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.)

Ubly Offense, Kicker Pile Up Record Book Listings During Championship Run

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 12, 2024

Ubly finished a combined 27-1 over the last two seasons, following up a Division 8 runner-up run in 2022 with its first MHSAA Finals championship this past November. And the Bearcats stacked plenty of record book performances along the way.

Individually, senior Brett Mueller made the single-season extra point list again this past season with 76 in 81 tries, and he set the MHSAA career record with 220 extra points over 232 attempts, 40 games and three seasons. He has signed with Saginaw Valley State.

As a team, Ubly was added to the record book 13 times for achievements over the last two years, most notably in the rushing game. The Bearcats topped 5,200 total yards both seasons, and also made the rush yardage list twice including with a sixth-best 5,148 in 2022. Their 90 touchdowns in 2022 rank seventh all-time, and their 85 this past fall tied for 13th, and they tied the record with 10 rushing touchdowns in a 2022 win over Reese and set another record with 84 rushing touchdowns total that season.

See below for more recent record book additions in 11-player football, and click the heading to see the record book in full:

11-Player Football

Dundee’s Ben Miller has a pair of basketball record book entries, and he’s also been added in football for scoring seven touchdowns in his team’s 72-36 win over Erie Mason on Oct. 20, 2017. A senior that season, he ran for five scores and caught two touchdowns passes.

Nearly four decades later, Howard City Tri County’s Mike Wagoner has reached the record book for his work on defense in 1985. A junior that season, Wagoner returned three interceptions for touchdowns – 65, 55 and 35 yards – which would have been second on the list at the time and remains tied for third-most for one season.

Jaxon Lippert tops the list of 21 who have returned kickoffs 99 yards. Lippert, now a senior at Walled Lake Western, joined the list against Davison during his junior season.

A handful of records from Warren De La Salle Collegiate’s recent run of Ford Field teams and also one from decades ago were added. Jake Badalamenti was added three times for kickoff returns between 96-99 yards, one as a junior in 2016 and two as a senior the following fall, and Marty Wyzlic was added for his 95-yarder in 1976. Mason Muragin is the new leader for tackles for loss in a career with 71 over three seasons, and he also was added to the single-season list with 31 as a junior in 2021, as was Will Beasley for 38 as a junior in 2020. Wayne Wright was added for his 16 sacks over nine games as a senior in 1984, and Josh Cox was added for his 100-yard interception return as a senior in 2012. Muragin plays at Illinois, Beesley plays at Princeton, Cox played at Central Michigan, and Badalamenti played baseball at Wayne State.

Pinckney junior Nolan Carruthers caught 16 passes during a 13-7 loss to Jackson on Sept. 15, good to tie for ninth-most in one game and breaking the Livingston County record of 14 by Hartland’s Greg Matthyssen in 2007 – a listing that also was added.

Ethan Wissner did some major lifting, or rather carrying, during Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s 28-14 District Final win over Montrose in 2022. The then-senior ran 42 times to make the record book, for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He’s continuing at Siena Heights.

Senior quarterback Andrew Schuster and junior receiver DeShaun Lanier formed a game-changing pass-catch combo this past season for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, with Schuster finishing his career with nine record book listings and Lanier totaling six with a season to play. Schuster most notably was added for 212 completions on 301 attempts for 2,766 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, and 321 completions and 4,199 career yards over two years and 22 games. Lanier was added in part for 73 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs this fall. Junior kicker Juliano Haddad also earned impressive mentions with 10 field goals and 50 extra points – and he’ll carry a streak of 35 straight extra points into next fall. Schuster has committed to Grand Valley State.

Fulton’s Evan Barton has been added to the single-game touchdowns list after catching four scoring passes Sept. 8, 2017, against Potterville. He was a senior that season.

Saginaw Heritage’s Braylon Isom completed his career this past fall as arguably the most accomplished receiver in MHSAA history. His name is listed in the record book eight times, with career records of 3,837 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns over 34 games and four seasons, and with a single-season record 26 touchdowns this past fall over 12 games. His 91 career receptions rank fifth, and he’s also listed for 82 catches and 1,617 yards (seventh-most) as a senior and 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He will continue at Miami (Ohio).

Evart’s 24-8 run over the last three seasons has been its most successful of the MHSAA playoff era, and senior quarterback Preston Wallace has played an enormous part. He finished his 33-game career in the fall – he came up for one game as a freshman – on record book lists twice for single-season passing yards and touchdowns and on career lists for 662 attempts, 421 completions, 6,955 yards and 88 passing touchdowns over those 32 games and three seasons. The yardage ranks 15th all-time, and the touchdowns are tied for sixth-most for one career.  

The 2005 Midland Bullock Creek team was added for scoring 547 points over 12 games. The Lancers finished 11-1, their only loss in a Division 5 Regional Final.

PHOTO Ubly's Seth Maurer (30) carries the ball during the Division 8 championship win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in November.