The Highland Park Polar Bears enter their second season of existence with extremely high expectations. A year after going 7-4 and making it to the championships of the Michigan Football League, the organization and owner Dre Crosby are thinking big once again.
“We shouldn’t lose a game honestly, we added a whole lot of guys,” Crosby told Developmental Football USA. “I used to own the Metro Detroit Wolverines several years ago. We disbanded about three years ago, but most of those guys are back with me.”
Now in the Ohio Football League (OFL), The Polar Bears will be relying on a handful of players to make big plays and capitalize on the momentum that they put together last season.
Offensively, it comes down to three wide receivers for Highland Park: Chris Price and Robert Walker.
Price is a quick wide receiver who flashes speed, good hands and a comfort in open space. Naturally, the Polar Bears use him in the return game as well, and that’s a move that has paid off for Highland Park in the past.
Walker, on the other hand, is a big target. He’s a true possession wide receiver who can go up and get the football at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds. The Polar Bears use him as a blocker on the edge, but they also like throwing him jump balls in the end zone. He also plays basketball and reportedly has a 40-inch vertical, so it’s not a surprise that he’s a big-time playmaker for the team.
“He does whatever it takes to make us win games,” Crosby said of Walker.
The last player to know out wide for Highland Park is a second-year speedster who wears the No. 10 — Tinman.
Korey Radley will be charged with running the ball for the Polar Bears, and he’ll be behind a very good offensive line, led by center Jerome Turner (6-foot-5, 310 pounds).
Defensively, Highland Park will be led by defensive coordinator Anthony Hobbs, who brings a ton of experience to the table for his players.
“He was the best defensive back in Michigan for about seven or eight years,” Crosby explained. “He hasn’t played in the last four, but he has a real attention to detail. He gets the best out of all of his players and he uses a scheme that’s player friendly.”
Cornerback Mike Bolden is expected to play a big role in Hobbs’ defense thanks to his feet, speed and ability to tackle, and linebacker Brandon Dinkins is a player that Crosby seems extremely excited about.
“He’s the best linebacker that I’ve had, that I’ve seen in Michigan in a nice little bit of time,” the owner explained said. “He’s very physical, he’s fast. He has a great football IQ and he makes people around him better.”
Dinkins will be part of a linebacker corps that also features defensive captain Andjron Thompson. “He’s good against the run, good against the pass, he’s physical. He’s the enforcer in the middle,” Crosby said of his captain.
Of course, what happens on defense for Highland Park starts and ends with defensive lineman Chris Ruff, who was the defensive MVP of last season’s championship. Crosby had nothing but good things to say about his 6-foot-2, 280 pound linchpin.
“He plays everything on the D-line. He has great football IQ. He’s strong. He has good hands, a burst, and he’s stout against the run and also against the pass. There are very few weaknesses to his game,” Crosby said.
“Our defense is going to be the strength of our team. We have a real good secondary and our defensive totals should be pretty good.”
The Polar Bears seem to be looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Ohio Football League. It’s a huge 24 team league and they find themselves in a division with the Lima Warriors, Detroit Hurricanes, and Canton Pittbulls.
Highland Park kicks the season off on April 29th against the Cleveland Rams.