Division 5 Final: Powers Up
December 20, 2011
DETROIT – The final night of September was cold, wet and especially disappointing for Flint Powers Catholic.
Chargers coach Bob Buckel sensed that frustration as the bus rolled to to a stop after 6-0 loss and then silent ride home from Davison. Powers already was 2-3 heading into that game and needing to win out to guarantee a playoff spot. Now at 2-4, perfection the rest of the way was absolutely necessary to catch even the slimmest of shots at a postseason berth.
The last eight games became unofficial playoff games for the Chargers. And they won them all.
Unranked and the underdog, Powers downed No. 1 Lansing Catholic in record-setting fashion Saturday, 56-26 to claim the MHSAA Division 5 championship at Ford Field.
“We knew that we had to win out. Nobody shied to that competition,” Powers senior lineman Danny O’Brien said. “We really got after it.”
And especially Saturday. The 56 points tied Saginaw Nouvel’s from the Division 7 Final earlier in the day as the new MHSAA Finals record. They also were the most points Powers has ever scored, beginning with its first season in 1970.
Lansing Catholic senior quarterback Cooper Rush was named Division 5-6 Player of the Year earlier this week by The Associated Press, and his name can be found all over the MHSAA record book. He added 291 yards and three touchdowns passing, and another score rushing to his impressive three-year varsity career totals.
But Saturday it was Powers junior quarterback Garrett Pougnet who played his name into history.
Rewind 12 weeks ago. Lansing Catholic (13-1) beat Powers 37-17. Pougnet struggled, completing just 6 of 20 passes and running for 67 yards and a score.
His performance in the Final was one of the many differences in the rematch. This time, Pougnet was 12 of 15 passing for 258 yards and four touchdowns, and also ran 14 times for 159 yards and two scores. His 413 yards of total offense were second in MHSAA Finals history and just 13 off the record.
Buckel listed the other differences this time around: Heading into the teams’ Sept. 2 meeting, Powers (10-4) was coming off a big loss to Saginaw Nouvel and two players were out with concussions. Two more defensive backs were still playing on the junior varsity. And, of course, he used a few different formations in the rematch.
“I just said, when we get the ball, we’re going to be very aggressive,” Buckel said. “We had a play we put in this week called Ford Field. It didn’t work either time. But we just wanted to be aggressive because we really thought we might need to score 50 points to beat them, because nobody has slowed them down.”
Rush finished this season with 4,005 passing yards, good for second in the MHSAA record book for one season, and 48 passing touchdowns, which tops that list. This time, senior Connor Bartlett was the main recipient with 11 catches for 189 yards and two scores. Senior Matt Macksood also caught a touchdown pass, and finished this season with 95 catches (second for one season) for 1,590 yards (fifth) and 22 touchdowns (tied for second).
“We moved the ball pretty good when we had it on offense. We just didn’t have it. I think they scored just about every time they had the ball,” Lansing Catholic coach Jim Ahern said. “The big difference in the games where we came back – we came back from 21 down against Portland, which was a very good football team – was we got some defensive stops. We just didn’t get them tonight.”
MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 27, 2023
The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.
The one-day camps will take place between May 15-18 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.
Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.
“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”
Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.
All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.
MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.
“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”
The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.