Team name: Madison Heights Lamphere Rams
Last season’s record: 0-9
League: Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division
Returning starters: 13
First game: 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at Ferndale High
Although Lamphere scored less than 10 points seven times last season and was shut out twice, with four returning starters on the offensive line, the Rams may be in a strong position to have a more formidable offense this year.
“With our smash-mouth spread attack, if we’re able to control the line of scrimmage and really make a difference and push guys around, which I believe we will be able to, it’s really (going to) be able to open things up for us,” said Jeff Glynn, who is entering his first season as coach.
There is a battle going on for the starting quarterback job between Jacob Thomas and Ryan DuFresne, but Glynn said “we feel very comfortable with whoever comes out on top of that job.”
Players who could play a key role for Lamphere are offensive lineman Zach Hilliard, receiver Nathan Thomas, and running backs James Grams and Mitch Lewis.
Glynn said there is a lot of potential on the defensive side of the ball, which includes a front seven that could be a “very strong force for our defense.”
Aside from having what he described as a very good linebacker core, Glynn also thinks there is some flexibility with the Rams defense.
“We have a position that is called ‘jack.’ It’s like a safety-linebacker hybrid position,” Glynn said. “We’re fortunate that we have two or three guys that are able to move from there to inside. … Every one of our defensive backs are capable of playing both corner and safety. We’ve been very excited about that.”
Defensive lineman Torohn Yancey and linebackers Josh Kincannon and Grams are players who are expected to make significant contributions.
If Lamphere is able to solidify the quarterback position and stay healthy, Glynn thinks the Rams can see some major improvement. Despite the program’s struggles last year, he is of the opinion that Lamphere is capable of contending for a division title and a playoff berth.
“For an 0-9 team that might be a big jump, and I know it’s a process, but I believe that if our kids stay on track and keep following the process, we can contend for a playoff spot,” Glynn said.
— Mark Vest
at Ferndale High (7-3) — 7 p.m. Aug. 24
With a 42-7 win last season, Ferndale improved its all-time record against Lamphere to 5-0, outscoring the Rams 180-34 in the process.
vs. Warren Lincoln (4-5) — 7 p.m. Aug. 31
Lincoln has won seven of the last eight games played between the programs and has a five-game winning streak against the Rams. The Abes have qualified for the playoffs just three times in the past 30 seasons, with their last appearance coming in 2008. Lincoln leads the all-time series 16-11.
vs. St. Clair Shores Lake Shore (1-8) — 7 p.m. Sept. 8
Although Lamphere is 5-4 overall against Lake Shore, the Shorians have won the last two meetings, including 28-0 last year. Lake Shore gave up more than 50 points four times last season.
at New Haven High (4-5) — 7 p.m. Sept. 15
Lamphere is 9-4 all-time against New Haven. The Rams’ six-game winning streak against New Haven ended last year with a 40-0 loss. The Rockets last qualified for the playoffs in 2006.
vs. Center Line High (2-7) — 7 p.m. Sept. 22
Center Line won last season’s game 21-14, giving the Panthers their second consecutive victory against Lamphere. Center Line leads the all-time series 13-8.
at Eastpointe High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Sept. 29
The Shamrocks’ lone win last year came via an 8-6 victory against the Rams. Despite losing the last two games, Lamphere leads the all-time series 3-2. The Shamrocks scored double-digit points just one time last season.
at Clinton Township Clintondale (4-5) — 7 p.m. Oct. 6
Clintondale has won seven of the last eight games of the series, including a 38-6 victory last season. Lamphere is 8-8 all-time against Clintondale.
vs. Detroit University Prep Science & Math (1-8) — 7 p.m. Oct. 13
This is the first meeting between the programs. University Prep started playing football in 2012. Last season, the Cobras failed to score more than 12 points in any game. University Prep has not qualified for the playoffs in its first five seasons as a program.
at Madison Heights Madison (6-4) — 7 p.m. Oct. 20
Madison has won the last eight games of the rivalry series, including last season’s 21-7 victory. The Eagles have qualified for the playoffs for 12 consecutive seasons.