1st & Goal: Week 6 in Review

October 6, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

There’s no pretending this football season hasn’t been a little different, for obvious reasons.

But every week seems to reintroduce something familiar – and looking at the statewide scoreboard after Week 6, it was the “first time since the last time” list.

If that’s a theme, Jonesville, Ann Arbor Huron, Centreville and Brimley are among the stars with accomplishments this week they hadn’t enjoyed in a while. Details are below as we take a glance again at the scores that jumped off the page most from the weekend’s action.

Bay & Thumb

HEADLINER Grand Blanc 34, Lapeer 16 The Bobcats (2-1) had lost both regular-season and playoff games to Lapeer the last two seasons, last year by 34 and 28 points, respectively. But they handed the Lightning (2-1) only its second defeat during the regular season over the last three seasons. Click below for more from WJRT.

Watch list North Branch 27, Croswell-Lexington 20 The Broncos (3-0) handed the Pioneers (2-1) their first loss, a week after avenging last year’s loss to Almont. Up next is Richmond, the only other team that defeated North Branch during the 2019 regular season.

Remember this one Hemlock 48, Midland Bullock Creek 32 The Huskies (3-0) still see Millington, and Millington still faces Bullock Creek (1-2), and it’s likely some combination of those results determines the Tri-Valley Conference West I champion.

More shoutouts Sanford Meridian 28, Harrison 8 The Mustangs (3-0) kept themselves in the hunt for the Jack Pine Conference championship, with Meridian, Harrison (2-1) and Beaverton all trailing league leader Clare by a win. Goodrich 42, Lake Fenton 27 The Martians (2-1) did the same in the Flint Metro League Stars, holding on just a game back of league leader Ortonville Brandon after delivering Lake Fenton (2-1) its first defeat.

Greater Detroit

HEADLINER Clarkston 24, West Bloomfield 21 (OT) The Wolves showed they’re absolutely back after coming all the way back from a 21-7 deficit to edge the rival Lakers (2-1) in overtime. Clarkston (3-0) sits alone atop the Oakland Activities Association Red standings with as many wins as it earned all of last season. Click for more from the Oakland Press and see highlights below from State Champs Sports Network.

Watch list Canton 21, Brighton 20 Canton is off to its first 3-0 start since 2015 and leads the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West after edging the reigning Division 1 runner-up Bulldogs (1-2).

Remember this one Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 42, Sterling Heights Stevenson 27 In the loaded six-team Macomb Area Conference Red, reigning champion Chippewa Valley (2-1) stopped previously-surging Stevenson (2-1) to create a four-way tie atop the standings.

More shoutouts Detroit Catholic Central 14, Warren De La Salle Collegiate 10 The Shamrocks (3-0) clinched a share of the Detroit Catholic League Central title, avenging last season’s 14-3 loss to the Pilots (1-2). Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 21, Whitmore Lake 7 The Lancers (3-0) sit atop the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference after finishing second to Whitmore Lake (1-2) a year ago.


HEADLINER Portland 21, Lansing Catholic 7 The Raiders (2-1) saw an overall six-game winning streak against Lansing Catholic end in last season’s District Final as the Cougars went on to win Division 5. But Portland ran its regular-season winning streak against Lansing Catholic (2-1) to six in a matchup that put the Raiders in solid position to win the Capital Area Activities Conference White title. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal and see highlights below from WLNS.

Watch list New Lothrop 44, Montrose 15 The Hornets (3-0) appear the team to beat again in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference after improving on last year’s win over reigning league runner-up Montrose (2-1) – although Durand also is unbeaten and will have a say.

Remember this one Fowlerville 17, Holt 14 Morgyn Muck’s 44-yard last-minute go-ahead field goals surely won’t be forgotten soon by the Gladiators (2-1).

More shoutouts East Lansing 17, Lansing Waverly 0 The Trojans have produced outstanding receivers before him, but Andrel Anthony Jr. is resetting all the school’s receiving records, including for career yardage in this win. Lake Odessa Lakewood 43, Stockbridge 26 The Vikings (2-1) set themselves up to face Olivet this week with a share of the Greater Lansing Activities Conference title on the line.  

Northern Lower Peninsula

HEADLINER Kingsley 36, Traverse City St. Francis 23 The Stags (3-0) took a major step toward repeating as Northern Michigan Football Conference Legends champions, as St. Francis (1-2) annually finishes among the top two in the division. Owen Graves piled up 287 yards rushing and scored four times for Kingsley. Click for more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Watch list Manistee 42, Harbor Springs 20 Manistee (3-0) tuned up well for this week’s Lakes 8 Athletic Conference decider against Muskegon Catholic Central, handing Harbor Springs (2-1) its first defeat.

Remember this one Traverse City Central 41, Cadillac 17 The first-place Trojans (3-0) now own wins over the two teams tied for second in the Big North Conference, Cadillac (2-1) and Traverse City West.

More shoutouts Evart 29, Houghton Lake 22 The Wildcats (1-2) celebrated their first win, knocking Houghton Lake (2-1) out of a tie for first in the Highland Conference. East Jordan 30, St. Ignace 6 The Red Devils (2-1) had lost all four previous meetings to the Saints since they joined the NMFC Legacy together. 

Southeast & Border 

HEADLINER Jonesville 44, Reading 18 There are plenty of impressive numbers coming off the weekend’s most surprising score. Jonesville (2-1) hadn’t beaten Reading since 2014, having lost the last two meetings with the Rangers by a combined 112-0. Reading (2-1) hadn’t lost a Big 8 Conference game since 2016, and only one other regular-season game over the last three seasons. This sets Jonesville up to compete with Week 9 opponent Homer for this year’s league title – although Reading faces Homer first in Week 8. Click for more from the Hillsdale Daily News.

Watch list Blissfield 28, Clinton 14 The Royals (3-0) are alone atop the Lenawee County Athletic Association with wins over two of three second-place teams and the third, Brooklyn Columbia Central, not on the shortened schedule.    

Remember this one Ann Arbor Huron 18, Ann Arbor Pioneer 8 The Hurons (1-1) broke an 18-game losing streak to rival Pioneer (0-2) that went back to 2002.

More shoutouts Sand Creek 50, Ottawa Lake Whiteford 14 The Aggies’ first win over Whiteford since 2011 kept Sand Creek (3-0) tied for first in the Tri-County Conference. Chelsea 42, Schoolcraft 21 Scheduled after two other cancelations, this last-minute matchup pitted teams both often among the highly-ranked in their divisions.

Southwest Corridor

HEADLINER Centreville 36, Cassopolis 7 The Bulldogs (3-0) not only scored their first points on Cassopolis since 2015, they defeated the Rangers (2-1) for the first time in 10 recent meetings. Cassopolis also hadn’t lost a league game since 2017. Centreville will play co-leader Mendon this week for a share of the Southwest 10 Conference championship. Click for more from JoeInsider.com.

Watch list Buchanan 31, Berrien Springs 15 The Bucks (3-0) have equaled last year’s win total and with another victory will guarantee their best finish since 2016. Buchanan had lost the last three Berrien Springs matchups by a combined 127-0.

Remember this one Constantine 55, Watervliet 6 The Falcons (2-1) locked up a Watervliet offense that had scored a combined 107 points in two wins to start the fall.

More shoutouts Paw Paw 49, Sturgis 0 The Trojans (2-1) have put themselves back in the football conversation in the Wolverine Conference, but Paw Paw (3-0) made sure the title talk still centers on itself and Week 9 opponent Edwardsburg. Kalamazoo United 44, Parchment 6 The Titans (3-0) remain in position to challenge for a third-straight Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore title.

Upper Peninsula

HEADLINER Gladstone 28, Sault Ste. Marie 26 The has been a whirlwind start for Gladstone, which didn’t play in the opening “Week 4” and then defeated Negaunee by two Week 5 on just a few days of prep. And now, this past weekend, the Braves (2-0) edged a Sault Ste. Marie team (2-1) that appeared to be the U.P.’s best after its first two victories. Click for more from the Escanaba Daily Press.

Watch list Marquette 10, Kingsford 0 The Redmen (2-1) ran their winning streak over Kingsford (2-1) to three and sit in good position to win the Great Northern Conference, with Menominee – which Marquette beat by 23 in Week 4 – up next. 

Remember this one Negaunee 29, L’Anse 6 The Miners (2-1) bounced right back after a two-point loss to Gladstone two weeks ago.

More shoutouts Manistique 12, Bessemer 0 The Emeralds (1-2) picked up their first win of the season with their first defensive shutout since 2012. Bark River-Harris 43, Norway 12 The Broncos (1-2) also earned their first victory, putting up a big number after scoring a combined six points over the first two weeks.

West Michigan 

HEADLINER Grand Rapids Catholic Central 42, Cedar Springs 28 The rebuilt Ottawa-Kent Conference this fall placed GRCC – coming off five straight league titles, most recently in the Blue – in the Gold with two-time reigning White champion Cedar Springs (2-1). Undefeated Grand Rapids South Christian still must face both, but the league race appears down to those three and with the Cougars and Sailors tied for the lead. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Watch list Byron Center 35, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 14 The Bulldogs (3-0), along with Lowell, have emerged as the frontrunners in the O-K White, with Forest Hills Central (2-1) and East Grand Rapids one game behind.

Remember this one Grand Rapids Union 59, Wyoming 57 Union’s 45-game losing streak, going back to 2015, came to an end in a game with so many points scored it will be included in the MHSAA record book at the end of the season.

More shoutouts Zeeland West 34, Zeeland East 14 With a third-straight win over the Chix (2-1), the Dux (3-0) moved into first place in the O-K Green with Muskegon Mona Shores. Grandville 21, Hudsonville 17 The Bulldogs (3-0) share the lead in the O-K Red with Rockford after breaking a two-game losing streak against the Eagles (2-1).


HEADLINER Gaylord St. Mary 54, Whittemore-Prescott 18 The Snowbirds (3-0) topped 50 points for the third time in three games, this time against a first-year 8-player program that had given up a combined 44 points over its first two weeks. St. Mary is averaging 55 points per game and certainly provided the Cardinals (2-1) their toughest 8-player challenge so far. Click for more from the Iosco County News-Herald.

Watch list Adrian Lenawee Christian 55, Climax-Scotts 8 Lenawee Christian continued its impressive start in 8-player, handing former 11-player foe Climax-Scotts (2-1) its first defeat of the fall and improving its scoring margin for the season to 141-14.

Remember this one New Buffalo 28, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 26 The Bison (3-0) have gone from contributing players to Bridgman as part of a cooperative team in 2018 to winning one game in its first season of 8-player a year ago, to putting together one of the strongest starts of 2020.

More shoutouts Brimley 42, Engadine 30 The Bays (1-2) broke a 15-game losing streak against Engadine and after falling 66-8 in last year’s meeting. Cedarville 32, Rapid River 20 The Trojans (2-1) had lost their three most recent games with Rapid River (2-1) by eight or fewer points each time.

PHOTO: Negaunee's Lukas Nelson (25) finds a brief opening Friday before L'Anse closes it up. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)

For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

March 17, 2023

Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.

Northern Lower PeninsulaLast year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.

That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.

The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.

But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer. 

Eagles coach Matt Barnowski coaches up his team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick.The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.

Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.  

Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.

Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.

“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing. 

“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”

Dylan Barnowski and Brammer also teamed up during successful football careers. Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.

The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.

The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.

“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit. 

“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”

This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.

Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.

The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.

“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.  

St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Brammer, Jack Gwynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. “They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”

Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.

“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”

With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.

“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”

Bramer agreed.

“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at tomspencer@chartermi.net with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)