October is league title time in football, and there were plenty of celebrations all over Michigan during Week 6.
We highlighted several this week, especially from the "Greater Detroit" area. Most guaranteed a share of a league championship with an opportunity to win outright coming up. Others set themselves up for a title-deciding showdown ahead, and we offered a glance at those possibilities as well.
Bay & Thumb
HEADLINER Goodrich 42, Ortonville Brandon 21 The Martians (5-1) are undefeated since losing to still-unbeaten Frankenmuth in Week 1, and with this victory they claimed a share of the Flint Metro League Stars championship as well as kept the M15 jug traveling trophy after winning it back a year ago. Goodrich shared the Stars title last year and can clinch it outright this week against Lake Fenton, last season’s other co-champion. Brandon fell to 4-2 with its other defeat to Lake Fenton. Click for more from the Flint Journal.
Watch list Linden 23, Swartz Creek 7 The Eagles (5-1) put themselves in line to earn at least a share of the Metro League Stripes title after entering the weekend tied with Swartz Creek (5-1) for first. Linden also tied its highest win total since 2017.
On the move Davison 52, Walled Lake Western 14 The Cardinals (5-1) handed Lakes Valley Conference leader Western (5-1) its lone defeat and equaled their 2021 win total in the process. Almont 37, Croswell-Lexington 26 With two league losses, Almont (4-2) will have a tough time winning the Blue Water Area Conference – but the Raiders are potential spoilers having knocked Croswell-Lexington (5-1) out of a tie for first. Bay City Central 22, Mount Pleasant 21 This was one of the stunners of the weekend statewide, as Central (2-4) had scored only 37 points total over their last four defeats to the Oilers (5-1) – who hadn’t lost a regular-season game in nearly two calendar years.
HEADLINER Macomb Dakota 21, Romeo 14 The Cougars clinched a share of the Macomb Area Conference Red title with this win over one of last season’s co-champions, taking a 14-0 lead and holding on. Dakota (6-0) had lost last year’s regular-season meeting with Romeo (4-2) but won 35-20 in a District Final rematch.
Here's the highlights of the Macomb Dakota at Romeo football game that aired on Football Fridays Overtime powered by STATE CHAMPS! on @BallySportsDET#MIFTBL @DHSCougars @DakotaFootball @dakotahsAD pic.twitter.com/6ZpKPkRD5S
— STATE CHAMPS! Michigan (@statechampsmich) October 1, 2022
Watch list Detroit U-D Jesuit 30, Dearborn Divine Child 22 The Cubs bounced back after three-straight nonleague losses to teams a combined 15-3 to win its two Detroit Catholic League AA matchups and secure the division title. Divine Child moved to 4-2, still tying its most wins since 2017.
On the move Warren De La Salle Collegiate 28, Detroit Catholic Central 0 The Pilots (5-1) bounced back from losing their Catholic League Central opener to win their final two games and clinch a share with DCC (4-2) able to also pick up a share this week against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. Detroit Central 45, Detroit Northwestern 6 Central (6-0) clinched a share of the Detroit Public School League Gold by holding a fifth opponent to single-digit scoring this fall. Detroit Martin Luther King 38, Detroit Renaissance 0 The Crusaders (4-1) clinched a share of the PSL Blue title with their third shutout over four league matchups. Madison Heights Bishop Foley 29, Riverview Gabriel Richard 28 Bishop Foley (6-0) earned a one-score win for the second-straight week, this time to clinch a share of the Catholic League Intersectional 1 championship. Marine City Cardinal Mooney 15, Clarkston Everest Collegiate 8 Mooney (5-1) avenged last year’s 45-3 loss to Everest (3-3) to clinch a share of the Intersectional 2 title. Center Line 37, Clawson 6 After falling in two nonleague games to start the fall, Center Line (4-2) has won its first four in the MAC Bronze to clinch a title share by handing Clawson (3-3) its first league defeat. Southgate Anderson 33, Gibraltar Carlson 28 This mini-upset, combined with Trenton’s 21-14 win over Brownstown Woodhaven, has all four of these teams with one loss in the Downriver League.
HEADLINER Portland 40, Charlotte 13 The Raiders (5-1) scored the game’s first 23 points on the way to clinching a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference White title. Portland and Charlotte (5-1) entered the night tied for the top spot, and the Raiders held an offense scoring 39 points per game to its season low. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.
Watch list Grand Ledge 56, DeWitt 49 The Comets (5-1) control their destiny in the CAAC Blue with a chance to play East Lansing in Week 9 for a share of the title, while DeWitt (3-3) fell to fifth place but with all three defeats this season by seven points or fewer.
On the move Durand 28, Gladstone 24 The Railroaders (6-0) equaled last season’s win total, which remains their highest since 2009, and handed Gladstone (5-1) its only loss as the teams met up in Gaylord. Holt 30, Lansing Waverly 6 The Rams (3-3) have played five opponents sitting .500 or better, with Waverly (4-2) also a playoff hopeful but with a tough slate ahead. Ionia 19, Lansing Catholic 18 (OT) The Bulldogs (2-4) had lost their CAAC White games to Lansing Catholic (2-4) over the last eight seasons by an average of 25 points per contest, but this time they halted the Cougars’ two-game winning streak as Lansing Catholic also was rebounding from a tough start.
Northern Lower Peninsula
HEADLINER Boyne City 42, Charlevoix 14 The Ramblers (6-0) set themselves up with a chance to clinch a Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders title this week against Elk Rapids by handing Charlevoix (5-1) its only defeat. Gavin Hewitt was among standouts as Boyne City scored the first points Charlevoix had given up since Week 1. Click for more from the Petoskey News-Review.
Watch list Frankfort 20, East Jordan 14 Defense has been the strength for Frankfort (5-1) this fall, and East Jordan (3-3) had averaged 31 points per game entering the night. Frankfort now will be rooting for the Red Devils, as they need an East Jordan win over first-place St. Ignace this week to have a shot at an NMFC Legacy title share.
On the move Cadillac 28, Petoskey 19 The Vikings (4-2) finished their outright title run in the Big North Conference and now finish their regular season against nonleague teams that are a combined 16-2. Roscommon 43, Manton 0 The Bucks (3-3) have guaranteed their best season since 2018 with three straight wins during which they’ve outscored their opponents by a combined 145-6. Traverse City Central 62, Midland Dow 26 The Trojans (2-4) earned their first win since Week 1, but could make a run at returning to the playoffs by winning out as the four teams they’ve lost to are a combined 21-3.
Southeast & Border
HEADLINER Whitmore Lake 24, Sterling Heights Parkway Christian 15 The Trojans (5-1) clinched their second championship over four seasons in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference and continued a five-game winning streak. Whitmore Lake is giving up just 15 points per game and allowed a high of just 20 in the Week 1 loss.
Watch list Dexter 21, Ann Arbor Huron 14 While technically two other teams still have a chance, the Southeastern Conference Red title looks like it’s coming down to Dexter (6-0) and Saline. The Dreadnaughts escaped with this close win over the River Rats (3-3) to avenge last year’s seven-point loss.
On the move Napoleon 14, Grass Lake 6 The Pirates (6-0) pulled to within one more win of clinching a share of the Cascades Conference title, but must avenge one of their two 2021 league losses over the next two weeks to do so. Tecumseh 69, Jackson 46 Winner will take all in the SEC White this week as Tecumseh (6-0) avenged last year’s loss to Jackson (3-3) to earn the chance to play Chelsea for the outright league title. Michigan Center 40, Manchester 14 The Cardinals (2-4) have worked through three close losses this fall and with this win over the Flying Dutchmen (4-2) kept their playoff hopes alive.
HEADLINER Battle Creek Central 29, Portage Central 15 The Bearcats couldn’t be in a better position as they pursue the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference championship. Their only loss came nonleague in overtime in Week 1, and Battle Creek Central’s next two SMAC opponents are both winless in league play – with league co-leader St. Joseph the opponent in the regular-season finale. See below for more from FOX 17.
— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) October 1, 2022
Watch list Union City 32, Addison 22 This was a nonleague win for Union City (5-1) but came against the second-place team from the Cascades Conference. Union City could end up seeing the Cascades champion in a Week 9 crossover if the Chargers can finish off a Big 8 Conference title run. Their final two league games are against teams with one combined league win.
On the move Edwardsburg 58, Paw Paw 36 The Eddies (5-1) found their traditional scoring touch with a season-high points total, although Paw Paw (3-3) also put up the most points Edwardsburg has allowed. St. Joseph 62, Portage Northern 49 The Bears (5-1) kept up their end of that SMAC tie for first as they await third-place Stevensville Lakeshore this week. Benton Harbor 14, Niles Brandywine 0 The Tigers (3-3) kept their Lakeland Conference title hopes alive and also put a dent in the same for Brandywine (4-2); league leader Buchanan sees both to finish the league schedule over the next two weeks.
HEADLINER Bark River-Harris 36, Manistique 21 The Broncos (4-2) bounced back from back-to-back defeats with this win to set up a winner-take-call Week 9 matchup with Ishpeming in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Iron championship. Both are 2-0 in league play. The Broncos should also continue to get a nice bump in playoff points from those losses to West PAC Copper contenders Iron Mountain and Houghton.
Watch list Ishpeming Westwood 34, Hancock 6 After opening with three straight losses – including two two-pointers – Westwood is even at 3-3 and only four spots outside the Division 6 playoff field.
On the move Iron Mountain 35, Calumet 7 The Mountaineers (5-1) avenged last season’s loss to Calumet (3-3) with more lockdown defense. Make that only 40 points given up this season, and only 21 over the last five games. St. Ignace 20, Maple City Glen Lake 7 The Saints’ story keeps getting better as they sit alone atop the NMFC Legacy thanks to another impressive defensive stand. St. Ignace (5-1) has given up 59 points this season, and 40 came in its lone loss to Gladstone. Kingsford 51, Detroit Old Redford 6 The Flivvers (4-2) are No. 13 in Division 5 playoff points after a big win over an Old Redford team that is slated to make the Division 6 field currently at 4-2.
HEADLINER Grand Rapids South Christian 36, Grand Rapids Catholic Central 34 The Sailors earned their first win over GRCC (5-1) since 2014, in doing so ending the Cougars’ winning streak at 41 games – the fifth-longest in MHSAA football history. South Christian quarterback Jake DeHaan was among stars, with his late 82-yard TD run helping to seal the win. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.
This was game of the week for good reason! This one was unreal. South Christian serves GR Catholic Central a 36-34 loss. The first for the Cougs in 42 games. @sailorsports @SCsailorFB https://t.co/wJ4xHjUjf6 pic.twitter.com/g7FXUYz0On
— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) October 1, 2022
Watch list Whitehall 42, Muskegon Oakridge 8 The Vikings (6-0) made a mighty statement in the West Michigan Conference Lakes, moving into first place alone with this win over a former co-leader and formerly undefeated Oakridge (5-1).
On the move Muskegon Mona Shores 34, Zeeland West 6 These Sailors (5-1) moved into first alone in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green by sending Zeeland West (5-1) into a three-way tie for second. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 14, Lowell 7 The Rangers (6-0) held onto the top spot alone in the O-K White, a game ahead of Byron Center and now two ahead of the Red Arrows (4-2). Muskegon Catholic Central 16, Schoolcraft 12 The Crusaders (4-2) are on a three-game winning streak with this victory over Schoolcraft (4-2). All but one MCC game this season has been decided by eight points or fewer.
HEADLINER Colon 25, Climax-Scotts 20 The Magi had defeated Climax-Scotts by an average of nearly 41 points per game during their first four 8-player meetings – but had to hold off the Panthers (5-1) this time. In doing so, Colon (6-0) earned a share of the Southern Central Athletic Association – A championship. Click for more from the Battle Creek Enquirer.
Watch list Alcona 50, Indian River Inland Lakes 40 The Tigers have found their footing in 8-player football, and then some. After going 5-4 in their inaugural season last fall, Alcona (6-0) has surpassed that win total and is averaging 60 points per game – already outscoring last year’s team as well. This win was the Tigers’ most impressive, as Inland Lakes (4-2) is the favorite in the Ski Valley Conference.
On the move Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 35, Martin 19 The Mustangs (6-0) handed Martin (5-1) its first regular-season loss on the field since 2018, when the Clippers were still playing the 11-player format. Merrill 52, Morrice 12 The Vandals (6-0) are the team to chase in the Central Michigan 8-Man Football Conference after handing Morrice (5-1) its lone loss, and scoring their second-most points this fall in the process. Munising 54, Pickford 0 Make the reigning champ Mustangs (6-0) the favorites again in the Great Lakes Eight Conference East after they avenged last season’s 40-36 loss to the Panthers (4-2).
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PHOTOS (Top) A Breckenridge ball carrier is pulled down by a Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart tackler during the Huskies’ 20-12 win this past weekend. (Middle) A Beal City defender wraps up a Pine River ball carrier during the Aggies’ 49-6 victory. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)
DETROIT – Dante Moore had no tears left to cry Saturday night, even happy tears, after he played his final high school football game for Detroit Martin Luther King at Ford Field.
“Everybody sees I’m not crying – I really cried before I got here to the game. Before I walked to the gate, I was crying and I cried last night,” Moore said.
King’s four-year starting quarterback cemented his legacy, leading the Crusaders to their second-straight MHSAA Division 3 championship with a 56-27 victory over Muskegon.
The Oregon commit finished 21-of-26 passing for 275 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions to power King (10-3) to its sixth Finals title overall and fifth in eight years.
Before Moore even took the field for his first offensive series against Muskegon (11-3), junior Jameel Croft Jr. staked King to an immediate lead with an electrifying 96-yard return of the game’s opening kickoff.
The Crusaders never looked back.
“I wasn’t expecting that. I just followed my blocks. Guys were blocking for me and the coaches set it up perfectly for me, for real,” Croft said. “It gave us a lot of momentum in the beginning of the game. It helped us out a lot.”
Muskegon pulled within 14-7 midway through the first quarter and 21-14 three minutes into the second, but Moore & Co. always seemed to have an answer.
Croft scored the game’s first two TDs, as he added a 13-yard scoring catch from Moore to make it 14-0 with 6:28 left in the first quarter.
“We started out chasing. We gave up that opening kickoff for a touchdown and we just got ourselves chasing and kind of things went from there,” said Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield, whose team trailed 35-14 at halftime and pulled within 14 with five minutes left in the third but got no closer.
Croft was Moore’s top pass-catcher, finishing with six receptions for 64 yards and two TDs. Senior Sterling Anderson Jr. was a blur as King’s top rusher, totaling 207 yards on only 13 carries, highlighted by his 80-yard scoring sprint that gave the Crusaders a 49-27 lead with 10:55 remaining.
Seniors Samuel Washington and Tim Ruffin paced King defensively with nine and eight tackles, respectively. For Muskegon, senior Julian Neely registered a team-high seven stops, while junior Stanley Cunningham recorded two sacks among his six tackles.
Muskegon junior quarterback M’Khi Guy ran 20 times for 135 yards with two TDs, including a 60-yard breakaway to pull the Big Reds within 14-7 midway through the first quarter. He also completed 2-of-4 passes for 97 yards, including a 71-yard scoring strike to junior Destin Piggee.
Muskegon junior Jakob Price added 93 rushing yards and a TD on 17 carries, but the night belonged to King and Moore.
“There’s no excuse: That kid is amazing. He threw balls that we haven’t seen probably in my career,” said Fairfield, whose program was seeking its first Finals title since 2017. His Big Reds teams have been to the Finals to finish eight of his 13 seasons at the helm.
“Only one other guy threw touchdown passes like (Moore) and passes and balls like that in my career here, and that was (Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice’s) Alex Malzone – went to Michigan. Seems like we always see the (Dequan) Finns and the Dantes and Malzones and stuff when we get here, but you know, we’re here,” added Fairfield, whose 2018 squad lost to Finn and King, 41-25, in the Division 3 championship game.
King coach Tyrone Spencer said that his team overcame a lot of adversity this season. The Crusaders could not practice on their field because it’s undergoing a makeover, so they bussed to practice. They lost their season opener to Warren Central (Ind.), 44-26, and dropped the final two games of the regular season to Detroit Cass Tech (28-14) and Cincinnati Moeller (30-14).
The Crusaders got it going in the playoffs, however. They threatened the Finals record for points by one team, established Friday night by Grand Rapids West Catholic with 59.
“(The season) was up and down, but the kids, I mean, they trust us and we got it back going,” Spencer said. “They’re a resilient group of kids. It speaks to their character.”
Moore mentioned the “championship culture” at King, how one expects to be a champion once he puts on that jersey.
It’s also about giving back and respecting the game, too, which has been a custom of Moore’s since his freshman year when King lost to Muskegon Mona Shores in the Division 2 Final, 35-26.
“My freshman year, me playing against Brady Rose and Muskegon Mona Shores, I remember Brady Rose pulled me to the side and that’s where I really got it from – him taking me to the side, telling me things I can work on, and me congratulating him for what he’s done and being one of the best players to come through Michigan to be honest and leading his team on his back,” Moore recalled.
“I just knew that I had to carry that on through this past year and really pull the (opposing) quarterbacks to the side, especially (those) younger than me. Me being a senior, I’ve been through a lot. I just want to give them the keys and terms to help them be the best they can be in high school.”
Croft called the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Moore a “great leader,” who is “so poised” and one who will leave “a great legacy right here for sure.”
“Special, man,” is how Spencer reflected on Moore’s four-year run.
“You know, he’ll be the one that they’ll talk about maybe the greatest we’ve ever had here,” Spencer said. “Just really proud of him and the person that he is. He deserves it. He works hard for it, and I just couldn’t be more pleased. It couldn’t happen to a better person.”
Meanwhile, Muskegon got off to a bit of a slow start this season by Big Reds standards. They lost two of their first five games, including a 49-16 road defeat to eventual Division 2 champion Warren De La Salle Collegiate, but got healthy and played their best football at the right time leading up to Saturday night.
Fairfield said the Big Reds battled and left it all on the field.
“They played 14 and when you play 14 games, of course this is going to hurt more because it’s the very last one and now you’ve got 364 days to get back,” he said.
PHOTOS (Top) Detroit King’s Samuel Washington (10) wraps up Muskegon’s M’Khi Guy during Saturday’s night’s Division 3 Final. (Middle) Crusaders quarterback Dante Moore rolls out looking for a receiver. (Below) King’s Sterling Anderson Jr. (3) follows his blockers through a sizable opening.