1st & Goal: 2023 Week 7 Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

October 5, 2023

It’s league title time as we dive into the final third of the 2023 football regular season.

MI Student AidOf 45 matchups highlighted below, nearly two-thirds could lead to either a conference championship being celebrated this weekend or impact a title race to be won over the next two.

Thursday’s rain is expected to continue in some parts of our state, but if you don’t attend in person most of the games below will be viewable on MHSAA.tv – click the “Watch” links to go directly to those broadcasts. Games below are Friday unless noted, and rankings are by the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

Bay & Thumb

Freeland (6-0) at Frankenmuth (5-1) - WATCH

For the third-straight season, the winner of this game will earn a league championship – this time, a share of the Tri-Valley Conference Red, as both teams still will have a league game to play Week 8 as well. The Eagles did see their 24-game regular-season winning streak end in their opener against Goodrich in August, but they haven’t lost a league game since 2014 – and have strung together four straight wins over Freeland, including 21-0 a year ago. After edging Clare 29-26 in their opener, the Falcons have dazzled offensively this fall, surpassing 50 points in all five of their league games.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (4-2) at Cass City (5-1) - WATCH, Durand (3-3) at Chesaning (5-1) - WATCH, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (5-0) at Gladwin (6-0), Ithaca (6-0) at Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (5-1).

Greater Detroit

Walled Lake Western (6-0) at Milford (5-1) - WATCH

Walled Lake Western is attempting to finish what would be a second-straight perfect run through the Lakes Valley Conference. The Warriors have won 17 straight league games and have two left this fall – with their most recent league loss to Milford in 2021. Waterford Mott got within 15 of Western in this year’s season opener, but no one else has been within 30 points. Milford has had closer results – a 26-23 loss to Dearborn Divine Child and three wins by eight or fewer points. But the defense has been stunning – giving up just 20 points over five league games – and it will provide an intriguing matchup with a Warriors offense averaging 50 ppg.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Lake Orion (6-0) at Clarkston (4-2) - WATCH, Romeo (3-3) at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (4-2) - WATCH, Grosse Pointe South (5-1) at St. Clair Shores Lakeview (5-1) - WATCH, Macomb Dakota (5-1) at Utica Eisenhower (5-1) - WATCH.


Charlotte (5-1) at Portland (6-0)

The Raiders could be closing in on a seventh Capital Area Activities Conference White title over the last eight seasons – but the next two weeks should be their most challenging of this run. The circled matchup is next week with also-undefeated Lansing Sexton. But to reach that winner-take-all, Portland must be careful with Charlotte. The Orioles have continued their resurgence into a third-straight season, and their only regular-season loss a year ago was 40-13 to the Raiders. They did fall to Sexton 28-0 three weeks ago, but can mash up this league race if they can slow a Portland team that’s won all of its games by at least four touchdowns this fall.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Williamston (4-2) at Haslett (4-2), St. Johns (3-3) at Mason (6-0), New Lothrop (5-1) at Ovid-Elsie (3-3), Bath (3-3) at Saranac (4-2)

Northern Lower Peninsula

Kingsley (5-1) at Ogemaw Heights (5-1) - WATCH

The Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders division has been mostly a two-team race the last five seasons between Kingsley and Traverse City St. Francis. But Ogemaw Heights began pushing into contention last year and tonight will play Kingsley for an outright league title. The Falcons have given up only 59 points over their last five games after a 42-28 loss to still-undefeated Gladwin in Week 1. They’ve also gone 0-5 against Kingsley since joining the NMFL, but got within 30-20 a year ago. Kingsley’s lone loss this season also was to a still-undefeated opponent, Gaylord, and that was by just three points.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Fowler (5-1) at Frankfort (6-0), Kalkaska (3-3) at Grayling (3-3) - WATCH, Oscoda (3-3) at Benzie Central (3-3) - WATCH. SATURDAY Jackson Lumen Christi (6-0) at Traverse City St. Francis (3-3) - WATCH.

Southeast & Border

Napoleon (6-0) at Michigan Center (5-1) - WATCH

Napoleon has won 16 straight regular-season games and can earn a share of the Cascades Conference East title tonight after winning the formerly one-division league last season on the way to the Division 7 Semifinals. The Pirates are 18-1 since missing the 2021 playoffs despite finishing 6-3. Michigan Center is quite a story as well. The Cardinals finished 4-5 a year ago and lost four Cascades games, but all by seven points or fewer – including by only two, 29-27, to the Pirates. Michigan Center fell to Jackson Lumen Christi to start this fall, but has not lost since and last week avenged a 2022 defeat to Grass Lake. The Cardinals too would earn a share of the East title with a win in this one. 

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Jackson (4-2) at Chelsea (5-1) - WATCH, Union City (5-1) at Petersburg Summerfield (4-2) - WATCH, Grass Lake (4-2) at Manchester (5-1) - WATCH, Hastings (4-2) at Parma Western (6-0).

Southwest Corridor

Portage Northern (6-0) at Portage Central (5-1) - WATCH

This annual rivalry game will mean as much as ever with these two entering both undefeated in Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference play at this late of a date for the first time in decades. The lone loss this season between them was Central’s to Division 3 No. 3 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central in Week 2, and the Mustangs do own a win over Division 2 No. 10 East Lansing. Northern has won four of the last five of these matchups, however, including 25-22 a year ago.  

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Battle Creek Pennfield (3-3) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (4-2), Schoolcraft (5-1) at Lawton (5-1) - WATCH, Cassopolis (3-3) at White Pigeon (6-0) - WATCH. SATURDAY Kalamazoo United (4-2) at Constantine (5-1).

Upper Peninsula

Negaunee (5-1) at Menominee (6-0)

Menominee passed its first major Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper test last week, getting by Gladstone 44-26. Next up is the reigning champion, and the Miners’ lone defeat this fall was to Gladstone 42-14 in Week 2. Although the Maroons were still playing in the Great Northern Conference last season, these two did face off, with Negaunee a 44-0 Division 6 District Final winner on the way to Ford Field. The Miners’ defense has strengthened substantially since that Gladstone loss at the start of September – they’ve allowed just 35 points over their last four games – but the challenge will be on as Menominee is averaging 50 points per game in league play and had given up just six total before last week.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Petoskey (4-2) at Marquette (3-2) - WATCH, Houghton (2-4) at Gladstone (4-2) - WATCH. SATURDAY Lakeview (2-4) at Manistique (3-3) - WATCH, Bark River-Harris (3-3) at West Iron County (1-4) - WATCH.

West Michigan

Howard City Tri County (6-0) at Big Rapids (5-1) - WATCH

While the Ottawa-Kent Conference divisions are still sorting themselves out a bit more with some major matchups this weekend (see below), the Central State Activities Association Gold will be decided at least in part tonight with these two undefeated in league play and this Big Rapids’ league finale. This matchup helped decide the Gold title last year as well; Big Rapids’ 27-26 win resulted in a three-way shared championship between these two and Reed City. This meeting could be close again and similarly low-scoring – Big Rapids is giving up 12 per game in league play, and Tri County is allowing just less than 13.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Grand Rapids Catholic Central (5-1) at Ada Forest Hills Eastern (5-1) - WATCH, Grand Rapids West Catholic (6-0) at Allendale (5-1), Grandville (5-1) at Caledonia (5-1), Muskegon (4-2) at Zeeland West (6-0) - WATCH.


Climax-Scotts (6-0) at Mendon (5-1) - WATCH

Mendon has had little time to rebound from last week’s 73-20 loss to Adrian Lenawee Christian, with the Southern Central Athletic Association West title to be decided at least in part tonight as the winner of this matchup locks up a share of the league title. Climax-Scotts is seeking its first conference championship in 8-player and has finished a runner-up twice over four seasons. This will also be the first time these two are facing off in league play in this format, although the Hornets won a Division 2 playoff matchup 44-18 last October.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Alcona (5-1) at Au Gres-Sims (6-0) - WATCH, Gobles (5-1) at Bridgman (6-0), Grandville Calvin Christian (4-2) at Marcellus (5-1) - WATCH, Pickford (6-0) at Norway (5-1) - WATCH.

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PHOTO Ada Forest Hills Eastern, on defense, takes on Grand Rapids Catholic Central this week coming off a 28-14 win over Wayland. (Photo by Michigan Sports Photo.)

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.