1st & Goal: 2021 Week 6 Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

October 1, 2021

The first round of football trophy time has arrived in Michigan. 

MI Student AidTwo weeks ago, Britton Deerfield became the first varsity in the state to claim a share of a league title – enjoying that moment a little earlier than usual because of how its schedule lined up.

But two weeks later, league championship are set to be decided all over, with six of our nine featured matchups below potentially finishing with a league champion and many more games this weekend setting a similar stage for the next week or two.

MHSAA.tv will carry more than 150 games live this weekend, with Bally Sports Detroit broadcasting Friday's Lowell/East Grand Rapids rivalry game on its PLUS cable channel and State Champs! Sports Network streaming Saturday's Warren Fitzgerald/Madison Heights Madison matchup. See the full schedule from the MHSAA Score Center. (Games below are Friday unless noted.)

Bay & Thumb

Reese (5-0) at Bad Axe (5-0)

Three teams remain undefeated in Greater Thumb Conference West play – these two plus Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker – with tonight and the next two weeks potentially necessary to completely wrap up this conference race, although the winner tonight will be much closer to being there at the end. The Hatchets shared the title last year and have won four straight against the Rockets including 17-7 a year ago. After downing GTC East contender Harbor Beach 42-33 on opening night, Bad Axe has given up only 20 points over the last four games – but that defensive unit is sure to be challenged by a Reese offense averaging 41 points per contest.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Croswell-Lexington (4-1) at Almont (3-2), Flint Hamady (3-2) at Burton Bendle (4-1), Ortonville Brandon (5-0) at Goodrich (4-1), Midland (2-3) at Bay City Western (4-1).

Greater Detroit

Clarkston (5-0) at West Bloomfield (4-1)

A share of the Oakland Activities Association Red title is on the line, with Clarkston the reigning league champion. These two have traded regular-season wins since 2014, with the only break from that pattern Clarkston’s still semi-unimaginable 3-2 Division 1 championship game victory in 2017. The Lakers took last season’s meeting 24-21, and quickly got back on track this fall after being doubled up by Rochester Adams in the season opener to move into the No. 16 spot in Division 1 playoff points this week. Clarkston sits at No. 5 coming off a second three-point victory this season and with this matchup looking like the Wolves’ toughest before the playoffs begin.  

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Sterling Heights Stevenson (4-1) at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (4-1), Detroit Central (5-0) at Detroit Osborn (4-1), Detroit Catholic Central (4-1) at Warren De La Salle Collegiate (4-0), Milan (4-1) at Riverview (5-0).


Portland (5-0) at Lansing Catholic (5-0)

The winner will earn a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference White title, and these two have decided it the last six seasons. Lansing Catholic’s best moment this fall came Week 2 over Williamston, which plays this week in a game that could decide the CAAC Red title, while Portland opened this fall with wins over two teams that could end up league champions in Ovid-Elsie and DeWitt. Portland is riding a 33-game league winning streak stretching back to 2014 – but that doesn’t include a 2-2 playoff record against the Cougars during that time. They are guaranteed to not see each other again this time unless in passing at Ford Field – Portland is in Division 5 and ranked No. 2, while Lansing Catholic has the most playoff points in Division 6.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Comstock Park (5-0) at Belding (4-1), Williamston (3-2) at Haslett (4-1), Pewamo-Westphalia (5-0) at Olivet (4-1), New Lothrop (3-2) at Ovid-Elsie (4-1).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Cadillac (4-1) at Traverse City Central (4-1)

This could begin wrapping up the final Big North Conference championship as we currently know the league, with Central in position to earn a share of the title with a win before leaving with Traverse City West for the Saginaw Valley League next season. Cadillac’s lone loss this fall was to West in Week 3, but a Vikings win tonight would create a three-way tie atop the standings with one conference game to play. Even with that loss to West, Cadillac is giving up only 10.6 points per game, riding the strength that helped the Vikings to last season’s Division 4 Final. But similarly, Central despite an opening loss to DeWitt is averaging 48.2 points per game.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Charlevoix (4-1) at East Jordan (4-1), Sault Ste. Marie (4-1) at Grayling (3-2), Traverse City West (4-1) at Petoskey (3-2), Cheboygan (2-3) at Kingsley (5-0).

Southeast & Border

Jonesville (5-0) at Reading (4-1)

Somewhat quietly amid Reading’s attention-grabbing Division 8 state dominance of the last few seasons, Jonesville also has become a force in the Big 8 Conference with 14 wins over its last 15 league games including a 4-0 title run in 2020. A victory tonight would clinch a share of a repeat championship, and the Comets have outscored their first five opponents this fall by an average score of 47-7 while tying for No. 8 in Division 6. The Rangers finished second in the Big 8 a year ago, falling to Jonesville 44-18 in the title decider, and they’re facing a must-win to hope for a share this time after a 26-20 defeat against Union City two weeks ago.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Dexter (4-1) at Ann Arbor Huron (4-1), Temperance Bedford (4-1) at Monroe (3-2), Petersburg Summerfield (4-1) at Sand Creek (3-2), Blissfield (2-3) at Clinton (3-2).

Southwest Corridor

Centreville (4-1) at Cassopolis (4-1)

A share of the Southwest 10 Conference title goes to the winner, and Centreville is attempting to repeat after ending Cassopolis’ two-year title reign in 2020. The Bulldogs showed with last week’s win over previously-undefeated White Pigeon that any assumptions of their demise after an opening night loss to Niles Brandywine were premature. Cassopolis’ lone loss also was to Brandywine, in Week 2, and minus those defeats both teams are giving up less than eight points per game. It’s very possible as well this will be just chapter one this season – Centreville is tied for No. 16 and Cassopolis is No. 13 in Division 8 (and White Pigeon is tied for No. 8).

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Watervliet (4-1) at Constantine (5-0), Paw Paw (4-1) at Edwardsburg (5-0), St. Joseph (5-0) at Portage Central (3-2), River Rouge (3-2) at Portage Northern (2-3).

Upper Peninsula

Clare (4-1) at Marquette (4-1)

There are some important league matchups in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference especially that will take precedence for most this week, and for logical reasons. But from a statewide point of view, Marquette’s tough downstate matchups are always intriguing – and this one starts a four-game run that will include a possible league-title decider next week against Menominee and then two Big North meetings against Traverse City West and Petoskey. Clare is tied for first in the Jack Pine Conference, and similarly will welcome Gladwin next in what could be a matchup of that league’s leaders. This should be a fine tune-up and more as both prepare for those high-stakes Week 7 games.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Iron Mountain (3-2) at Calumet (3-2), Ishpeming Westwood (4-1) at Hancock (3-2), Negaunee (4-1) at L'Anse (3-2), Escanaba (1-4) at Menominee (3-2).

West Michigan

Hudsonville Unity Christian (5-0) at Spring Lake (5-0)

Four teams in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Blue are 3-0 in league play, and the other four 0-3, but this week will at least help sort out the leaders a bit with Grand Rapids West Catholic and Coopersville meeting as well. What makes this matchup just a slice more intriguing is Unity Christian is the reigning league champion and plays all three of these teams over the next three weeks – plus is ranked No. 4 in Division 4 with Spring Lake at No. 5. The Lakers also need just one more win to guarantee their best record since 2014.   

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Grand Rapids West Catholic (5-0) at Coopersville (5-0), Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (4-1) at Grand Rapids Christian (3-2), Muskegon Catholic Central (4-1) at Muskegon Heights Academy (4-1), Central Montcalm (4-1) at Reed City (4-1).


Portland St. Patrick (5-0) at Vestaburg (5-0), Saturday

With its first 5-0 start since 2006, Vestaburg has put itself in position for its best finish in more than a decade regardless of what happens against the Shamrocks. But the potential is there for much more. Those two are tied atop the first-year Central Michigan 8-Man Football Conference, with the winner of this matchup guaranteed a share of the league title. Vestaburg has reached 60 points three times in four games played (one win was a forfeit). Reigning Division 2 runner-up St. Patrick will match with a defense giving up 19 points per game, especially impressive in the high-flying 8-player format.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Gaylord St. Mary (4-1) at Pellston (5-0), Climax-Scotts (4-1) at Adrian Lenawee Christian (5-0), Rudyard (4-1) at Munising (3-2), Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (3-2) at Peck (5-0).

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 Muskegon Catholic Central, here Week 1 against North Muskegon, takes on Muskegon Heights Academy this weekend with a chance to clinch a share of the Lakes 8 Activities Conference title. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)

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.