Drive for Detroit: Semifinals Preview

November 18, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Ford Field is only one more win away for 32 teams playing in MHSAA Semifinals on Saturday.

Five of eight reigning champions are playing to get back. Twice as many teams are playing to reach the final round for the first time.

Below is a look at all 16 Semifinal games, powered by MI Student Aid. All games will be broadcast, four on and 12 on; click for the schedule. And stay connected all Saturday for scores as they come in on

Division 1

Romeo (9-3) vs. Detroit Catholic Central (12-0) at Howell Parker Middle School

Reigning Division 1 champion Romeo seemed out of the running for a return run with two losses over the first five weeks (although by just a combined three points) and then a big one in Week 8 to Macomb Dakota. But a defense that has given up more than 16 points only once since opening night has given up just 17 total over three playoff games. Leading rusher and receiver Kade Messner (617 yards/6 TDs rushing, 229 yards/1 TD receiving) averages 10 yards per carry. DCC fell to Romeo in a Regional Final last year, 40-29, but has churned out a perfect season to earn a rematch, with senior Nick Capatina (996 yards/13 TDs rushing) and junior Cameron Ryan (748/14) carrying a good chunk of the load.

Utica Eisenhower (12-0) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (12-0) at Troy Athens

The Eagles are making their first Semifinal appearance since 2011, when they fell to Cass Tech 6-3, and already have secured their winningest season since 2003. Junior quarterback Max Wittwer (1,574 yards/19 TDs passing, 768 yards/8 TDs rushing) and senior running back Jack Provencher (1,434 yards/24 TDs rushing) make it impossible for defenses to stack in trying to stop an offense that has scored at least 42 points in every playoff game. Cass Tech is more familiar with this round than most; this will be its seventh straight Semifinal. The Technicians feature some of the best-known playmakers in the state, including senior quarterback Rodney Hall (2,125 yards/22 TDs passing) and senior receiver Donovan People-Jones (889 yards/15 TDs receiving). 

Division 2

Walled Lake Western (11-1) vs. Lowell (12-0) at Brighton

This is a rematch of a 2015 Semifinal won by Lowell 49-34 – and the Red Arrows also beat Western 42-35 in a 2011 Semifinal. The Warriors reaching their first MHSAA championship game since 1999 likely will rest in part on the arm of senior quarterback Johnny Tracy (2,050 yards/23 TDs passing) and senior receivers Kameron Ford (1,013 yards/12 TDs receiving) and Cody White (669 yards/9 TDs receiving, 443 yards/6 TDs rushing).  Lowell also follows a talented quarterback, junior David Kruse (1,573 yards/8 TDs passing, 1,438 yards/23 TDs rushing), and his leading running back, senior Nate Stephens (1,402 yards/21 TDs.). And trust the Red Arrows are extra motivated to get back to Ford Field after watching last season’s title slip away to Detroit Martin Luther King on the final play of the game.

Birmingham Groves (11-1) vs. Detroit Martin Luther King (10-2) at Dearborn

The reigning champion Crusaders have lost only to Division 1 semifinalist Detroit Cass Tech, twice, and are playing in their fourth Semifinal in six seasons. After the sudden death of coach Dale Harvel in July, King has rallied behind new coach Ty Spencer and followed sophomore quarterback Dequan Finn (1,986 yards/33 TDs passing) with major contributions by senior running back Kevin Willis (1,003 yards/13 TDs rushing) and senior receiver Ambry Thomas (766 yards/13 TDs receiving) among many others. After making its first Regional Final since 2004, Groves is playing in its first Semifinal ever. The Falcons have given up more than 15 points only once since opening night and 25 total over three playoff games while getting balanced offensive power from senior quarterback Beau Kewley (909 yards/12 TDs passing) and senior running back Ernest Allen (924 yards/11 TDs rushing). 

Division 3

Edwardsburg (12-0) vs. Muskegon (11-1) at East Kentwood

Edwardsburg will play its third Semifinal in seven seasons seeking its first championship game berth and coming off a two-point win over Chelsea, last season’s Division 3 runner-up. And this might be the most impressive team of the Eddies’ recent run. Edwardsburg gave up only 38 points over the first 10 weeks of the season before allowing 60 total over the last two; the Eddies also have run for 4,473 yards, led by juniors Nick Bradley (1,363 yards/18 TDs) and Kyle Shrider (843 yards/15 TDs). After making only the Regional Final last season, Muskegon is back in its fourth Semifinal over the last five years. The Big Reds already have set a program record with 634 points (52.8 per game) keyed by their dual quarterbacks – senior Kalil Pimpleton (714 yards/14 TDs passing, 1,314 yards/21 TDs rushing) and junior La’darius Jefferson (863 yards/9 TDs passing, 709 yards/15 TDs rushing).

Dearborn Divine Child (10-2) vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (8-4) at West Bloomfield

This is the first meeting between these Detroit Catholic League contenders since 2008. The Falcons have built their strongest effort since 1985 with a six-game winning streak after suffering back-to-back losses in Weeks 5 and 6. Divine Child avenged one of those, to Division 7 semifinalist Detroit Loyola, in Week 9, and last week handed Allen Park its only loss of the season. Junior quarterback Theo Day has thrown for 1,508 yards and 21 touchdowns to lead the way. Reigning Division 3 champion St. Mary’s advanced to its seventh Semifinal in eight seasons with a comeback win at DeWitt last week. The Eaglets move the ball with junior running backs RaShawn Allen (1,833 yards/21 TDs rushing) and Ky’ren Cunningham (860 yards/13 TDs), who both average at least eight yards a carry.

Division 4

Hudsonville Unity Christian (10-2) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (11-1) at Greenville

Unity Christian’s best season ever moves on to its first Semifinal, thanks to an overtime win over previously undefeated Benton Harbor last week. The Crusaders won’t be intimidated by the annually successful Cougars after navigating the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green, one of the most competitive leagues in the state this season. They cover a lot of ground with senior running back Parker Scholten (1,353 yards/14 TDs rushing) and senior quarterback Mitchell Dykstra (924/15). GRCC is making its first Semifinal appearance since winning Division 4 in 2010. But the Cougars have a chance to do some great things next year too with juniors the top playmakers this fall. Quarterback Jack Bowen has thrown for 2,329 yards and 24 touchdowns and running back Nolan Fugate is the leading rusher with 1,359 yards and 11 scores on the ground.

River Rouge (11-1) vs. Detroit Country Day (12-0) at Hazel Park

River Rouge just missed its first MHSAA championship a year ago, falling to Grand Rapids West Catholic by six in the Final, and hasn’t really been slowed this fall. The Panthers at one point shut out seven straight opponents and eight over nine games including the first of the playoffs, and they’ve gone over 600 points for the second season in a row led by senior quarterback Jairus Grissom (1,369 yards/18 TDs rushing, 1,967 yards/23 TDs passing). Country Day is playing its fourth Semifinal in five seasons seeking its first championship game berth since 2012. The Yellowjackets are incredibly balanced on offense, with a pair of quarterbacks (senior Steven Mann and sophomore Jalen Graham) both having success. But the defense stands out most; led by senior linebacker Kolin Demens, Country Day is giving up only 8.6 points per game and has allowed more than 14 only twice.  

Division 5 

Frankenmuth (11-1) vs. Menominee (11-1) at Northern Michigan’s Superior Dome

The Eagles have had only four sub-.500 finishes over the last 32 seasons, and 22 playoff appearances during that time. But they broke through again for their first Semifinal berth since 1997, handing Ithaca last week its first loss not in an MHSAA Final since 2008. Senior running back Kris Roche (1,005 yards/16 TDs rushing) and senior quarterback Jared Davis (922 yards/16 TDs rushing, 1,169 yards/11 TDs passing) give Frankenmuth multiple threats. As it has done for decades, Menominee is again trampling opponents, although lead back Keifer Rasner (1,372 yards/20 TDs rushing, 410 yards/3 TDs passing) was reportedly hurt two weeks ago and isn’t expected to play. Ethan Mileski (584 yards/5 TDs rushing, 1,066 yards/14 TDs passing) is another offensive standout to watch.

Algonac (11-1) vs. Grand Rapids West Catholic (10-2) at Battle Creek Harper Creek  

Algonac’s best two seasons in program history have been this one and last, and they’ve taken the next step with their first Semifinal appearance. Senior quarterback Brendan Piper is a two-way threat, throwing for 1,086 yards and 13 touchdowns this fall and running for a team-high 903 yards and 14 scores. Three-time reigning champion West Catholic has had to play three road games this playoff run, but outscored those opponents by a combined 78-20. Veteran duo David Fox and Gaetano Vallone are again big reasons why; the senior running back sometimes quarterback Fox had thrown for 1,286 yards and 17 touchdowns and run for 689 yards and eight scores, while junior quarterback Vallone has thrown for 889 yards and seven TDs.

Division 6

Leroy Pine River (9-2) vs. Maple City Glen Lake (10-2) at Traverse City Thirlby Field

Pine River’s first run to a Semifinal has included a ninth win for the second time ever and first time since 1999. Senior quarterback Mason Powell has had quite a final campaign, bringing the Bucks back from 4-5 last season by throwing for 1,047 yards and 15 touchdowns and running for 1,259 yards and 17 scores. The Lakers have had a little more recent success but still are making their first Semifinal appearance since 1996. Junior running back Nick Apsey carries a lot of the load offensively and has scored 22 times. But the defense also has been outstanding, giving up more than 14 points only twice and 112 points total this fall.

Jackson Lumen Christi (10-2) vs. Millington (11-1) at Lansing Catholic

Lumen Christi is back in the Semifinals for the first time since winning Division 5 in 2009; the Titans have won nine straight games to get here. Running back Bo Bell was the star in last week’s Regional Final win over Napoleon, and all season as well; he’s run for 2,200 yards and 29 touchdowns. Quarterback Troy Kutcha has added 1,313 yards and 10 scores through the air and run for six touchdowns. Millington is playing in its fifth Semifinal and seeking to reach the championship round for the first time. Junior quarterback Bryce Bearss (2,212 yards/25 TDs passing) and senior running back Brady Payne (1,196 yards/14 TDs rushing) give the Cardinals a strong 1-2 punch as well.

Division 7

Ubly (12-0) vs. Pewamo-Westphalia (12-0) at Mount Pleasant

Reigning Division 7 runner-up Pewamo-Westphalia will face its third straight undefeated opponent after handing first and only losses to Saugatuck and Traverse City St. Francis the last two weeks. Senior running back Jared Smith fell short of 100 yards rushing last week for the first time since his sophomore year, but continues to inch toward the MHSAA career rushing record and now has 2,403 yards and 36 touchdowns on the ground this season and more than 8,000 yards rushing for his career. Ubly also is a recent visitor to the Finals, its last trip coming in 2008. The Bearcats have controlled the ball with a rumbling ground game as well; senior Derek Brown has run for 1,226 yards and 19 touchdowns and senior Jonathan Brandel has gained 980 yards and 15 scores rushing.

Detroit Loyola (10-2) vs. Cassopolis (11-1) at Jackson

Loyola is another regular in this round, playing in its fifth straight Semifinal. The Bulldogs have beaten a league champion every week of the playoffs this time, and Cassopolis would be the fourth. Loyola averages 34 running plays per game and brings three 1,000-yard rushers – Malcolm Mayes (1,240 yards/14 TDs), D’Anthony Robinson (1,208 yards/18 TDs) and quarterback Price Watkins (1,010 yards/8 TDs rushing, 659 yards/7 TDs passing). Cassopolis is playing in his first Semifinal after setting a program record for wins last week. The Rangers roll with a loaded backfield; senior quarterback Shane Los has thrown for 1,320 yards and 17 touchdowns, while junior Brandon Anderson has run for 956 yards and 11 touchdowns and scored six more receiving. Sophomore Tyrese Hunt-Thompson has run for 811 yards and 10 scores and is the leading receiver with 533 yards and five TDs.

Division 8

Muskegon Catholic Central (12-0) vs. St. Ignace (11-1) at Petoskey

This is a rematch both of last season’s Semifinal (33-20 MCC win) and Week 2 of this fall (Crusaders 21-6), as St. Ignace gave MCC easily its closest game this season. The Crusaders have won three straight Division 8 titles and after facing mostly bigger schools during the regular season have given up only seven points over three playoff games. Senior LaTommy Scott (820 yards/8 TDs rushing) has starred for a few seasons and is one of five who have rushed for at least 370 yards. The Saints attack in multiple ways; senior running back Mitchell Peterson has run for 1,275 yards and senior quarterback Steve Seccia has thrown for 1,530 and 23 touchdowns.

Ottawa Lake Whiteford (12-0) vs. Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (10-2) at Dearborn Edsel Ford

Whiteford’s best two seasons also were the last two, with the Bobcats winning 10 games for the first time in 2015 and this their second straight Semifinal. Whiteford has set school records with 545 points, 222 first downs, 552 carries and 3,729 rushing yards this fall. Leading the way are running back Jessie Kiefer (1,057 yards, 27 touchdowns rushing, 287 yards/5 TDs receiving) and freshman Conner Hoogendoorn (811 yards/15 TDs). Michigan Lutheran Seminary is playing in its second Semifinal in three seasons to reach its first championship game since 1986. The Cardinals have given up only 13 points over three playoff games and force an average of two turnovers per game. Senior Casey Williams is the main scorer with 24 touchdowns, with 19 on the ground (and 1,226 yards).

Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews 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: Muskegon Catholic Central's LaTommy Scott (20) breaks away for a touchdown against Frankfort in last week's Regional Final. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)

1st & Goal: 2023 Football Finals Review

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

November 29, 2023

On jaw-dropping moments alone, the 2023 Football Finals played over the last two weekends at Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome and Ford Field were an unforgettable success.

MI Student AidThe two longest active winning streaks in the state were ended by first-time champions. Perhaps the two most recognizable players in Michigan faced off in the season finale. The winningest active coach in state history led his team to a record-tying title, while two more coaches retired with their program’s first. The lone repeat champion needed every last second to score all of its points during the fourth quarter, and four reigning champions saw their repeat or three-peat bids denied.

Consider those an opening kickoff of the final “1st & Goal Review” this season. covered all 10 championship games, with quick recaps and links (click on the game scores) to those stories below followed by notations of performances entered into the MHSAA Finals record book and a report on some of the main storylines to emerge as those championships were being decided.

Muskegon’s Da'Carion Taylor holds up the ball in celebration during the 11-Player Division 2 game.

Finals in Review

11-Player Division 1: Southfield Arts & Technology 36, Belleville 32 – Read

The concluding game of this season’s Finals kept everyone on the edge of their seats as A&T not only claimed its first championship but ended reigning champ Belleville’s winning streak at 38 games. This matched up arguably the top quarterbacks in the state, with senior Isaiah Marshall piling up 415 total yards while running for a touchdown and throwing for two more, and Belleville junior Bryce Underwood totaling 203 total yards with a passing score as he attempted to lead the Tigers to a Division 1 title for the third-straight season.

11-Player Division 2: Muskegon 33, Warren De La Salle Collegiate 21 – Read

Muskegon also ended a two-year title streak, as De La Salle was the reigning champion and making its fourth-straight Finals appearance. The Big Reds had finished Division 3 runner-up in 2022, but followed senior quarterback M’Khi Guy, who piled up 374 total yards, ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw for two more.

11-Player Division 3: Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 27, Mason 10 – Read

Both were playing for a first championship, and Forest Hills Central after finishing Division 2 runner-up last season. Several top contributors from the 2022 Rangers team were back, and they limited a Mason offense that had averaged 41 points per game entering the finale. In doing so, FHC sent retiring coach Tim Rogers out with the ultimate win.

11-Player Division 4: Harper Woods 33, Grand Rapids South Christian 27 – Read

Harper Woods was another first-time champion, carrying a 14-0 lead into the second quarter and extending it to as many as 20 before South Christian made a late run behind the record-setting passing of junior quarterback Carson Vis. Harper Woods lost junior lead back Colby Bailey on the second play, but junior Donald Adams stepped in and averaged 10 yards per carry with 174 total.

11-Player Division 5: Grand Rapids Catholic Central 21, Corunna 7 – Read

After missing out on a Ford Field trip last fall, Grand Rapids Catholic Central claimed its third Division 5 title over the last four seasons. Senior quarterback Connor Wolf ran for all three touchdowns and senior running back Kellen Russell-Dixon powered the attack with 133 yards on the ground. Corunna was making its first Finals appearance and gave the Cougars one of their closest games, as all but three wins had come by at least 32 points.

11-Player Division 6: Kingsley 38, Almont 24 – Read

Kingsley claimed its first Finals championship since 2005 led by another record-setting performance. Senior running back Eli Graves tied the Finals record scoring 30 points, the last of his four touchdowns with 2:19 to play and after Almont had pulled within six points of the lead. The Stags controlled the ball for more than 33 minutes – or nearly 70 percent of the game.

11-Player Division 7: Jackson Lumen Christi 34, Menominee 30 – Read

The Titans and longtime coach Herb Brogan tied the MHSAA record with their 13th Finals championship as they scored the game-winning points with 4:04 to play to complete this repeat title run. Junior running back Kadale Williams ran for 276 yards, the fifth-most in Finals history, and scored his first two touchdowns during the second quarter to bring Lumen back from an early 14-0 deficit.

11-Player Division 8: Ubly 21, Ottawa Lake Whiteford 6 – Read

The rematch of the 2022 Division 8 Final – won by Whiteford – this time went Ubly’s way as the Bearcats also ended the Bobcats’ 27-game winning streak in coach Eric Sweeney's final game. Ubly had finished Finals runner-up three times, but concluded its first championship season 14-0. The teams played a scoreless first quarter and Whiteford scored first in the second before the Bearcats stacked three scoring drives of at least 5 minutes, 30 seconds apiece.

8-Player Division 1: Martin 30, Indian River Inland Lakes 26 – Read

Martin scored all 30 of its points during the final 10:17 to repeat as Division 1 champion in unimaginable fashion. Junior quarterback Gavin Meyers’ 21-yard run with five seconds to play put the Clippers ahead for good, and he finished with 358 total yards and also threw a touchdown pass with 33 seconds left to pull Martin within four points of the lead. Inland Lakes was playing its first Final.

8-Player Division 2: Adrian Lenawee Christin 36, Marion 18 – Read

Lenawee Christian clinched its third Finals championship over the last four seasons and after falling short a year ago. Senior quarterback Sam Lutz piled up one more massive statistical performance, throwing for 350 yards and three touchdowns on near-perfect passing, while also running for two scores. Marion was making its first Finals appearance since 1990.

Inland Lakes’ Jacob Willey (4) and Avery Enos celebrate Willey’s second touchdown of the 8-Player Division 1 Final.

Records Report

As noted above, Jackson Lumen Christi tied the MHSAA football record by winning its 13th Finals championship. The Titans share that top spot with now-closed Farmington Hills Harrison, and Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Muskegon also moved up that list with their eighth and seventh titles, respectively. Lumen Christi also played in its 16th championship game – third-most and two short of Harrison’s record in that category, while Muskegon played in its 14th, GRCC in its 10th and Grand Rapids South Christian and Warren De La Salle Collegiate both in their ninth Final.

Kingsley senior Eli Graves became one of five to score a record 30 points in an 11-Player Final, doing so with four rushing touchdowns and three 2-point conversions. His four touchdowns tied for fifth-most TDs in a Final and tied for third-most rushing scores. Graves also made the single-game rushing yards list with 210 yards on 33 carries.

Jackson Lumen Christi junior Kadale Williams finished his season with more than 1,900 yards rushing after reaching the single-game Finals rushing list with 276 on 27 carries. Muskegon senior quarterback M’Khi Guy joined Williams and Graves with 215 rushing yards on 25 carries.

Although Harper Woods and Grand Rapids South Christian combined to score just 60 points, they combined for 1,030 total yards, second-most on the list for both teams combined, and South Christian’s 533 total yards alone tied for fourth-most by a single team. Sailors junior quarterback Carson Vis set 11-Player Finals records with 441 passing yards, 30 completions and 513 total yards, and his 44 pass attempts rank second. His senior receiver Jake Vermaas made lists with 10 receptions and 176 yards. Not surprisingly, Vis’ passing yards also make the most by one team in an 11-Player Final.

Southfield A&T senior Isaiah Marshall also made the total yardage list with 415, ranking fourth, and his 281 passing yards and 20 completions also earned entries. Guy made the total yardage list with 374 and also the longest pass list with a 94-yarder to senior Destin Piggee for a score. De La Salle junior Sante Gasperoni made the single-game passing yardage list with 249, and Harper Woods sophomore Nate Rocheleau also made the longest throw list with a 90-yard scoring toss to senior Ramonty Houze. Mason junior Cason Carswell made the attempts and completions lists connecting on 22 of 40 passes.

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central senior Alex Moeller made the single-game field goals list in 11-player with two, from 35 and 27 yards out. Lumen Christi junior Andrew Salazar made the single-game extra points list with five in five tries.

Senior Tashi Braceful was on the other end of some of Marshall’s record work making the 11-player receptions list with 10 catches, for 152 yards.

Conversely, two teams made the list for fewest passing attempts in an 11-player championship game – Almont, which completed one pass on two attempts, and Ubly, which attempted three passes and completed two.

South Christian earned one more entry from the Division 4 game, tying for third-most first downs with 28. Kingsley also made that list, ranking sixth with 27.

Kingsley and Ubly also made the list for fewest punts in an 11-Player Final, as neither punted last weekend.

Marion senior Gavin Prielipp set the 8-Player Finals record for the fastest touchdown scored on an opening kickoff, bringing it back in Division 2 76 yards for a score over the game’s first nine seconds.

Lenawee Christian sophomore Max Stamats made the records for longest field goal also in that game, drilling a 42-yarder.

Cougars senior quarterback Sam Lutz is all over the record book. His 396 total yards in the Division 2 Final rank fifth on that list, while his 350 passing yards are third and .870 percentage throwing the ball (20 for 23) is the first entry in that category. The 350 passing yards also represent the third-most on the team list for 8-Player Finals.

Senior teammate Easton Boggs also made his marks in Division 2, with his 210 receiving yards ranking third and his three touchdown receptions tying for second-most in an 8-Player title game.

Both Division 1 quarterbacks also made the 8-Player Finals list for total offense, Martin junior Gavin Meyers with 358 yards and Inland Lakes junior Aidan Fenstermaker with 323.

Martin as a team ranked second on the 8-player list for most points scored in a quarter, with its 30 during the fourth, and also made the first downs list with 27. Neither Martin nor Inland Lakes punted in that Division 1 game, placing those teams on the lists for fewest punts by one team and fewest between both teams in one game.

Southfield A&T’s DeMario Quarles enjoys a moment after his team’s 11-Player Division 1 victory.

Stories Behind the Scores

Legendary Lineup: From a competitiveness point of view, this was as strong a set of Football Finals as we’ve enjoyed in recent memory. Over the last five seasons alone, only 12 championship games – out of 50 – had been decided by seven points or fewer, and only 24 had margins of 14 or fewer points, including only three of 10 games in 2022. But the last two weekends saw four games decided by seven points or fewer, three more by 8-14 points, and the remaining three by 15, 17 and 18.

Some Old, Some New: Of 10 champions this season, four earned football titles for the first time – and only two were repeat winners from 2022. While nine teams played in Finals for at least the second season in a row, five played in a championship game in this sport for the first time. More than 45,000 fans attended the 11-Player Finals, up 2,000 from a year ago and thanks in part to notable crowds from first-time finalists Mason, Corunna and A&T.

Scheduling Notes: Due to Michigan State playing Penn State on Friday at Ford Field, the MHSAA 11-Player Finals were moved to Saturday and Sunday, and Sunday’s games also started at 9:30 a.m. instead of the traditional 10 kickoff time. The schedule adjustment also allowed for experimentation with the order of games, with the largest schools each day – Division 2 on Saturday and Division 1 on Sunday – moved to the final time slots those evenings.

Dazzling Finishes: The Division 1 games – both in 11-player and 8-player – provided last-minute game-winning touchdowns to cap storybook seasons. In 11-player, Isaiah Marshall’s 11-yard scoring run with 47 seconds to play pushed Southfield Arts & Technology past Belleville 36-32 after the Tigers previously had come back from an 18-point deficit. In 8-Player Division 1, Martin scored all of its 30 points during the fourth quarter – the last 16 over the final 33 seconds – and with quarterback Gavin Meyers scrambling 21 yards for the winning score with five seconds to play. The Martin win kicked off the championship weekends, while the Southfield A&T victory ended the season.'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.

PHOTOS (Top) Our collage includes photos from all 10 MHSAA Football Finals. (2) Muskegon’s Da'Carion Taylor holds up the ball after his touchdown catch during the 11-Player Division 2 game. (3) Inland Lakes’ Jacob Willey (4) and Avery Enos celebrate Willey’s second touchdown of the 8-Player Division 1 Final. (4) Southfield A&T’s DeMario Quarles enjoys a moment after his team’s 11-Player Division 1 victory. (11-Player Finals photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos. 8-Player Finals photos by Cara Kamps.)