1st & Goal: 2023 Week 3 Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

September 7, 2023

After two weeks of high anticipation to begin this football season, we’ve moved into the grind as several leagues begin play this weekend and contenders hope to take the first steps toward potentially celebrating a local championship next month.

It’s also not too late to bounce back from a tough start. Of 288 Michigan varsity teams that opened with losses during Week 1, 129 rebounded to win in Week 2. We’ll likely see many more find their footing over the next two days.

The majority of games across the state this weekend will be broadcast on MHSAA.tv and viewable with subscription, with results updated as those games conclude on the MHSAA Scores page.

Here’s a look at some of the matchups that may end up mattering most as this season rumbles on:

MI Student Aid

Bay & Thumb

Goodrich (2-0) at Lake Fenton (2-0)

With impressive wins over Frankenmuth and Linden over the last two weeks, Goodrich is off to an even more notable start than last season when it finished Division 4 runner-up. This one kicks off Flint Metro League Stars play with a rematch of the Martians’ only close league game from a year ago – they edged Lake Fenton 14-7 to lock up the outright title. The Blue Devils have outscored their first two opponents this season by a combined 93-6 as they look to rebound from last year’s 3-6 finish.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Croswell-Lexington (2-0) at Armada (1-1), Freeland (2-0) at Essexville Garber (2-0), Saginaw Heritage (2-0) at Grand Blanc (1-1), Bad Axe (1-1) at Harbor Beach (2-0).

Greater Detroit

Detroit Pershing (2-0) at Detroit Denby (2-0)

With Cass Tech, Martin Luther King and lately Central getting most of the pub, Denby’s success over the last decade often isn’t noted enough; the Tars have nine winning seasons and eight playoff appearances over the last 10 years. They’ve also shut out their first two opponents this fall as they begin Detroit Public School League Gold play. Pershing, meanwhile, is 2-0 for the first time since 2012 and last week defeated Madison Heights Bishop Foley to avenge a 41-point loss in 2022.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Rochester Adams (2-0) at Clarkston (0-2), New Lothrop (1-1) at Clarkston Everest Collegiate (1-1), Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (1-1) at Utica Eisenhower (2-0). SATURDAY Detroit Country Day (1-1) at Warren Michigan Collegiate (2-0).


Pewamo-Westphalia (1-1) at Laingsburg (2-0)

The Wolfpack’s drive this season certainly must be substantial after just missing the playoffs last year despite a 6-3 record. Paced by senior Jack Borgman, Laingsburg opened by avenging last season’s loss to Durand and will now seek to defeat the Pirates for the first time since 2009 after missing by just seven points a year ago. P-W bounced back from a three-point loss to North Muskegon in its opener to shut out Bath last week.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Northville (2-0) at Brighton (1-1), Lansing Catholic (1-1) at Charlotte (2-0), Grand Ledge (2-0) at Holt (1-1), Olivet (0-2) at Lansing Sexton (2-0).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Marquette (1-1) at Gaylord (2-0), Saturday

League realignments over the last few years have led to some different trips for teams in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula – see Traverse City Central welcoming Davison in the Saginaw Valley League this weekend and this Marquette drive along with Sault Ste. Marie’s to Cadillac in the newest version of the Big North Conference. Gaylord is 2-0 for the second-straight season, but last year saw that momentum paused with a 17-14 Week 3 loss to Marquette. Marquette is coming off a 49-0 win over Alpena after falling to the Wildcats by two a year ago.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Frankfort (2-0) at Benzie Central (1-1), Sault Ste. Marie (2-0) at Cadillac (1-1), Boyne City (2-0) at Charlevoix (1-1), Davison (2-0) at Traverse City Central (1-1).

Southeast & Border

Carleton Airport (2-0) at Flat Rock (2-0)

The Huron League and Carleton Airport headlines this section of the state for the second week in a row, this time after the Jets avenged their 2022 loss to league champion Riverview with a 48-27 win. Flat Rock gave Airport a mighty challenge last season as well, with the Jets prevailing only 21-19 but the Rams going on to finish 8-4 – their winningest since 1976. Flat Rock is off to another solid start with victories over Dundee and Grosse Ile, both playoff teams as well in 2022.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Leslie (2-0) at Addison (2-0), Temperance Bedford (1-1) at Dexter (0-2), Hillsdale (1-1) at Hudson (2-0), Clinton (1-1) at Ida (1-1).

Southwest Corridor

Kalamazoo Central (1-0) at St. Joseph (1-1)

The Maroon Giants celebrated their first win in two seasons last week, downing 2022 playoff qualifier Sturgis 47-34 to break an 11-game losing streak. St. Joseph won this matchup big a year ago and has taken 12 straight since Central’s most recent victory in the series in 2004. However, the Bears are seeking to gain momentum to start September; they were shut out by Niles in their opener and didn’t get to play last week after receiving a forfeit win from Detroit Henry Ford.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY White Pigeon (2-0) at Decatur (1-1), Constantine (1-1) at Lawton (2-0), Jackson Lumen Christi (2-0) at Richland Gull Lake (2-0), SATURDAY Kalamazoo United (2-0) at Schoolcraft (2-0).

Upper Peninsula

Gladstone (2-0) at Kingsford (2-0)

Gladstone has opened with a pair of wins over Marquette and Negaunee that puts the Braves back in the discussion for best in the Upper Peninsula. But this week they face another challenger – one that’s also familiar but under changed circumstances. Gladstone and Kingsford were past Great Northern Conference football foes who both moved to the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper this fall, and the Flivvers actually had won 23 straight in this series before Gladstone’s 34-20 victory last season. Kingsford has yet to give up a point.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Houghton (0-2) at Hancock (1-1), Iron Mountain (2-0) at Ishpeming (1-1), Calumet (1-1) at Negaunee (1-1), Ishpeming Westwood (0-2) at Menominee (2-0).

West Michigan

Lowell (2-0) at East Grand Rapids (2-0)

For most of the 2000s, this was one of the spotlight games every season not only in the Grand Rapids area, but often statewide. The buzz has cooled some the last few years but could be building again. Lowell posted its first winning season last fall since 2017. East Grand Rapids is seeking its first since 2020 and last week downed reigning Division 4 champion Grand Rapids South Christian 23-21. The Pioneers edged the Red Arrows 15-14 a year ago.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Grand Rapids West Catholic (2-0) at Coopersville (2-0), Manistee (2-0) at Muskegon Oakridge (1-1), Wayland (2-0) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1-1), Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (2-0) at Muskegon Mona Shores (1-1).


Bridgman (2-0) at Martin (2-0)

This is a rematch of one of the most memorable 8-player games from last season, as Bridgman’s 35-34 win in Week 9 finished off its second-straight perfect season. The Bees’ enrollment is too high for the team to qualify for the 8-player playoffs, however, and Martin went on to finish 11-2 and an overpowering Division 1 champion after winning all of its playoff games by at least 34 points. This season has started similarly as the Clippers have outscored their first two opponents by a combined 117-6 and Bridgman has put up 90 points over its first two games. This meeting takes on extra meaning as well as a switch put these two in the same division of the Southwest Michigan 8-Man Football League this fall.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY St. Ignace (2-0) at Alcona (2-0), Kingston (2-0) at Brown City (2-0), Newberry (2-0) at Rudyard (2-0). SATURDAY Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (2-0) at Portland St. Patrick (2-0).

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 X (Twitter) @mistudentaid.

PHOTO Harper Woods pulled away from Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 34-21 in Week 1. (Photo by Olivia B. Photography.)

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.