Brown Enjoys Legendary Debut to Start 2nd Season Directing Erie Mason's Attack
By Doug Donnelly
Special for MHSAA.com
August 30, 2022
ERIE – Vaughn Brown never worried about replacing a legend. He just wanted to be the Erie Mason starting quarterback.
After a solid rookie season last year, Brown has started out his junior year with a bang. In the Eagles’ season opener Friday, Brown threw eight touchdown passes during the first half, tying a state record, and his right arm has Erie Mason fans thinking a third-straight playoff season is possible.
“It was one of those nights,” Brown said. “Everything was going well. It kept working. It didn’t matter what we did, they couldn’t stop it.”
The Eagles beat Saranac, 50-14. Brown threw a 61-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the game and had three TDs in the first quarter. He tossed five more in the second quarter to become just the second player in state history to have eight touchdown passes in a half.
“Watching film, we knew what their corners and safeties would do,” Brown said. “On the second play of the game, Korbin Herrera went deep and just ran right past a guy. I dropped back, and I knew right then it was going to be a good day. I threw it, and he ran under it and scored. It was a great play.”
Getting into the Erie Mason passing record book is no easy feat. That’s because the quarterback who Brown replaced last year was Noah Beaudrie, now playing at Mount Union College.
Beaudrie was a four-year quarterback at Erie Mason and put up some stunning numbers. As a senior in 2020, Beaudrie accumulated more than 1,000 yards rushing and passing. Over his four seasons, he completed 371-of-647 passes for 5,747 yards and 56 touchdowns. He ran for another 4,503 yards and 59 touchdowns.
He earned all-state honors and had multiple college offers before landing at Mount Union, one of the most storied small-college football programs in the nation.
As a sophomore, Brown had the unenviable task of taking over for Beaudrie. He said he never felt like he had to replace Beaudrie, just help his team win.
“I knew Noah,” Brown said. “He was super good to me and helped me along the way. I just came into the season just wanting to help last year’s seniors win games. I didn’t care about stats. I never really have cared about that. The stats never crossed my mind.”
Brown grew up just across the state line in Toledo, Ohio, and moved to Erie Mason before he was in the seventh grade. He was part of the Eagles program when Beaudrie was setting record after record.
“He was a good mentor. He helped me along the way. Noah was a great athlete and an amazing player in general,” Brown said.
“Me and him play a different type of game. He’s more athletic than me. He liked to run. I’d rather stay in the pocket and throw the ball 100 times a game than run.”
Erie Mason head coach Steven Bower said Brown has grown into the quarterback position and as a team leader. During the summer Brown never missed a chance to work out, lift weights or get in time with his receivers.
“He’s the poster child for our program. He does everything,” Bowers said.
“I hate missing stuff. I enjoy being there and being around the guys,” Brown said.
During the offseason, Bowers had some of his players go through leadership training. Bowers called it “captain’s classes.” Brown was one of the players to go through the training.
“The kids have done a good job of listening to him and following him,' Bowers said. “He sets the standard for everyone.”
Brown was a four-sport athlete last year, playing basketball in the winter and pulling double duty in the spring by playing baseball and running track.
“Vaughn is a tremendous athlete and leader,” Erie Mason basketball coach Kevin Skaggs said. “In a summer game he had to defend a 6-foot-5 post player in one scrimmage. He outworked, outran, and out rebounded him. He’s a tough, tough kid.”
Brown (6-0, 170) plays down his basketball abilities.
“I’m one of those guys who just goes out there, plays defense and rebounds and helps the team win,” Brown said. “I might ride the bench, but I’ll push people in practice and do the best I can.”
Brown said he gets his work ethic from his parents, Allen and Paige Brown, both Ohio natives. His dad was an all-state defensive lineman in high school.
“My parents have always instilled in me hard work. They’ve always told me I had to earn everything,” Vaughn Brown said.
“My mom and dad have driven me to so much stuff over the years. I can’t count how many times they gave me rides to sports. My mom would get off work early, and my dad took me places. I’m very grateful for that.”
Brown said he had never heard of Erie Mason before his parents bought a home in the community. Now he lives right across the street from the school.
Brown finished Friday’s game with 13 completions on 19 attempts for 358 yards. He completed passes to six receivers.
“We have five or six guys who are great receivers,” he said. “Friday gave us a lot of confidence. All our guys just played so well. The line blocked great, and the guys made some great catches. I’m excited about what’s to come.”
Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Erie Mason quarterback Vaughn Brown pulls away from a Saranac tackler during Friday’s season opener. (Middle) Brown rolls right during the win at Olivet College. (Photos by Amy Brighton South.)
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:
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.)