1st & Goal: 2022 Week 2 Preview
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
September 1, 2022
Week 1 of this football season, as is annually the process, was filled with teams grabbing our attention with strong and often unexpected first impressions.
Week 2 is the beginning of making those impressions stick.
We’ll be watching as 245 games are played Thursday, 50 more Friday and two Saturday. Click for the full schedule from MHSAA.com and check out the broadcast schedule from MHSAA.tv.
Bay & Thumb
East Lansing (1-0) at Fenton (1-0), Thursday
Both were among Week 1 winners to give the strongest notice, with Fenton defeating Midland Dow in a big way and East Lansing going on the road and downing Portage Central. The Trojans won last year’s matchup 33-7 on the way to finishing 7-4 overall, but this also looks early like a much-improved Tigers team from the one that ended 2021 at 4-5.
Keep an eye on these THURSDAY Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Lake (1-0) at Cass City (1-0), New Lothrop (1-0) at Chesaning (1-0), Frankenmuth (1-0) at Saginaw Swan Valley (0-1). FRIDAY Detroit Catholic Central (0-1) at Davison (1-0).
Southfield Arts & Technology (1-0) at Clarkston (0-1), Thursday
Southfield A&T made perhaps the most stunning entrance of all Week 1, defeating Detroit Cass Tech 56-54 in overtime with junior quarterback Isaiah Marshall throwing six touchdown passes and running for two more scores. Up next are the Wolves, who lost 28-21 to Davison last week but won last season’s Southfield matchup 56-27. Sidenote: The last six years these two were in the same Oakland Activities Association division, and this season they are not.
Keep an eye on these THURSDAY Parma Western (1-0) at Detroit Country Day (1-0), Croswell-Lexington (1-0) at Richmond (1-0), Rochester Adams (1-0) at Rochester (0-1). FRIDAY Muskegon (1-0) at Warren De La Salle Collegiate (1-0).
Portland (1-0) at DeWitt (1-0), Thursday
The Raiders have won both recent meetings between these Lansing area powers, in 2019 and then 20-17 a year ago on the way to the Division 5 Semifinals. Portland opened with a big win over Ovid-Elsie, while DeWitt – the reigning Division 3 runner-up – put up an especially strong defensive performance in defeating Haslett last week at University of Michigan. With both expected to do big things again, this one should benefit both in playoff points whichever team comes out on top.
Keep an eye on these THURSDAY Mason (1-0) at Holt (0-1), Standish-Sterling (1-0) at Ithaca (1-0), Williamston (1-0) at Lansing Catholic (0-1). FRIDAY Midland (1-0) at Mount Pleasant (1-0).
Northern Lower Peninsula
Oscoda (1-0) at Maple City Glen Lake (0-1), Thursday
The Owls joined the Northern Michigan Football League last fall, playing in the Legacy division, and this will be their first matchup with the annually-contending Lakers as Glen Lake moved to the Legacy this season. Oscoda missed the playoffs last year for the first time in five, but finished on a four-game winning streak and opened last week with a solid win over Houghton Lake. The Lakers are coming off a similar situation, having won their final three regular-season games last fall to reach the playoffs at 4-5, but they’re coming off a defeat against Kalkaska.
Keep an eye on these THURSDAY Kingsley (1-0) at Gaylord (1-0), Frankfort (1-0) at Mancelona (1-0). FRIDAY Lapeer (1-0) at Traverse City Central (1-0), Cheboygan (1-0) at Boyne City (1-0).
Southeast & Border
Traverse City St. Francis (1-0) at Jackson Lumen Christi (0-1), Friday
These two were both one win away from facing each other in last season’s Division 7 Final, as both saw their seasons end in Semifinals on opposite sides of the bracket. They very well could meet twice this season – St. Francis is ranked No. 2 and Lumen Christi No. 3 in Division 7, with the latter coming off a 12-7 loss to top-ranked New Lothrop. The Gladiators, meanwhile, opened with a league win over Ogemaw Heights.
Keep an eye on these THURSDAY Saline (1-0) at Ann Arbor Huron (0-1), Reading (1-0) at Grass Lake (1-0), Constantine (1-0) at Hudson (1-0), Ottawa Lake Whiteford (1-0) at Ida (0-1). FRIDAY.
Centreville (1-0) at Schoolcraft (1-0), Thursday
The memory of Schoolcraft’s uncharacteristic 3-5 finish a year ago is fading quickly after a major shut out last week of Comstock, and defeating the Bulldogs would further add momentum to the fresh start. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 6 in Division 8 coming off a solid win over Union City, and they defeated Schoolcraft last season 28-7.
Keep an eye on these THURSDAY Plainwell (1-0) at Coldwater (0-1), Stevensville Lakeshore (0-1) at Kalamazoo United (0-1), Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (1-0) at Portage Central (0-1), Hudsonville Unity Christian (0-1) at St. Joseph (0-1).
Negaunee (1-0) at Calumet (0-1), Thursday
It took just one week for the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper race to get really interesting, with reigning co-champ Westwood falling to Houghton and last season’s third-place finisher Negaunee taking a nice step by defeating 2021 fourth-place finisher Iron Mountain. Calumet was the other co-champ last fall and also lost last week, but nonleague against Gladstone. Negaunee’s 35-21 win over the Copper Kings last fall helped Westwood eventually share the title; this time, a Miners win would make Negaunee a strong favorite just two weeks into the season.
Keep an eye on these THURSDAY West Iron County (0-1) at Bark River-Harris (1-0), Kingsford (1-0) at Gladstone (1-0), Iron Mountain (0-1) at Ishpeming Westwood (0-1), Grayling (1-0) at Sault Ste. Marie (1-0).
Muskegon Mona Shores (1-0) at Rockford (1-0), Thursday
This might be the statewide game of the weekend, as these two perennial powers meet for the first time since 2018. Rockford is ranked No. 4 in Division 1, coming off a big win over East Grand Rapids. Mona Shores is No. 2 in Division 2 after a similarly-solid performance against Wisconsin’s Manitowoc Lincoln. Obviously the rosters have completely turned over, but the Sailors did own a 3-2 advantage in five games against Rockford from 2014-18.
Keep an eye on these THURSDAY Byron Center (1-0) at Grandville (1-0), Muskegon Oakridge (1-0) at Muskegon Catholic Central (1-0). FRIDAY Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (0-1) at East Kentwood (0-1), Zeeland West (1-0) at Cedar Springs (0-1).
Breckenridge (1-0) at Merrill (1-0), Thursday
Despite watching its enrollment fall 30 percent over the last six years, Breckenridge became one of the strongest teams in 11-player Division 8 going 56-11 from 2016-21 before making the move to 8-player this fall. The Huskies edged Fulton 40-36 last season and now get a familiar opponent in Merrill, which played in the same league as Breckenridge from 2016-19 before switching formats. The Vandals opened last week with a significant shut out of Webberville.
Keep an eye on these THURSDAY Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (1-0) at Indian River Inland Lakes (1-0), Camden-Frontier (1-0) at Pittsford (1-0). FRIDAY Newberry (1-0) at Munising (1-0), Au Gres-Sims (1-0) at Rogers City (1-0).
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PHOTO Redford Union’s Kyren Ware (7) breaks through the Pewamo-Westphalia defense during last week’s 26-6 victory that broke the Pirates’ 16-game winning streak. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)
Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
May 26, 2023
Mendon’s run to the Division 2 Final last fall included some of the strongest rushing performances over the history of 8-player football.
The Hornets ran for 4,317 yards, second-most all-time, on the second-most attempts (520) and with a record-setting 682 yards Oct. 14 against Marcellus. Mendon also set the record for total offense with 692 total in that game, and made the single-season touchdowns list with 76 including 66 rushing (also second on that list).
Junior Jack McCaw made the single-season scoring list with 212 points, most coming on 29 touchdowns, and Evan Lukeman made the single-game rushing list with 401 yards against Marcellus. Mendon’s defense also earned praise, twice making the fewest-first-downs-allowed list with a low of three.
See below for more recent additions to the 8-player portion of the football record book:
Athens’ Landon Bennett earned a pair of record book entries after reaching the end zone seven times during his team’s 72-0 win over Burr Oak on Sept. 8. His seven scores are tied for third-most in 8-player history and included three rushing, three on punt returns and one on an interception return. The three punt return touchdowns are a record. Bennett is a junior.
On the night Powers North Central broke its 8-player record for consecutive wins, claiming its 28th straight, senior Luke Gorzinski tied Jets great Jason Whitens for the record for interception touchdowns in a game with two, scoring on returns during the second and fourth quarters. Gorzinski has signed with Michigan Tech, and North Central’s winning streak is 37 games and counting.
A pair of Atlanta offensive playmakers and a top defensive lineman earned a total of seven entries in the record book for achievements last fall. Senior quarterback Tyler Currie threw for 30 touchdowns over eight games, and also made the records for six touchdowns and 419 passing yards against Whittemore-Prescott on Sept. 23; the passing yards are second-most for one 8-player game. Sophomore Landon Galea was added for 263 yards and five of those touchdowns against the Cardinals, and also for 1,418 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns over nine games. Junior teammate Tucker Kendrick made the tackles for loss list with five against Hillman on Oct. 6.
Adrian Lenawee Christian senior Brady McKelvey became the first to make the career extra points list in 8-player football this past fall. He bettered his previous single-season record making 64 of 66 extra-point attempts over 11 games and finishing his two-year varsity career with 123 extra points in 127 tries.
Sam McKissack reached the record book showcasing multiple skills for Crystal Falls Forest Park during the 2021 season – twice for rushing attempts in a game including with a record 59 against Ontonagon that Sept. 10, and then with a record 70-yard punt Oct. 30, 2021, against Lake Linden-Hubbell. Teammate Devon Basirico also made the record book with six fumble recoveries over 11 games that season. As a team, Forest Park was added twice for single-game rushing attempts – including 73 total in that Ontonagon game – and for 424 rushes over 11 games for the season. McKissack and Basirico are seniors this spring.
Nikolaus Lewis tied for eighth-most rushing touchdowns in an 8-player game when he reached the end zone six times for Carsonville-Port Sanilac in its win over Caseville on Oct. 7. He’s a senior this spring.
Bridgman has won 24 straight games over the last three seasons, and an exceptional offense – and exceptional offensive star – have played major roles. The Bees were added for 658 total yards in a win over Lawrence last season, that total ranking third all-time, and also 613 yards in a win over Eau Claire. Those included totals of 575 and 547 rushing yards, respectively, and Bridgman was added for 3,598 rushing yards (sixth on the list), 59 rushing touchdowns (fourth) and 76 total touchdowns (seventh). Senior Reid Haskins capped his four-year, 32-game varsity career with 13 record book entries, including for 254 points last season over nine games (tied for fifth all-time) and a record 620 career points, 41 touchdowns last season (fifth) and a record 95 for his career, 2,344 rushing yards last season (third) and a record 5,206 for his career, and 41 rushing touchdowns last season (third) and a record 94 for his career. Senior teammate Tanner Peters made the records three times including for 50 extra points last season (fourth) and 99 over 26 games and three seasons (second on the career list).
Mio's Austin Fox rewrote the 8-player passing record book this past fall, with his 621 yards in a game against Whittemore-Prescott setting a single-game record as he totaled four of the five-highest passing yardage totals. He also set a record with 3,516 over nine games for the season, another record with 289 passing attempts over those nine games and a third record for nine touchdown passes in that game against the Cardinals. His 41 touchdown passes total rank fourth. Teammates Gage Long and Nathan Hurst also earned several record book entries on the receiving end of those passes. Long’s 297 receiving yards against Whittemore-Prescott were tied for third most, and Hurst’s 266 against Alcona rank eighth. Long set a single-season record with 1,739 receiving yards, with Hurst sixth all-time at 1,321, and Long’s 14 receptions against the Cardinals and 70 for the season also rank second on those respective lists. Hurst set a record for longest 8-player kickoff return with a 99-yarder against St. Helen Charlton Heston. All three are seniors.
Peck was one of the first MHSAA 8-player champions, claiming the title in 2013, and Cody Abrego one of the state’s first 8-player stars. The Pirates were added to the MHSAA record book 52 times, and Abrego 14 times individually. Among the most notable entries for the 2015 graduate were for 462 points scored over his two-season career (ranking sixth all-time), 74 career touchdowns (sixth), 2,202 rushing yards in 2013 (fifth) and 35 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (sixth). Current senior Caleb Lentner was one of the stars statewide this past season, and he was added eight times including for 50 points scored in a game (ranking second), 272 points for a season last fall (fifth), eight touchdowns in a game (tied for second), 42 touchdowns in a season (fifth), an 8-player record of 2,694 rushing yards from last season, and 38 rushing touchdowns also last fall (fourth). Others to make the individual lists were Nathan Robar, Caleb Dudley, Steven VanConant, Kyle Abrego and Nathan Neihaus, Dudley for a record 20 career interceptions over two seasons and VanConant for a record 12 tackles for loss in a 2022 game and 36 tackles for loss for the season last fall. The Pirates also are all over the 8-player team record book, including for a record 97 touchdowns in 2013, a record 5,895 yards of total offense that season, 528 carries, 4,346 rushing yards and 73 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (all ranking second); and 24 interceptions in 2014, which ranks second on that list.
Senior quarterback JR Hildebrand was one of the most dynamic players in 8-player football in the fall in leading Martin to the Division 1 title. He had one of his most exciting nights in a playoff opener against Tekonsha, making the single-game touchdown pass list with six in a 68-6 victory.
PHOTO Mendon’s Jack McCaw (21) eludes a tackle during the 8-Player Division 2 Final in November at Northern Michigan University. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)