Every season is a story, and Week 2 gave us plenty to consider as this one continues to unfold.
But there were several intriguing twists and turns as well – including numerous teams that came back impressively from opening-day losses – and we dive into many of those results below.
Bay & Thumb
HEADLINER Chesaning 27, New Lothrop 22 These two began playing each other regularly with the creation of the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference in 2018, and four-time league champion New Lothrop (1-1) had won the first five meetings of the recent series by an average score of 51-8 – including 40-14 a year ago. But Chesaning (1-1) built a 27-6 lead by the middle of the third quarter this time on the way to rebounding bigtime from a Week 1 four-point loss to Bath. Click for more from the Saginaw News.
Watch list Goodrich 45, Linden 28 The Martians (2-0) followed up a Week 1 win over reigning Division 5 runner-up Frankenmuth with this win over another returning league champion in Linden (1-1).
On the move Ubly 42, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker 0 The Bearcats (2-0) have now won their first two games by a combined score of 92-13 over teams that went a combined 19-6 last season. Montrose 22, Durand 14 Add this to the Chesaning win and the MMAC might be in for more change at the top, as the Rams moved to 2-0 by handing reigning champ Durand its second defeat. Yale 34, Armada 28 The same might be said in the Blue Water Area Conference as Yale (2-0) broke a four-game losing streak against reigning champion Armada (1-1), avenging last year’s 42-18 defeat.
HEADLINER Warren De La Salle Collegiate 40, Muskegon 28 The reigning Division 2 champion Pilots (1-1) needed just a week to put the opening loss to Davison solidly behind them as they crossed the state and picked up a major bounce-back win over last season’s Division 3 runner-up Big Reds (0-2). The teams traded leads for most of the first three quarters with De La Salle carrying a five-point lead into the fourth and adding one more score to pull away. Click for more from the Muskegon Chronicle.
We take a look at Warren De La Salle, ranked #12 in our STATE CHAMPS! Top 25 Rankings as they went on the road and beat #18 Muskegon 40-28 on September 1st, 2023.
— STATE CHAMPS! Michigan (@statechampsmich) September 2, 2023
Watch list Roseville 33, Romeo 30 The Panthers (2-0) are making big headlines early, following last week’s shutout of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice with this win over the Bulldogs (0-2) that avenged last season’s 30-6 loss.
On the move West Bloomfield 41, Birmingham Groves 19 The Lakers also are off to another notable 2-0 start after doubling up a Division 2 semifinalist from a year ago. Southfield Arts & Technology 20, Clarkston 17 The Warriors (2-0) have set their pace defeating a pair of Division 1 powers, this time breaking a four-game losing streak against the Wolves (0-2). Redford Union 14, Dearborn Heights Crestwood 12 Last season this ended up eventually deciding the Western Wayne Athletic Conference title for the Chargers, although this matchup was much closer than their 41-6 victory a year ago.
HEADLINER Mason 42, DeWitt 23 The Bulldogs (2-0) affirmed themselves as the frontrunners for the Lansing area’s best team after jumping out to a 35-0 lead on the Panthers (1-1) in this matchup of 2022 Division 3 semifinalists. Fourth-year varsity senior AJ Martel was among standouts with 139 yards and two touchdowns rushing. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.
Congrats to Mason for securing the #7 spot in our latest STATE CHAMPS! Top 25 Rankings. On August 31st, 2023, they beat DeWitt 42-23, led by Senior Running Back AJ Martel. He rushed for 139 yards and scored two touchdowns on 22 carries.
— STATE CHAMPS! Michigan (@statechampsmich) September 4, 2023
Watch list Lansing Sexton 48, Lansing Catholic 20 The J-Dubbs are off to their first 2-0 start since 2017, also their most recent winning season, and avenged a 35-0 loss to the Cougars (1-1) from a year ago.
On the move Haslett 41, Fenton 25 The Vikings bounced back from a Week 1 loss to DeWitt as Nakai Amachree scored six touchdowns. Ithaca 39, Standish-Sterling 26 The Yellowjackets (2-0) had lost the last two seasons to the Panthers (0-2), last season’s ending up Ithaca’s only defeat on the way to the Division 7 Regional Finals. Mount Pleasant 35, Midland 6 Add the Oilers (1-1) to the list of quick bounce-backers as they rebounded from a big Week 1 loss to down a Midland team that won 10 games last season and opened with a victory last week.
Northern Lower Peninsula
HEADLINER Gaylord 42, Kingsley 39 The Blue Devils are 2-0 for the second-straight season after holding off a late Kingsley comeback attempt. The Stags (1-1) scored twice over the final four minutes to again make this matchup a one-score game after Gaylord won last year’s meeting by a point. Click for more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
Watch list Cadillac 43, Escanaba 36 The Vikings (1-1) came back from a three-point season-opening loss to Midland to begin Big North Conference play with a key win over new league member Escanaba (1-1).
On the move Frankfort 28, Maple City Glen Lake 15 Just two weeks in, Frankfort finds itself 2-0 in the Northern Michigan Football League Legacy with a Week 8 matchup with East Jordan looking even more like one to circle. Boyne City 57, Elk Rapids 14 The Ramblers also are 2-0 after playing two 2022 playoff teams and with more tests ahead as the schedule doesn’t get any easier the rest of September. Mancelona 52, Tawas 20 The Ironmen (1-1) won one game last season and scored just 86 points over nine, but they equaled that victory total while avenging last year’s 30-8 loss to Tawas (1-1).
Southeast & Border
HEADLINER Carleton Airport 48, Riverview 27 The Jets (2-0) not only have defeated two league champions so far this fall – add this win to the 31-10 opener over Gibraltar Carlson – but they’ve set themselves up well starting Huron League play after missing out on a shared title a year ago when Riverview (1-1) won the matchup 18-13 and went on to make the Division 4 Semifinals. Click for more from the Monroe News.
Watch list Parma Western 20, Detroit Country Day 17 There’s been early talk that Western (2-0) is a team to watch more closely this fall, and this combined with the Week 1 win over Dearborn Divine Child definitely is justifying the buzz. Country Day (1-1) is coming off a run to the Division 5 Semifinals.
On the move Quincy 18, Reading 12 The Orioles (1-1) are seeking a first winning season since 2018, and this could be big as they hadn’t defeated Reading (0-2) since 2016 and lost last year’s meeting 42-0. Chelsea 27, Edwardsburg 14 The Bulldogs (1-1) evened their record this fall and avenged a 40-7 loss to the Eddies (0-2) from last as these two recent Division 4 champions continued a regular-season series. Saline 41, Dexter 25 The matchup that decided the Southeastern Conference Red outright title for Dexter (0-2) in Week 8 last year moved to the front of the league schedule this fall and still might end up having championship implications as Saline (2-0) is off to a strong start.
HEADLINER Lawton 38, Traverse City St. Francis 6 The Blue Devils’ Kal Motter was another of the statewide stars of the weekend with five touchdowns as Lawton handed reigning Division 7 runner-up St. Francis its first regular-season loss since October 2020. The Gladiators (1-1) had won last year’s meeting 42-7 and hadn’t been held to single-digit scoring also since 2020. Click for more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Watch list Battle Creek Harper Creek 21, Battle Creek Central 13 The Beavers are 2-0 for the first time since 2017 having now avenged both 2022 losses to neighbors Lakeview in Week 1 and Central on Friday. Harper Creek had lost to the Bearcats 34-0 a year ago.
On the move Richland Gull Lake 7, Vicksburg 6 The Blue Devils are 2-0 for the first time since 2007 and after winning three games total last season, when they fell 28-6 to playoff regular Vicksburg (0-2). Paw Paw 42, Berrien Springs 6 The Red Wolves (2-0) added to their impressive opening victory over Big Rapids with another over the annually playoff-qualifying Shamrocks (0-2). Kalamazoo Central 47, Sturgis 34 The Maroon Giants’ opener ended up cancelled due to weather, but they made their late start sweet with this first win since Week 7 of 2021 – and against a 2022 playoff qualifier in the Trojans (1-1).
HEADLINER Gladstone 42, Negaunee 14 Gladstone (2-0) is coming off its best season in more than a decade, but it still included losses to Negaunee (1-1) during the regular season and Regional Finals. This was a first step toward avenging all of that, and with some new significance – Gladstone joined reigning champion (and Division 6 runner-up) Negaunee in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper this season. Click for more from RRN Sports.
Our choice for play of the game tonight between Gladstone and Negaunee. Braves ahead 8-7 when Eli Cody picks off the pass and races in the other direction. Aaron Hughes chases him down and prevents the touchdown. Negaunee does not score. Braves go on to win 42-14. pic.twitter.com/gBrAGesI42
— Jack Hall (@JackHall600) September 1, 2023
Watch list Iron Mountain 40, Bark River-Harris 0 The Mountaineers (2-0) are another team running at full steam with a pair of wins over 2022 playoff teams, but with an interesting September coming up as they moved into the WPAC Iron this fall after regularly contending in the Copper over the last five seasons.
On the move Sault Ste. Marie 26, Cheboygan 0 For the fifth season in a row, the Blue Devils have started 2-0 – and for the second time in three seasons, they’ve opened with two shutouts. Calumet 42, Ishpeming Westwood 22 The Copper Kings picked up nice momentum following an opening loss to Escanaba by getting to 1-0 in the WPAC Copper with Negaunee up next. Kingsford 34, Houghton 0 The Flivvers also are unscored upon after two games, with Gladstone a major test next.
HEADLINER Rockford 31, Muskegon Mona Shores 8 The Rams (2-0) followed up an impressive opening win over Muskegon High with another stunning performance, holding Mona Shores (1-1) scoreless until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. This was just a four-point game a year ago, but Rockford now heads into Ottawa-Kent Conference Red play with a combined 58-15 margin over its first two. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.
Check out this 31-8 victory by Rockford, ranked #6th in our STATE CHAMPS! Top 25, against Muskegon Mona Shores!
— STATE CHAMPS! Michigan (@statechampsmich) September 2, 2023
Watch list East Grand Rapids 23, Grand Rapids South Christian 21 The Pioneers (2-0) are coming off two straight sub-.500 seasons, but that rarity could be moving into distant memory as they followed up a shutout of Cedar Springs by downing the reigning Division 4 champion Sailors (1-1) with the game-winner on the final play.
On the move Grand Rapids Catholic Central 38, River Rouge 6 Both are being talked about already in the championship mix, making this victory even more notable as GRCC moved to 1-1 and Rouge to 0-2. North Muskegon 41, Muskegon Catholic Central 21 The Norsemen (2-0) are one of the stories of the first two weeks, following an opening win over Pewamo-Westphalia by avenging last year’s only regular-season loss in sending the Crusaders to 0-2. Hudsonville Unity Christian 33, Muskegon Oakridge 21 These Crusaders (1-1) opened with a pair of contenders from the West Michigan Conference Lakes and followed Week 1 loss to Whitehall with an impressive victory over a 10-win team from a year ago.
HEADLINER Newberry 16, Munising 6 Newberry’s only losses of the 2022 season were to Munising in Week 2 and again in a Division 1 Regional Final. But along with avenging those, this victory should provide plenty of momentum as Newberry heads into this week’s matchup with Rudyard, the only other opponent to come within single digits last season.
Watch list St. Ignace 46, Pellston 6 The Saints (2-0) appear to be adjusting to 8-player quickly as they increased their margin over their first two victories to a combined 96-12.
On the move Posen 56, Rogers City 14 The Vikings (2-0) handed the Hurons just their second regular-season defeat over the last three and now have reached 50 points in both games this fall. Indian River Inland Lakes 54, Lake Linden-Hubbell 46 The Bulldogs (2-0) got a late start as well after their Week 1 game was forfeited, but they started it memorably by edging a Lakes team coming off its second-straight seven-win season. Mendon 58, Colon 30 After winning last year’s Division 2 Regional Final meeting with the Magi by only two points, Mendon broke free with Jack McCaw and Owen Gorham both going over 100 yards rushing and combining for five touchdowns.
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 X (Twitter) @mistudentaid.
PHOTOS (Top) Marquette's Tucker Welch (4) finds a big hole and scores Marquette's first touchdown of its 49-0 win over Alpena. (Middle) Remus Chippewa Hills improved to 2-0 with a 43-13 win over Grant. (Top photo by Cara Kamps; middle photo by High School Sports Scene.)
Jhace Massey ♦ Gladwin
Senior ♦ Football
Massey, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound starting receiver for the reigning Division 5 champion, moved to quarterback after the team’s starter and top backup were injured against rival Clare on Friday. He went on to run 18 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns, throw for 61 yards and two scores and snag a fourth-quarter interception to help land the Flying Gs a 44-28 victory after they’d trailed 21-3.
The win put Gladwin in first place alone in the Jack Pine Conference halfway through the league schedule. The Flying Gs entered the game ranked No. 4 in Division 5 by the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association, and Clare was ranked No. 8 in Division 6. Although football has become his favorite sport, Massey also is a top contributor on the basketball team and ran primarily the 100 and 200 meters and on relays during track season in the spring.
@mhsaasports POW: Jhace Massey #football #quarterback #gladwin #letsgo #touchdown #interception #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA
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MHSAA.com's "Performance of the Week" features 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.
Past 2023-24 Honorees
(Top photo by Mike Kolleth. Headshot provided by the Gladwin football program.)