1st & Goal: Week 6 Preview

October 1, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

We may have only just begun this abbreviated Michigan high school football season, but this weekend we’ll reach the midway point – and the beginning of another October full of opportunities.

Every game matters even more with a six-game schedule, and early league leaders are meeting everywhere over the next two days – including in five leagues in the Grand Rapids/Muskegon areas alone.

Below is a quick look at some of the especially intriguing matchups. Check out the MHSAA Score Center beforehand for kickoff times and locations of all games, and come back Friday and Saturday for scores as they’re reported.

This week’s broadcast schedule includes 48 varsity football games on MHSAA.tv; click the link for listings.

Bay & Thumb

Mount Pleasant (2-0) at Midland (2-0)

Seven of the last 10 meetings between these Saginaw Valley League Blue foes have been decided by eight points or fewer, including Midland’s 22-21 win a year ago that helped the Chemics to a shared conference title. Along with matchups both still face with Midland Dow, tonight’s should significantly shape this season’s league race.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY New Lothrop (2-0) at Montrose (2-0), Grand Blanc (1-1) at Lapeer (2-0), Midland Bullock Creek (1-1) at Hemlock (2-0). SATURDAY Croswell-Lexington (2-0) at North Branch (2-0).

Greater Detroit

West Bloomfield (2-0) at Clarkston (2-0)

The Wolves quickly are making last season’s uncharacteristic 3-6 finish – their first below .500 since 2002 – a distant memory, but this matchup will allow them the opportunity to avenge a 2019 loss for the first time. West Bloomfield claimed last year’s matchup 24-0 on the way to finishing 10-2, and more interestingly hasn’t lost a game by more than seven points since 2016. With both programs surging again, we could be in for another close contest.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Detroit Denby (2-0) at Detroit Martin Luther King (1-1), North Farmington (1-1) at Birmingham Groves (1-1), Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (1-1) at Sterling Heights Stevenson (2-0). SATURDAY Warren De La Salle Collegiate (1-1) at Detroit Catholic Central (2-0).


Lansing Catholic (2-0) at Portland (1-1)

Lansing Catholic rode last year’s first win in this rivalry since 2015 all the way to the Division 5 championship, and the Cougars have tuned up on both sides of the ball outscoring their first two opponents by a combined 85-3. The Raiders will hope for a result similar to last year’s first meeting with Lansing Catholic, a 21-20 win, before they fell 21-0 in that District Final rematch. Portland last week bounced back with a shutout of Charlotte after falling big in its opener to DeWitt.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Reed City (2-0) at Central Montcalm (2-0), Canton (2-0) at Brighton (1-1), Stockbridge (1-1) at Lake Odessa Lakewood (1-1), Ortonville Brandon (2-0) at Corunna (1-1).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Kingsley (2-0) at Traverse City St. Francis (1-1)

The Stags ended their six-game losing streak to St. Francis last season with a 26-7 victory that eventually decided the Northern Michigan Football League Legends title. Kingsley hasn’t slowed down, running its regular-season winning streak to 16 last week. But St. Francis’ 14-7 loss to new league member Sault Ste. Marie in the season opener is looking even better after the Sault’s win over Marquette, and the Gladiators still have reason to hope for at least a three-way tie for the Legends championship.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Traverse City Central (2-0) at Cadillac (2-0), Harbor Springs (2-0) at Manistee (2-0), Frankfort (1-1) at Johannesburg-Lewiston (2-0), Charlevoix (2-0) at Boyne City (1-1).

Southeast & Border

Clinton (2-0) at Blissfield (2-0)

Reshuffling among southeastern Lower Peninsula leagues took these teams’ regular Week 2 nonconference meeting up a few levels. It already was a solid nonleague matchup – they’ve played regularly since 2012 and split the last four meetings with Clinton winning last season 45-13. Now they find themselves tied for the early lead in the Lenawee County Athletic Association, with Blissfield coming off a 31-14 win over reigning champion Hillsdale last week.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Saline (2-0) at Monroe (2-0), Hillsdale (1-1) at Ida (1-1), Battle Creek Harper Creek (1-1) at Jackson Lumen Christi (1-1). SATURDAY Schoolcraft (2-0) at Chelsea (2-0).

Southwest Corridor

Cassopolis (2-0) at Centreville (2-0)

The Rangers are up to 26-1 in league play since the Southwest 10 Conference was formed in 2017, and that means even more considering five of the remaining six 11-player football members made the playoffs in 2019. Cassopolis’ closest league win last year was 15-0 over Centreville, which has continued its rejuvenation and could have its sights set on more after losing four games in 2019 by a combined 28 points. The Bulldogs avenged one of those defeats downing White Pigeon 14-8 last week.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Sturgis (2-0) at Paw Paw (2-0), Portage Central (0-2) at St. Joseph (2-0), Constantine (1-1) at Watervliet (2-0), Stevensville Lakeshore (1-1) at Battle Creek Central (1-1).

Upper Peninsula

Gladstone (1-0) at Sault Ste. Marie (2-0)

Gladstone provided an uplifting story last weekend, coming off short prep time to edge Negaunee 22-20 and after also missing out on opening weekend. Next up is the team generating the most buzz in the Upper Peninsula. Sault Ste. Marie has wins over Traverse City St. Francis and Marquette – and will be looking to avenge last season’s 20-8 loss to the Braves.  

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Marquette (1-1) at Kingsford (2-0), L'Anse (1-1) at Negaunee (1-1), Menominee (1-1) at Escanaba (0-0), Norway (0-2) at Bark River-Harris (0-2).

West Michigan

Zeeland East (2-0) at Zeeland West (2-0)

This next-door showdown always means a lot. It might mean even more now that Muskegon Mona Shores and Muskegon High have joined the Zeeland schools to make what was a strong Ottawa-Kent Conference Green now one of the most powerful football leagues in the state. West won both meetings last year, by 20 and then 31 points in a Division 3 playoff opener.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Cedar Springs (2-0) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (2-0), Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (2-0) at Byron Center (2-0), Grandville (2-0) at Hudsonville (2-0), North Muskegon (2-0) at Whitehall (2-0).


Whittemore-Prescott (2-0) at Gaylord St. Mary (2-0)

Whittemore-Prescott was a late addition to 8-player before the start of this fall. But it looks like the Cardinals made a sound decision. Their two wins in two weeks equal their total for the entire 2019 season. That said, St. Mary certainly will be W-P’s biggest challenge to date. The Snowbirds have put 111 points on the board over just two games and could be prepping for a serious run in their second season of this format.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Adrian Lenawee Christian (2-0) at Climax-Scotts (2-0), Brethren (1-1) at Mesick (1-1), Indian River Inland Lakes (2-0) at Onekama (1-1). SATURDAY Hillman (1-1) at Portland St. Patrick (2-0).

PHOTO: Lapeer is looking to improve to 3-0 after downing Flint Powers Catholic 36-21 last week. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)

Performance of the Week: Gladwin's Jhace Massey

September 22, 2023

Jhace MasseyJhace Massey ♦ Gladwin
Senior ♦ Football

Massey, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound starting receiver for the reigning Division 5 champion, moved to quarterback after the team’s starter and top backup were injured against rival Clare on Friday. He went on to run 18 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns, throw for 61 yards and two scores and snag a fourth-quarter interception to help land the Flying Gs a 44-28 victory after they’d trailed 21-3.

The win put Gladwin in first place alone in the Jack Pine Conference halfway through the league schedule. The Flying Gs entered the game ranked No. 4 in Division 5 by the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association, and Clare was ranked No. 8 in Division 6. Although football has become his favorite sport, Massey also is a top contributor on the basketball team and ran primarily the 100 and 200 meters and on relays during track season in the spring.

@mhsaasports POW: Jhace Massey #football #quarterback #gladwin #letsgo #touchdown #interception #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🏈 POW: Jhace Massey #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #mcdonalds #gymclass #stephcurry30 #tacotuesday #thumbsup #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

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MHSAA.com's "Performance of the Week" features 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 Twitter @mistudentaid.

Past 2023-24 Honorees

Sept. 15: Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Top photo by Mike Kolleth. Headshot provided by the Gladwin football program.)