1st & Goal: Week 7 in Review

October 12, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Yes, it’s true. We’re days from mid-October, with only two regular-season football games remaining, celebrating league champions and starting to look forward to the MHSAA Playoffs.

All of that has seemed to come on quickly this fall, but Week 7 provided us even more of what we’re used to enjoying every year.

In front of larger crowds at many stadiums, we watched the most unusual fall in a century continue to take shape – starting with a major southwestern matchup Thursday night and concluding Saturday with a few more indicators of what might be on the way as this season’s best contenders continue to rise.  

Bay & Thumb

HEADLINER Port Huron 20, Port Huron Northern 7 The Big Reds (4-0) added on to last year’s playoff-opener win over Northern by breaking a three-game regular-season losing streak versus the Huskies (2-1). In doing so, Port Huron clinched a share of the Macomb Area Conference Blue championship and can finish an outright run this week against winless Sterling Heights. Click for more from the Port Huron Times Herald.

Watch list North Branch 56, Richmond 7 This is two weeks straight for the Broncos (4-0), who have avenged both of their regular-season losses from last year and sit alone atop the Blue Water Area Conference standings.  

Remember this one Freeland 21, Saginaw Swan Valley 14 The Falcons (3-1) broke a four-game losing streak against the Vikings (2-2) and in doing so clinched a share of the Tri-Valley Conference Central title.

More shoutouts Reese 23, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port 20 The Rockets (1-3) made their first win count, upsetting Laker (3-1) and toppling it from a first-place tie in the Greater Thumb Conference West. Cass City 28, Unionville-Sebewaing 24 The Red Hawks, who don’t play Laker during this abbreviated season, were beneficiaries of that Reese upset and now sit atop the West together with only Bad Axe thanks also to this close win over USA (2-2).

Greater Detroit

HEADLINER Grosse Pointe South 21, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 17 Joining one of the toughest leagues in the state hasn’t fazed newcomer Grosse Pointe South (3-1) this fall, as it showed against reigning champ Chippewa Valley (2-2). The Blue Devils find themselves tied with Macomb Dakota and Sterling Heights Stevenson for first place, and with Stevenson up next. Click for more from MLive-Detroit and see highlights below from State Champs Sports Network.

Watch list Clarkston 31, Lake Orion 7 The Wolves (4-0) continued their bounce back this fall by clinching a share of the Oakland Activities Association Red title while dealing the Dragons (2-1) their first defeat.

Remember this one Birmingham Seaholm 35, Birmingham Groves 28 Make that two in a row in this rivalry for Seaholm (3-1) after breaking a former seven-game losing streak to Groves (2-2) during last season’s playoffs.

More shoutouts Detroit Catholic Central 27, Orchard Lake St. Mary's 10 The Shamrocks (4-0) capped a perfect run through the Detroit Catholic League Central, holding their three league opponents to a combined 32 points. Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 23, Rochester Adams 10 The Cougars (4-0) defeated Adams (1-3) for the first time since 2014 and in doing so clinched a share of the OAA White championship.  


HEADLINER Mason 42, Fowlerville 14 The Bulldogs (4-0) ran their regular-season winning streak to 15 and set up a Week 9 winner-takes-all with also-undefeated Williamston for the Capital Area Activities Conference Red championship. Mason put up its most points in a game this season and has now held its four opponents to a combined 43. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.

Watch list Olivet 30, Lake Odessa Lakewood 6 The Eagles (4-0) extended their Greater Lansing Activities Conference winning streak to 18 while clinching a share of the league title – and with unbeaten Williamston up next for an intriguing nonleague matchup.

Remember this one DeWitt 43, Warren De La Salle Collegiate 3 The Panthers (4-0) already were off to another strong local start, but defeating the Pilots (1-3) on the road no doubt drew plenty of statewide eyes.  

More shoutouts Breckenridge 29, Carson City-Crystal 7 The Huskies (3-1) are 5-for-5 in the Mid-State Activities Conference, this win clinching their fifth title in five seasons playing in the league. Durand 20, Chesaning 14 The Railroaders (4-0) not only are off to their best start since 2016, but this was their first margin of victory smaller than 21 this fall.

Northern Lower Peninsula

HEADLINER Traverse City Central 57, Alpena 0 The Trojans (4-0) earned a share of a repeat championship in the Big North Conference, and how they’ve rumbled through league competition the last few years has been exceptional. Central has won 13 straight league games, going back nearly three full league seasons, and with the last 11 consecutive wins all by at least 24 points. Click for more from MI Sports Now.

Watch list Evart 34, Lake City 21 After opening 0-2, Evart (2-2) has won two weeks over opponents that last season outscored the Wildcats by a combined 64-12.

Remember this one Harbor Springs 57, Frankfort 22 The Rams (3-1) set themselves up to play Johannesburg-Lewiston in Week 9 for the Northern Michigan Football Conference Legacy title.

More shoutouts Oscoda 58, Blanchard Montabella 0 That the Owls are 4-0 isn’t super stunning coming off last year’s league title, but that they’ve yet to give up a point is impressive no matter the circumstances. East Jordan 48, Alcona 22 The Red Devils (3-1), counting the end of 2019, have won six of their last eight games.

Southeast & Border

HEADLINER Milan 24, New Boston Huron 7 A Week 5 loss to current leader Riverview has Milan (3-1) still trailing in the Huron League by a game with one to play. But the Big Reds hung on to a shared title hope by handing New Boston Huron (3-1) its first defeat. Click for more from the Monroe News.

Watch list Hillsdale 22, Brooklyn Columbia Central 21 Blissfield leads the Lenawee County Athletic Association, but Hillsdale (3-1) is tied with Week 9 opponent Clinton for second place as both hope for a Royals stumble.

Remember this one Michigan Center 36, Grass Lake 28 After two weeks off, Michigan Center (1-1) shook up the Cascades Conference standings, pulling Grass Lake (3-1) out of a tie for first place.

More shoutouts Adrian Madison 39, Morenci 22 The Trojans’ next two opponents are a combined 1-7, and if Madison gets to 5-1 it would guarantee its winningest season since 2009. Erie Mason 52, Britton Deerfield 12 The Eagles (4-0) won to set up a Tri-County Conference title match for this week with also-undefeated Sand Creek.

Southwest Corridor

HEADLINER Centreville 36, Mendon 0 The Bulldogs are well into a third season of impressive football after struggles through most of the last decade, and this might be one of the biggest wins in recent memory. Centreville traveled to Mendon and emerged in the matchup of unbeatens with a share of the Southwest 10 Conference championship and a second shutout in four games this fall. Click for more from the Sturgis Journal.

Watch list Battle Creek Harper Creek 28, Coldwater 7 This puts Harper Creek at only 1-2 in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference, but dropped Coldwater into a mix of six teams that has one or two league defeats.

Remember this one Marshall 41, Parma Western 27 Having lost to two other league contenders close, Marshall (2-2) caused some I8AC juggling as well with this win over former lone league leader Western (3-1).

More shoutouts Buchanan 42, Comstock 7 The Bucks (4-0) inched closer to a possible Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference title, now needing to win one of their final two regular-season games to clinch a share. Battle Creek Pennfield 28, Jackson Lumen Christi 20 The Panthers (2-2) hadn’t gotten within 15 points of Lumen Christi (2-2) during their first six meetings as part of the I8AC together.

Upper Peninsula

HEADLINER Kingsford 30, Gladstone 28 Getting a read on the Upper Peninsula pecking order is getting pretty difficult this fall, as Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie and Gladstone all have taken turns as the possible leader. Kingsford (3-1) is at least in the growing mix now coming off this close win – which also gave the Braves (2-1) three two-point games in three tries this season. Click for more from RRN Sports.

Watch list Sault Ste. Marie 34, Benzie Central 13 The Blue Devils (3-1) bounced back from their two-point Week 6 loss to Gladstone by sending Benzie Central to 2-2.

Remember this one Marquette 44, Menominee 26 That’s two Marquette wins over the rival Maroons (2-2) over four weeks, this one giving Marquette (3-1) a share of the Great Northern Conference title.

More shoutouts Gwinn 14, Norway 12 The Modeltowners (2-2) avenged a 28-20 loss from a year ago. Ishpeming Westwood 55, L'Anse 15 The Patriots (3-1) gave up a forfeit to open the season but haven’t lost since.

West Michigan

HEADLINER Byron Center 36, Lowell 22 The Bulldogs (4-0) became the lone leaders atop a strong Ottawa-Kent Conference White, adding a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to hold off the Red Arrows in another matchup of previously-undefeated teams. Lowell (3-1) pulled within seven late before Byron Center added one more score. See highlights below from WZZM.

Watch list Muskegon Catholic Central 40, Manistee 0 The Crusaders (4-0) clinched a share of the Lakes 8 Athletic Conference championship in dominating fashion, shutting out Manistee (3-1) for the second-straight season.

Remember this one Reed City 70, Newaygo 40 This one will reach the record book as offense reigned and Reed City (4-0) held on to its lead in the Central State Activities Association Gold.

More shoutouts Grand Rapids South Christian 32, Cedar Springs 14 The Sailors (4-0) join Week 9 opponent Grand Rapids Catholic Central alone atop the O-K Gold as both have claimed wins over Cedar Springs (2-2). Hopkins 34, Belding 28 The Vikings (4-0) are leaders alone in the O-K White after handing Belding (3-1) its lone defeat.


HEADLINER Mayville 58, Deckerville 54 As noted in Friday’s preview, Mayville has seemed like a program on the verge of this level of win. The Wildcats (4-0) not only avenged last season’s 44-12 loss to the Eagles (3-1) but they ended Deckerville’s 18-game regular-season winning streak while staying tied for first in the North Central Thumb League Stars. Click for more from the Huron Daily Tribune.

Watch list Pellston 34, Gaylord St. Mary 28 While the Ski Valley Conference standings will be unbalanced because of the abbreviated schedule, Pellston (4-0) absolutely has earned its status as at least a co-champion by finishing its league slate with an impressive win over the Snowbirds (3-1).

Remember this one Bridgman 34, New Buffalo 20 Five teams in the Southwestern Michigan 8-man Football League have one conference loss, with Bridgman (3-1) handing New Buffalo (3-1) its first.

More shoutouts Morrice 56, Genesee 14 As the NCTL Stars reshuffled in part because of Mayville/Deckerville over the weekend, the Orioles (4-0) joined Mayville among undefeated teams in the league by handing Genesee (3-1) its first defeat. Munising 28, Stephenson 14 The Eagles (3-1) don’t lose a step in their Great Lakes Eight West race, but Munising (4-0) impressed again in remaining undefeated.

PHOTO: Fremont earned its first win this season in Week 6, defeating Remus Chippewa Hills 42-26. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

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.)