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Walled Lake Western quarterback Kyle Bambard (seen here scoring a touchdown last season for the Warriors) and his teammates were on hand Wednesday for Day. 2 of the Farmington Hills Harrison passing league. (The Oakland Press file photo)

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FOOTBALL: Summer passing league off & running at Harrison, lots of recruits there honing skills WITH VIDEO

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FARMINGTON HILLS – The footballs were flying Wednesday night out at Farmington Hills Harrison High School where the annual Harrison passing league was in full swing.

As always, the league played host to some of the best prep gridiron squads in the area.

Birmingham Brother Rice, Birmingham Groves, Clawson, Southfield, North Farmington, Walled Lake Western, West Bloomfield and the host Hawks were all in attendance at the league’s Wednesday session, the second of four that span portions of this month and next.

These type of 7-on-7 offseason passing leagues have become a staple of summer workouts for high school teams across the nation. Besides the Harrison league, various other high schools across Oakland County host passing leagues as well.

“Passing leagues are a good way to see where you’re at with some important positions before you start camp in August,” said legendary Harrison head coach John Herrington after the action concluded Wednesday on his home field. “I really like these things. They keep you busy in the summer. It gives you something productive to do with the down time.”

Two-time defending state-champion Brother Rice, Southfield and Walled Lake Western are expected to be three of the top teams in the state in Division 2 this coming season. Harrison, the county’s most storied prep football program in terms of state-title banners (13 all under Herrington), will be tough as well, led by star senior tailback Lorenzo Collins, finally healthy after an injury-plagued junior campaign.

There were numerous other college recruits on hand Wednesday in addition to Collins, who eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark as a sophomore in 2011 and was in Harrison’s backfield when the Hawks won the 2010 state championship as a young-pup freshman.

Brother Rice’s high-powered offense, led by Division I college prospects Alex Malzone (quarterback), Brian Walker (running back), Shon Powell (running back) and Corey Lacanaria (wide receiver), was there Wednesday fine-tuning what could wind up being as dangerous and diversified a passing attack Warriors head coach Al Fracassa has ever coached in his more than five decades on the sidelines.

The strong-armed Malzone will have over a half-dozen quality targets in Brother Rice's potentially prodigious aeriel assault, including Lacanaria (pacing towards becoming the program's all-time leading pass-catcher), Demaris Woods, Josh Flye, Patrick Sparks, Grant Perry and Delano Madison.

"We're striving to get back to the mountain top and get another state title and nights like this in the dog days of summer are some of the first steps," said Woods, an incoming 6-foot-3 senior poised for a breakout campaign.

Southfield was another team that appeared sharp Wednesday in the passing department.

Bluejays' quarterback Jalen Brady, a transfer from Grand Ledge, was making beautiful music with his new receiving corps, stretching the field with pin-point toss-and-grabs to the likes of Ray Buford, Dior Johnson and Jacob Studdard.

Buford, Johnson and Studdard also each stood out on the other side of the ball at defensive back.

Clawson’s Marquian Johnson (wide receiver) and North Farmington’s Chauncey Bridges (running back-defensive back) were another pair of college-recruited studs showing what they were made of Wednesday, each displaying their raw athleticism and playmaking ability.

Walled Lake Western’s offense, a work-in-progress having to replace some key pieces off last year’s district-title winning team, looked like they were in the process of finding a nice rhythm with each other, spearheaded by seasoned and shifty quarterback Kyle Bambard. About to enter his third year starting under center at quarterback, Bambard has a thunderous leg and is being recruited at the Division I college level as a placekicker.

“It’s only the second time we’ve been on the field like this as a team and I think we’re coming together more as a unit every snap,” Bambard said. “The new receivers are getting comfortable with their routes and assignments and I’m beginning to learn their tendencies better. The defense took a big step forward today, too. I’m pleased with the progress, but there’s a long way until we kick-off the season this fall and we have a lot of work that still needs to be done in preparing for it.”

Last Updated: 6/29/2013 7:04:14 AM EST


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