Drive for Detroit: Playoff R2 in Review

November 7, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Revenge is a dish best served during the playoffs.

And a number of MHSAA title hopefuls enjoyed their shares of the buffet this weekend.

Six of nine playoff divisions saw a team win either an 11-player District championship or 8-player Regional title by avenging a loss from earlier this season. Others avenged losses from playoff runs past or in a few cases, years of just missing against rivals.

All games at this level of the tournament are big, of course, and below are just a sampling of results that stuck out most from the second round.

Division 1

Clarkston 31, Davison 14

Clarkston (9-2) handed Davison its first and only loss this season on the power of a rushing game that tallied 303 yards and nearly 9.5 per carry. Davison (10-1) scored the game’s first touchdown in the first quarter, but didn’t reach the end zone again until quarterback Brenden McRill ran for his second score midway through the fourth. The District Final was the Cardinals’ first since 2008. Click for more from the Oakland Press.

Also noted:

Grandville 20, Rockford 9 – The Bulldogs (10-1) broke a 14-game losing streak to the Rams (7-4), who had beaten Grandville 7-6 in Week 6 and in the playoffs three times over the last 11 seasons.

Saline 37, Canton 31 – The Yellowjackets (11-0) came back from a 10-0 deficit as quarterback Zach Schwartzenberger threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third score to get Saline ahead of the Chiefs (8-3).

Detroit Cass Tech 24, Dearborn 7 – Dearborn (9-2) succeeded in holding Cass Tech (11-0) to its season low in points, but also scored its fewest since Week 5 of 2015.  

Division 2

Fenton 49, Midland Dow 42

Fenton scored last, with 2:10 to play, on quarterback Josh Czarnota’s second touchdown pass to go with four touchdown runs as the Tigers (9-2) won their first District title since 2011. Czarnota threw for 264 yards and ran for 166 in a dual with Dow quarterback Bruce Mann, who tossed four touchdown passes with 238 yards and also ran for 127 yards and two scores. The Chargers finished 9-2. Click for more from the Flint Journal.

Also noted:

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 27, Portage Central 13 – The Rangers (9-2) added a District title to their best season since 1995, and after finishing 2-7 each of the last two; Portage Central finished 9-2, one win better than a year ago.

Birmingham Groves 24, Birmingham Brother Rice 0 – These neighbors don’t play often; that said, Groves (10-1) earned its first win over the Warriors since 1963 as Rice (7-4) had won their last eight meetings.

Temperance Bedford 39, Livonia Franklin 22 – The Mules (9-2) are another who have shined after a middling go in 2015; they have as many wins this fall as the last two seasons combined and eliminated a Franklin team that made the Semifinals last season and finished this one 7-4.

Division 3

Chelsea 27, Coldwater 20

This rematch of last season’s Division 3 Semifinal was much closer than Chelsea’s 35-7 victory a year ago. The Bulldogs (11-0) won their third straight District title this time by scoring a touchdown with six seconds left to break a 20-20 tie – and with the win earned a Regional matchup with also-undefeated Edwardsburg. Coldwater finished 8-3. Click for more from the Ann Arbor News.

Also noted:

Byron Center 55, Grand Rapids Christian 28 – The Bulldogs (10-1) got to 10 wins for the first time since 2000 with a second District title in four seasons; Grand Rapids Christian finished its best season in four at 9-2.

Muskegon 28, East Grand Rapids 10 – The Big Reds (10-1) won their fifth straight District title by ending a seven-game winning streak for the Pioneers (8-3).

Allen Park 34, Romulus 0 – The Jaguars (11-0) tied their most wins since 2004 in ending the winningest season for Romulus (9-2) since 2000. 

Division 4

Hudsonville Unity Christian 35, Benton Harbor 34 (OT)

Unity Christian (9-2) continued the best season of its 14-year history while ending another incredible run by the Tigers. Benton Harbor followed up last season’s first-ever playoff run and 6-5 finish (after a combined 0-18 the previous two years) with a program-best 10-1 record this fall. Both teams scored in overtime, but the Crusaders stopped the Tigers’ conversion run attempt to win a second straight District title. Click for more from WZZM.

Also noted:

Lake Odessa Lakewood 36, Lansing Sexton 28 – These teams combined for more than 750 yards of total offense, but Lakewood (10-1) reached 10 wins for the first time by holding on despite two touchdown passes by Jackson Barnes over the final 10 minutes that kept Sexton (7-4) in the mix.

Detroit Country Day 45, Marysville 7 – Country Day (11-0) got touchdowns from six players, including one on defense after an interception to hand Marysville (10-1) its lone loss.

Adrian 28, Milan 13 – The Maples (7-4) made good on an at-large bid by claiming a District title against the team that beat them on opening night, 27-13; Milan finished 9-2 and has totaled at least nine wins four of the last five seasons.

Division 5

Grand Rapids West Catholic 10, Portland 7

Offense was at a premium during this matchup of teams that previously combined to average 74 points per game this fall. But West Catholic kicker Liam Putz found a score when it mattered most, drilling a 31-yard field goal with four seconds to play to send the reigning champion Falcons (9-2) onward and end the Raiders’ season at 10-1. Click for more from WZZM.

Also noted:

Ithaca 47, Muskegon Oakridge 6 – It’s fair to call this a statement win for the Yellowjackets (11-0), as Oakridge (9-2) arguably was their strongest opponent to date; it’s also accurate to note that Ithaca suddenly has a 25-game winning streak.

Frankenmuth 49, Freeland 14 – Only two weeks ago, Frankenmuth (10-1) fell 7-3 to the Falcons (10-1); last year Freeland beat the Eagles twice in the same scenario.

Reed City 34, Remus Chippewa Hills 28 – The Coyotes (11-0) have had five 10-win seasons over the last six, but 10 was the max – until Reed City broke through with a second victory over Chippewa Hills (9-2) this season by six points or fewer.

Division 6

Jackson Lumen Christi 37, Schoolcraft 34 (OT)

Abe Johnson’s 13-yard field goal in overtime clinched Lumen Christi’s third straight District title, this one over a pre-playoff title favorite in the Eagles (10-1). The Titans (9-2) are hoping to win their first MHSAA championship since 2009, and took a major step after managing to slightly slow a Schoolcraft offense that came in averaging 46 points per game and had scored fewer than 40 only once. Click for more from the Jackson Citizen-Patriot.

Also noted:

Napoleon 42, Grass Lake 21 – The Pirates (9-2) avenged a Week 2 loss to Cascades Conference rival Grass Lake (9-2) to advance to the third round of the playoffs for the first time.

Calumet 6, Negaunee 0 – The Miners (10-1) also were a popular championship favorite heading into the playoffs with their closest game coming from … Calumet (10-1), which fell to Negaunee 14-6 in Week 2.

Detroit Central Collegiate 26, Warren Michigan Collegiate 22 – The Trail Blazers (7-4) won their first District title since 2010, ending the best season for the Charter School Conference champion Cougars (9-2) since 2011.

Division 7

Pewamo-Westphalia 25, Saugatuck 19

Few games in any division could match the star power generated by P-W running back Jared Smith and Saugatuck quarterback Blake Dunn, who combined as juniors to run for just shy of 6,000 yards. Smith ran for 222 yards and two scores Saturday to help the Pirates (11-0) hold on against the previously undefeated Indians (10-1) for their sixth straight District title. Click for more from the Ionia Sentinel-Standard.

Also noted:

Detroit Loyola 46, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 7 – The Bulldogs (9-2) eliminated a league champion for the second straight round, following up last week’s victory over Madison Heights Madison with this one over Michigan Independent Athletic Conference winner Liggett (10-1).

Concord 48, Homer 32 – The Yellowjackets (9-2) could’ve fallen victim to revenge, but stretched out the margin a little after beating Homer (8-3) only 28-26 in Week 2.  

Ubly 24, Unionville-Sebewaing 16 – The story was similar for Ubly (11-0), which kept its best season since 2010 going with another win over opening-night opponent USA (9-2).

Division 8

Norway 40, Lake Linden-Hubbell 16

Opportunities for upset get fewer later in the tournament, but this may fall into that category based on past history. Norway (9-2) continued to forget last year’s 2-7 finish and five straight sub-.500 seasons with a first District title since 2006, earning it against a Lakes team that finished the regular season undefeated for the second season in a row and at 10-1 posted its most wins since 2009. Click for more from the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette.

Also noted:

Royal Oak Shrine 49, Clarkston Everest Collegiate 25 – The Knights (9-2) started their four-game winning streak last month against Everest Collegiate and won their first District title since 2008 with a second win over the Mountaineers (8-3).

Climax-Scotts 28, Mendon 14 – For the second straight season, undefeated Climax-Scotts (11-0) downed playoff rival Mendon (8-3), this time for a second straight District title.

Frankfort 38, Lincoln Alcona 34 – The Panthers (11-0) have had only a few scares this season, and needed a touchdown during the final minute to avoid falling to the Tigers (9-2).


Powers North Central 60, Crystal Falls Forest Park 50

Forest Park (9-2) made the margin in this growing Upper Peninsula rivalry even closer in this season’s rematch, but the Jets still pulled away. North Central (11-0) had beaten the Trojans by 18 in Week 2, but scored twice during the fourth quarter to keep its perfect record as an 8-player program intact at 24-0. The teams combined for 1,022 yards of total offense, and the stars shone brightly; Jets quarterback Jason Whitens threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 114 yards and four more scores, while Forest Park running back Dan Nocerini capped his high school career with 50 carries for 260 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Click for more from the Escanaba Daily Press.

Other Regional Finals:

Pickford 30, Engadine 28 – The Panthers (10-1) earned a 10th win for the first time since 1991, avenging a 10-point loss to Engadine in Week 3 by handing the Eagles (10-1) their lone defeat.

Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 28, Portland St. Patrick 10 – The Defenders’ first playoff run now includes handing St. Patrick (10-1) its only loss while improving to 11-0.

Deckerville 58, New Haven Merritt 12 – The Eagles (10-0) arguably have been even more dominant than North Central, and only seemed to be getting stronger in handing Merritt (10-1) its first loss.

PHOTO: Fenton (orange helmet) bulled through a tough matchup with Midland Dow to advance in Division 2. (Click to see more from

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.