. Recently players on the Seahawks, Broncos, and Dolphins, have also been sitting and kneeling in protest.

The purpose of the National anthem is to honor our country and those who have fought and died protecting your right to make millions of dollars each year playing football, Mr. Kaepernick. There are many disabled veterans who are still alive today who cannot even stand for the national anthem because they were hurt serving the same flag that you are protesting. From the Revolutionary War, to the two World Wars, to the current war on terrosism, hundreds of thousands of Americans have died for this country.

When important public figures, such as professional athletes, decide to sit for the National anthem, their wide reaching influence might impact the kids who idolize them.

At the Homecoming pep assembly in our own school, multiple students were spotted sitting while their classmates all around them stood up and showed support for their country. If it weren’t for the famous athletes doing it first then teenagers would not be following them.

Instead of just sitting on your ass in front of thousands of people, why don’t you go out in the world and make a real difference, and not just draw attention to yourself during the time everybody else in the stadium is giving their full attention to the flag, Mr. Kaepernick? It’s your right to protest, but don’t excercise it during a time to honor our country.

Fall Sports Update

A quick overview of some of Dexter’s primary fall sports as the season winds down

By Nick LeBlanc and Alex Strang

Football

This season, the Dreads have shown improvement through six games.  What has been the constant downfall of the team is the lack of personnel, which has caused players to get tired as the games have progressed.  The Dreads still have a positive outlook despite the 0-6 record: “Every week before a game we try and put together quality practices,” senior Seamus McCurren said. “We had a good week of practice before Tecumseh and managed to get into the redzone four times in the first half.”

Soccer

The Boys Soccer team is a main contender for the SEC White division this year.  With a record of 14-4-1 (7-2 in conference play), the Dreads like their odds to compete in districts and beyond.  After defeating Chelsea 2-1, senior Austin Graham said, “I have confidence in my team this year. I think we can win states.”

Cross Country

The cross country team took 3rd in the most recent divisional meet and is looking to improve and win the the next one. “We are a very young team with a strong brotherhood,” senior Tyrus Wood said. “We are looking to bring home a big victory at the end of the season and do better than we did last year at the state meet in November.”

Volleyball

With only four seniors, the volleyball team is finding success with underclassmen stepping up to play big roles on the court. The Dreads (21-14) hope to end their season on a high note. “Our season is going a lot better than expected and I am excited to see how we do in districts later this season,” senior Captain Mary Gallagher said.

Field Hockey

The field hockey team is once again a state championship caliber team, with an undefeated 10-0-2 record. “Right now, we are tied for first in the division,” junior Marin Waddington said. “We hope to win the state championship.”

Tennis

So far this year, the Tennis team has been suffering from a lack of participants. Students who had never played competitive tennis were joining the team midseason.  Despite this, the team is still winning. “We placed second in the SEC’s and managed to overcome some challenges we faced during the season,” senior Brandon Wiegers said.

Fall Athletes to Watch

Here are some key athletes of their respective teams who you should keep an eye on this season

By Jed Howell

Joey Hiser/Football:

It’s hard to talk about the last decade of Dexter football without mentioning the Hiser name. Hiser is the youngest of three brothers who have all played for Dexter. Both of his brothers went on to play at the collegiate level. This fall, Hiser is returning to the quarterback position after playing receiver the past three seasons. He played quarterback from the time he started tackle football in fourth grade all the way through middle school. “I’m really excited to be moving back to QB.”

Emma Tamer/Field Hockey:

Ever since her freshman year, Emma Tamer has been dominant on the field. With a state championship her sophomore year and a commitment to play at the University of Michigan coming soon after, Tamer is no stranger to success. However, last season came as a bit of a disappointment as the girls lost in the state semifinals to Ann Arbor Pioneer in a close game, 2-0. Tamer and the rest of the seniors are expected to make a push for a second state title. “I felt like our season had been cut short.”

Rylee Kim/Girls Golf:

As one of the most experienced golfers on the team, Rylee Kim is both a leader and role model for the rest of her teammates. Kim has been golfing since her freshman year. She began golfing in hopes of meeting new people and ended up falling in love with the sport. Kim wants to focus more on having fun this fall rather than winning. As the team’s No. 1 golfer, Kim likely will have a big impact on this team’s success throughout the year. “I’d also like to score a hole-in-one sometime soon.”

Marc Lopez/Boys Cross-country:

Throughout his high school career ,Marc Lopez has made his name as one of the fastest members on the cross country team. After a successful junior season ending in a team win at the regional meet and a chance to run in the state meet, Lopez has big goals for his senior year. He is looking to break the school record in the 5K and earn a spot for his name on the cross country wall. He would also like to see the team finish in the top two at the state meet. Lopez expects his senior season to be his best yet. “Individually, I would like to break the school record.”

Taylor Venuto/Volleyball:

Taylor Venuto stood as the only freshman on  the varsity volleyball team last season. Even though she was the youngest player and the new girl on the team, Venuto was able to make a major contribution as a middle and outside hitter. Now that she has a full season under her belt she can focus more on her game and less on getting to know everyone. Many are expecting Venuto’s sophomore season to be a big one with an even larger presence the court. “Now that Coach Dunn has seen me play a whole season, she has high expectations for me.”

New concussion regulations impact athletes

Cam Winston went in for tackle against Fowlerville on Aug. 29.  After the play, a Fowlerville player hit Winston in the head, and Winston fell to the ground.  He laid there unconscious and knocked out for several minutes with a concussion.

“I felt confused and dizzy and had to remember what happened,” Winston said.

Concussions like the one Winston received can result in severe long term effects on a teen’s brain and affect their everyday life.

The Michigan Sports Concussion law enacted on June 30 requires all high school personnel involved in youth activity to take and complete an online concussion training program. The law also makes all athletes and their parents sign a waiver that lists all the symptoms and signs of concussions and requires all coaches to take an athlete out of physical activity if the athlete has a concussion or concussion-like symptoms.

By law, an athlete removed from physical activity must then must get a written statement from a doctor to be cleared to return to physical activity.

In addition, all Dexter athletes have to take a Sport Concussion Assessment before each season to see if they have a concussion.which allows head athletic trainer Leah Gagnon and the rest of the athletic department to evaluate a player’s status and symptoms.

“This allows us evaluate the player’s status,” Gagnon said.  “They have to answer a series a questions about their symptoms, and if they still experience symptoms of a concussion, they have to be monitored and evaluated by a doctor until cleared.”

Varsity football coach Ken Koenig said he puts a high priority on athlete safety but doesn’t think the law will necessarily help prevent concussions.

“You can’t legislate safety,” Koenig said. “It’s like wearing a seatbelt. The law requires you wear a seatbelt, but people are still not going to wear a seatbelt.”

But Gagnon said the the new law is a step in the right direction.

“I definitely thinks it’s important,” Gagnon said.  “For the last five years at least, I’ve required them to get a doctor’s notice anyways. It didn’t really change much of how we were managing it here, because we were already doing that. What it does help, is that it now gives me something where I can say, look it’s a (Michigan High School Athletic Association) regulation. It’s no longer me just making that decision.”

For Koenig, one of the most positive things the law does is raise student-athlete awareness of the symptoms and effects of concussions.

“Our kids are very aware about the symptoms of concussions,” Koenig said.  “They’re aware of it so much that they know what to look for and they know what to hide.”

This is something Gagnon notices to. While she said it’s good young athletes are more aware of concussion symptoms, this also means they are better at knowing how to cover up the symptoms too.

“More athletes are starting to know about concussions and the severity of it,” Gagnon said.  “It’s kind of a double-edge sword though. More kids are becoming educated on the severity of concussions,  but at the same time, for the kids that all they want to do is play, they are now better educated on what to hide.”

Despite the law and potential long-term physical effects, not all athletes are concerned about getting concussions.  Senior Freddy Burke has had 11 concussions and could be ruled out for the upcoming hockey season because of this.

But Burke still wants to play, even though he knows the potential for long-term damage.

“I really wanna play, but you gotta go out there and play,” Burke said.  “You can’t change your style of play because you’re afraid.”

Junior Michigan State wide receiver Keith Mumphery has the same sort of mindset. Despite receiving two concussions, he said he’s not going to change his style of play.

“You can’t go play this game (football) being worried of getting hit,” Mumphery said.  “You can’t go into the game with that kind of mindset.”

But Gagnon said these athletes really need to think about the long-term damage they could be doing to themselves including developing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that is an inflammation in the brain that can cause loss of train of thought, brain trauma, extreme anger and death.

And it’s the second hit an athlete takes after an initial concussion that can be the most dangerous and result in the most severe long-term effects.

“That first hit that he takes is when he is concussed, that’s when the brain is damaged,” Gagnon said.  “There’s more and more things showing that its really that second hit that can seriously alter a kids life from that point forward.”