Drive for Detroit: Week 1 in Review

September 2, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Opening night of MHSAA football season never disappoints.

This weekend’s first games of 2014 again produced plenty of discussion fodder. But they also included a couple interesting rarities worth pointing out.

  • We figured Stevensville-Lakeshore’s 2-0 win over Battle Creek Central on Thursday had to be a forfeit when the score came in. Actually, Lakeshore’s defense scored a safety with less than a minute to play.

  • Although we don’t tout a team’s losing streak, we certainly can celebrate the end of one – so congrats to Pinconning, which won for the first time since Week 7 of 2010, 27-8 over Caro; Clio, which won for the first time since Week 8 in 2009 by beating Mount Morris 24-14; and to Bay City All Saints for its first win since Week 7 of 2011, 45-14 over Bellevue. 

Those two certainly raised a few eyebrows among the 300-plus scores reported from Thursday-Saturday. Read below for more of the most significant results from every corner of Michigan. 

Greater Detroit

Detroit Cass Tech 27, Oak Park 26

Those following live or over the Twittersphere had to think Cass Tech was in trouble early as it trailed by two scores. But the Technicians came back to take the final lead with 2:16 to play at Wayne State University. The game featured two of the state’s top running backs – Cass Tech’s Mike Weber and Oak Park’s John Kelly – and an impressive debut by Technicians sophomore quarterback Rodney Hall. Click to read more from MLive-Detroit.

Also noted:

Orchard Lake St. Mary's 21, Southfield 19 – The Eaglets are coming off a rare playoff miss but began bouncing back by beating a Bluejays team coming off its third straight postseason appearance.

Clarkston 24, Macomb Dakota 21 – The reigning MHSAA Division 1 champion looked strong in beginning its title defense, edging a Dakota team that had won 17 straight regular-season games.

Birmingham Groves 42, Birmingham Seaholm 19 – Groves won this battle of rivals for the first time since 2011 and after falling to Seaholm by seven and six points, respectively, the last two seasons.

Dearborn Fordson 41, Temperance Bedford 21 – Fordson is seeking a ninth-straight playoff berth and got rolling by beating a Bedford team that suffered its only 2013 loss in the Regional Final.

West Michigan

Muskegon 21, Detroit Catholic Central 14

This ended up everything it was billed as Muskegon scored during the final minutes to survive in arguably the most anticipated opener of this season. The Big Reds are back-to-back MHSAA Division 2 runners-up and Detroit Catholic Central has finished second in Division 1 the last three seasons. Both have a number of new key contributors, but both also are again considered contenders to reach Ford Field this November. Click to read more from the Muskegon Chronicle.

Also noted:

Grand Rapids Christian 28, Grand Rapids South Christian 14 – The Eagles have won this clash of Grand Rapids titans five seasons running, even more impressive since South Christian has played at Ford Field to finish the last two.

East Grand Rapids 17, Grand Rapids Catholic Central 14 – The Pioneers also face Lowell, Muskegon, Forest Hills Central, Caledonia and Grand Rapids Christian among others, making every win count that much more as they look to return to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus.

Muskegon Orchard View 22, Montague 16 – Although Montague dropped down just a bit in finishing 6-4 last season, this was one of the biggest stunners statewide last weekend with Orchard View seeking its first winning season since 2009.

Muskegon Mona Shores 31, Saline 28 – Coming off its first playoff appearance, the Sailors appear headed for a return after edging another 2013 playoff qualifier.

Bay and Thumb

New Lothrop 28, Traverse City St. Francis 20 (3 OT)

New Lothrop hasn’t lost a regular-season game since Week 9 of 2009 – a stretch of now 37 – although St. Francis did its best to break the streak. Neither team scored during the first overtime, and both scored during the second overtime but missed extra points. Click to read more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Also noted:

Montrose 52, Reese 7 – These teams combined for 20 wins last season, and Montrose is off to a great start on a fourth straight of at least 10 victories.

Saginaw Swan Valley 42, Saginaw Nouvel 0 – Alex Grace added another 195 yards to his more than 5,000 gained for the Vikings over the last two seasons.

Midland Dow 46, Mount Pleasant 16 – The Chargers broke a seven-game losing streak to Mount Pleasant and should be among favorites in the Saginaw Valley Association Blue.

Flint Carman-Ainsworth 26, Grand Blanc 14 – The Cavaliers followed up their best finish ever (11-2) by opening with a third straight win over this nonleague rival. 

Mid-Michigan

Ithaca 38, Clare 13

Ithaca stands alone with the most consecutive high school football wins in the United States. The Yellowjackets ran their streak to 57 straight, while Iowa City Regina (Iowa) – which also had won 56 in a row – fell by a point, 29-28, to Solon (Iowa) on Friday. Clare entered this season with eight straight playoff appearances and should be a favorite to remain atop the Jack Pine Conference. Ithaca has won four straight MHSAA Division 6 championships and debuted a new starter at quarterback – junior Jacob Smith, younger brother of graduated all-stater Travis – and he threw for 245 yards and four touchdowns. Click to read more from the Lansing State Journal.

Also noted:

Grand Ledge 28, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 24 – This says a lot about the Comets’ hoped-for turnaround this fall after they finished 4-5 a year ago; Forest Hills Central also went 4-5 in 2013, but against a similarly rigorous schedule.

DeWitt 39, Linden 0 – The Panthers return much of the team that made last season’s Division 3 Final, but this score was a little higher than most probably expected against a Linden team DeWitt beat in the playoffs the last two seasons by a combined 14 points.

Okemos 28, Mason 14 – Could this first win over the rival Bulldogs since 2011 be a sign of things to come for a Chieftains team returning 17 starters after finishing 3-6 in 2013?

Lansing Sexton 35, Detroit East English 26 – The Big Reds have MHSAA title aspirations, and beating a strong East English team at Wayne State University was a powerful step.  

Upper Peninsula

L'Anse 16, Houghton 14

L’Anse opened newly-dedicated Volunteer Field with a pair of late defensive stands to beat Houghton for the sixth straight opening night. The Purple Hornets are coming off consecutive 8-3 seasons, but fielded a number of new contributors who held strong against a Houghton team that made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2001. Click for read more from the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette.

Also noted:

Escanaba 24, Alpena 18 – Coming off its worst finish (3-6) in six seasons, Escanaba started this fall by avenging a 15-7 loss to Alpena in last season’s opener.

Cedarville 52, Posen 0 – This was little like last season’s 42-40 nail-biter opener also won by Cedarville before both went on to make the 8-player playoffs.

Iron River West Iron County 28, Munising 6 – Make that 12 straight seasons West Iron has started 1-0, and 12 straight regular-season wins dating to Week 8 of 2012.

Ishpeming Westwood 40, Stephenson 16 – Rebounding Westwood is halfway to equaling last season’s win total with this win over a program that’s made the playoffs four of the last five years. 

Southwest and Border

Edwardsburg 42, Three Rivers 40 (2 OT)

Edwardsburg’s 2013 ended with a disappointing four-point loss in its first playoff game – which also ended up being the Eddies’ only loss of last season. They were faced with a similar situation Thursday – but made a series of big plays to come out on top. The Eddies blocked a field goal to help send this game into overtime and scored the winning points on their lone complete pass of the evening. Edwardsburg has beaten Three Rivers in three straight; this season the two are in separate divisions of the Wolverine B Conference for the first time. Click to read more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Also noted:

Gobles 33, Watervliet 32 – Watervliet didn’t lose last season until the playoffs, but Gobles bounced back big after missing the playoffs in 2013 and falling to the Panthers 43-14 in last fall’s opener.

Fennville 18, Lawton 0 – Fennville is seeking its first winning season since 2010, and shutting out a Lawton team coming off its fifth straight playoff appearance is a great start.

Plainwell 28, Dowagiac 13 – Plainwell has won two straight over Dowagiac after seven straight losses to the Chieftains.

Portage Northern 28, Battle Creek Lakeview 24 – Northern’s last football game before Thursday was a 31-7 playoff loss to Lakeview last fall.

Lower Up North

Traverse City Central 34, Marquette 13

Central opened last season with a 31-23 loss to Marquette – the first of four defeats by eight or fewer points as the Trojans finished 5-4 and missed the playoffs by a win. This time, Central’s offense rolled to more than 400 yards with two backs each running for more than 100. Click to read more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Also noted:

Hillman 39, Rudyard 33 – The Tigers opened with a close one, scoring the game-winner with 27 seconds to play as they pursue their ninth straight playoff berth.

Traverse City West 31, Midland 14 – The Titans opened with a nice turnaround after falling to Midland 16-0 in last season’s opener; Midland went on to win 10 games.

Petoskey 53, Sault Ste. Marie 14 – The Northmen lost two games last season by a combined four points and missed the playoffs for the second straight, but hope this fourth straight win over Sault Ste. Marie is a jump start back toward the postseason.

Charlevoix 13, Elk Rapids 12 – For the second straight year, the Rayders were coming off a 1-8 finish but opened with an upset of a team coming off a playoff berth.

PHOTO: Detroit Cass Tech's Mike Weber (25) breaks toward an opening against Oak Park at Wayne State University. (Photo courtesy of Detroit Public School League.)

Lawrence's Schuman Sets Example for Well-Rounded Success

By Pam Shebest
Special for MHSAA.com

December 14, 2022

LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.

Southwest Corridor“We don’t want to lose this kid ever,” said Derek Gribler, the Tigers’ first-year varsity football and baseball coach.

“If we could put a red shirt on this kid every year, we would.”

Athletic director John Guillean, who also coaches varsity basketball, agreed.

“He is what we strive to have all our student-athletes achieve: high GPAs, multi-sport athletes, good, overall well-rounded human beings,” Guillean said.

Schuman has participated in five of the seven boys sports Lawrence sponsors.

As a freshman and sophomore, Schuman played football, wrestled, ran track and played baseball.

He had wrestled since he was 4, and went from the 119-pound weight class as a freshman to 145 the following year. That sophomore season he qualified for his Individual Regional. But as a junior, he traded wrestling for basketball.

“My older brother wrestled at Lawrence, so I would come to practices,” he said. “I quit for a couple years (in middle school) because I liked basketball, too. It was hard to do both. Obviously, in high school, I still struggled with choosing,” he added, laughing.

John GuilleanGuillean is thrilled Schuman made the switch.

“He’s 6-(foot-)4, he’s super athletic, defensively he’s a hawk, offensively he can put the ball in the bucket. But really, aside from his skills, just that positive attitude and that positive outlook, not just in a game, but in life in general, is invaluable,” the coach said.

Last season, Schuman earned honorable mention all-league honors in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference, averaging 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Lawrence left the BCS for the Southwest 10 Conference this year, joining Bangor, Bloomingdale, Hartford, Decatur, Comstock, Marcellus, Mendon, Centreville, White Pigeon and Cassopolis. Schuman and senior Tim Coombs will co-captain the Tigers, with Guillean rotating in a third captain.

At a school of fewer than 200 students, Schuman will help lead a varsity team with just nine – joined by seniors Andy Bowen and Gabe Gonzalez, juniors Christian Smith, Noel Saldana, Ben McCaw and Zander Payment, and sophomore Jose Hernandez, who will see time with the junior varsity as well using the fifth-quarter rule.

“I attribute a lot of (last year’s successful transition) to my coach, helping me get ready because it wasn’t so pretty,” the senior said. “But we got into it, got going, and my teammates helped me out a lot.”

Great anticipation

Gribler is one coach already looking ahead to spring sports after seeing what Schuman did during football season.

In spite of missing 2½ games with an injury, the wide receiver caught 50 receptions for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“I just like the ability to run free, get to hit people, let out some anger,” Schuman laughed.

Derek GriblerGribler said the senior is “an insane athlete.

“On top of his athletic ability, how smart he is in the classroom (3.88 GPA), he helped mold the culture we wanted this year for football. He got our underclassmen the way we wanted them. He was a big asset in many ways.”

Schuman earned all-conference honors for his on-field performance in football as well.

“I would say that my main sport is football,” the senior said. “That’s the one I like the most, spend the most time on.”

In the spring, Schuman competed in both track and baseball, earning all-conference honors in both.

“Doing both is tough,” he said. “I have to say my coaches make it a lot easier for me. They help me a lot and give me the ability to do both, so I really appreciate that.

“Throughout the week you’re traveling every day, it seems like. Baseball twice a week and track, but it’s worth it.”

Schuman’s commitment is so strong that he made a special effort not to let his teammates down last spring.

“He qualified for state in the long jump and did his jumps up in Grand Rapids, then he drove all the way to Kalamazoo to play in the District baseball game,” Guillean said. “That speaks volumes about who this kid is. He did his jumps at 9 a.m. (but did not advance) and made it back to Kalamazoo for a 12:15 game.”

Big shoes to fill

As the youngest of four children of Mark and Gretchen Schuman, the senior was following a family tradition in sports.

Oldest brother Matthew played football, basketball and baseball as well as competed in pole vault and wrestling.

Middle bother Christopher competed in football, wrestling and baseball.

Sister Stephanie played basketball, volleyball and softball.

“I like to say they blazed a pretty good trail for me at this high school,” Schuman said.

As for feeling pressure to live up to his siblings, “I used to when I was younger, but now I feel like I’ve made my own way and done enough things to be proud of that I’m happy with it.”

His own way led him to achieve something none of the others did.

He was named the Tigers’ Male Athlete of the Year, just the third junior to earn the boys honor over the last 25 years.

“I was very honored to win that as a junior,” Schuman said. “There were good athletes in the grade above me. I guess hard work pays off.”

Guillean said while Schuman is “darn good at every sport here,” an athlete does not have to be a “top dog” in every sport.

“Learn how to take a back seat,” he said. “Learn how to be a role player. That will make you a better teammate and a well-rounded human being.

“Johnny has that work ethic, in the classroom, on the field, on the court, on the track. It doesn’t go unnoticed and, obviously, he’s reaping the benefits now.”

Pam ShebestPam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at pamkzoo@aol.com with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Lawrence’s John Schuman has participated in five varsity sports during his first 3½ years of high school. (Middle) Lawrence athletic director John Guillean. (Below) Lawrence football and baseball coach Derek Gribler. (Action photos courtesy of John Schuman; head shots by Pam Shebest.)