Drive For Detroit: 11-Player Semis Review

November 19, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

On Saturday, 16 football teams traded a long, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend for a work trip to Detroit.

They’d have it no other way.

There’s much to tell about every team heading to Ford Field for this weekend’s MHSAA Finals, and we’ll get to that soon. (Check back Wednesday evening for previews of all eight championship games.)

Let’s start the week with a glance at all 16 Semifinals from Saturday, including video highlights all by State Champs Sports Network. “Drive for Detroit” is powered by MI Student Aid.

Division 1

Clarkston 21, Saline 3: The reigning Division 1 champion Wolves (11-2) prevailed by continuing a defensive effort that has now allowed only 16 points total over four playoff games. Saline (11-2) had 215 total yards and only 58 rushing on 20 carries. Click for more from the Oakland Press.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 28, Belleville 16: The Big Reds (13-0) moved on to the Finals for the first time since 2001 by handing the Tigers (12-1) their only loss. Chippewa Valley held Belleville to its second-fewest points in a game over the last two seasons. Click for more from the Macomb Daily.

Division 2

Muskegon Mona Shores 49, Midland 28: After three seasons away, the Sailors are heading back to Ford Field for the second time seeking their first MHSAA title. Mona Shores (12-1) took the lead for good with 4:41 to play in the third quarter and then scored 22 points in the fourth to outlast the Chemics (9-4). Click for more from the Muskegon Chronicle.

Warren DeLaSalle 28, Birmingham Groves 0: The reigning Division 2 champion will play for its third title in five seasons after handing Groves (10-3) its first shutout since 2013. DeLaSalle (11-2) scored the game’s first points late in the first half before pulling away during the second. Click for more from the Macomb Daily.

Division 3

Muskegon 45, Zeeland East 22: The Big Reds (13-0) averaged 50 points per game entering the weekend, so by that comparison they were slowed a bit. But considering Zeeland East (11-2) was giving up only 19 per game, it’s fair to say the reigning champs are in Finals form coming off their 27th straight victory. Click for more from the Muskegon Chronicle.

Detroit Martin Luther King 34, DeWitt 21: DeWitt (12-1) pulled within six early in the third quarter before King scored 14 unanswered points to secure the win. The Crusaders (11-2) will be playing for their third title in four seasons after winning Division 2 in 2015 and 2016. Click for more from MLive-Detroit.

Division 4

Edwardsburg 46, Grand Rapids Catholic Central 44 (OT): In arguably the most dramatic finish from the weekend, Edwardsburg won this rematch of the 2017 Division 4 Final. The Eddies (13-0) scored first in overtime and went up eight, then stopped GRCC (11-2) on a 2-point conversion try after the Cougars also found the end zone. Click for more from the Niles Daily Star.

Chelsea 38, Williamston 13: The Panthers (10-3) are headed to their second MHSAA Finals in four years after knocking off a league champion for the second time this playoffs. Chelsea held Williamston (10-3) to season-low scoring while putting up the most points the Hornets had given up this fall. Click for more from the Sun Times News.

Division 5

Hudsonville Unity Christian 14, Saginaw Swan Valley 7: This may have stunned some as Swan Valley (12-1) was the reigning Division 5 runner-up and rarely had been challenged. But Unity Christian’s defense had its most impressive game of the fall, holding a Vikings offense averaging 42 points per game to just a first-half score. The Crusaders (11-2) earned their first Finals berth and set a program record for wins in the process. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.  

Portland 35, Marine City 14: The Raiders (13-0) ran for five touchdowns and continued their streak of holding every opponent to 20 or fewer points to earn a trip to Ford Field for the first time since winning Division 5 in 2012. The Mariners (10-3) were on their longest playoff run since 2013, but scored their fewest points this season and tied their most given up. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.

Division 6

Montague 14, Traverse City St. Francis 7: In a season of solid wins, it’s hard to argue this wasn’t the best for the Wildcats (11-2), who will head to the Finals for the first time since 2009 after handing St Francis (12-1) its only defeat. The Gladiators had been held to single-digit scoring only one other game over the last five seasons – in last year’s Semifinal. Click for more from the Local Sports Journal.

Jackson Lumen Christi 42, Montrose 20: The Titans (12-0) will get a chance to earn their third straight Division 6 championship after ending Montrose’s best run since making the Semifinals as well in 2013. After the Rams (10-3) took the lead twice during the first quarter, Lumen scored 34 unanswered points. Click for more from the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Division 7

New Lothrop 51, Lake City 22: The Hornets (12-1) are headed to the Finals for the first time since 2006 after scoring 30 points during the first half and breaking away after Lake City cut the lead to eight early in the second. For the second straight season, the Trojans (12-1) ended with their lone loss in the Semifinals. Click for more from the Owosso Argus-Press.

Madison Heights Madison 37, Cassopolis 34: Madison (13-0) will play in its second Final after denying Cassopolis the opportunity to reach its first. The Rangers (12-1) trailed by one at halftime and two at the end of the third quarter but couldn’t catch completely up. Cassopolis had given up only 52 points this season heading into the game, and Madison hadn’t allowed more than 20 to any opponent. Click for more from the Oakland Press.

Division 8

Breckenridge 12, Harbor Beach 0: Since going 0-9 in 2015, Breckenridge is a combined 32-3 including 13-0 this fall – and the Huskies will next play in their first MHSAA Final. The Huskies posted their eighth shutout (on the field, not counting a forfeit win) and second of the playoffs to stop the Pirates (11-2). Click for more from the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun.

Reading 38, Holton 0: The Rangers (13-0) also earned their first championship game berth with a shutout, their seventh this season. Holton was one of only three teams this fall to hold Reading under 40 points, but the Red Devils (8-4) saw their longest playoff run end with a first trip to the Semifinals. Click for more from the Hillsdale Daily News.

Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO: Clarkston's defense locks down a Saline ball carrier during the Wolves' Division 1 Semifinal win Saturday. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)

1st & Goal: 2023 Week 6 Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 28, 2023

Five showdowns of undefeated teams highlight this week's Michigan high school statewide schedule as we begin our second-half buildup toward the end of the regular season. 

MI Student AidFour shoud heavily impact league championship races, and the fifth merely will tell us how two more of the top 8-player teams in the entire state stack up among the elite.

If you're not watching in person, check out most of the matchups highlighted below, and several others, on Check in as well with the MHSAA Scores page for all of them as they come in. (Games below are Friday unless noted.)

Bay & Thumb

Croswell-Lexington (5-0) at Almont (5-0) - Watch

Just past halfway through the Blue Water Area Conference schedule, half the teams are 3-1 or 4-0 in league play – with these the co-leaders. Croswell-Lexington hasn’t played a game closer than 19 points this fall, but did lose last year’s meeting with Almont 37-26. The Raiders, meanwhile, have won the last two weeks by seven and one point, respectively – but opened the season with three straight shutouts as the stifling defense they’ve become known for has given up only 34 points total.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Lapeer (4-1) at Grand Blanc (3-2) - Watch, Linden (4-1) at Fenton (4-1) - Watch, Birch Run (4-1) at Freeland (5-0) - Watch, Madison Heights Lamphere (4-1) at Marine City (4-1).

Greater Detroit

Westland John Glenn (5-0) at Belleville (5-0) - Watch

Belleville’s 42-3 victory over Livonia Franklin last week was the team’s 30th straight, and the Tigers now own the state’s longest active winning streak with Powers North Central’s coming to an end at 41 on the same night. Belleville’s next challenger is John Glenn, which under second-year coach Jason Mensing has as many victories this fall as the last two combined and has nearly guaranteed its first winning season since 2014. Mensing guided his former team Ottawa Lake Whiteford through several memorable moments, and this will be the Rockets’ biggest so far under his leadership.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Gibraltar Carlson (4-1) at Trenton (4-1) - Watch, Romeo (3-2) at Macomb Dakota (4-1) - Watch, Lake Orion (5-0) at Rochester Adams (3-2) - Watch, Marine City Cardinal Mooney (3-2) at Clarkston Everest Collegiate (3-2) - Watch.


Goodrich (5-0) at Corunna (5-0) - Watch

The winner of this matchup clinches a share of the Flint Metro League Stars championship, similar to last season when Goodrich won the league and Corunna was second thanks to the Martians’ 42-7 win in their Week 5 matchup. Both arguably have been even better this fall. Goodrich has handed the only losses this season to Frankenmuth and Linden, and Corunna has given up only 31 points this season and no more than 17 in a game while scoring at least 38 every time out.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Evart (4-1) at Beal City (5-0) - Watch, Grand Ledge (5-0) at DeWitt (2-2) - Watch, Fowler (5-0) at Pewamo-Westphalia (4-1) - Watch, Montrose (4-1) at New Lothrop (4-1) - Watch.

Northern Lower Peninsula

Charlevoix (4-1) at Elk Rapids (2-3)

There’s more riding here than the initial glance my indicate. Charlevoix, with a win, would clinch a share of the Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders title – its first since 2020 and after finishing second to Boyne City both of the past two seasons. The Rayders haven’t had a game closer than 13 points since falling to Traverse City St. Francis by one in their season opener. Elk Rapids got off to a tough start but has won two straight – both in shutouts – and is looking for its first win over Charlevoix since 2018.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Grayling (3-2) at Kingsley (4-1) - Watch, McBain (4-1) at Lake City (3-2), Ludington (3-2) at Manistee (4-1) - Watch, Cadillac (3-2) at Petoskey (3-2) - Watch.

Southeast & Border

Jackson (4-1) at Adrian (4-1) - Watch

Jackson has a chance to set up a Week 7 winner-take-all matchup with Chelsea for the Southeastern Conference White championship – a nice jump after finishing third last season. The Vikings haven’t defeated Chelsea since 2018 but lost by a respectable 17-0 last fall. But they can’t overlook Adrian, still enjoying its best season since 2016 despite falling to Chelsea 28-18 last week. The Maples would love to hand Jackson a loss tonight and cheer for the Vikings next week with a title share possible.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Michigan Center (4-1) at Grass Lake (4-1) - Watch, Flat Rock (4-1) at Milan (3-2) - Watch, Ann Arbor Huron (3-2) at Saline (5-0) - Watch, Hudson (5-0) at Blissfield (3-2) - Watch.

Southwest Corridor

Parma Western (5-0) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (4-1)

We’re halfway through the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference schedule, and this has emerged as an important matchup with Parma Western tied with Hastings for first and Harper Creek only a game back after falling to the Saxons 34-6 last week. The Beavers struggled to 3-6 a year ago but already have avenged 2022 losses to Battle Creek Lakeview, Battle Creek Central and Marshall – and Western defeated them 34-0 last season before Harper Creek went 2-1 to finish the fall. Western’s defense is a notable strength again, giving up only 37 points total this season despite taking on Dearborn Divine Child and Detroit Country Day over the first two weeks.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Paw Paw (5-0) at Edwardsburg (3-2) - Watch, Constantine (4-1) at Allegan (4-1) - Watch, St. Joseph (3-2) at Portage Northern (5-0) - Watch, Muskegon Catholic Central (3-2) at Schoolcraft (4-1) - Watch.

Upper Peninsula

Gladstone (4-1) at Menominee (5-0)

This is the first of three games that will tell a lot about Menominee’s season as the Maroons enter this stretch alone atop the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper at 4-0 but with Gladstone, Week 7 opponent Negaunee and Week 8 opponent Kingsford all 3-1 in league play. While this is a new conference for the Maroons this season, they have plenty of history with Gladstone as both came from the Great Northern Conference – and Menominee had won three straight in the series before Gladstone’s 28-6 victory last fall. Gladstone’s lone defeat this year came Week 3 to Kingsford, 35-12.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Maple City Glen Lake (3-2) at Sault Ste. Marie (3-2) - Watch, Manistique (3-2) at Iron Mountain (5-0) - Watch, Marquette (2-2) at Escanaba (1-4) - Watch, Houghton (2-3) at Calumet (1-4) - Watch.

West Michigan

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (4-1) at East Grand Rapids (5-0)

We’ve been watching East Grand Rapids’ rejuvenation this fall with this among games circled for special attention, and Forest Hills Central’s 15-14 loss to Byron Center last week hardly lessens the intrigue. The Rangers are still among favorites statewide in Division 3, ranked No. 2, and East Grand Rapids is right behind them this week at No. 3 (while Byron Center is No. 2 in Division 2). The Ottawa-Kent Conference White title won’t be decided with this matchup, but it surely will be impacted – and the Rangers have defeated EGR all three times they’ve met since the Pioneers rejoined the division in 2020.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Allendale (5-0) at Spring Lake (4-1), Lowell (4-1) at Byron Center (5-0), Caledonia (4-1) at Hudsonville (4-1) - Watch, Zeeland East (4-1) at Muskegon (3-2).


Mendon (5-0) at Adrian Lenawee Christian (5-0) - Watch

Movement on the overall 8-player enrollment list have made this a matchup we’ll see just this once this fall, as Mendon – last year’s Division 2 runner-up – has moved to Division 1 and is ranked No. 2, while Lenawee Christian is top-ranked in Division 2 after winning Division 1 titles in 2020 and 2021 and reaching a Regional Final last year. Still, many 8-player eyes will be watching. The Cougars have given up just 32 points this season and no more than 12 in a game, and that defense should be part of the key matchup within the matchup because Mendon is scoring 52 per contest and coming off an 80-point performance.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Carson City-Crystal (5-0) at Coleman (4-1) - Watch, Brown City (5-0) at Mayville (5-0) - Watch, St. Ignace (5-0) at Newberry (4-1), Norway (4-1) at Ontonagon (4-1) - Watch.

Second Half’s weekly “1st & Goal” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and X (Twitter) @mistudentaid.

PHOTO Muskegon Catholic Central and Orchard View players reach to get a hand on the ball during their meeting this season. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)