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.)

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.)