Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 8

January 30, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

A record nearly 60 years old was toppled last week by Powers North Central. Now Beaverton is readying to celebrate a new winningest coach in MHSAA basketball history.

Those have been the headline grabbers in boys hoops over the last few weeks, and of course we touch on both below in this week’s Breslin Bound report powered by MI Student Aid. But there was plenty else to discuss too as we came out of halftime of this boys basketball season into a final dash full of exciting possibilities.

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:

1. Powers North Central 76, Bark River-Harris 29 – The Jets have brought a lot of attention to their small community and Upper Peninsula basketball as a whole thanks to what this win earned them – an MHSAA record with 66 straight victories going back more than two seasons and including two Class D title runs.

2. Detroit Catholic Central 52, Detroit U-D Jesuit 51 – This was the first of two banner wins last week for the Shamrocks (who also downed Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 70-54); last season, DCC fell to the eventual Class A champion Cubs by 21 and 35.

3. Flint Carman-Ainsworth 52, Saginaw 45 – The Saginaw Valley League North-leading Cavaliers handed the South-leading Trojans this loss, avenging last season’s 20-point Regional defeat.

4. Detroit Edison PSA 99, Detroit East English 81 – After losing to East English by 20 on Jan. 10, DEPSA stunned the 10-2 Bulldogs to improve to only 5-7 but with three wins over its last four games.

5. Lansing Catholic 76, Williamston 72 – These two split the Capital Area Activities Conference White championship last season, but this counts as an upset after the Hornets (10-2) beat Lansing Catholic by 21 during the first week of this winter.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:


Melvindale (9-2) – The Cardinals have won seven straight since opening 2-2 and downed Brownstown Woodhaven 73-66 on Friday in a matchup of teams that entered undefeated in Downriver League play. Woodhaven is the reigning league champ, but Melvindale has an upper hand with this their only meeting of the season.

Sterling Heights (10-1) – The Stallions have taken major strides this winter after going 6-15 last season and winning a combined 13 games over the last three. That lone loss this run was in double overtime to Marysville, which they trail in the Macomb Area Conference Silver but face again Wednesday.


Fennville (9-2) – A three-point win over Gobles on Dec. 13 has kept Fennville atop the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore, and the Blackhawks can stretch the lead as they face the Tigers again Tuesday. Fennville is playing this season for a third straight league title, and the only losses were by one to Grand Rapids Covenant Christian and nine to Class A Byron Center.

Onsted (9-2) – The Wildcats sent 6-foot-10 Austin Davis to University of Michigan after last season’s league and District title runs. But after opening 2-2, they’re in position again to make things interesting in the Lenawee County Athletic Association; those losses came to Dundee and Hillsdale, and Onsted beat Dundee last week and sees Hillsdale again Tuesday.


Iron Mountain (11-1) – Last season’s Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference co-champion (with Negaunee) has been chasing all season after falling to current leader Norway by four on Dec. 16. The Mountaineers – which beat Negaunee by four last week – get Norway again Feb. 10.

Sand Creek (11-0) – The Aggies downed second-place Ottawa Lake Whiteford 70-53 on Tuesday to move into first place alone in the Tri-County Conference. Those teams tied for fourth in the league last season when Sand Creek finished 11-11 overall, but it’s allowed only one opponent to get within 10 points this winter.


Bellaire (9-1) – The reigning Ski Valley Conference champion already has a two-game lead on the field after handing Pellston a 64-57 defeat on Jan. 19. The Eagles took a loss on opening night to Harbor Springs 40-37, but have looked more since like the team that made last season’s Quarterfinals.

Southfield Christian (8-2) – After playing, and winning a pair of District titles, in Class C the last two seasons, Southfield Christian is back in Class D. The two losses came during the season’s first three games to Class A Ann Arbor Pioneer and U-D Jesuit, and the Eagles beat Class A West Bloomfield by 10 on Tuesday.

Can't-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:  

Tuesday – Romulus (8-2) at Dearborn Heights Crestwood (10-2) – The Western Wayne Athletic Conference Blue has three teams with only two losses, and Crestwood sees the other two this week starting with the league leader.

Wednesday – Farwell (2-7) at Beaverton (10-1) – A win would give Beavers coach Roy Johnston 729 for his career, breaking the Michigan high school record set by River Rouge’s Lofton Greene from 1942-84.

Wednesday – Cornerstone Health/Technology (7-2) at River Rouge (12-0) – Cornerstone has played some tough competition and could be a challenger in Class C, and we expect to know more from this matchup.

Friday – Detroit East English (10-2) at Detroit Martin Luther King (10-2) – East English can still claim a share of the Detroit PSL East Division 1 title from the Crusaders and won the first meeting 71-57.

Saturday – Flint Beecher (9-3) vs. Ypsilanti Community (9-3) at Delta College – This matchup of teams with high aspirations is the most intriguing of the Delta College Showcase.

PHOTO: North Central's Marcus Krachinski (3) battles with Bark River-Harris defender Nick Lippens in the paint during the first half Friday night at Powers. (Photo by Keith Shelton.)

E-TC's Witt Bulldozing Path from Small Town to Football's Biggest Stage

By Jason Juno
Special for

June 28, 2024

Ewen-Trout Creek graduate Jake Witt is playing for a spot on the Indianapolis Colts’ 53-man roster. The memories of high school sports, and the impact they’ve had on his journey to the NFL, have stuck with him through his college days and even now as a professional.

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosThe 300-plus receiving yards he went for in a game against the eventual 8-player state champion back in 2017. 

The regular-season basketball game where 3,276 fans turned out to watch his Panthers play just a few months later.

The teamwork prep sports taught him. The family atmosphere he got to be a part of on the high school football team.

“Football was definitely the sport I felt the most family-type feeling with it,” Witt said earlier this week after fishing on Erickson Lake while back in the Upper Peninsula before training camp begins next month. “That’s what drew me back to wanting to play football in college, was my opportunity in high school to play and getting that feeling with the guys and that family-oriented feel.”

Witt played two years of high school football. He lined up exclusively at wide receiver for Ewen-Trout Creek as a junior and then was more of a blocking tight end when E-TC and Ontonagon joined forces as a co-op program when he was a senior.

He ultimately decided to play basketball first in college, at Michigan Tech. But two of his three finalists were football opportunities.

“Obviously playing basketball from second grade on, people would probably assume that I would want to play basketball in college,” Witt said. “I think that just goes to show that football in those two years had a big impact and obviously it led me to where I am when I played at Northern and where I am today.”

Witt played only one year of basketball at Tech. He transferred to Northern Michigan University to attend as a student only before being talked into playing football. 

He was initially a tight end there before moving to tackle because of injuries during a game against Ferris State. He dominated, not allowing a sack or even a quarterback pressure against what was considered the best Division II defensive line in the country. 

He stayed at tackle for what was left of that season and then all of his final year at Northern. Despite his limited time at the position, he had the attention of NFL scouts and entered the draft. The attention reached a fever pitch during his pro day at Central Michigan when he wowed with his athleticism. His 9.92 Relative Athletic Score, a way to measure players’ athletic testing while accounting for their size, was one of the best for an offensive tackle prospect since it began being used in 1987.

Witt, right, umpires a baseball game last summer.He was drafted with the 236th pick, in the seventh round, by the Colts in 2023. 

His first training camp was cut short due to a hip injury, and he was then placed on season-ending injured reserve. But he’s back healthy and ready to go. He practiced at second-string left tackle during the offseason camp this spring and now hopes to earn a spot on the 53-man roster with training camp set to begin in a month.

“I want to go into training camp, play well and then play well enough to where they can’t release me off the 53,” Witt said. “The next goal is to play in a game. And I think that will start with special teams, that will start with field goal. And then from there, obviously, everybody is one week of great practice away from playing with the offense, one injury away from playing in a game with the offense.”

Those who watched him during his high school days in the U.P. likely wouldn’t be at all surprised to see that happen.

Witt is still the only receiver to go for 300 or more receiving yards in 8-player football in state history, according to the MHSAA record book. And he did it twice, a 325-yard game against Eben Junction Superior Central as a junior and the 305-yard performance against Crystal Falls Forest Park as a senior.

The Ontonagon co-op team had mostly stuck to running the ball that season, but looked for Witt through the air against the eventual state champion Trojans.

“I think it was 345 (yards), I think they sent in the wrong number,” Witt said. “That was one game where we switched things up with our offensive attack and threw the ball a lot more, and it ended up paying off for us very well. We were down big at halftime, and we pushed back and we were in a battle with them in the second half. It was a great game. We didn’t end up winning, but it was a lot of fun.”

He enjoyed both years of high school football – even while mostly blocking on the line as a senior despite having shown previously to be a more-than-capable receiver.

Witt warms up during the Indianapolis Colts’ rookie camp in May 2023.“A lot of the offense wasn’t focused on me anymore, which was great,” Witt said. “It made me a much more well-rounded football player. It made me a much better athlete, it gave me a better perception on things as a football player versus just being a receiver. I think both years were great for different reasons.”

Witt said every sport he played in high school was beneficial to him going forward. Basketball, for example, taught him teamwork and coordination. 

“And just relationship building is huge; for me, it helped me move on to the professional football level,” he said.

No high school game was quite as memorable for him as that regular-season basketball game at Michigan Tech on a chilly Wednesday night in Houghton.

Ewen-Trout Creek and Dollar Bay were tied atop the U.P. small-school poll. With that type of matchup, and the chance for fans in the Copper Country to see the 6-7 Witt and his above-the-rim play that’s pretty unique in the U.P., the game was moved from Dollar Bay’s tiny gym to Michigan Tech. (He wasn’t quite 300 pounds like he is now, but he was close – and he came into that game averaging 27 points and 16 rebounds per game with no one able to match his size and strength.)

They expected a crowd; they got 3,276. The latest arriving fans had to sit on the floor on the baseline.

“You don’t see that very much in Division 4 basketball even in the playoffs,” Witt said. “Just having that atmosphere, and especially having it between two of the best U.P. teams at the time, and having the storyline that was behind the game was great – and one of the most memorable events to this day still for me.”

Witt is looking forward to the challenge of training camp and achieving his goals in Indianapolis. But he’s not rushing away a U.P. summer. 

He helped out at last week’s U.P. Football All-Star game. He was happy to provide insight for any players headed off to play college ball, and they helped the Marquette County Habitat for Humanity with the finishing touches on one of their houses.

Over the next month, he’ll still be training, going over the playbook and doing position skill work. As happy as he was to help out last week, he’s happy to be on the lake again, too, fishing like a normal Yooper.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to do, that and train,” Witt said. “Just trying to destress before I get back into it.”

PHOTOS (Top) At left, Jake Witt played for Ewen-Trout Creek during a 2018 basketball game at Michigan Tech, and at right Witt takes a photo with area youth baseball players last summer. (Middle) Witt, right, umpires a baseball game last summer. (Below) Witt warms up during the Indianapolis Colts’ rookie camp in May 2023. (Photos by Jason Juno.)