1st & Goal: Week 5 in Review

September 28, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Sometimes it doesn’t take long to recognize a team is very good.

We’re only two weeks into this abbreviated Michigan high school football season. But we’ve seen enough to know a few things already about likely title contenders.

Take East Lansing and Adrian Lenawee Christian, which defeated reigning MHSAA Finals champions (River Rouge and Colon, respectively) this weekend. Three more teams that finished runners-up in 2019 fell, with Northville, Hastings and Muskegon Mona Shores (see photo above) among those enjoying celebrations.

Those are just five of the victors noted below in our weekly look at results that popped off the page from every region of the state.

Bay & Thumb

HEADLINER Flint Beecher 27, Flint Hamady 21 This was big for Beecher for two major reasons of likely similar importance. The Bucs (2-0) had lost three straight to rival Hamady (1-1). This win also puts them in prime position to win the Genesee Area Conference title. And to top it off, it was only Hamady’s second regular-season loss since the start of 2017. See highlights below from WJRT. 

Watch list Sandusky 42, Harbor Beach 30 Last week we recognized Harbor Beach for edging Ubly, but this week it’s Sandusky (2-0) for breaking a four-game losing streak to the Pirates (1-1) and grabbing early momentum in the Greater Thumb Conference East.

Remember this one Frankenmuth 35, Saginaw Swan Valley 6 Not only the did the Eagles (2-0) avenge their 2019 playoff loss, but they have now outscored their anticipated two toughest regular-season opponents by a combined 76-9.

More shoutouts Swartz Creek 14, Linden 7 The Dragons (1-1) equaled last season’s win total in one night and avenged their 37-0 loss to Linden (1-1) from last fall. Croswell-Lexington 36, Richmond 0 The Pioneers (2-0) broke an eight-game losing streak against the Blue Devils (0-2).

Greater Detroit

HEADLINER Sterling Heights Stevenson 12, Macomb Dakota 7 While winning their first two games by just a combined nine points, Stevenson (2-0) has had a more noteworthy start than all but a few teams statewide after also defeating Utica Eisenhower in Week 1. The Macomb Area Conference Red got even stronger this year with the addition of Grosse Pointe South, and Stevenson is working its way toward the front of the line. Click for more from the Macomb Daily and see highlights below from State Champs Sports Network.

Watch list Belleville 69, Dearborn Fordson 0 The last two matchups between these teams were decided by a combined four points – so now we have another reason to be plugged in to the Tigers (2-0) as they work this season to take the next step after two straight Division 1 Semifinal appearances.

Remember this one Northville 24, Brighton 14 After being shut out by Brighton (1-1) the last two seasons by a combined 55-0, the Mustangs (1-1) bounced back to down the reigning Division 1 runner-up.

More shoutouts Center Line 8, Clawson 7 The Panthers (2-0) have doubled their wins from a year ago, and in this one edged the reigning Macomb Area Conference champion. Riverview 24, Milan 12 The Pirates also avenged a 2019 loss to move to 2-0, doubling up last season’s Huron League title winner.


HEADLINER East Lansing 21, River Rouge 6 The Trojans (2-0) announced themselves as deserving of serious attention in Division 2 with an impressive win over the reigning Division 3 champion. The Panthers (1-1) hadn’t been held to single-digit scoring since their 2018 playoff loss to Detroit Martin Luther King. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.

Watch list Harrison 26, Beaverton 21 The Beavers (1-1) had beaten Harrison four straight seasons and are reigning Jack Pine Conference champions, but now will be chasing the Hornets (2-0) for the rest of this fall.

Remember this one Hastings 14, Jackson Lumen Christi 13 The Saxons shouldn’t soon forget it. Lumen (1-1) rarely loses during the regular season; in fact, the Titans rode a 22-game regular-season winning streak into this game and had beaten Hastings (1-1) by an average of 26 points over four straight recent wins.

More shoutouts Ithaca 39, Midland Bullock Creek 34 The reigning Tri-Valley Conference West I co-champs are in different divisions this season, but this had the back-and-forth of a title decider nonetheless. Hartland 62, Plymouth 7 The Eagles (2-0) broke a four-game losing streak against Plymouth (1-1) and after falling 35-13 a year ago.

Northern Lower Peninsula 

HEADLINER Kingsley 36, Ogemaw Heights 14 The Stags (2-0) ran their Northern Michigan Football League Legends winning streak to 12, with all of those wins by 19 or more points. The Falcons (1-1), previously a nonleague opponent, joined the Legends this season. Click for more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Watch list Houghton Lake 32, Lake City 14 The Bobcats (2-0) have now won eight of nine league games since moving into the Highland Conference at the start of the 2019 season. 

Remember this one Frankfort 40, St. Ignace 12 Both had opened the season with defeats, but Frankfort got a nice rebound against a Saints team that made the playoffs last season. 

More shoutouts Benzie Central 34, Cheboygan 14 Cheboygan had won all five meetings over the last decade, including 44-0 a year ago. Harbor Springs 30, East Jordan 8 The Rams (2-0) have opened by outscoring their first two opponents by a combined 79-8.

Southeast & Border

HEADLINER Reading 52, Breckenridge 20 If this was any indication, two-time reigning Division 8 champion Reading (2-0) isn’t leaving the elite any time soon. The 52 points represent the most Breckenridge (1-1) has given up since Week 4 of 2015. The Rangers have won 15 straight. Click for more from the Hillsdale Daily News. 

Watch list Blissfield 31, Hillsdale 14 The Royals (2-0) are tied for the early lead in the Lenawee County Athletic Association after last year’s seven-point Hillsdale win in this matchup eventually led to the Hornets’ outright title.

Remember this one Clinton 54, Brooklyn Columbia Central 6 Clinton (2-0) is a new addition to the LCAA and immediately should impact the league title race – with Blissfield up this week.

More shoutouts Monroe 42, Jackson 14 The Trojans, winners of just three games a year ago, moved to 2-0 with a second victory over a team that finished above .500 last season. Ann Arbor Skyline 23, Ann Arbor Pioneer 7 Ann Arbor’s three public high schools opted to begin with Week 5, and Skyline began with equaling last season’s win total by avenging a 2019 defeat.

Southwest Corridor

HEADLINER Coldwater 24, Marshall 16 After two weeks, Coldwater is one of two teams (with Parma Western) still unbeaten from what’s quickly looking like a highly-competitive Interstate 8 Athletic Conference. Marshall might be one of the best 0-2 teams in the state after also falling to Lumen Christi by just a point in Week 4. Click for more from the Coldwater Daily Reporter.

Watch list Centreville 14, White Pigeon 8 The Bulldogs lost three Southwest 10 Conference games by a combined 24 points last season. This avenged one, and the other two opponents – Cassopolis then Mendon – are up next.

Remember this one Comstock 12, Berrien Springs 6 The Colts (1-1) broke a five-game losing streak against Berrien Springs and after losing 30-0 a year ago.

More shoutouts Vicksburg 43, Three Rivers 0 After a rough start Week 4 against Edwardsburg, Vicksburg (1-1) bounced back with a big win. Battle Creek Lakeview 6, Portage Central 0 The Spartans ran their regular-season winning streak to 11 with this their closest win of the run.

Upper Peninsula

HEADLINER Sault Ste. Marie 22, Marquette 16 The Blue Devils backed up the impressiveness their Week 4 opening win over Traverse City St. Francis with another that may have solidified them as the Upper Peninsula’s best this fall. Sault Ste. Marie (2-0) had lost four straight to Marquette (1-1), including 31-0 a year ago. Click for more from the Sault Ste. Marie Evening News.

Watch list Gladstone 22, Negaunee 20 The Braves (1-0) didn’t open until this weekend, but started out with a win over a traditional power and after falling behind early.

Remember this one Menominee 42, Marinette, Wis., 8 We always note this rivalry series that goes back to 1894 and that Menominee now leads 56-51-7.

More shoutouts West Iron County 16, L’Anse 7 Two games in, West Iron (2-0) has given up a combined 13 points. Iron Mountain 42, Bark River-Harris 6 The Mountaineers (2-0) ran their regular-season winning streak to 14 with this one over a 2019 playoff qualifier.

West Michigan

HEADLINER Muskegon Mona Shores 21, Muskegon 14 There are only a handful of matchups in Michigan these days that can contend with this one to be called the state’s best rivalry game. This latest chapter backs that up. After falling to the Big Reds 53-0 a year ago and going on to win the Division 2 championship, Mona Shores (2-0) this time beat Muskegon (1-1) – last season’s Division 3 runner-up – for the first time since 2015. Click for more from the Muskegon Chronicle.

Watch list Montague 42, Muskegon Oakridge 6 This also belongs high on the statewide rivalry list, with this big win coming off two seasons where the matchups were decided by a combined three points. 

Remember this one Byron Center 41, Grand Rapids Christian 6 The new-look Ottawa-Kent Conference White is impressive, and defeating last year’s Gold champ big could be a sign reigning Green champ Byron Center is ready to be in the mix again.

More shoutouts Hudsonville Unity Christian 39, Grand Rapids West Catholic 21 Unity (2-0) seems like a strong pick to emerge as a power in the new O-K Blue, and if tradition holds this win could mean even more in a few weeks. Manistee 34, Muskegon Orchard View 20 The 2018 Lakes 8 Athletic Conference champ avenged last season’s 58-7 defeat to the eventual 2019 title winner.


HEADLINER Adrian Lenawee Christian 24, Colon 6 Make way for the Cougars (2-0). Lenawee, in its first season of 8-player, broke reigning Division 1 champion Colon’s 14-game winning streak and dealt the Magi (1-1) only their third loss as an 8-player program (against 24 wins). Click for more from the Adrian Daily Telegram. 

Watch list Whittemore-Prescott 66, Mio 16 A late add to 8-player this fall, Whittemore-Prescott has scored a combined 114 points during its 2-0 start.

Remember this one Martin 39, Bridgman 12 Last season’s Martin win in this matchup ultimately decided the Southwest Michigan 8-Man Football League title.

More shoutouts Pickford 20, Cedarville 0 The Panthers (2-0) appear on their way again after a fifth-straight win over the Trojans (1-1). Hale 14, Hillman 12 After falling just shy 54-42 against the Tigers last season, Hale scored just enough and rebounded after a season-opening loss.

PHOTO: Muskegon Mona Shores avenged its 2019 loss to Muskegon on Friday with a 21-14 victory. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)

Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

May 26, 2023

Mendon’s run to the Division 2 Final last fall included some of the strongest rushing performances over the history of 8-player football.

The Hornets ran for 4,317 yards, second-most all-time, on the second-most attempts (520) and with a record-setting 682 yards Oct. 14 against Marcellus. Mendon also set the record for total offense with 692 total in that game, and made the single-season touchdowns list with 76 including 66 rushing (also second on that list).

Junior Jack McCaw made the single-season scoring list with 212 points, most coming on 29 touchdowns, and Evan Lukeman made the single-game rushing list with 401 yards against Marcellus. Mendon’s defense also earned praise, twice making the fewest-first-downs-allowed list with a low of three.

See below for more recent additions to the 8-player portion of the football record book:

8-Player Football

Athens’ Landon Bennett earned a pair of record book entries after reaching the end zone seven times during his team’s 72-0 win over Burr Oak on Sept. 8. His seven scores are tied for third-most in 8-player history and included three rushing, three on punt returns and one on an interception return. The three punt return touchdowns are a record. Bennett is a junior.

On the night Powers North Central broke its 8-player record for consecutive wins, claiming its 28th straight, senior Luke Gorzinski tied Jets great Jason Whitens for the record for interception touchdowns in a game with two, scoring on returns during the second and fourth quarters. Gorzinski has signed with Michigan Tech, and North Central’s winning streak is 37 games and counting.

A pair of Atlanta offensive playmakers and a top defensive lineman earned a total of seven entries in the record book for achievements last fall. Senior quarterback Tyler Currie threw for 30 touchdowns over eight games, and also made the records for six touchdowns and 419 passing yards against Whittemore-Prescott on Sept. 23; the passing yards are second-most for one 8-player game. Sophomore Landon Galea was added for 263 yards and five of those touchdowns against the Cardinals, and also for 1,418 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns over nine games. Junior teammate Tucker Kendrick made the tackles for loss list with five against Hillman on Oct. 6.

Adrian Lenawee Christian senior Brady McKelvey became the first to make the career extra points list in 8-player football this past fall. He bettered his previous single-season record making 64 of 66 extra-point attempts over 11 games and finishing his two-year varsity career with 123 extra points in 127 tries.

Sam McKissack reached the record book showcasing multiple skills for Crystal Falls Forest Park during the 2021 season – twice for rushing attempts in a game including with a record 59 against Ontonagon that Sept. 10, and then with a record 70-yard punt Oct. 30, 2021, against Lake Linden-Hubbell. Teammate Devon Basirico also made the record book with six fumble recoveries over 11 games that season. As a team, Forest Park was added twice for single-game rushing attempts – including 73 total in that Ontonagon game – and for 424 rushes over 11 games for the season. McKissack and Basirico are seniors this spring.

Nikolaus Lewis tied for eighth-most rushing touchdowns in an 8-player game when he reached the end zone six times for Carsonville-Port Sanilac in its win over Caseville on Oct. 7. He’s a senior this spring.

Bridgman has won 24 straight games over the last three seasons, and an exceptional offense – and exceptional offensive star – have played major roles. The Bees were added for 658 total yards in a win over Lawrence last season, that total ranking third all-time, and also 613 yards in a win over Eau Claire. Those included totals of 575 and 547 rushing yards, respectively, and Bridgman was added for 3,598 rushing yards (sixth on the list), 59 rushing touchdowns (fourth) and 76 total touchdowns (seventh). Senior Reid Haskins capped his four-year, 32-game varsity career with 13 record book entries, including for 254 points last season over nine games (tied for fifth all-time) and a record 620 career points, 41 touchdowns last season (fifth) and a record 95 for his career, 2,344 rushing yards last season (third) and a record 5,206 for his career, and 41 rushing touchdowns last season (third) and a record 94 for his career. Senior teammate Tanner Peters made the records three times including for 50 extra points last season (fourth) and 99 over 26 games and three seasons (second on the career list).

Mio's Austin Fox rewrote the 8-player passing record book this past fall, with his 621 yards in a game against Whittemore-Prescott setting a single-game record as he totaled four of the five-highest passing yardage totals. He also set a record with 3,516 over nine games for the season, another record with 289 passing attempts over those nine games and a third record for nine touchdown passes in that game against the Cardinals. His 41 touchdown passes total rank fourth. Teammates Gage Long and Nathan Hurst also earned several record book entries on the receiving end of those passes. Long’s 297 receiving yards against Whittemore-Prescott were tied for third most, and Hurst’s 266 against Alcona rank eighth. Long set a single-season record with 1,739 receiving yards, with Hurst sixth all-time at 1,321, and Long’s 14 receptions against the Cardinals and 70 for the season also rank second on those respective lists. Hurst set a record for longest 8-player kickoff return with a 99-yarder against St. Helen Charlton Heston. All three are seniors.

Peck was one of the first MHSAA 8-player champions, claiming the title in 2013, and Cody Abrego one of the state’s first 8-player stars. The Pirates were added to the MHSAA record book 52 times, and Abrego 14 times individually. Among the most notable entries for the 2015 graduate were for 462 points scored over his two-season career (ranking sixth all-time), 74 career touchdowns (sixth), 2,202 rushing yards in 2013 (fifth) and 35 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (sixth). Current senior Caleb Lentner was one of the stars statewide this past season, and he was added eight times including for 50 points scored in a game (ranking second), 272 points for a season last fall (fifth), eight touchdowns in a game (tied for second), 42 touchdowns in a season (fifth), an 8-player record of 2,694 rushing yards from last season, and 38 rushing touchdowns also last fall (fourth). Others to make the individual lists were Nathan Robar, Caleb Dudley, Steven VanConant, Kyle Abrego and Nathan Neihaus, Dudley for a record 20 career interceptions over two seasons and VanConant for a record 12 tackles for loss in a 2022 game and 36 tackles for loss for the season last fall. The Pirates also are all over the 8-player team record book, including for a record 97 touchdowns in 2013, a record 5,895 yards of total offense that season, 528 carries, 4,346 rushing yards and 73 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (all ranking second); and 24 interceptions in 2014, which ranks second on that list.

Senior quarterback JR Hildebrand was one of the most dynamic players in 8-player football in the fall in leading Martin to the Division 1 title. He had one of his most exciting nights in a playoff opener against Tekonsha, making the single-game touchdown pass list with six in a 68-6 victory.

PHOTO Mendon’s Jack McCaw (21) eludes a tackle during the 8-Player Division 2 Final in November at Northern Michigan University. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)