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).

Mid-Michigan

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).

8-Player

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.)

Record-Setting Viney Gained Lifelong Confidence at Marine City

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

July 17, 2024

Olivia Viney didn’t have to look far for inspiration while taking on the challenge of applying to veterinary school.

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosThe 2015 Marine City graduate and record-setting placekicker simply drew from her own experience as a high school athlete.

“It just really taught me that I could do hard things,” Viney said. “I was very involved when I was in school. I did soccer, theater, travel soccer and then football. Especially with football, I learned that if I put my mind to it, I can do it. That helped me to excel in undergrad. When it came time to get accepted to vet school, it was like, ‘This is what I have to do,’ and I did it. That was very confidence-building. It taught me that I really can do hard things.”

Viney, who graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2019 and Michigan State Veterinary School in 2023, is now working as an associate veterinarian at Deporre Veterinary Hospital in West Bloomfield. 

Accomplishing her goals is nothing new to Viney, and not at all a surprise to those who watched her come through the Mariners athletic program.

“She was very serious, she was focused and she was dialed in,” said Dave Frendt, who coached Viney in both football and soccer at Marine City. “She knew what she wanted to accomplish, and she set out to do that. She was a fierce competitor and very driven. She was a good leader in that way where she was kind of feisty, but the team would follow that.”

Viney was an all-state soccer player for the Mariners, leading them to a pair of District titles and a Macomb Area Conference Gold title during her four years as a varsity player. It’s the sport she grew up playing, but the one she was most known for after graduation was football. American football.

The 5-foot-1-ish center attacking midfielder found herself in the MHSAA football record book after hitting all seven of her extra point attempts in the Mariners’ 2013 Division 4 Final victory against Grand Rapids South Christian.

“I think it makes sense,” she said. “There were lots of great soccer players, even that I played with. Great players that had gone through school, so I don’t think it’s weird that people remember me for that. When I talk with people, they’ll connect the dots – ‘Oh, you played football.’

“I was more accomplished as a soccer player and had more accolades. But I’m prouder of my football accomplishments, because it was really setting a pathway for girls that wanted to get into that. It’s so much more common now, or accepted. Even though it’s been almost 11 years since we won at Ford Field, I’m so proud of high school Olivia and what she did, the courage she had. She wasn’t scared of anything.”

Viney graduated from MSU’s Veterinary School in 2023. Viney joined Marine City’s football program as a sophomore, playing on the junior varsity squad. While she was there only to kick, she was all in when it came to practicing.

“Coach (Joe) Fregetto made me do tackling drills and drills in the mud – I really did earn my spot on the team,” Viney said. “I think it was mostly because he didn’t know what to do with me, so I guess just do everything that the guys do.”

She handled varsity kicking duties the next two years, setting the school record in 2013 for most extra points made during a single season – a record that still stands. Former Mariners coach Ron Glodich said that Viney actually never missed an extra point that season, as the four failed attempts were never even kicked.

It was her performance in the Division 4 Final that gained her statewide acclaim, as she hit 7 of 7 attempts, tying a record for most extra points made in a Finals game. It stood until a pair of kickers hit eight in 2022.

One record that never will be broken, however, is Viney becoming the first female to score a point at the Finals.

“Everything was so surreal, I was so nervous,” Viney said. “One of my most vivid memories was that day, or maybe the day before, Coach Glodich said, ‘Just so you know, when you get to the field, the goal posts are two feet narrower on each side. But that doesn’t matter if you kick it in the middle.’

“We got there and watched the team before us so we could get used to it, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re so narrow.’ … Seeing myself up on the big screen was kind of almost a little embarrassing, because I knew people were talking about me being the girl. But once we were in the game, it was a lot like any other game. I was just waiting for my turn to go on the field and do my job.”

Viney later was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” – ironically, right below current U.S. Women’s National Team forward Mallory Pugh – but she wasn’t looked at any differently by her teammates, and she wouldn’t have wanted to be.

“That team was all about sacrifice for the team,” Frendt said. “For them to realize, ‘None of us can do what she does, so we better embrace it, because no one else can do it.’ They really made her feel like part of the team. They wanted to protect her, too. But she was tough. She wasn’t going to take anything.”

Viney went to SVSU to study biology and played for its club soccer team. During her time there, she volunteered at an animal shelter and made the decision she wanted to help animals in her career. She works in general practice at Deporre, and would eventually like to work in shelter medicine.

She and her husband Matt, who were married in May, live with their three dogs. She’s not far from home, and in the spring of 2023 she visited Frendt’s college and career readiness class to speak with students at her alma mater. Her presentation and the attention to detail and hard work she put into it, Frendt said, blew his students away. Not that it surprised him.

“That’s poured into her life after sports,” he said of her work ethic. “She just kept plugging away. She’s awesome.”

July 11: High School 'Hoop Squad' Close to Heart as Hughes Continues Coaching Climb - Read
July 10: 
Nightingale Embarking on 1st Season as College Football Head Coach - Read
June 28:
 E-TC's Witt Bulldozing Path from Small Town to Football's Biggest Stage - Read

PHOTOS (Top) Marine City’s Olivia Viney kicks at the 2013 11-Player Football Finals, also during her spring soccer season, and cares for one of her patients as an associate veterinarian. (Middle) Viney graduated from MSU’s Veterinary School in 2023. (Photos courtesy of Olivia Viney.)