1st & Goal: 2021 Week 4 Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

September 17, 2021

For the last 20 years, we would have entered Week 4 of football season discussing how many teams would have to win the rest of their games to guarantee making the playoffs.

MI Student AidBut the six-wins-and-in era is done (and never existed for 8-player), and there’s still plenty of time for every team to impact its destiny – especially with only 130 of 598 teams still undefeated and 12 more sure to fall off that list this weekend.

MHSAA.tv will carry 170 games live this weekend, with Bally Sports Detroit broadcasting Friday's Traverse City Central/Traverse City West matchup on its PLUS cable channel. See the full schedule from the MHSAA Score Center and see below for some of the games with the most intriguing storylines as we take another step toward the regular season’s midpoint.

Bay & Thumb

Davison (1-2) at Grand Blanc (3-0)

This is the fourth season these two will meet in the Saginaw Valley League Red, and Davison has won all four meetings of the recent series including for a Division 1 District title last year. Coming off three one-score wins over highly-touted foes – East Lansing, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central and Midland Dow – Grand Blanc could be ready to take its turn in the rivalry. But the Cardinals’ record is deceptive. Coming off last season’s second-straight trip to the Division 1 Final, Davison opened this fall with losses to Clarkston and then Detroit Catholic Central, falling by just three to the still-undefeated Wolves.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Mount Pleasant (3-0) at Midland Dow (2-1), Standish-Sterling (3-0) at Millington (3-0), Freeland (3-0) at Essexville Garber (3-0), Harbor Beach (2-1) at Ubly (3-0).

Greater Detroit

Warren De La Salle Collegiate (2-0) at Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (3-0)

The four Detroit Catholic League Central teams are a combined 10-1 this fall, and this week begins a must-see title race. These two have opened league play against each other since 2010, with seven meetings (including one in the playoffs) decided by seven or fewer points. Rice won the 2019 matchup 16-14 and last year 27-25, but the Pilots followed up the latter by reaching the Division 2 Final for the third time in four seasons. The Warriors haven’t given up a point since a season-opening win over Macomb Dakota, but De La Salle can claim the biggest headliner so far after downing last season’s Division 3 runner-up River Rouge 38-29 in Week 2.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Grosse Pointe South (2-1) at Romeo (3-0), Detroit Country Day (3-0) at South Lyon (3-0), Marine City (3-0) at Wyandotte Roosevelt (3-0), Southfield Arts & Technology (2-1) at Clarkston (3-0).


Haslett (2-1) at Mason (2-1)

Last week’s Mason comeback win over Williamston thrust this game quickly into the spotlight as it’s almost sure to have Capital Area Activities Conference Red implications. Mason has won the league the last two seasons, while Haslett is returning to contention – the Vikings already have as many wins this fall as in 2020 and 2019, and they need one more point to also equal last year’s scoring over seven games. Both of these teams have intriguing offensive skill players, but both also needed time last week to get rolling – Williamston trailed 27-13 at halftime before winning 34-27, and Haslett was up 7-0 at halftime on the way to defeating Lansing Eastern 33-14. Getting on track first could be key.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Lake City (3-0) at Beal City (2-1), Big Rapids (2-1) at Central Montcalm (3-0), Holt (2-1) at DeWitt (2-1), Lansing Everett (2-1) at Grand Ledge (3-0).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Traverse City West (3-0) vs. Traverse City Central (2-1) at Thirlby Field

The annual “Patriot Game” is the place to be in northern Michigan – crowds every season of 10,000+ would agree – and this year’s chapter could read more like the one-score classics from most of the last decade after less-characteristic big wins (both by Central) the last two seasons. They’ll go together into the Saginaw Valley League for football next season, and started their final Big North Conference schedules last week with wins – West 21-7 over last season’s Division 4 runner-up Cadillac. The only loss by either so far has been Central’s season opener to reigning Division 3 champion DeWitt.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Traverse City St. Francis (3-0) at Maple City Glen Lake (1-2), Frankfort (2-1) at Oscoda (2-1), Harbor Springs (1-2) at Boyne City (3-0), Petoskey (3-0) at Gaylord (1-2).

Southeast & Border

Michigan Center (3-0) at Addison (3-0)

Addison has won two straight Cascades Conference titles and 16 straight league games, but this will be its first matchup with Michigan Center since 2019. They didn’t see each other during last year’s abbreviated regular season, although the Cardinals finished second in the league with a loss coming to Hanover-Horton. Addison has outscored its three opponents so far – including Hanover-Horton last week – by a combined 145-35. But the Cardinals have been just as impressive if not more – outscoring their three opponents 136-0, including a 42-0 avenging against Hanover-Horton in Week 2.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (3-0) at Milan (3-0), Monroe (2-1) at Saline (3-0), Ann Arbor Huron (2-1) at Temperance Bedford (3-0), Clinton (2-1) at Ida (2-1).

Southwest Corridor

Vicksburg (3-0) at Edwardsburg (3-0)

It’s early, of course, but statistically this Edwardsburg team is following the pattern of its best over the last decade. The offense has scored more every week, from 38 to 55 to 61 against Niles in the latest win, and the defense has given up seven points total. Next up are the Bulldogs, who lost twice to Edwardsburg last season but have been a playoff team five of the last seven years. The three opponents the Eddies defeated are all 2-1, and league rivals are lined up – undefeated Plainwell is next after Vicksburg, with Paw Paw coming up in Week 6.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Three Rivers (2-1) at Niles (2-1), Battle Creek Lakeview (2-1) at Battle Creek Central (2-1), White Pigeon (3-0) at Comstock (2-1), St. Joseph (3-0) at Kalamazoo Central (1-2).

Upper Peninsula

Ishpeming Westwood (2-1) at Ishpeming (1-1)

This rivalry will be restored after Ishpeming did not field a varsity last season. The Patriots solidly ended a 23-game losing streak to the Hematites the last time they met, however, claiming the 2019 matchup 38-0. Westwood’s fast start this fall ran into an obstacle last week with a loss to Calumet, but there would hardly be a better way to pick back up than with a win tonight. Ishpeming was off last week and has had plenty of time to prepare for a game that could pay big dividends toward its rebound as well.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Kingsford (3-0) at Marquette (2-1), Iron Mountain (1-2) at L'Anse (2-1), Negaunee (2-1) at Manistique (2-1). SATURDAY Houghton (2-1) at Bark River-Harris (3-0).

West Michigan

Muskegon Oakridge (3-0) at Montague (2-1)

A fresh start with some new faces saw Montague shut out in Week 1 by a strong Edwardsburg team. But the reigning Division 6 champion Wildcats stormed right back with back-to-back shutouts the last two weeks of North Muskegon and Hart. And they could get another big boost against rival Oakridge, which they’ve beaten three of the last four seasons including 42-6 a year ago. The Eagles are coming off a forfeit win/bye last week but already own a pair of solid wins over Sparta and Whitehall. Another this week combined with the Week 2 victory over the Vikings would put the Eagles in pretty strong position in the West Michigan Conference title race.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Zeeland West (2-1) at Muskegon Mona Shores (2-1), East Grand Rapids (1-2) at Byron Center (3-0), Manton (2-1) at Evart (3-0), Grand Rapids South Christian (2-1) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (3-0).


Mendon (3-0) at Bridgman (3-0)

These two are likely league title contenders in the Southwest Michigan 8-Man Football League Tier 1 and 2, respectively. Mendon had been one of the last southwestern holdouts its size before switching to 8-player football for this fall, and the Hornets brought a run of 13 winning seasons over their last 14 with them. So far so good after the switch, as the offense is averaging just more than 63 points per game. Bridgman successfully made the switch in 2018 and is a combined 18-2 since the move. The Bees are scoring 55 points per game so far – but more notably for this matchup, giving up only seven.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Adrian Lenawee Christian (3-0) at Athens (3-0), Norway (2-1) at Ironwood (2-1), Lawrence (3-0) at Morrice (3-0). SATURDAY Lake Linden-Hubbell (2-1) at Powers North Central (3-0).

Second Half’s weekly “1st & Goal” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO: Ishpeming's Preston Gauthier (37) is chased by Manistique's Austin Hinkson (24) during their teams’ Week 1 matchup. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)

Ubly Offense, Kicker Pile Up Record Book Listings During Championship Run

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

April 12, 2024

Ubly finished a combined 27-1 over the last two seasons, following up a Division 8 runner-up run in 2022 with its first MHSAA Finals championship this past November. And the Bearcats stacked plenty of record book performances along the way.

Individually, senior Brett Mueller made the single-season extra point list again this past season with 76 in 81 tries, and he set the MHSAA career record with 220 extra points over 232 attempts, 40 games and three seasons. He has signed with Saginaw Valley State.

As a team, Ubly was added to the record book 13 times for achievements over the last two years, most notably in the rushing game. The Bearcats topped 5,200 total yards both seasons, and also made the rush yardage list twice including with a sixth-best 5,148 in 2022. Their 90 touchdowns in 2022 rank seventh all-time, and their 85 this past fall tied for 13th, and they tied the record with 10 rushing touchdowns in a 2022 win over Reese and set another record with 84 rushing touchdowns total that season.

See below for more recent record book additions in 11-player football, and click the heading to see the record book in full:

11-Player Football

Dundee’s Ben Miller has a pair of basketball record book entries, and he’s also been added in football for scoring seven touchdowns in his team’s 72-36 win over Erie Mason on Oct. 20, 2017. A senior that season, he ran for five scores and caught two touchdowns passes.

Nearly four decades later, Howard City Tri County’s Mike Wagoner has reached the record book for his work on defense in 1985. A junior that season, Wagoner returned three interceptions for touchdowns – 65, 55 and 35 yards – which would have been second on the list at the time and remains tied for third-most for one season.

Jaxon Lippert tops the list of 21 who have returned kickoffs 99 yards. Lippert, now a senior at Walled Lake Western, joined the list against Davison during his junior season.

A handful of records from Warren De La Salle Collegiate’s recent run of Ford Field teams and also one from decades ago were added. Jake Badalamenti was added three times for kickoff returns between 96-99 yards, one as a junior in 2016 and two as a senior the following fall, and Marty Wyzlic was added for his 95-yarder in 1976. Mason Muragin is the new leader for tackles for loss in a career with 71 over three seasons, and he also was added to the single-season list with 31 as a junior in 2021, as was Will Beasley for 38 as a junior in 2020. Wayne Wright was added for his 16 sacks over nine games as a senior in 1984, and Josh Cox was added for his 100-yard interception return as a senior in 2012. Muragin plays at Illinois, Beesley plays at Princeton, Cox played at Central Michigan, and Badalamenti played baseball at Wayne State.

Pinckney junior Nolan Carruthers caught 16 passes during a 13-7 loss to Jackson on Sept. 15, good to tie for ninth-most in one game and breaking the Livingston County record of 14 by Hartland’s Greg Matthyssen in 2007 – a listing that also was added.

Ethan Wissner did some major lifting, or rather carrying, during Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s 28-14 District Final win over Montrose in 2022. The then-senior ran 42 times to make the record book, for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He’s continuing at Siena Heights.

Senior quarterback Andrew Schuster and junior receiver DeShaun Lanier formed a game-changing pass-catch combo this past season for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, with Schuster finishing his career with nine record book listings and Lanier totaling six with a season to play. Schuster most notably was added for 212 completions on 301 attempts for 2,766 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, and 321 completions and 4,199 career yards over two years and 22 games. Lanier was added in part for 73 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs this fall. Junior kicker Juliano Haddad also earned impressive mentions with 10 field goals and 50 extra points – and he’ll carry a streak of 35 straight extra points into next fall. Schuster has committed to Grand Valley State.

Fulton’s Evan Barton has been added to the single-game touchdowns list after catching four scoring passes Sept. 8, 2017, against Potterville. He was a senior that season.

Saginaw Heritage’s Braylon Isom completed his career this past fall as arguably the most accomplished receiver in MHSAA history. His name is listed in the record book eight times, with career records of 3,837 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns over 34 games and four seasons, and with a single-season record 26 touchdowns this past fall over 12 games. His 91 career receptions rank fifth, and he’s also listed for 82 catches and 1,617 yards (seventh-most) as a senior and 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He will continue at Miami (Ohio).

Evart’s 24-8 run over the last three seasons has been its most successful of the MHSAA playoff era, and senior quarterback Preston Wallace has played an enormous part. He finished his 33-game career in the fall – he came up for one game as a freshman – on record book lists twice for single-season passing yards and touchdowns and on career lists for 662 attempts, 421 completions, 6,955 yards and 88 passing touchdowns over those 32 games and three seasons. The yardage ranks 15th all-time, and the touchdowns are tied for sixth-most for one career.  

The 2005 Midland Bullock Creek team was added for scoring 547 points over 12 games. The Lancers finished 11-1, their only loss in a Division 5 Regional Final.

PHOTO Ubly's Seth Maurer (30) carries the ball during the Division 8 championship win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in November.