Drive for Detroit: Week 1 Preview

August 22, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The lights are ready to shine again at high school football stadiums all over Michigan.

We kick off the 2018 season this weekend with anticipation – not to mention multiple matchups of reigning MHSAA Finals champions and a third game between teams that closed last fall at Ford Field.

Below is the first of 14 “Drive for Detroit” weekly previews aimed at providing a glance at the most intriguing games in every corner of the state through November’s 11-Player Finals at Ford Field. No matter where you’re located in Michigan, we’ll provide at least a handful of local games sure to be worth a trip.  

Varsity games this week and next will be played Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Check out the MHSAA Score Center for the full schedule and results as games are completed.

Be sure to check out as well the list of 15 games this weekend being broadcast on, including all three from the Vehicle City Gridiron Classic at Flint’s Atwood Stadium, four games from the Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State University, two games from the Battle at the Big House at University of Michigan and two games from the GRidiron Classic at Grand Valley State University.

“Drive for Detroit” previews are powered by MI Student Aid. Please click the adjacent linked logo and read below for more information on how MI Student Aid is providing Michigan’s high school students with money to help pay for college.

Bay & Thumb

Linden (9-3) at Flushing (9-3), Thursday

All but one team in the nine-team Flint Metro League opens with a league game, and Linden’s 27-22 win over Flushing on opening night 2017 meant the eventual difference between second and third place behind champion Fenton. With all three anticipating being in the hunt again, tonight’s rematch could have similar significance. The Eagles have won the last three games in this series.

Other that caught my eye: THURSDAY Grand Blanc (7-3) at Midland Dow (7-3), Hudson (9-2) at Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (10-2) FRIDAY Muskegon Catholic Central (8-2) at Algonac (10-2), Ubly (7-3) at Unionville-Sebewaing (5-5).

Greater Detroit

River Rouge (10-3) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (9-3), Saturday at Wayne State University

This 3 p.m. Saturday kickoff is the premier game of this season’s Prep Kickoff Classic, with both coming off MHSAA Semifinal runs – Cass Tech in Division 1 and River Rouge in Division 4. Both are expected to again contend for spots playing during the final weekend of this season at Ford Field – with a number of their players going on to play Saturdays at the college level as well.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Oak Park (9-3) vs. Utica Eisenhower (11-1) at Wayne State, West Bloomfield (11-3) at Birmingham Groves (7-3) FRIDAY Detroit Mumford (7-4) at Detroit Country Day (4-5), Macomb Dakota (7-4) at Orchard Lake St. Mary's (2-6).


Pewamo-Westphalia (13-1) vs. Ithaca (13-1), Friday at Alma College

Both played at Ford Field to close the 2017 season, Pewamo-Westphalia as the Division 7 champion and Ithaca as Division 6 runner-up. Many of the standouts who led the Pirates to back-to-back MHSAA titles are gone as the next group looks to build on a 40-2 run over the last three seasons. The Yellowjackets also are debuting some important new faces – and guarding a 73-game regular-season winning streak. 

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Portland (10-2) at Ovid-Elsie (7-3), Beaverton (8-2) at Breckenridge (10-2), Belleville (10-1) at Brighton (4-5), Grand Rapids Christian (7-3) at DeWitt (10-2).

Northern Lower Peninsula

New Lothrop (10-1) at Maple City Glen Lake (7-3), Thursday

A pair of league champions match up with some historical significance on the line. New Lothrop has only one league loss over the last eight seasons. The Lakers haven’t lost a season opener since 2003. The Hornets’ new league schedule also is bookended with another tough test this fall – Traverse City St. Francis in Week 9.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Midland (8-2) at Traverse City West (9-2), Oscoda (6-4) at Houghton Lake (7-4) FRIDAY Newberry (6-3) at Frankfort (8-3), Johannesburg-Lewiston (6-4) at Manton (4-5).

Southeast & Border

Grand Rapids West Catholic (12-2) at Jackson Lumen Christi (12-1), Friday

As West Catholic has won the last five Division 5 championships, and Lumen Christi has won the last two in Division 6, this will be the second straight season they’ll open meeting as reigning title winners. Last season’s chapter went Lumen Christi’s way, 27-24, and the Titans have won two of three in their recent series.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (10-2) at Saline (7-2), FRIDAY Clarkston (12-2) vs. Grandville (6-4) at University of Michigan, Homer (6-4) at Michigan Center (9-2), Morenci (6-4) at Pittsford (9-2).

Southwest Corridor

Battle Creek Harper Creek (12-1) at Benton Harbor (5-5), Friday

Harper Creek’s only defeat of 2017 came in a Division 3 Semifinal against Muskegon, the division’s eventual champion. The Beavers start over again with an intriguing matchup. Benton Harbor has a new coach and is hoping to keep the same momentum that led to the Tigers’ first three playoff appearances ever over the last three seasons.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Three Rivers (8-3) at Plainwell (8-3), Berrien Springs (6-4) at Kalamazoo United (8-3), Williamston (7-5) at Battle Creek Pennfield (4-5) FRIDAY Freeland (6-4) at Marshall (4-5).

Upper Peninsula

Norway (9-2) at Lake Linden-Hubbell (4-5), Saturday

The expanded Western Peninsula Athletic Conference gets going right away, with these former Mid-Eastern Conference rivals the most notable opener. Lake Linden-Hubbell suffered its first regular-season loss in three years last season but still made the playoffs at 4-4. Norway is coming off its second straight nine-win season and shared the final M-EC title.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Traverse City St. Francis (11-2) at Marquette (4-5), Hancock (7-3) at L'Anse (4-5), Munising (4-5) at Iron River West Iron County (11-2) SATURDAY Menominee (8-4) at Marinette, Wis. (3-6).

West Michigan

Warren DeLaSalle (12-2) at Muskegon (14-0), Friday

From an area always loaded with top opening-weekend matchups, it’s hard to argue with the reigning Division 3 champion hosting the reigning Division 2 winner. Both are replacing graduated star quarterbacks, but also return talented casts – the Pilots should be strong defensively, while Muskegon remains huge up front and likely to pile up rush yards again this fall.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Stevensville Lakeshore (9-2) at Holland West Ottawa (10-2) FRIDAY Newaygo (7-3) at Kent City (10-1), Montague (11-1) at Reed City (11-2) SATURDAY Zeeland East (9-1) vs. East Grand Rapids (9-1) at Grand Valley State


Stephenson (9-3) at Cedarville (8-3), Friday

Did you know: Cedarville has 13 straight winning seasons and 14 straight playoff appearances (finishing 5-5 in 2004). The Trojans will begin their march to extend those streaks against a Stephenson team coming off its winningest season since 2003 and having ended Cedarville’s 2017 in a Division 1 Regional Final.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Deckerville (11-2) at Flint International Academy (8-3), *Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (6-4) at Hillman (6-5), Pickford (11-1) at Mesick (5-5), Marion (7-3) at Onekama (9-2) (*both played 11-player last season).

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: Grand Ledge’s sideline takes in a Friday night view during last season's game against rival DeWitt. (Click to see more from

MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 25, 2023

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.

The one-day camps will take place between May 16-19 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.

Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.

“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”

Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.

All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.

“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”

The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.