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Posted on Sat, Aug 17, 2013 : 5:30 a.m.

New Whitmore Lake football coach encouraged by increased numbers and is committed to JV season

By Pete Cunningham


Whitmore Lake football players run a drill during practice on Tuesday, August 13.

Melanie Maxwell |

Low numbers plagued the Whitmore Lake High School football team every season of former coach Bary Pierson’s three-year tenure. In new coach Todd Pennycuff’s first week, there has been an encouraging increase in participation.

There were 42 players out for the team as of Tuesday, 28 of which will play on varsity. That’s nine more than came out for the first week last year and Pennycuff expects some more still.

“It’s very encouraging because we have more numbers than the team did last year,” said Pennycuff, who was the head coach at Novi High School for three years before being hired to replace Pierson at Whitmore Lake in the winter.

Whitmore Lake had to cancel its JV season after just the second week of the season in 2011 and didn’t even field a separate team in 2012 because of a combination of injuries and low numbers. Pennycuff said the program is committed to a full JV schedule for 2013.

That means better development for both the younger and older players.

“By all accounts we’re going to have a JV team, a full JV season,” Pennycuff said. “We’ve got our numbers a little higher than they were last year and if we just keep building on that I think this can be a good thing.”

Senior tight end Evan Malbetsch said he’s encouraged by the turnout so far.

“I think that really contributed to the amount of injuries we had throughout the season,” Malbetsch said. “I think this is really going to help because we have more numbers and a lot more athletes.”

Pennycuff said the slight uptick in turnout needs to be the beginning of a trend it the Trojans hope to progress as a program.

“There’s a lot of potential here. It’s just a matter of getting kids in the building out to play football because there are athletes here,” Pennycuff said.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Sat, Aug 17, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

Thanks for the coverage, Pete!


Sat, Aug 17, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

Wow. Former head coach at Novi? I don't think anyone could have seen that coming.

Pete Cunningham

Sat, Aug 17, 2013 : 6:45 p.m.

Todd said he wanted to get back to coaching a "small town" football team. Said the community atmosphere is something he missed at larger schools like novi.