1st & Goal: Week 4 Preview

September 17, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

After a slight delay, we’re back – and landing right in the heart of the 2020 Michigan high school football season.

After missing the previously-scheduled first three weeks due to COVID-19 precautions, there’s no time for teams to ease into the action. This week’s schedule is loaded with some of the major matchups we circle every fall.

Below is a look at storylines coming out of every region of the state and 8-player for this opening weekend (we’re going to continue calling it Week 4). We’ll again be tracking scores in real time with the MHSAA Score Center. And remember, attendance limits are in place – but we’ll have at least 32 games broadcast Friday and Saturday on MHSAA.tv. (Nine games kicked the varsity season off Thursday night, and you can catch one of those as well on demand.) 

Records below are for the 2019 season.

Bay & Thumb

Beaverton (10-1) at Sanford Meridian (8-4)

The Beavers are coming off their best season ever, after claiming the Jack Pine Conference championship and closing the regular season with four straight shutouts. The zero streak began with a 20-0 win over Meridian, which went on to finish third in the JPC but then claimed a District title. The Mustangs are hoping to next beat Beaverton for the first time since their best season ever, in 2015.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Linden (4-5) at Flushing (5-5), Frankenmuth (9-2) at Freeland (9-3), Flint Carman-Ainsworth (2-7) at Grand Blanc (5-5), Ubly (10-3) at Harbor Beach (10-1).

Greater Detroit

Detroit Martin Luther King (11-3) at Detroit Cass Tech (7-5), Saturday

The Detroit Public School League kicks off with its annual game of the year. These rivals will play in different divisions of the PSL again and could meet a second time, as is frequent, in the PSL championship game in five weeks. King is coming off a big win in last season’s matchup after a similar Cass Tech victory in 2018 – so another classic may be due.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Macomb Dakota (6-5) at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (9-1), West Bloomfield (10-2) at Oak Park (8-2), Utica Eisenhower (9-3) at Sterling Heights Stevenson (8-5) SATURDAY Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (6-5) at Warren De La Salle Collegiate (5-5).


Portland (8-3) at DeWitt (10-3)

Both will look to hit the ground running in what should again this season be one of the best matchups in the Lansing area. The Panthers’ three losses last year came by a combined 28 points, and their closest was a 29-27 defeat to the Raiders in Week 2. Portland scored the most points DeWitt gave up last fall, but arrived in a similar spot later with three losses over its final four games and by a combined 29 points.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Williamston (5-5) at Fowlerville (7-4), Pewamo-Westphalia (14-0) at Laingsburg (6-4), Saginaw Nouvel (7-5) at Ithaca (8-2), Saginaw Swan Valley (8-4) at Alma (4-5).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Traverse City West (7-3) vs. Traverse City Central (8-2) at Thirlby Field

Talk about a different look this season. The “Patriot Game” between these rivals generally brings about 10,000 fans to downtown Traverse City. But this region is allowed a maximum of 500 people (including players) at outdoor games under Phase 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan. Still, smaller crowds won’t change the meaning for the teams on the field. Central’s 32-0 win last year was the first double-digit victory in the series since 2012, and it decided the Big North Conference title.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Kingsley (12-1) at Cheboygan (4-5), Boyne City (4-5) at Maple City Glen Lake (12-2), Lake City (6-4) at McBain (6-5) SATURDAY Sault Ste. Marie (7-4) at Traverse City St. Francis (8-4)

Southeast & Border

Dexter (8-2) at Chelsea (12-1)

Dexter – remember one of the great stories of 2018 when it made the playoffs for the first time – continued its surge last fall with its most wins during at least the MHSAA playoff era. And the Dreadnaughts were close to accomplishing possibly much more, with last year’s defeats by a combined seven points. Chelsea’s 22-17 win over Dexter in Week 1 ended up deciding the Southeastern Conference White title, making this rematch potentially another of the “right into the fire” moments of this season’s start.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Ida (4-5) at Clinton (9-1), Hanover-Horton (4-5) at Michigan Center (4-5), Pittsford (4-5) at Sand Creek (8-3), Dundee (5-5) at Blissfield (6-4).

Southwest Corridor 

Constantine (8-3) at Schoolcraft (10-2)

These were two of three teams that shared the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore title last season, thanks to Schoolcraft’s 27-24 win of their matchup. The Eagles have won six straight meetings with Constantine, including two in the playoffs – and this game will still mean a lot to both although the teams are in different divisions of the SAC this fall.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Portage Northern (10-2) at Stevensville Lakeshore (4-5), East Lansing (7-3) at Portage Central (5-5), Fennville (4-5) at Lawton (10-1), Jackson Lumen Christi (12-1) at Marshall (6-5).

Upper Peninsula 

Menominee (7-4) at Marquette (5-5)

This rematch could be one of the best regular-season games north of Mackinac Bridge this fall. Marquette is the reigning Great Northern Conference champion as both of these teams made the postseason a year ago. Marquette’s 28-21 win over the Maroons broke a seven-game losing streak against the annual league foe.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Harbor Springs (6-4) at St. Ignace (5-5), Kingsford (4-5) at Calumet (10-2), Gwinn (1-8) at Hancock (5-4), Manistique (3-6) at Negaunee (6-4).

West Michigan

Hudsonville (8-4) at East Kentwood (6-5)

The Eagles have had to wait all offseason and then some for a chance to avenge a painful 2019 loss. Despite falling to Rockford the previous week last season, Hudsonville came into last year’s matchup with East Kentwood still tied for first in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red – and then was upset 31-20 by the eventual fourth-place Falcons. Maybe it wasn’t an upset though, as East Kentwood has beaten Hudsonville in three straight and picked up a playoff win over Rockford at the end of last fall.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (8-3) vs. Grand Rapids Christian (7-3) at Forest Hills Eastern, Muskegon Mona Shores (12-2) at Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (5-4), Jenison (4-5) at Rockford (8-2), East Grand Rapids (5-5) at Lowell (1-8).


Deckerville (10-1) at New Haven Merritt (8-2)

Deckerville’s only loss last season came in a Regional Final, and the Eagles yearly are one of the strongest statewide contenders. Merritt is looking to make that jump. The Mustangs have reached the playoffs five of the last six seasons, and they’ll get two serious tests – plus major postseason prep – right away this month in Deckerville and Morrice as a new member of the North Central Thumb League Stars.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Camden-Frontier (6-4) at Climax Scotts (9-3), Martin (10-1) at Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (5-5), Cedarville (6-5) at Engadine (8-2), Bellevue (6-4) at Colon (13-0).

PHOTO by Robert Batzloff. 

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.