Drive for Detroit: Playoff Week 1 Review

October 29, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

One MHSAA Playoffs week is done, with four to go. Here’s some of what we’ve seen so far:

• Of 144 games played over the weekend, 39 were decided by seven or fewer points. Six were decided by merely one point!

• We had the fifth-highest scoring game in MHSAA history, where the losing team scored at least 40 points, and two more that saw teams combine to blow past 100 points. Another game passed 90, and a handful more saw more than 80 points put on the board.

• We will have at least two new champions. Central Lake in 8-Player Division 1 didn’t qualify for this postseason, and five-time reigning Division 5 champion Grand Rapids West Catholic was eliminated over the weekend.

So with those as a start, this week – as with most first weeks of the MHSAA Playoffs – was filled with rematches from the regular season, a few upsets and many more wins to set up bigger games in the next round. Read on for a few notes on four of the most intriguing results from each division.

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Division 1

HEADLINER: East Kentwood 31, Brighton 28 The Falcons (9-1) came back from an early 14-point deficit to earn their first playoff win since 2014. East Kentwood’s field goal was the only score of the second half. Brighton finished 7-3 but with two losses by a combined eight points. Click for more from FOX 17.

More shoutouts: Rockford 18, Traverse City West 13 The Rams (6-4) hit the road to defeat the Big North Conference champion Titans (7-3). Macomb Dakota 21, Romeo 17 The Cougars (8-2) beat Romeo (6-4) for the second time this fall by seven or fewer points, this time to set up a rematch with rival Clinton Township Chippewa Valley. Dearborn Fordson 24, Grosse Pointe South 17 The Tractors (9-1) scored 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points, and their 24 total were the second most given up this season by the Blue Devils (8-2).  

Division 2

HEADLINER: Okemos 31, Jackson 22 The Chiefs (7-3) have reached their highest win total and won their first playoff game both since 2011 under first-year coach Mike Krumm. This victory also ended a dream season for Jackson (9-1), which won its first league title in more than 70 years and (research pending) may have achieved its first perfect regular season. Click for more from State Champs Sports Network.

More shoutouts: South Lyon 31, Dexter 24 (OT) The Lions (10-0) held on to extend their winningest season since 2004 with their first playoff win since 2011, ending Dexter’s first playoff season ever at 6-4. Jenison 64, Traverse City Central 43 The Wildcats (7-3) emerged from this offensively-charged matchup with their first playoff win since 2001 and despite Central (7-3) scoring its second-most points in a game this season. Temperance Bedford 55, Dearborn Heights Crestwood 21 The Mules (6-4) continued their surge after a 2-4 start, ending the winningest season for Crestwood (8-2) since 1991.

Division 3

HEADLINER: Detroit Martin Luther King 7, River Rouge 6 These two entered the playoffs both averaging more than 40 points per game. But the Crusaders (8-2) bounced back from giving up 42 to Cass Tech in Week 9 by holding River Rouge (8-2) to single digits – not just for the second time this year, but the second time in four seasons. The Panthers’ defense, for its part, gave up only 24 points over its final eight game after a 40-7 loss to Cass in the season opener. Click for more from MLive-Detroit.

More shoutouts: Parma Western 21, Mattawan 14 (OT) The Panthers (9-1) held on to celebrate the first playoff win in program history. Mattawan finished 5-5 but with three straight losses by seven points or fewer. Battle Creek Central 25, Middleville Thornapple Kellogg 24 The Bearcats (7-3) earned their first playoff win since 2004, coming back after the Trojans (7-3) got off to a fast start. Muskegon 42, East Grand Rapids 35 The Big Reds (10-0) held on in one of their few close games of this season and a rematch of their 49-21 Week 3 win over the Pioneers (6-4).

Division 4

HEADLINER: Chelsea 28, Grosse Ile 21 The Bulldogs (7-3) didn’t make the loudest noise this season coming out of a Southeastern Conference White that saw Jackson and Dexter both receive statewide acclaim for their best seasons ever. But Chelsea earned its moment with this upset of the previously-unbeaten Red Devils (9-1).  Click for more from the Sun Times News.

More shoutouts: Paw Paw 14, Three Rivers 7 After being shut out by Three Rivers 26-0 in Week 5, Paw Paw (8-2) beat the Wildcats (8-2) for the first time since 2014 and scored on them for the first time since 2015. Escanaba 27, Ludington 20 The Eskymos (8-2) will play for a third straight District title thanks to a late score against the Orioles (7-3). North Branch 44, Croswell-Lexington 41 The Broncos (8-2) earned their first playoff win since 2006, coming back to beat the Pioneers (6-4) after falling to them 45-26 only two weeks earlier.

Division 5

HEADLINER: Clare 42, Manistee 28 The Jack Pine Conference co-champ earned a District Final rematch with Reed City by ending Manistee’s best season of the playoff era at 9-1. The Pioneers (9-1) tied the most points given up this season by the Chippewas, who rebounded from 2-7 a year ago. Click for more from the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun and see below for highlights from MI Sports Now.

More shoutouts: Hudsonville Unity Christian 41, Grand Rapids West Catholic 22 The Crusaders (8-2) ended West Catholic’s opportunity to extend its Division 5 title reign to six seasons, handing the Falcons (5-5) their earliest playoff departure since 2005. Hopkins 46, Berrien Springs 6 In a clash of league champions, Ottawa-Kent Conference Silver winner Hopkins (9-1) impressed against Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference Red champ Berrien Springs (7-3). Lansing Catholic 22, Olivet 21 Quarterback Josh Kramer scored and then threw the game-winning two-point conversion pass with 47 seconds to play as Lansing Catholic (9-1) edged the Greater Lansing Activities Conference champion Eagles (8-2).

Division 6

HEADLINER: Millington 50, Ithaca 33 These teams met for the first time since 2014, when Ithaca won a District Final 35-0. This time, the Yellowjackets (8-2) were contained to their shortest season since not making the playoffs in 2008. Millington (7-3) will play for its third straight District title coming off its second game this season scoring 50 or more points, led by running back Jack Shreve’s 194 yards and three touchdowns rushing. Click for more from the Saginaw News and see highlights below from WEYI.

More shoutouts: Delton Kellogg 86, Niles Brandywine 50 – These teams – both 7-3 – combined to score the fifth-most points in a game in MHSAA history where the losing team put up at least 40. Among record book-worthy performances, Shane Brown caught five touchdown passes for the Bobcats, but they couldn’t keep up with a Panthers’ offense averaging 41 points per game. Michigan Center 35, Grass Lake 6 The Cardinals (9-1) may have fallen short of the Cascades Conference championship because of a four-point loss to eventual title winner Grass Lake in Week 6, but they’ll move on to a District Final after this big rematch win. Blissfield 21, Hillsdale 10 The Royals (6-4) avenged a 10-point Week 6 loss to the Lenawee County Athletic Association co-champion Hornets (8-2), despite getting outgained in yardage 257-191.

Division 7

HEADLINER: Saugatuck 49, Kent City 28 A live cable audience (FOX Sports Detroit) was able to enjoy this high-scoring matchup, which saw the reigning Division 7 runner-up Indians (9-1) pull away after the teams were tied 21-21 at halftime. Kent City (8-2) gave Saugatuck its closest game since a Week 4 loss to Schoolcraft. Click for more from the Holland Sentinel and see highlights below from WOOD TV.

More shoutouts: Lake City 30, North Muskegon 28 The Trojans (10-0) kept their unbeaten season alive, but with their second two-point win this fall and second by seven or fewer points over the last two weeks. North Muskegon (5-5) scored the most points Lake City has given up this season. Allen Park Cabrini 7, Detroit Community 6 The Monarchs (6-4) held on after scoring during the first quarter for their first playoff win since 2007, in the first playoff game ever for Community (8-2). Centreville 16, Union City 14 The Bulldogs (9-1) reached nine wins for the first time at least in the playoff era, just holding off the Chargers (6-4).

Division 8

HEADLINER: Reading 65, Pittsford 48 This was another one that will make the record books as these teams combined for 113 points. A fun fact is that Pittsford (7-3) scored more points than Reading had given up this entire season (40) heading into the night – but the Rangers (10-0) also upped their average to 52 per game with their highest output of this fall. Click for more from the Hillsdale Daily News.

More shoutouts: Harbor Beach 26, Saginaw Nouvel 6 The Pirates (9-1) avenged last season’s one-point District Final loss to Nouvel (6-4), which went on last year to finish Division 8 runner-up. Ubly 30, Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary 28 The Cardinals (7-3) seemed like an intriguing contender in Division 8 with previous losses only to Division 6 teams, but Ubly (8-2) made the Division 7 Semifinals two years ago and might be ready for another run. Dansville 29, Sterling Heights Parkway Christian 20 The Aggies (7-3) couldn’t get past reigning Division 7 champion Pewamo-Westphalia in their league this fall, but Division 8 should be on the lookout after they handed Parkway (9-1) its only defeat.

8-Player Division 1

HEADLINER: Deckerville 54, Kingston 16 The Eagles (8-2) are off and running again, earning an opportunity to win a fifth straight Regional title by dispatching rival Kingston (8-2) for the second time this fall – and after winning the first meeting by only 18. Click for more from the Huron Daily Tribune.

More shoutouts: AuGres-Sims 58, Mayville 6 After 12 tries in 11-player, first-year 8-player AuGres-Sims (10-0) earned its first playoff win to end Mayville’s second straight 5-5 season. Bellevue 54, Battle Creek St. Philip 6 The second-place Broncos (9-1) earned a rematch with Southern Central Athletic Association A champion Colon after winning this second meeting with St. Philip (6-4) in four weeks. Colon 58, Camden-Frontier 14 The Magi (9-1) came back from a Week 9 loss to beat Camden-Frontier (5-5) for the second time this season.

8-Player Division 2

HEADLINER: Crystal Falls Forest Park 36, Powers North Central 24 The reigning champion Trojans (6-4) opened the playoffs with a win over Jets for the second straight season, but this one hardly was expected after North Central (8-2) won their first meeting 52-28 in Week 6. Click for more from the Iron Mountain Daily News.

More shoutouts: Rapid River 20, Engadine 18 The Rockets (7-3) had fallen 30-12 to Engadine (8-2) only two weeks earlier and also in last season’s playoff opener. Brethren 42, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 26 The West Michigan D League champion Bobcats (7-3) bounced back from a Week 9 loss to win their first playoff game since 1990 and end the Irish’s first season of 8-player at 7-3. Tekonsha 28, New Haven Merritt 22 (OT) The SCAA B champion Indians (6-4) earned their first playoff win in their second postseason game all-time, downing the Northern Central Thumb League White champion Mustangs (6-4).

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PHOTO: A Kent City ball carrier charges through a hole in the Saugatuck defense, but the Indians went on to win the Division 7 playoff opener that was broadcast live on FOX Sports Detroit. (Photo by John Johnson.)

Record-Setting Viney Gained Lifelong Confidence at Marine City

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

July 17, 2024

Olivia Viney didn’t have to look far for inspiration while taking on the challenge of applying to veterinary school.

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosThe 2015 Marine City graduate and record-setting placekicker simply drew from her own experience as a high school athlete.

“It just really taught me that I could do hard things,” Viney said. “I was very involved when I was in school. I did soccer, theater, travel soccer and then football. Especially with football, I learned that if I put my mind to it, I can do it. That helped me to excel in undergrad. When it came time to get accepted to vet school, it was like, ‘This is what I have to do,’ and I did it. That was very confidence-building. It taught me that I really can do hard things.”

Viney, who graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2019 and Michigan State Veterinary School in 2023, is now working as an associate veterinarian at Deporre Veterinary Hospital in West Bloomfield. 

Accomplishing her goals is nothing new to Viney, and not at all a surprise to those who watched her come through the Mariners athletic program.

“She was very serious, she was focused and she was dialed in,” said Dave Frendt, who coached Viney in both football and soccer at Marine City. “She knew what she wanted to accomplish, and she set out to do that. She was a fierce competitor and very driven. She was a good leader in that way where she was kind of feisty, but the team would follow that.”

Viney was an all-state soccer player for the Mariners, leading them to a pair of District titles and a Macomb Area Conference Gold title during her four years as a varsity player. It’s the sport she grew up playing, but the one she was most known for after graduation was football. American football.

The 5-foot-1-ish center attacking midfielder found herself in the MHSAA football record book after hitting all seven of her extra point attempts in the Mariners’ 2013 Division 4 Final victory against Grand Rapids South Christian.

“I think it makes sense,” she said. “There were lots of great soccer players, even that I played with. Great players that had gone through school, so I don’t think it’s weird that people remember me for that. When I talk with people, they’ll connect the dots – ‘Oh, you played football.’

“I was more accomplished as a soccer player and had more accolades. But I’m prouder of my football accomplishments, because it was really setting a pathway for girls that wanted to get into that. It’s so much more common now, or accepted. Even though it’s been almost 11 years since we won at Ford Field, I’m so proud of high school Olivia and what she did, the courage she had. She wasn’t scared of anything.”

Viney graduated from MSU’s Veterinary School in 2023. Viney joined Marine City’s football program as a sophomore, playing on the junior varsity squad. While she was there only to kick, she was all in when it came to practicing.

“Coach (Joe) Fregetto made me do tackling drills and drills in the mud – I really did earn my spot on the team,” Viney said. “I think it was mostly because he didn’t know what to do with me, so I guess just do everything that the guys do.”

She handled varsity kicking duties the next two years, setting the school record in 2013 for most extra points made during a single season – a record that still stands. Former Mariners coach Ron Glodich said that Viney actually never missed an extra point that season, as the four failed attempts were never even kicked.

It was her performance in the Division 4 Final that gained her statewide acclaim, as she hit 7 of 7 attempts, tying a record for most extra points made in a Finals game. It stood until a pair of kickers hit eight in 2022.

One record that never will be broken, however, is Viney becoming the first female to score a point at the Finals.

“Everything was so surreal, I was so nervous,” Viney said. “One of my most vivid memories was that day, or maybe the day before, Coach Glodich said, ‘Just so you know, when you get to the field, the goal posts are two feet narrower on each side. But that doesn’t matter if you kick it in the middle.’

“We got there and watched the team before us so we could get used to it, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re so narrow.’ … Seeing myself up on the big screen was kind of almost a little embarrassing, because I knew people were talking about me being the girl. But once we were in the game, it was a lot like any other game. I was just waiting for my turn to go on the field and do my job.”

Viney later was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” – ironically, right below current U.S. Women’s National Team forward Mallory Pugh – but she wasn’t looked at any differently by her teammates, and she wouldn’t have wanted to be.

“That team was all about sacrifice for the team,” Frendt said. “For them to realize, ‘None of us can do what she does, so we better embrace it, because no one else can do it.’ They really made her feel like part of the team. They wanted to protect her, too. But she was tough. She wasn’t going to take anything.”

Viney went to SVSU to study biology and played for its club soccer team. During her time there, she volunteered at an animal shelter and made the decision she wanted to help animals in her career. She works in general practice at Deporre, and would eventually like to work in shelter medicine.

She and her husband Matt, who were married in May, live with their three dogs. She’s not far from home, and in the spring of 2023 she visited Frendt’s college and career readiness class to speak with students at her alma mater. Her presentation and the attention to detail and hard work she put into it, Frendt said, blew his students away. Not that it surprised him.

“That’s poured into her life after sports,” he said of her work ethic. “She just kept plugging away. She’s awesome.”

July 11: High School 'Hoop Squad' Close to Heart as Hughes Continues Coaching Climb - Read
July 10: 
Nightingale Embarking on 1st Season as College Football Head Coach - Read
June 28:
 E-TC's Witt Bulldozing Path from Small Town to Football's Biggest Stage - Read

PHOTOS (Top) Marine City’s Olivia Viney kicks at the 2013 11-Player Football Finals, also during her spring soccer season, and cares for one of her patients as an associate veterinarian. (Middle) Viney graduated from MSU’s Veterinary School in 2023. (Photos courtesy of Olivia Viney.)