Byron Brother & Sister Teaming Up Once More
By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com
October 23, 2018
When it was announced Sunday night that Byron was included in the Division 6 playoff bracket, it wasn’t a surprise for the 5-4 Eagles – but it did provide new opportunities.
An opportunity to play another game. An opportunity to avenge a Week 1 defeat against Flint Hamady. An opportunity to stay together for at least one more week as a team.
In the Marvin household, it provided one other unique opportunity: a chance for senior TJ and his younger sister Sarah, a sophomore, to be teammates on the Eagles’ offensive and defensive lines. Sarah Marvin was a captain on the Eagles’ junior varsity team this year, and is among a group of players moving up to the varsity for the postseason.
“That’s awesome to be able to play football with your sister,” TJ Marvin said. “But to play the same positions and not have to go easy, it’s good, because I can still get a good look.”
It’s the second straight year the Marvins have had this opportunity, and in 2017 they actually were able to line up next to each other late in the Eagles’ loss to Ithaca.
When it comes to practice, being on the same field is nothing new as Byron’s varsity and JV teams often practice together. That means brother and sister – who both play defensive end and offensive tackle -- not only share a field, but also get to square off throughout the season.
“It’s fun,” TJ Marvin said. “It’s cool to be up against your sibling. Caliber of player wise, she lines up just like all the other guys, so I’m still getting a good look. It’s not much different.”
The Marvins get to spend plenty of time together athletically, as both are also throwers on the track & field team, along with Sarah’s twin sister, Becky. Sarah and Becky also get to play basketball for their mother, Theresa, who is the Byron girls varsity basketball coach.
“Everyone in my family knows about throwing,” Sarah said. “All of the sports – you can go home and talk about it, and everyone in your family understands.”
Football is also a family thing, but it’s something special TJ and Sarah share. They started playing while she was in first grade and he was in third, and often times found themselves not only as teammates, but also lined up next to each other on the offensive line.
Starting in the male-dominated sport was something Sarah didn’t think twice about.
“I don’t know if it was something that so much drew me to it. It was just that all of my boy cousins always played,” Sarah Marvin said. “I have (two younger cousins, two younger brothers), an older brother and an older cousin, and we would always rough house.”
Theresa Marvin said her daughter has always loved the game -- whether it be watching or playing -- and became a student of it. TJ agreed.
“Sometimes I’ll give her tips and stuff, but she is very athletically smart,” TJ Marvin said. “She knows the game, watches a lot of football and she’s very good at big picture plays and seeing what’s going on. Any sport, really, but especially football where there is so much going on, she really analyzes the game.”
While they started playing at the same time, TJ does have plenty of experience he can pass onto his younger sister. Injuries kept him off the field for the majority of his freshman and sophomore seasons, but the 6-foot-3, 235-pound two-way starter was an all-conference selection as a junior. He also is a varsity captain this season.
Sarah Marvin already has established herself as an all-state athlete, finishing third this spring at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 track & field championships in the discus and shot put. She was also an honorable mention all-state selection in basketball during her freshman year.
Throwing appears to be her future as an athlete, and continuing to play football is something they’re taking year by year.
“All through my freshman year I was dead set on it, that I’m going to play all four years,” Sarah Marvin said. “I think that’s changed a little bit. I had a kind of close call where a kid went to make a tackle and I was behind our running back, and he fell right into my knee. So that’s the main thing, is not getting hurt.”
Worrying about getting injured, however, has nothing to do with Sarah’s gender.
“Sometimes I worry about it, but I don’t worry about her anymore than I would other guys on the field,” TJ Marvin said. “I worry about it a little bit with her coming up on varsity where there are much bigger players and it’s a little more intense, but I know what she can do physicality wise and the kind of athlete she is. I worry about her getting hurt, but I worry about every one of my teammates getting hurt.”
Sarah is simply a member of the team, and she says that’s something that resonates through the program.
“Within my grade level and even the grade older, since I’ve played since the first grade, I think they’re just used to it -- we’re definitely just regular teammates,” she said. “They don’t treat me any different than the other kids; they’re just out there to play football. I’d probably be annoyed if they didn’t hit me as hard as they hit everyone else.”
Despite that, the Marvin siblings realize their situation is unique, and they feel fortunate to be able to experience playing together for at least one more week.
“(Getting on the field together) would be a really cool thing to do,” Sarah Marvin said. “Especially in his senior year.”
Paul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.
PHOTOS: (Top) TJ, left, and Sarah Marvin take the field for Byron’s varsity and junior varsity teams, respectively, this season. (Middle) TJ and Sarah first teamed up nine years ago when TJ was in 3rd grade and Sarah in 1st. (Photos courtesy of the Marvin family.)
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.)