Drive for Detroit: Playoff Week 2 Review

November 5, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The postseason in any sport is a time mostly for celebrating success, as teams achieve first-time milestones or finish by bringing home the ultimate MHSAA prize.

Sadly, every week also means the end to seasons and high school careers. Two more 2017 champions saw their repeat attempts conclude this weekend, and a handful of title favorites just a few weeks ago also saw their runs halted.

We glance below at many of those storylines from the second round of the MHSAA Playoffs – noting as always that any football team making it to early November should be proud, whenever its run is done. “Drive for Detroit” is powered by MI Student Aid

Division 1

HEADLINER: Dearborn Fordson 41, Detroit Cass Tech 14 That Fordson won surely stunned some statewide, and especially by this margin. But the Tractors (10-1) entered the playoffs last month with just one loss for the third straight season and fell to Cass Tech (10-1) by only five points in their 2017 District Final matchup. That said, this was the eighth playoff meeting over the last decade between these two – and the Technicians won the first seven. Click for more from the Detroit Free Press and see highlights below from The D Zone.

More shoutouts: Saline 42, East Kentwood 7 The Southeastern Conference Red champ Hornets (10-1) scored 21 points in the third quarter and got near-perfect passing from quarterback Andrew Arbaugh to down the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red champ Falcons (9-2). Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 51, Macomb Dakota 10 The Macomb Area Conference Red champion Big Reds (11-0) made this much more comfortable than when they edged league co-runner-up Dakota (8-3) by seven in Week 5. West Bloomfield 20, Detroit Catholic Central 17 (OT) Last season’s Division 1 runner-up Lakers moved to 9-2 by answering the overtime field goal by DCC (7-4) with a touchdown pass from CJ Harris to Lance Dixon.

Division 2

HEADLINER: Warren DeLaSalle 35, Oak Park 7 The Pilots’ ability to shut down Oak Park again sticks out immediately – the Knights entered averaging 29 points per game, but DeLaSalle also defeated Oak Park (9-2) in their 2017 Regional Final 14-7 on the way to winning Division 2. With this victory, the Pilots (9-2) improved to a combined 21-4 over the last two seasons. Click for more from the Macomb Daily and see highlights below from State Champs Sports Network.

More shoutouts: Port Huron Northern 14, St. Clair Shores Lakeview 7 (OT) The Huskies (10-1) tied their program record for wins by getting past Lakeview (7-4) for the second time this fall. Birmingham Groves 38, Birmingham Brother Rice 24 The Falcons (9-2) avenged last season’s District-opening 24-21 loss to the Warriors (7-4), improving to 2-1 in their playoff matchups over the last three seasons. Walled Lake Western 35, South Lyon 14 South Lyon (10-1) won the Lakes Valley Conference in part with a 29-19 Week 8 win over Western, but Western (8-3) will play for its third Regional title in four years.

Division 3

HEADLINER: Cedar Springs 44, Mount Pleasant 14 Overshadowed by the many Grand Rapids-area powers during the regular season, Cedar Springs couldn’t be missed this weekend. The Red Hawks (10-1) handed Mount Pleasant (10-1) its lone loss to claim their first District title since 2000, adding to the O-K White championship clinched earlier this fall. Cedar Springs has given up a combined 21 points over the last five weeks and now will get to challenge reigning champion Muskegon. Click for more from the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun and see highlights below from FOX 17.

More shoutouts: Zeeland East 42, Zeeland West 24 Getting by the rival Dux (8-3) for the second time in four weeks earned the Chix (10-1) their first District title since 2010. Parma Western 44, Battle Creek Central 21 The Panthers (10-1) reached double-digit wins and won a District title for the first time in their history, ending Central’s best finish since 2004 at 7-4. DeWitt 9, East Lansing 7 The Panthers (11-0) withstood their biggest scare this season and after winning 37-0 in their Week 5 meeting with the Trojans (9-2).

Division 4

HEADLINER: Farmington Hills Harrison 13, Detroit Country Day 10 (OT) A bobbled field goal attempt turned into a backpedaling game-winning touchdown pass that extended Harrison’s final season another week. The Yellowjackets (7-3) had opened overtime with a field goal, and the Hawks (8-3) had lined up to try to tie the score. Click for more from the Oakland Press.

More shoutouts: Holland Christian 22, Grand Rapids South Christian 19 The Maroons (8-3) won their first District title since 2009, ending the Sailors’ run at 6-5. Escanaba 14, Alma 13 The Eskymos (9-2) will face reigning champion Grand Rapids Catholic Central for the third straight season after beating Alma (9-2) for a District title for the third straight year. Chelsea 35, Milan 14 The Bulldogs (8-3) won their fourth District title in five seasons, defeating Milan (8-3) for the second straight playoffs.

Division 5

HEADLINER: Hudsonville Unity Christian 40, Muskegon Oakridge 37 The Crusaders (9-2), playing for their third District title in four seasons, came back from 27 points down to edge the Eagles (9-2) as the latter was looking to repeat as District champs. Unity went on a 32-2 second-half run, taking the lead with just more than three minutes to play. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press and see highlights below from WZZM.

More shoutouts: Marine City 41, Harper Woods 27 The Mariners (9-2) won their first District title since 2013 by piling up the most points Harper Woods (8-3) gave up this season. Kalamazoo United 46, Hopkins 35 The Titans, made up of students from Hackett and Kalamazoo Christian, won the first District title for either since Christian’s in 2008 by downing the O-K Silver champion Vikings (9-2). Frankenmuth 28, Almont 22 The Tri-Valley Conference East-winning Eagles (9-2) won this matchup of league champions, handing Blue Water Area Conference leader Almont (10-1) its lone loss.

Division 6

HEADLINER: Traverse City St. Francis 42, Calumet 6 St. Francis (11-0) won this matchup of unbeatens to clinch a fifth straight District title and earn a rematch with rival Kingsley in the Regional Final. Calumet (10-1) capped its second 10-win season in three years but gave up a season-high in points while scoring a season-low six for the second straight week. Click for more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle and see highlights below from MI Sports Now.

More shoutouts: Blissfield 41, Brooklyn Columbia Central 40 In two weeks of playoffs, fourth-place Blissfield (7-4) has beaten both co-champions of the Lenawee County Athletic Association, this time avenging a Week 4 loss to the Golden Eagles (9-2). Flint Hamady 47, Ecorse 22 The Genesee Area Conference Blue-winning Hawks (11-0) added their first District title to their best run ever, eliminating Michigan Metro Athletic Conference Black champ Ecorse (8-3) Kingsley 44, Beaverton 14 The Stags (10-1) reached double-digit victories for the first time since winning the Division 6 title in 2005, ending Beaverton’s run at 8-3.

Division 7

HEADLINER: Pewamo-Westphalia 42, Saugatuck 20 This rematch of last season’s Division 7 Final went the two-time champion’s way again. This was the fifth time in six seasons these teams met, and as expected Saugatuck’s offense gave the Pirates (11-0) one of its more significant challenges. But P-W also became the first team since Week 4 to score more than 40 points on the Indians (9-2). Click for more from the Ionia Sentinel-Standard.

More shoutouts: Madison Heights Madison 38, Detroit Loyola 0 The MAC Silver champ Eagles (11-0) earned their third straight shutout, stopping Loyola (7-4) as it sought to win its seventh District title in eight seasons. New Lothrop 44, Cass City 20 The Mid-Michigan Activities Conference champ Hornets (10-1) earned a playoff rematch with P-W by doubling up Greater Thumb Conference West champ Cass City (8-3). Cassopolis 35, Centreville 0 The Rangers (11-0) won the Southwest 10 Conference title with a 21-0 Week 9 victory over the Bulldogs (9-2), and this time held them to 147 yards.

Division 8

HEADLINER: Reading 28, Ottawa Lake Whiteford 6 Reigning Division 8 champion Whiteford (10-1) hadn’t lost in two years, and hadn’t scored fewer than 36 points since falling in the 2016 championship game. This was arguably the most impressive of a great run of victories for the Rangers (11-0), who have beaten three league champions and a runner-up over the last month. Click for more from the Hillsdale Daily News and see highlights below from BCSN.

More shoutouts: Harbor Beecher 28, Ubly 26 (3OT) The GTC East co-champion Pirates (10-1) held off the revenge-minded Bearcats (8-3), who finished third in the league after also falling to Harbor Beach in Week 5. Flint Beecher 22, Clarkston Everest Collegiate 14 The Bucs (8-3) clinched their first District title since 2012 by edging the Catholic League C-D champion Mountaineers (9-2). Detroit Southeastern 24, Dansville 22 Southeastern (8-3) outscored Dansville (7-4) 16-0 in the second half to win its first football District title since 2009 and after six straight sub-.500 finishes heading into this fall.

8-Player Division 1

HEADLINER: AuGres-Sims 72, Deckerville 28 The Wolverines (11-0) added to their first season in 8-player and best run in football ever by beating reigning Division 1 runner-up Deckerville (8-3) to claim their first Regional title in the sport. AuGres-Sims countered giving up their most points in a game this season by going over 70 for the second time this fall. Click for more from the Huron Daily Tribune and see highlights below from WBKB.

Other Regional Final shoutouts: Pickford 48, Suttons Bay 42 The Panthers (11-0) survived their toughest challenge of this season, holding off Suttons Bay (9-2) with quarterback Jimmy Storey’s touchdown run with 37 seconds to play. Morrice 44, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 14 The Orioles (11-0) won their first Regional title since 1996 by dealing the Defenders (10-1) their only loss this season. Colon 40, Bellevue 22 The Magi (10-1) are Regional champs for the first time thanks to a second win this season over the league rival Broncos (9-2).

8-Player Division 2

HEADLINER: Rapid River 40, Crystal Falls Forest Park 34 The reigning Division 2 champ Trojans (6-5) opened the playoffs by stunning Powers North Central, and Rapid River (8-3) followed up this week by downing Forest Park to make the Semifinals for the first time since 2013. Rapid River actually handed Forest Park one of its two defeats in 2017 as well. The Rockets will look next to make the Finals for the third time in eight seasons. Click for more from the Escanaba Daily Press.

More Regional shoutouts: Portland St. Patrick 20, Tekonsha 6 The reigning Division 2 runner-up Shamrocks (7-4) have rattled off four straight wins, this one over Southern Central Athletic Association B champ Tekonsha (6-5).  Cedarville 44, Posen 0 The Trojans join Rapid River among three Great Lakes Conference East teams still alive after running their winning streak against Posen (8-3) to four straight. Onekama 52, Brethren 0 The Portagers (9-2) won their first Regional title by also downing a conference champion in the West Michigan D League’s Bobcats (7-4).

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: Clinton Township Chippewa Valley remained undefeated with a second win over Macomb Dakota this season. (Click for more from C&G Newspapers.)

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.)