1st & Goal: Playoff Week 2 Preview

November 6, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The summery weather may make this weekend feel like mid-September in much of Michigan.

And this weekend certainly has the feeling of playoff football as we move to 256 teams in 11-player and 32 in 8, with matchups toughening and urgency rising.

Read on for a glance at 11-player District Semifinals and 8-player Regional Semifinals of particular note in each division. Spectator limits are again in effect (check with your local school for purchasing information), but there’s an opportunity to watch one or more of 53 games being broadcast on MHSAA.tv or FOX Sports Detroit.

Games below are Friday unless noted. Historical context is based in part on data at Michigan-football.com.


Division 1

Grand Blanc (6-1) at Clarkston (7-0)

This will be the fourth playoff meeting of these teams over the last 11 seasons, and Grand Blanc is seeking its first win over the Wolves since 2010. The Bobcats’ offense is averaging nearly 40 points per game – and the key matchup will be how it contends with a Clarkston defense that hasn’t given up more than seven in a game in a month.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Hudsonville (5-2) at Rockford (5-0), Traverse City West (6-1) at Grandville (6-1), Howell (4-3) at White Lake Lakeland (6-0), Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (3-3) at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (6-0). 

Division 2

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (6-1) at Muskegon Mona Shores (7-0)

These two are meeting in the playoffs for the third time in four seasons – they didn’t see each other last year when Mona Shores made its run to the Division 2 championship. The Sailors haven’t slowed since, putting up nearly 48 points per game with their most impressive wins over Muskegon early and Detroit Martin Luther King two weeks ago. Forest Hills Central has allowed only one opponent to score more than 14 points – Byron Center, which handed the Rangers’ their lone defeat.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Battle Creek Lakeview (5-2) at Portage Northern (6-1), Midland Dow (5-2) at Midland (7-0), Birmingham Groves (4-3) at Birmingham Seaholm (5-2), Swartz Creek (5-2) at Traverse City Central (6-1).

Division 3

River Rouge (5-1) at Riverview (7-0)

The reigning champion Panthers are riding a four-shutout streak since an open date Week 6, but will get their strongest test since a Week 5 loss to East Lansing. The Riverview scoring machine over six games has put up just eight points fewer than it scored over 11 games in 2019. The Pirates are scoring 44.5 per game and have broken 40 in four straight.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Marysville (6-1) at Detroit Martin Luther King (4-3), Battle Creek Harper Creek (5-2) at St. Joseph (6-1). SATURDAY Cedar Springs (5-2) at Muskegon (6-1), Marquette (6-1) at Mount Pleasant (6-1). 

Division 4

Croswell-Lexington (6-1) at North Branch (7-0)

These two decided the Blue Water Area Conference championship in Week 5, when the Broncos emerged with a 27-20 victory. Both won rematches by double digits last week, Croswell-Lexington over Imlay City and North Branch over Yale, and it’s fair to anticipate this rematch will be one of the headliners of this playoff round.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Paw Paw (5-2) at Hastings (6-1), Detroit Country Day (4-2) at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (6-1), Goodrich (6-1) at Ortonville Brandon (6-1). SATURDAY Livonia Clarenceville (5-2) at Redford Union (6-1).

Division 5

Portland (6-1) at Grand Rapids West Catholic (6-1)

A strong playoff rivalry over the last decade will be renewed as these two meet in the postseason for the first time since 2017 and sixth time in 11 years. They’ve gotten here by similar roads this fall, both mostly dominating aside from lone losses to contenders in bigger divisions, Portland to Division 3 DeWitt and West Catholic to Division 4 Hudsonville Unity Christian.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Saginaw Swan Valley (4-3) at Essexville Garber (6-1), Belding (6-1) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (6-0), Olivet (6-1) at Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep (6-1), Almont (3-2) at Frankenmuth (7-0).

Division 6

Clare (7-0) at Montague (7-0), Saturday

Clare’s road has been one of the toughest from the start, even given last week’s score over another league champion. The Pioneers defeated Kent City 41-6 but now must travel to take on a Montague team that annually is in the title mix and missed out on Ford Field last year by a one-point Semifinal loss.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Boyne City (5-2) at Maple City Glen Lake (5-2), Adrian Madison (6-1) at Michigan Center (4-1), Erie Mason (7-0) at Clinton (6-1). SATURDAY Durand (5-2) at Detroit Edison (5-2). 

Division 7

Sandusky (7-0) at Cass City (7-0)

These two have met the last two playoffs, Cass City winning by four points in 2018 and then 40 a year ago. This rematch should be much more like the first, in part because Sandusky’s defense is nearly matching its more impressive 2018 by giving up just under 14 points per game. Both also played Reese to nearly identical scores over the last two weeks (Cass City winning 36-26, Sandusky 36-28), perhaps a better indicator of how they might match up.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Oscoda (7-0) at Beaverton (6-1), Grass Lake (5-2) at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (5-2). SATURDAY Detroit Central (5-2) at Madison Heights Bishop Foley (6-1), Homer (5-2) at Lawton (6-1).

Division 8

Breckenridge (6-1) at Beal City (6-1)

Despite their proximity, these two haven’t met during the last five years of both being championship contenders. But they have taken similar paths to get here. The Huskies have gotten a good look at solid competition this fall, handing Carson City-Crystal its only loss and losing only to reigning Division 8 champion Reading. After losing to Reading in last year’s championship game, Beal City’s only defeat was by four this fall to still-undefeated McBain.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Unionville-Sebewaing (5-2) at Ubly (5-2), Mendon (6-1) at Reading (6-1), Royal Oak Shrine Catholic (5-2) at Auburn Hills Oakland Christian (6-1), Gwinn (4-3) at Iron Mountain (6-1).


Division 1

Mayville (7-0) at Adrian Lenawee Christian (7-0)

Both are nearing relatively uncharted territory for their programs – in fact, Mayville has its most wins since 1987. This should be Lenawee Christian’s strongest challenge since handing Colon its only loss, 24-6 in Week 5. The Wildcats have been tested by tougher competition lately, but telling could be how both defeated International Academy of Flint by nearly identical scores over the last three weeks.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Indian River Inland Lakes (6-1) at Pellston (7-0), Whittemore-Prescott (5-2) at Suttons Bay (7-0), Mesick (5-2) at Gaylord St. Mary (6-1), Merrill (6-1) at Morrice (7-0).  

Division 2

Rapid River (6-1) at Cedarville (6-1)

In Week 6, Cedarville broke a four-game losing streak against the Rockets with a 32-20 win. That was Rapid River’s only loss this season; Cedarville’s had come the week before to Division 1 contender (and last season’s Division 2 champion) Pickford. The key in this rematch could be the Trojans’ continuing defensive strength; they’ve kept four opponents to single digits and haven’t allowed more than 20 points this fall.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Bay City All Saints (4-2) at Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (6-1). SATURDAY Brethren (5-2) at Hale (6-1), Peck (4-3) at Kinde North Huron (6-1), Lake Linden-Hubbell (4-3) at Powers North Central (7-0).  

PHOTO: Fenton, here against Walled Lake Central last week, faces North Farmington tonight in a District Semifinal. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)

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.