It’s been over a decade since Friday Night Victors began as the Huron League Football Blog. Actually, its been 11 seasons. It’s hard to believe this thing has continued since I sat down and wrote my first post on August 10th of 2009.
What started off as a somewhat bored Huron League fan writing about local football on a blog has turned into a full fledged website that includes videos, podcast, a couple of great contributors and sponsors.
I truly love doing the blog and love it even more since adding 8 teams a few years ago and switching the name to Friday Night Victors. Gary Hauf has brought great insight to the website and has been invaluable in it’s emergence. Bringing on Frank Vajcner has allowed us to cover the LCAA and TCC with a better understanding and quite FRANKly, this guy is a Rock Star!
I thought I would go back to the first season and highlight a few things and do somewhat of a review of the 2009 season. I will provide links (highlighted in yellow) to articles that were written. You can click on those and see the articles that were written at the time. That first season was a lot of fun for me as I attended as many games as possible in what was a great Huron League and playoff season that culminated with the State Finals at Ford Field on November 27th.
August of 2009 was very very hot and provided a rough start for many of the teams in the league as they fought temperatures well into the 90’s the first week of practice. One of the things that stood out in August was the quality of coaches in the Huron League that year. This list included Marc Cisco, Jack Giarmo, Steve Robb and Eric Redmond. It was also a season that welcomed Jeff Stergalas back to the Huron League as he returned to his Alma Mater.
There were many great players returning to the Huron League that year. Players like Dex Teen of Grosse Ile, TJ Lovell of SMCC, Tyler Weclowski of Huron and Dylan Close of Airport had been voted All League in 2008. Running back was a very talented position coming into the season and featured a host of juniors and seniors who could carry the ball.
The Huron League was expected to be hotly contested that year as usual and two of the favorites were SMCC and Airport. SMCC resembled a JV team in 2008, but managed to have a solid season while making it to the state semi-finals. Airport had tied with Milan for the Huron League Championship the previous year and returned a host of players. Read here the previews I wrote for SMCC and Airport that year. The Falcons would go onto win the Huron League Championship and would go to Ford Field.
There were a handful of games that stood out that season and they started week 1 when Detroit Crockett visited SMCC. Week 1 would also see some great performances from around the Huron League as the league went a combined 5-3 in non-league play. Click here to read about some of the Stars in Week 1.
Week 2 began league play and one of the biggest anticipated match ups was defending league champ Airport playing an up and coming Huron squad. The Jets would need a balanced attack to pull away from Huron. There were many stars around the league that week which included Jim Cameron of GI and Ryan Hasten of Milan.
Week 3 would feature a battle between the top two teams in the league as Milan and Airport would play to see who had a leg up early in the season. Huron was able to pull off a shocker over Jefferson. The week 3 stars of the week included Mike Oley of Jefferson and Rob White of Grosse Ile.
The fourth week of the season came quickly and the blog was starting to pile up views. I was surprised at how many people were actually reading what I wrote and the comments were flying in. You can read the game summaries from that week as there were some solid games between; Riverview/Flat Rock, Milan/Grosse Ile and Airport/Jefferson. SMCC would slip by Huron as the Chiefs would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Week 4 stars
Week 5 would pretty much see blowouts in each of the weeks games as an Airport/SMCC show down loomed in week 6. Stars of the week included Eric Zapata of Flat Rock and Daniel Jones from Airport.
Week 6 would feature the match up of the two teams I predicted to battle for league supremacy. The SMCC/Airport match up was attended by thousands of people in what is arguably the most heated rivalry in the league. Read about the game here SMCC/Airport and notice the amount of comments. If I remember correctly, nearly 2000 people read the blog that night. There were plenty of stars from around the league that week.
Week 7 would be cold and wet and saw me attend Homecoming at my Alma Mater, Flat Rock. Things didn’t go well for the Rams as they lost to Jefferson. One of the features that started that first year was “Thoughts and Questions” and it continues to be a regular part of FNV.
Week 8 would be the end of the Huron League slate for the year and most of the excitement had been taken out of the Huron League as SMCC and Airport had dominated for the most part. Over 54,000 people had visited the blog at this point and things were going well. Here were the Huron League scores from week 8. Stars of the Week
Week 9 always gives the league teams a chance to see where they stand outside of the league. The Huron League went 6-2 in week 9. Week 9 featured huge games from Milan’s Chris LaBelle and Huron’s Sterling Wilson.
From the start I have always picked All-League teams and Players of the Year. This always seems be controversial and 2009 was no different. Here are the All-League teams from that year: All-League Offense and All-League Defense. The Offensive Player of the Year was Airport’s Jodeci Mays while the Defensive Player of the Year was SMCC’s Michael Pannone. Once again, notice the comments.
Predictions have always been one of the fun things I have done with the blog and that started way back in 2009. Check out the accuracy of this guy. I would say, not bad.
SMCC did a great job of making me look good over the 2009 season as my pick lost the opener to Crockett and then ran the table in the Huron League and made it to Ford Field which I had suggested they would. The Falcons rolled Blissfield, crushed Manchester, and then made a comeback over Constantine in the semi-finals to advance to Ford Field.
The Falcons would fall short in the Division 6 Final 24-21 to undefeated Montague. The game featured an outstanding QB for the Wildcats named Cody Kater.
Anyway, that is kind of a synopsis of that first year in 2009 when the blog got going. Coincidently there was a guy who commented fairly regularly that year and it turned out to be none other than Gary Hauf. Gary has been instrumental in getting us sponsors and getting us to up nearly 1.7 million visits. I appreciate his efforts.
The blog or FNV will continue with 2020 season. I would like to plan coverage of more teams, but we will see where that goes. I will try and continue to write during the Covid-19 pandemic, but quite frankly its hard this time of year.
Look for a few articles covering other years and maybe even an All-Blog team from the last 11 years and maybe even a the top 10 All-Time teams from the blog.
Thanks for reading and you continued support. Stay Healthy everyone!