1st & Goal: Week 7 Preview

October 8, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The sun sets a little earlier as we move toward mid-October – this year allowing Friday Night Lights to shine as an even more present reminder that teams are enjoying an opportunity to play during an otherwise topsy-turvy fall.

This weekend begins the second half of the shortened regular season, and 2020’s storylines are beginning to take shape – with a number of league title contenders hoping to write in key details over the next two days.

Below is a look at games of particular note in every corner of Michigan – not including a handful played Thursday night, including key southwestern matchups between Centreville and Mendon and Kalamazoo United and Watervliet. Find scores for those and the schedule as we know it, and then results this weekend as they’re reported – via the MHSAA Score Center.

This week’s broadcast schedule includes 55 varsity football games on MHSAA.tv; click the link for listings.

Bay & Thumb

Port Huron Northern (2-0) at Port Huron (3-0)

The last three meetings between these neighbors were decided by six, three and seven points, and this could be a similar classic with the Macomb Area Conference Blue title on the line. The Huskies are riding a three-game regular-season winning streak in the series, but have played just two games this season and won both by seven or fewer points. They’ll have to contend with a Port Huron defense that has given up only a combined 35 points over three wins and won a playoff rematch with Northern in 2019.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Saginaw Swan Valley (2-1) at Freeland (2-1), Clare (3-0) at Gladwin (2-1), Cass City (3-0) at Unionville-Sebewaing (2-1), Richmond (1-2) at North Branch (3-0).

Greater Detroit

Clarkston (3-0) at Lake Orion (2-0)

The Wolves are coming into this matchup off a come-from-behind overtime win over West Bloomfield, avenging a 2019 loss. Clarkston can avenge another tonight after falling to the Dragons 55-21 a year ago. Because of various cancelations, the Oakland Activities Association Red schedule has become unbalanced – but a Clarkston win would put it at 4-0 in the league, while a Lake Orion win would seem to give the Dragons a one-game edge on the other challengers with West Bloomfield still coming up Week 9.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Orchard Lake St. Mary's (1-2) at Detroit Catholic Central (3-0), Grosse Pointe South (2-1) at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (2-1), Milan (2-1) at New Boston Huron (3-0). SATURDAY DeWitt (3-0) at Warren De La Salle Collegiate (1-2).


Hopkins (3-0) at Belding (3-0)

The Ottawa-Kent Conference circles into Ionia County with Belding, and the Black Knights have an opportunity to bring a league title east with a win tonight clinching at least a share of the Silver championship. Hopkins has won the teams’ last two meetings, including last season’s 32-6. Defense could make this one much closer as the Vikings have given up 10 points over three games and Belding has allowed only 29.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Fowlerville (2-1) at Mason (3-0), Lake Odessa Lakewood (2-1) at Olivet (3-0), Northville (2-1) at Hartland (2-1). SATURDAY Breckenridge (2-1) at Carson City-Crystal (1-0).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Muskegon Catholic Central (3-0) at Manistee (3-0)

Tonight’s winner clinches a share of the Lakes 8 Athletic Conference championship. The Crusaders are seeking their first since 2017 and enter this title decider having outscored their first three opponents by a combined 110-18. MCC also defeated Manistee 49-0 a year ago, but the Chippewas have been on a roll in 2020 – they’ve already equaled their 2019 win total and got a nice nonleague boost downing Harbor Springs 47-20 a week ago.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Frankfort (1-2) at Harbor Springs (2-1), Traverse City West (2-1) at Gaylord (1-2), Cadillac (2-1) at Petoskey (1-2), Evart (1-2) at Lake City (1-2).

Southeast & Border

Marshall (1-2) at Parma Western (3-0)

This should be a much better matchup than records would indicate. Western is off to an excellent start, with most notably its opening-night win over Hastings looking better and better with every Saxons victory. But Marshall isn’t a down-and-out 1-2 team – the Redhawks lost to reigning Interstate 8 Athletic Conference champion Jackson Lumen Christi by just a point, then to 2019 runner-up Coldwater by eight before getting on the board with last week’s big win over Jackson Northwest. The Panthers have won the last two meetings, but last year in a close one 14-13.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Hillsdale (2-1) at Brooklyn Columbia Central (2-1), Britton Deerfield (1-2) at Erie Mason (3-0), Riverview Gabriel Richard (3-0) at Manchester (2-1), Springport (1-0) at Reading (2-1).

Southwest Corridor

Paw Paw (3-0) at Vicksburg (2-1)

The Red Wolves have opened by outscoring their first three opponents by a combined 136-7. But these next three weeks will provide a greater measuring stick after the team finished 10-2 last season and 8-3 the year before. First up is Vicksburg, which hasn’t given up a point since falling to reigning Wolverine Conference champion Edwardsburg in the season opener. Then comes Detroit Country Day before Paw Paw finishes the regular season against the Eddies in what could decide the league title – although Vicksburg can still have a say by coming up big tonight.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY St. Joseph (3-0) at Stevensville Lakeshore (2-1), Comstock (2-1) at Buchanan (3-0), Delton Kellogg (1-2) at Saugatuck (2-1), Coldwater (3-0) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (1-2).

Upper Peninsula

Gladstone (2-0) at Kingsford (2-1)

The Braves have been one of the most intriguing stories of this abbreviated season, for reasons covered a few times on this site over the last two weeks. And Gladstone would seem like the league favorite as it begins Great Northern Conference play tonight – but up first is Kingsford, which owns a 21-game winning streak in the series. Kingsford fell to Marquette 10-0 last week, but could shake things up among the Upper Peninsula’s best by running that streak to 22 tonight.   

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Marquette (2-1) at Menominee (2-1), Benzie Central (2-1) at Sault Ste. Marie (2-1), Ishpeming Westwood (2-1) at L'Anse (1-2), Negaunee (2-1) at Bessemer Gogebic (0-2).

West Michigan

Byron Center (3-0) at Lowell (3-0)

This is the kind of game the Red Arrows surely have been looking forward to for a few seasons as they’ve built back up into league contenders. The O-K White title could eventually come down to this matchup, as new league member Byron Center – last year’s Green champ – is riding a 13-game regular-season winning streak and coming off a major success last week against Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central. Lowell has proven itself with a win over East Grand Rapids – and another tonight would be a major step toward a possible first league title since 2016.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Grand Rapids South Christian (3-0) at Cedar Springs (2-1), Newaygo (2-1) at Reed City (3-0), Muskegon (2-1) at Zeeland East (2-1), Jenison (2-1) at East Kentwood (1-2).


Mayville (3-0) at Deckerville (3-0)

The Eagles have won 18 straight regular-season games and five straight league championships, but this matchup starts a challenging 2020 run. Mayville tonight, Genesee next week and Morrice in Week 9 all are still undefeated (Genesee plays Morrice this weekend). Mayville has been overshadowed a bit but quietly is coming off three straight playoff seasons and is averaging 62 points per game this fall as it looks to take the next step

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Morrice (3-0) at Genesee (3-0), Pellston (3-0) at Gaylord St. Mary (3-0), Munising (3-0) at Stephenson (3-0), New Buffalo (3-0) at Bridgman (2-1).

PHOTO by Robert Batzloff.

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.)