1st & Goal: 2022 Playoff Week 1 Review

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

October 31, 2022

The first week of the MHSAA Football Playoffs features 144 games across the state – and again this weekend, we enjoyed plenty of the intriguing and unexpected.

MI Student AidOf those 144 games, 31 were won by teams playing on the road.

Five undefeated teams lost for the only time this season.

Three teams that entered the postseason at 3-6 or 3-5 were victorious, as were three more teams that entered 4-5.

And to help finish things off Saturday, Waterford Mott defeated Saginaw Heritage 77-63 – with those combined 140 points the second-most ever scored in an MHSAA 11-player game, six off the record set by Climax-Scotts and Fulton in 2017 when Climax-Scotts won 84-62.

There are stories behind all of this weekend’s scores, and we glance at several of them below.  

11-Player Division 1

HEADLINER Detroit Cass Tech 38, West Bloomfield 13 Although both are among the most highly-regarded programs in Michigan, this certainly qualified as an upset as West Bloomfield (8-2) was ranked No. 4 in Division 1 in the state coaches poll while Cass Tech (7-3) was unranked. With big-time athletes all over the field for both teams, the Technicians’ speed stood out as running back Sean Hodges was among stars. Click for more from the Detroit News.

District Digest Grand Ledge 38, Brighton 3 Any other week this would be the “headliner” above as unranked Grand Ledge (8-2) continued to impress in advancing to a District Final for the first time since 2015. No. 10 (tie) Brighton finished 8-2, its only two losses coming in its final two games. Clarkston 62, Lapeer 41 These two met for the second time in three weeks, with No. 7 Clarkston (8-2) adding to its 48-13 win over the Lightning (7-3) the first time. Rochester 21, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 20 Just two weeks earlier, Stoney Creek (5-5) won the regular-season matchup 43-22. But the Falcons (6-4) not only avenged that loss but four straight to this rival.

11-Player Division 2

HEADLINER South Lyon 30, South Lyon East 27 (2 OT) Just a week after falling to East 27-21, South Lyon avenged with this double-overtime win over its neighbor. The Cougars (7-3) seemed on their way to another victory leading into the fourth quarter before the game went to overtime and the Lions (7-3) eventually prevailed. Click for more from Hometown Life.

District Digest East Lansing 24, Battle Creek Central 0 The Trojans went on the road coming off two straight losses that sunk their league title chances, but posted their third shutout of the fall to end Battle Creek Central’s first winning season since 2018 at 7-4. Portage Northern 44, Byron Center 22 The Huskies quietly have been bouncing back impressively from last season’s 3-6 finish, and they moved to 7-3 with this upset of No. 8 Byron Center (7-3). St. Clair Shores Lakeview 33, Port Huron Northern 27 Lakeview (7-3) also enjoyed a road upset in leaving No. 10 PHN with a berth in the District Finals for the first time since 2019.

11-Player Division 3

HEADLINER Detroit Martin Luther King 41, River Rouge 28 Crusaders standout quarterback Dante Moore started his final playoffs with four touchdown passes against a Rouge defense that was giving up only 8.5 points per game in entering the postseason 5-3. The Panthers’ offense elevated as well against a King defense that was allowing just 15 points per game, but couldn’t keep up as the Crusaders (6-3) improved to 13-2 in the playoffs during Moore’s four seasons. King entered the postseason ranked No. 1 in Division 3, while Rouge was No. 4. Click for more from the Detroit Free Press.

District Digest Coopersville 28, Cedar Springs 0 The Broncos (7-3) reached seven wins for the first time since 2008 after shutting out a Cedar Springs attack that had averaged 42 points per game during a five-game winning streak that had gotten the Red Hawks into the playoffs at 5-4. Jackson 32, Parma Western 25 The Vikings (6-4) guaranteed their winningest season since 2018 with their first playoff victory since 2015, while ending Western’s season at 6-4. Zeeland West 36, Lowell 28 The Red Arrows (6-4) came back from a double-digit deficit to tie things up in the fourth quarter, but the No. 6 Dux (9-1) scored one more time with just more than eight minutes to play and held off Lowell the rest of the way.

11-Player Division 4

HEADLINER Livonia Clarenceville 48, Redford Union 46 (OT) The Trojans (6-4) entered the playoffs coming off two straight losses during which they’d scored a combined 102 points but lost by six and then one. This opener played out similarly, but this time Clarenceville hung on for the win after putting up its points on a Union defense that had given up only 50 total during a 9-0 regular season that saw the Panthers enter the playoffs ranked No. 4 in the coaches poll. Click for photos from Hometown Life.

District Digest Charlotte 27, Chelsea 15 The Orioles (9-1) added to their best season since 2004 this win over last season’s Division 4 champion. This was Chelsea’s earliest season conclusion since not making the playoffs in 2013; the Bulldogs finished 5-5. Freeland 61, North Branch 41 The No. 6 Falcons (8-2) bumped their average scoring per game to 41 points with a season high against the Blue Water Area Conference co-champion Broncos (8-2). Niles 56, Three Rivers 32 The Vikings (6-4) have won five straight games, and this avenged a 27-21 Week 3 loss to the Wildcats (5-5).

11-Player Division 5

HEADLINER Flint Hamady 36, Armada 35 The Hawks earned their best win of an outstanding season, edging the other Blue Water Area Conference co-champion (see North Branch above) despite trailing by a touchdown heading into the fourth quarter. Hamady (9-1) is heading to the District Finals for the first time since 2018. The 36 points were the most allowed by Armada (7-3) this season. Click for more from the Macomb Daily.

District Digest Kingsford 34, Kingsley 30 The Flivvers (7-3) scored with 23 seconds to play to earn their first District Final trip since 2017. Kingsley finished 7-3, with two of its three losses decided by a combined five points. Corunna 34, Williamston 27 The No. 10-ranked Cavaliers (8-2) edged the No. 9 Hornets (7-3) to earn their third-straight trip to a District Final. All three Williamston losses this season were by eight points or fewer. Flat Rock 27, Dundee 22 The Rams (7-3) earned their first playoff win since their Class C championship season of 1976 – and after going a combined 9-25 over the last four years. Dundee finished 6-4.

11-Player Division 6

HEADLINER Lansing Catholic 28, Durand 21 It’s tough to say if this was the most stunning of two Division 6 wins over teams that finished the regular season undefeated. Lansing Catholic entered 4-5, but also is the reigning Division 6 champion – and the Cougars have come on strong with three straight wins and despite opening this season 0-3. No. 7 Durand had won four games decided by a touchdown or less on the way to its 9-0 start, but couldn’t hold onto an early lead this time. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.

District Digest Manistee 28, Boyne City 27 This was the other win over an undefeated opponent, as Manistee (7-3) earned its first trip to the District Finals after hitting the road to deal Boyne City (9-1) its only loss in also the No. 6 Ramblers’ only game decided by fewer than 15 points. Standish-Sterling 30, Clare 29 (OT) The No. 10 (tied) Panthers (8-1) saw their potential perfect regular season stopped short in Week 9, but extended their playoffs with an overtime 2-point conversion to edge the Pioneers (5-5). Constantine 54, Buchanan 12 The Falcons’ continued to dominate on both sides of the ball, besting their points for and points against averages in stopping the Bucks (8-2) and improving to 9-1. Menominee 44, Calumet 39 In running 38 times for 330 yards and five touchdowns, Brayden Nelson broke or tied three Calumet school records. But Landon Bardowski scored with less than a minute left to put the Maroons (6-4) ahead for good. Calumet finished 6-4.

11-Player Division 7

HEADLINER Ravenna 10, North Muskegon 7 Three weeks after falling to North Muskegon 28-7 in the game that eventually decided the West Michigan Conference Rivers title, Ravenna (7-3) is headed back to the District Finals for the third time in four seasons after one of its strongest defensive performances of the fall. North Muskegon ended 8-2, its best record since 2006. Click for more from CatchMark SportsNet.

District Digest Benzie Central 21, Charlevoix 14 This was right up there with the biggest stunners of the weekend as Benzie (4-6) entered 3-6 but edged the No. 9-ranked Rayders (8-2). Manchester 22, Grass Lake 19 Two weeks after falling to Grass Lake 35-19, Manchester avenged to move to 6-4 and guarantee its winningest season since 2015. Grass Lake ended 5-5. Hudson 50, Union City 13 The No. 3 Tigers (8-1) fell short in their league title bid this season, but defeated a league champion in Union City (7-3) to reach the District Finals.

11-Player Division 8

HEADLINER Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary 34, Harbor Beach 20 As noted in Friday’s preview, these two made up half of one of the strongest Districts in any division, and No. 5 MLS (9-1) will now meet undefeated and top-ranked Ubly after holding on against the No. 6 Pirates (8-2). Harbor Beach had given up more than 16 points in only one other game – against Ubly – and MLS continued a marvelous turnaround after going a combined 5-11 over the last two seasons. Click for more from the Saginaw News.

District Digest Detroit Community 38, Mount Clemens 28 The Battling Bathers (7-3) had won the Week 8 matchup for the Charter School Conference East title, 44-24, but Community (6-4) avenged with its first playoff win in 12 years as a program. East Jordan 6, Frankfort 0 (OT) The Red Devils (6-4) secured their first playoff win since 1999 by earning their first shutout of the season and scoring the game’s only points after regulation. Frankfort (8-2) had won their Week 6 meeting 20-14. Bark River-Harris 44, St. Ignace 20 This matchup of league champions went to the Broncos (8-2), who will see Iron Mountain in a District Final for the second time in three seasons. St. Ignace finished 7-3, its best since 2016 and after going a combined 3-13 over the last two seasons.

8-Player Division 1

HEADLINER Deckerville 14, Kingston 8 The No. 5-ranked Cardinals’ run to their first perfect regular season since 1999 included a 56-20 Week 6 win over Deckerville, their first victory over the Eagles over the last 13 seasons of playing them annually. But Deckerville (7-3) hasn’t lost since, and this actually was the Eagles’ third-straight victory by eight points or fewer. It was also the only single-digit game this fall for Kingston (9-1). Click for more from the Huron Daily Tribune.

Regional Roundup Newberry 54, Rogers City 6 What seemed heading in as arguably the top matchup of the weekend in Division 1 didn’t end up that way as No. 6 Newberry allowed single-digit scoring for the sixth-straight game and with No. 4 Rogers City (9-1) averaging 46 points per game entering the contest. Breckenridge 36, Fulton 32 After Breckenridge (8-2) won their Week 1 meeting 40-36, the Huskies similarly edged the Pirates (7-3) in their first 8-player playoff game. Brown City 66, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 38 The No. 9 Green Devils (9-1), also in their first season of 8-player, earned their first playoff win since 1997. No. 7 Oakland Christian (8-2), in its second season of 8-player, also was making its first playoff appearance in its new format.

8-Player Division 2

HEADLINER Mendon 44, Climax-Scotts 18 The No. 7 Hornets opened with a strong move, defeating No. 3 Climax-Scotts to reach the Regional Finals for the second time in two seasons of 8-player. Climax-Scotts (8-2) was averaging 42 points per game entering the weekend, but couldn’t find that stride against a defense that hasn’t given up more than 17 points in a game since Week 3. Mendon (8-2) is now a combined 16-5 over its two 8-player seasons. See below for more from FOX 17.

Regional Roundup Lake Linden-Hubbell 44, Crystal Falls Forest Park 12 The No. 5 Trojans (7-3) had won these teams’ Week 6 meeting 22-14. With this win, the Lakes (7-3) earned another rematch – against top-ranked Powers North Central. Morrice 62, Peck 6 Two regular-season losses took No. 9 Morrice out of its league’s title mix, but the Orioles opened the playoffs with this win over the No. 8 Pirates (7-3), winners of the North Central Thumb League Stripes. Gaylord St. Mary 47, Central Lake 6 The No. 10 Snowbirds (8-2) have won six straight and by an average margin of 45 points during the run. St. Mary also won the first meeting with Central Lake (7-3) in Week 2, 48-36.

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PHOTO A Swartz Creek ball carrier looks for an opening during Friday’s playoff game against Midland. (Photo by Melody Cook.)

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.