Chippewa Hills’ future bright after strong finish to 2018 season

Quarterback Dylan Sharp (10) is set to return next season for head coach Larry Jose (right) and the Warriors. (Pioneer file photo)

REMUS — It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish.

That mantra rang true for the Chippewa Hills football team, which overcame a rocky start to the 2018 season but finished strong to earn its eighth straight postseason berth.

“We had some wins I was very happy with and some losses that I thought we let get away this year,” head coach Larry Jose said.  “I’m very happy we were able to find a way to make the playoffs and extend the streak to eight years in a row and 11 out of the past 13 years in the playoffs.  This team did not return a lot of experience and started six underclassmen.  So to make the playoffs is a great achievement. “

The Warriors made the playoffs with a 5-4 record and ended their season with a 16-13 loss to Freeland in pre-district action. The Warriors entered the season with an eight-game schedule but were able to find a Week 9 opponent in Hamtramck, a Class A team they beat 44-28.

In Week 2, Ozaawa Manito hauled in a 21-yard touchdown catch with zero seconds remaining to help Chippewa Hills edge Newaygo 26-21 on the road.

“That was one of our biggest highlights of the season,” Jose said. “We found a way to get it done when most people thought we were done!”

Junior twins Koron (554 yards rushing/319 receiving) and Koronte Lowery (590 yards receiving/405 yards rushing/10 TDs), senior tight end Mitch Kuzma (419 yards receiving/3 TDs), junior lineman Chayton Wiggins (36 tackles/10 TFL/3 fumble recoveries), sophomore linemen Carl Roosa (35 tackles/5 TFL) and Carl Whipple (38 tackles, 4 TFL),  and senior Trevor Swix (28 tackles in six games) were all named first-team all-CSAA Gold. Senior Michael Kowallic (51 tackles) was named honorable mention.

Senior quarterback Ty Jose (44 for 84 [52%]/629 yards/4 TDs) and junior quarterback Dylan Sharp (48 for 96 [50%]/907 yards/7 TDs) combined to lead the offense.

The Warriors graduate Mitchell Kuzma, Jose, Swix, Kowallic, Dillon Bailey, and Damien Coffell, but return a host of talent including the Lowery Twins and Sharp.

“Next year looks very good on paper,” Jose said.  “We have a lot of returning starters that have gained very valuable experience this year.  Football is won and lost in the off-season these days. 

“If these guys will commit themselves to getting stronger and more confident, then I can’t wait to see what they can achieve.”

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