By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
There are some magnificent comeback seasons unfolding across Michigan this football season.
Holton is 3-0 for the first time since 1999. Leroy Pine River won one game a year ago and is 3-0 for the first time since 2004. We highlight two more 3-0 teams below in Battle Creek Central and Kingsley with similar stories to celebrate – and also big tests this week as we edge closer to the midpoint of the regular season.
Games below are tonight unless noted. Check out the MHSAA Score Center for the full schedule and results as games are completed. MHSAA.tv will broadcast 14 games tonight, including four noted below. Our “Drive for Detroit” previews are powered by MI Student Aid.
Bay & Thumb
Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (3-0) at Cass City (2-1)
Laker’s only single-digit regular-season win in 2017 came against Cass City, a 20-14 victory in Week 5 that eventually earned the Lakers the Greater Thumb Conference West championship. They went on to also defeat Cass City 18-14 in a Division 7 District Final – so the Red Hawks no doubt will be amped even more, if possible, as they look to break a nine-game losing streak against their neighbor from the north.
Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Flint Powers Catholic (2-1) at Davison (3-0), Grand Blanc (3-0) at Flint Carman-Ainsworth (2-1), Croswell-Lexington (3-0) at Richmond (2-1), Carson City-Crystal (3-0) at Merrill (2-1).
Marine City (3-0) at Madison Heights Madison (3-0)
Paced by standout quarterback Austin Brown, Madison has outscored its first three opponents by a combined 116-27 in adding to a 15-game regular-season winning streak. The Eagles edged Marine City 28-24 a year ago on the way to winning the Macomb Area Conference Silver title, but the Mariners have been similarly dominant this fall outscoring opponents by a combined 122-37 – including 34-20 over an improved St. Clair Shores South Lake.
Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Eastpointe (2-1) at Warren Woods-Tower (3-0), Walled Lake Western (2-1) at Waterford Mott (3-0), Dearborn Fordson (3-0) at Livonia Churchill (2-1), Birmingham Brother Rice (3-0) at Warren DeLaSalle (2-1).
Lake Odessa Lakewood (2-1) at Perry (2-1)
The Perry playoff watch has been on again the last few seasons as the Ramblers have finished 5-4 in 2016 and 4-5 last fall while in pursuit of their first postseason berth. Both Perry wins this season came against programs that had winning records a year ago – but the Ramblers are 0-4 against Lakewood since the formation of the Greater Lansing Activities Conference in 2014. The Vikings have never finished lower than second in the league and won it twice.
Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Holt (1-2) at DeWitt (2-1), Fowlerville (2-1) at Haslett (3-0), Reed City (3-0) at Howard City Tri-County (2-1), Hemlock (2-1) at St. Louis (3-0).
Northern Lower Peninsula
Kingsley (3-0) at Traverse City St. Francis (3-0), Saturday
Kingsley has rebounded from 1-8 by beating two 2017 playoff teams in three games under former-now-new coach Tim Wooer, who returned this fall after a decade at Traverse City West. But this weekend will provide a different level of barometer for the Stags’ rejuvenation. St. Francis has yet to be tested, winning its three games by an average of 38 points per.
Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Benzie Central (2-1) at Elk Rapids (3-0), Manton (3-0) at Lake City (3-0), Clare (3-0) at Roscommon (2-1), Traverse City West (1-2) vs. Traverse City Central (3-0) at Thirlby Field.
Southeast & Border
Riverview (2-1) at Milan (3-0)
Milan’s work over the last six seasons and beginning of this one is impressive: a 50-17 record with five playoff berths and three Huron League championships. But Riverview took the spotlight last season with the Huron title, 11 wins and a trip to the Division 3 Semifinals. Will Milan take it back this weekend? Senior running back Hunter Aeschbacker ran for 197 yards in a 26-21 Week 2 victory over Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central and has 342 rushing yards total to go with more than 1,200 a year ago. Riverview was tripped up last week by the Falcons, 20-6.
Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Brooklyn Columbia Central (3-0) at Blissfield (2-1), Dundee (3-0) at Ida (2-1), Whitmore Lake (2-1) at Ottawa Lake Whiteford (3-0), Chelsea (3-0) at Ypsilanti Lincoln (2-1).
Portage Central (2-1) at Battle Creek Central (3-0)
Battle Creek Central’s best start since 2003 has drawn statewide attention, but Portage Central might be the biggest test yet. The Mustangs are coming off a one-point win on the road over rival Portage Northern and own a sizable victory over Richland Gull Lake, which the Bearcats beat by just a point. Regardless of what happens tonight, both teams could end up as league champions in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference – Battle Creek Central plays in the East and Portage Central in the West.
Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Edwardsburg (3-0) at Dowagiac (2-1), East Lansing (3-0) at Portage Northern (2-1), Saugatuck (3-0) at Schoolcraft (2-1), St. Joseph (2-1) at Stevensville Lakeshore (1-2).
Calumet (3-0) at Iron River West Iron County (3-0)
Calumet earned some valuable close-game experience with last week’s 14-12 win over Ishpeming Westwood, and now will get a look at the Wykons – who just missed making the Division 8 championship game a year ago. Having opened against three opponents with a combined 1-8 record, West Iron will be facing its toughest challenge since that three-point Semifinal loss to Saginaw Nouvel last fall – but did down Calumet 53-20 a year ago.
Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Gwinn (3-0) at Hancock (2-1), Ishpeming (3-0) at Ishpeming Westwood (2-1), Johannesburg-Lewiston (2-1) at St. Ignace (2-1), Iron Mountain (2-1) at Norway (2-1).
Whitehall (3-0) at Muskegon Oakridge (3-0)
Whitehall’s 28-14 win over Oakridge a year ago was a headline grabber – the Vikings hadn’t come out on top in this matchup since 1999. They fell short in their West Michigan Conference title pursuit thanks to a two-point loss to Montague the next week – but this is lining up as a similar opportunity except this time Whitehall is undefeated heading in. After scoring 50 or more points three times last season, Oakridge has done so in every game so far – but numbers are relative as tonight’s game will be the toughest challenge for both teams to date.
Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern (2-1) at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (1-2), Grand Rapids Christian (2-1) at Grand Rapids West Catholic (1-2), East Kentwood (2-1) at Holland West Ottawa (3-0), Muskegon Mona Shores (3-0) at Rockford (1-2).
AuGres-Sims (3-0) at Hillman (3-0)
The longtime North Star League foes made the jump together this fall into 8-player football. So far, so good – but Hillman surely hopes the move also includes the end of a two-game losing skid against the Wolverines, who are carrying an 11-game regular-season winning streak. They also haven’t given up a point since opening night – or faced an opponent with a win this season. Hillman’s early competition has been stronger, and things will get tougher after this for both as Onaway (2-1) and Posen (3-0) are among opponents left on both teams’ league schedules.
Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Bellevue (2-1) at Camden-Frontier (3-0), Onekama (3-0) at Fife Lake Forest Area (2-1), Suttons Bay (3-0) at Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (3-0), Rapid River (2-1) at Pickford (3-0).
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PHOTO: Howard City Tri-County picks up yardage during last week’s win against Remus Chippewa Hills; Tri-County has a key matchup this week with Reed City. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)