1st & Goal: Week 9 in Review

October 26, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Whether it’s 6-0, 0-6, or somewhere in between, your local football team deserves our admiration for a job well done this fall.

We started late, after not knowing if we’d play at all, and amid a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. And regardless of the wins and losses on the field, every team contributed to a figure worth celebrating – every week of this abbreviated regular season, at least 96 percent of varsity teams were cleared to play, a credit to the work done by players, coaches, administrators and families statewide to ensure that continued opportunity.

Of course, there were other memorable numbers established this weekend on the field – perhaps none more incredible than Bridgman’s record 47-point comeback highlighted in our 8-player review.

Bay & Thumb

HEADLINER Midland 32, Midland Dow 6 The Chemics (6-0) nearly reversed last season’s 42-7 loss to Dow, in doing so clinching an outright Saginaw Valley League Blue title and their first perfect regular season since 2012. Midland held the Chargers (4-2) scoreless until the fourth quarter. With wins by both this week, they would meet again in a Division 2 District Semifinal. Click for more from the Midland Daily News and see highlights below from WJRT.

Watch list Grand Blanc 14, Saline 13 The Bobcats (5-1) finished runners-up in the SVL Red, but added to their intriguing playoff potential by handing Saline (5-1) its first loss.

Remember this one Davison 37, Lapeer 6 The Cardinals’ first regular-season win over Lapeer (3-3) since 2017 sealed the SVL Red championship. Davison (6-0) hosts Lapeer this week in Division 1 and has beaten the Lightning in the playoffs two of the last three seasons.

More shoutouts Fenton 33, Ortonville Brandon 21 The Tigers (6-0) remain undefeated after handing Brandon (5-1) its first defeat in this matchup of Flint Metro League divisional champions. Imlay City 28, Almont 14 The Spartans (4-2) defeated the reigning Division 5 runner-up Pirates (2-2) for the first time since 2008 and after losing 56-7 a year ago.

Greater Detroit

HEADLINER Macomb Dakota 42, Traverse City Central 16 The Cougars (5-1) are surging heading into the Division 1 playoffs, adding this win over Big North Conference champion Central to its shared Macomb Area Conference Red title. Dakota scored its season high and held the Trojans (5-1) to 36 points below their season average. Click for more from MLive-Detroit and see highlights below from State Champs Sports Network.

Watch list Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 23, Detroit Country Day 13 The Warriors (5-1) are on a roll heading into the Division 3 playoffs after handing Country Day (3-2) its first on-field loss of the fall.

Remember this one New Boston Huron 34, Dearborn Heights Crestwood 0 After tying for second in the Huron League, the Chiefs (5-1) are rolling into the Division 3 bracket as well after handing Western Wayne Athletic Conference champion Crestwood (5-1) its first defeat.

More shoutouts Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 40, Birmingham Groves 14 The Cougars (6-0) capped their first undefeated regular season by clinching the outright Oakland Activities Association White title against annual contender Groves (3-3). Detroit Catholic Central 45, Detroit Loyola 14 The Shamrocks (6-0) added the Prep Bowl Bishop championship to their Catholic League Central title, handing AA champ Loyola (5-1) its first loss.


HEADLINER Mason 40, Williamston 10 The Capital Area Activities Conference Red title came down to these two undefeated teams, and more specifically to Mason’s offense vs. Williamston’s defense. The Bulldogs (6-0) prevailed to repeat as champs, scoring nearly half of the points Williamston has given up all season while also holding the Hornets (5-1) to their season low. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal and see highlights below from WLNS.

Watch list Lansing Catholic 28, Pewamo-Westphalia 13 The Cougars (4-2) haven’t grabbed as much attention as usual this season, but consider their losses were to teams that are a combined 11-1 – and that they are headed to the playoffs having ended P-W’s 19-game winning streak.

Remember this one Clare 26, Sanford Meridian 20 The Pioneers’ only single-digit regular-season game decided the Jack Pine Conference title, as Clare (6-0) earned it outright and denied Meridian (4-2) a chance to share.

More shoutouts DeWitt 43, Stevensville Lakeshore 6 The Panthers (5-0) have been on a tear from the start, holding five opponents to six or fewer points and putting up 43 against a Lakeshore defense that was giving up only 10 per game. Olivet 61, Stockbridge 12 The Eagles (5-1) bounced back from their lone defeat to close out their fourth-straight Greater Lansing Activities Conference title.

Northern Lower Peninsula

HEADLINER Charlevoix 19, Maple City Glen Lake 8 Playing the Lakers (4-2) for the Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders championship for the second year in a row, the Red Rayders claimed their first league title in football since 2000. The win also gave Charlevoix (6-0) its first perfect regular season since 1977, according to Michigan-football.com. Click for more from the Petoskey News-Review and see highlights below from MI Sports Now.

Watch list Johannesburg-Lewiston 60, Harbor Springs 29 The Cardinals (6-0) locked up their third-straight NMFC Legacy title and second-straight undefeated regular season by doubling up second-place Harbor Springs (3-3).

Remember this one Oscoda 24, Houghton Lake 6 The Owls (6-0) faced their toughest challenge this fall and answered it well, giving up their first points of the season but still holding Houghton Lake (4-2) to nearly 30 below their average.

More shoutouts Kingsley 36, Benzie Central 20 The Stags (6-0) closed out a second-straight NMFC Legends championship with their 20th-straight regular-season victory. Traverse City St. Francis 21, Jackson Lumen Christi 20 While reigning Division 7 runner-up Lumen (2-4) has had a tough run, this could end up a telling result as both head into the same division again and with St. Francis (4-2) a second seed while pursuing a seventh-straight District title.

Southeast & Border

HEADLINER Addison 56, Grass Lake 22 The Panthers (6-0) finished a second-straight perfect run through their Cascades Conference schedule and first undefeated regular season since 2006 while keeping Grass Lake (4-2) from earning a share of the championship. Addison has won three of its last four against the Warriors. Click for more from the Adrian Daily Telegram.

Watch list Chelsea 26, Monroe 17 The Bulldogs (6-0) finished a second-straight undefeated regular season with Monroe (4-2) their fifth opponent that finished .500 or better this fall.

Remember this one Clinton 21, Hillsdale 14 The Lenawee County Athletic Association title went to Blissfield, but Clinton (5-1) in its first season in the league won this matchup for second place, with the Hornets (4-2) ending in third.

More shoutouts Erie Mason 56, Pittsford 0 The Eagles (6-0) finished their first perfect regular season since 2003, and after last winning more than two games in a season in 2005. Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 49, Detroit Southeastern 34 The Falcons (4-2) earned their most impressive win, handing Detroit Public School League 4 champion Southeastern (5-1) its only defeat.

Southwest Corridor

HEADLINER Buchanan 20, Niles Brandywine 6 The list of accomplishments is growing for the Bucks (6-0) – they won the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference title outright, with their first perfect regular season since 2015, and after winning a combined five games over the last three seasons. Brandywine (3-3) had won the last three meetings between these teams, and two straight league titles. Click for more from the Niles Daily Star.

Watch list Constantine 70, Coloma 32 The Falcons (5-1) finished a perfect run through the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore and earned the second seed in their Division 6 District opposite Buchanan.

Remember this one St. Joseph 22, Battle Creek Lakeview 14 There wasn’t a Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference title on the line this time, but there very well could be next time and St. Joseph (5-1) will enter that game with two wins in its last three matchups with Lakeview (4-2).

More shoutouts Edwardsburg 60, Paw Paw 6 The Eddies (6-0) completed their third-consecutive undefeated regular season and will be the top seed in their Division 4 District with Paw Paw (4-2) the third. Lawton 19, Saugatuck 2 The Blue Devils locked up second place in the SAC Valley and the second seed in a Division 7 District where they could face league champ Schoolcraft in two weeks.

Upper Peninsula

HEADLINER Marquette 28, Calumet 6 Arguably the most impressive part of Marquette’s performance this fall has been its defense, which is giving up 13 points per game – a full seven points fewer than last year. Calumet (2-3) hadn’t been held to single digits since the 2018 playoffs, but Marquette (5-1) has held its last two opponents to six points apiece. Click for more from the Upbeat. 

Watch list Bark River-Harris 28, L’Anse 0 After an 0-2 start, Bark River-Harris (3-2) won its final three regular-season games and hasn’t given up a point in its last two.

Remember this one Escanaba 20, Gladstone 12 The Eskymos (1-2) bounced back from their first on-field loss with a 10th-straight win over Gladstone (2-3), enough to earn the fifth seed in their Division 4 District.

More shoutouts West Iron County 36, St. Ignace 22 The Wykons (6-0) capped their first perfect regular season since 2013 with their best offensive output of this fall. Sault Ste. Marie 60, Cheboygan 0 The Blue Devils (4-2) secured second place in the NMFC Legends.

West Michigan  

HEADLINER Grand Rapids Catholic Central 28, Grand Rapids South Christian 27 (OT) This was just about all that could be hoped for from a matchup of undefeated teams playing for a league championship. At the end, GRCC (6-0) had clinched its sixth-straight league title, back in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold, after winning outright or sharing the Blue championship the last four seasons. Click for more from WOOD TV.

Watch list Muskegon Mona Shores 35, Detroit Martin Luther King 21 This rematch of last season’s Division 2 Final ended with nearly the same score, great news for the reigning champion Sailors (3-3) and not necessarily bad for King (3-3) as it plays in Division 3 this time.

Remember this one Rockford 28, Grandville 8 The Rams (4-0) missed two weeks but came back in time to finish without a loss in the O-K Red while handing Grandville (5-1) its lone league defeat.

More shoutouts Hudsonville Unity Christian 42, Allendale 6 The Crusaders (6-0) finished a perfect run through the O-K Blue with their third single-digit defensive performance of the fall, holding Allendale (3-3) to a season-low points total. East Grand Rapids 12, Byron Center 8 The Pioneers (3-3) handed Byron Center (5-1) its only loss, allowing Forest Hills Central with its win over Lowell to share the O-K White championship with the Bulldogs.


HEADLINER Bridgman 54, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 53 (OT) The Bees set an MHSAA record – 8 and 11-player – for largest comeback winning this game after trailing by 47 points. With Martin having to forfeit a game to Lawrence, the Bees (5-1) joined the Clippers as one-loss teams atop the final Southwestern Michigan 8-Man Football League standings. Click for more from the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium.

Watch list Portland St. Patrick 52, Burr Oak 19 Handing Burr Oak (5-1) its only loss kept St. Patrick (6-0) undefeated and cemented the Shamrocks as the top seed in the Division 2 Playoffs. 

Remember this one Morrice 58, Deckerville 30 The Orioles (6-0) also are a top seed, in Division 1, but Deckerville (4-2) is a possible Regional Semifinal opponent.

More shoutouts Mayville 48, Kinde North Huron 28 The matchup of North Central Thumb League champions went to the Stars winner as the Wildcats (6-0) handed Stripes champ North Huron its lone loss (5-1). Merrill 38, Indian River Inland Lakes 6 The Vandals (5-1) continue to look like contenders, bouncing back off a four-point loss to St. Patrick by handing Inland Lakes its only defeat.

PHOTO: Addison blockers lead the way for a teammate during Friday's win over Grass Lake. (Photo by Scott Mapes.)

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.)