Drive for Detroit: Week 1 in Review

August 28, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Does anyone remember a more eventful opening weekend than the one Michigan fans enjoyed these last few days?

The 2017 kickoff had comebacks, like Marshall’s from 28 down to win. It had record-book performances, like Austin Brown’s eight first-half touchdown passes for Madison Heights Madison and Jake Moody’s 57-yard field goal for Northville (see below).

There were winning streaks broken, a rematch of a 2016 MHSAA Final, and two reigning champions facing off as well. Scoring? Two games saw a combined 110 points, one of them finishing in triple overtime. How about a massive upset by a team that didn’t win a game last year? Yep, yes, and got it.

Check out Jake Moody’s school-record kick, and then read on for the most significant games from every region of the state and 8-player as we get our “Drive for Detroit” rolling again and with our first Week 2 preview only three days away.  

Bay & Thumb

Davison 56, Southfield Arts & Technology 54 (3 OT)

Davison eventually emerged from what tied for the 10th most high-scoring overtime game in MHSAA history. The Cardinals trailed by 14 heading into the fourth quarter but followed star running back Tariq Reid to the comeback win and most exciting finish of the Xenith Prep Football Classic at Wayne State University (which can be watched on replay on Click for more from MLive-Detroit.

Also noted:

Grand Blanc 51, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 46 – Grand Blanc also pulled off a memorable comeback, scoring twice over the final 1:07 for a Vehicle City Classic win at Atwood Stadium also available for replay on

Flint Southwestern 26, Flint Beecher 12 – Southwestern, with an opening win, equaled its total number of victories for both 2016 and 2015.

Marine City 42, Algonac 6 – After missing the playoffs last year for the first time since 1997, Marine City won big against an Algonac team that was a combined 21-5 over the last two seasons.

Richmond 19, Marysville 10 – The Blue Devils avenged last year’s only regular-season loss against a Marysville team that lost only in the District Finals last fall. 

Greater Detroit

Detroit Central 32, Detroit Loyola 8

Central is riding a nice run with three straight playoff appearances, and its seven wins last year were the most since going 9-3 in 2010. But still, this was big: Loyola has played in Division 7 championship games four of the last five seasons including 2016, and hasn’t been held to single-digit scoring in a game since a 2015 Semifinal loss. The Trail Blazers rebounded from a 1-4 start last year to win a Division 6 District title, and it looks like the momentum has carried over to this fall. Click for more from the Detroit News.

Also noted:

Detroit East English 38, River Rouge 29 – East English is another playoff regular, with four berths in five seasons, but the Bulldogs missed last fall and River Rouge was 33-6 over the last three years and has major expectations for this one. Watch it on

Macomb Dakota 31, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 24 – The Cougars made it two seven-point opening-night wins in a row over the Eaglets, who still went on to win Division 3 championships the last two seasons.

Trenton 20, Allen Park 14 – This could end up being the Downriver League decider already, as Allen Park was perfect in the league last season (and 11-1 overall); this also was Trenton’s first win over the Jaguars since 1998 (a string of 10 straight losses) and first since the two became league mates in 2009.

Dearborn Divine Child 42, Benton Harbor 12 – Divine Child picked right back up after last year’s Division 3 Semifinal run, handing Benton Harbor its first regular-season loss since Week 8 in 2015. 


Grand Ledge 41, Hudsonville 14

This was quite a turnaround for a senior-loaded Comets team that fell to Hudsonville 21-14 in the 2016 opener. The Eagles scored first and the teams were tied 7-7 at halftime before the Comets broke free. Grand Ledge quarterback Nolan Bird threw for 229 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Cal Johnston. Click for more from WLNS (at 4:17).

Also noted:

New Lothrop 28, Lake Fenton 22 (OT) – After watching a 61-game regular-season winning streak end in Week 9 last October, New Lothrop started a new one against a Blue Devils team coming off a league title as well.

Haslett 43, Fowlerville 20 – The Vikings scored all of 154 points last season and finished 4-5, but posted their most points in nearly two years against a Gladiators team coming off a playoff berth.

Okemos 46, Mason 0 – This definitely bears watching; Okemos had a combined three wins over the last two seasons and scored only 158 points total last season while Mason has made the playoffs eight of the last nine years.

Ithaca 38, Clare 14 – For more than a half, the Yellowjackets’ now 65-game regular-season winning streak was under threat by annual playoff qualifier Clare. 

Northern Lower Peninsula

Indian River Inland Lakes 27, St. Ignace 20

This was one of the biggest shockers statewide and especially for those following our smaller schools. Inland Lakes has had some recent success, with playoff berths in 2013 and 2014 – but went 0-9 last fall. St. Ignace, meanwhile, is coming off a second straight trip to the Division 8 Semifinals. The Saints started last season by shutting Inland Lakes out 44-0. Click for more from 9&10 News.

Also noted:

Frankfort 70, Manton 40 – These two tied for the highest-scoring 11-player game in the state in Week 1, Frankfort coming out on top after also winning the matchup 44-34 last year.

Traverse City St. Francis 21, Marquette 7 – St. Francis reportedly became the 12th program in state history with at least 500 victories with this one.

Boyne City 51, Negaunee 13 – The Ramblers went on a 25-0 second-half run to win big over one of the annual best from the Upper Peninsula (Negaunee was 10-1 last season).

Traverse City West 42, Midland 20 – The Titans made it three wins in five seasons and two in a row over one of the Saginaw Valley League’s strongest programs. 

Southeast & Border

Jackson Lumen Christi 27, Grand Rapids West Catholic 24

Life after graduating single-season rushing record holder Bo Bell actually started out even better than a year ago for the Titans, who fell to West Catholic 30-13 last season on the way to winning the Division 6 championship. West Catholic, which went on to win Division 5 last fall, drove to the Titans’ 3-yard line but couldn’t get a go-ahead score before time expired. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted:

Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 28, Pewamo-Westphalia 21 – St. Mary appears to be a contender again after a 4-5 season, starting this one by handing the reigning Division 7 champ its first loss since the 2015 title game.

Michigan Center 35, Climax-Scotts 6 – The Cardinals handed Climax-Scotts its first regular-season loss since Week 8 of 2014 after falling to the Panthers 48-14 a year ago.

Hanover-Horton 31, Concord 28 – Staying in the Cascades Conference, Hanover-Horton started its rebound from 2-7 a year ago by downing the reigning Big 8 Conference co-champion Yellow Jackets.

Pittsford 13, Morenci 12 – Pittsford’s last two seasons ended in the playoffs, but began with 44-6 and 34-7 losses to Morenci.

Southwest Corridor

Marshall 35, Jackson 34 (OT)

The most impressive comeback of many this weekend arguably took place at Marshall, where the Redhawks found themselves down 28-0 in the second quarter and came all the way back to begin a turnaround from last season’s 4-5 finish. Jackson, 5-4 last fall, must bounce back quickly with tough Zeeland East up next. Click for more from the Battle Creek Enquirer.

Also noted:

Coloma 61, Gobles 8 – Coloma is playing this season for its first winning record since 2009 and first playoff berth since 2008, and beating a Gobles team that was 8-3 last year is an incredible start.

Vicksburg 38, Dowagiac 27 – Vicksburg came back from 10 points down in the third quarter in a matchup of 2016 playoff teams to run its winning streak over Dowagiac to three straight.

Kalamazoo Hackett 34, Saugatuck 21 – The Fighting Irish, a combined 7-11 over the last two seasons, handed Saugatuck its first regular-season loss since 2014 and after falling by 44 in this matchup a year ago.

Homer 36, Constantine 34 – These teams’ first meeting since 1956 (according to was decided by a Homer touchdown pass with four seconds to play. 

Upper Peninsula

Ishpeming 34, Iron Mountain 7

Iron Mountain may have scored first in the latest of this annual series, but Ishpeming certainly left a strong impression beginning its bounce-back from last season’s uncharacteristic 3-5 run. Last year’s opener saw the Mountaineers end the Hematites’ 27-game regular-season winning streak, so Ishpeming no doubt was inspired even more than usual against its traditional Week 1 rival. Click for more from the Marquette Mining Journal.

Also noted:

Bark River-Harris 14, Iron River West Iron County 12 – The Broncos started making last year’s 3-6 finish a memory with one of its best defensive performances in three seasons and against a 2016 playoff team.

Gladstone 42, Gwinn 0 – Gwinn also was a playoff team last year and Gladstone also was 3-6, but the Braves flipped this one big-time after losing 36-16 in their 2016 meeting.

Hancock 21, Lake Linden-Hubbell 14 – In winning a season opener for the first time since 2010, Hancock also ended Lake Linden-Hubbell’s 18-game regular-season winning streak that began opening night 2016.

Menominee 26, Marinette (Wis.) 6 – The 111th meeting of this record interstate rivalry saw Menominee move its all-time advantage to 54-50-7.

West Michigan

Grand Rapids Catholic Central 20, Detroit Country Day 7

The rematch of last season’s Division 4 championship game was only a tad more high-scoring than last year’s defensive struggle, as GRCC put up 20 points this time to follow up that 10-7 victory when they last met at Ford Field. The Cougars scored the first 20 points of the game, in fact, leading off with a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter as quarterback Jack Bowen threw for one and ran in another. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted:

Montague 48, Reed City 14 – The Wildcats not only took a first step toward a third straight playoff season, but handed Reed City its first regular-season loss since Week 9 of 2014.

Grand Rapids Christian 38, DeWitt 30 – The Eagles held off a late DeWitt comeback attempt in a matchup of what could be two of the top Division 3 teams in the state again.

Rockford 14, Saline 0 – The Rams made up for missing last year’s opener with a team-wide sickness by handing usually high-scoring Saline its first shutout since 2006.

Hudsonville Unity Christian 52, Allendale 44 – These two returning playoff teams were even a few points better after combining for 72 a year ago; Unity Christian downed the Falcons for the fourth straight time. 


Battle Creek St. Philip 14, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 8 (OT)

After just missing the playoffs last season at 5-4, St. Philip took a major step toward guaranteeing a return by edging a Tri-unity team that went 11-1 and made the Semifinals in 2016. Both teams shined defensively in an uncharacteristically low-scoring 8-player game, even a matchup of elite teams. Click for more from WZZM13.

Also noted:

Brimley 26, Posen 18 – Brimley couldn’t field a team last season, but back on the field the Bays got their first win since 2014.

Rapid River 38, Crystal Falls Forest Park 36 – Forest Park’s only two losses in last year’s 8-player debut were to eventual champion Powers North Central, and Rapid River avenged a 64-22 defeat in this one.

North Adams-Jerome 48, Burr Oak 46 – The Rams equaled last season’s win total in their 8-player debut after making the switch this past offseason.

Bellevue 40, Webberville 6 – The Broncos also switched from 11-player after last season and two straight 3-5 finishes, and they got off to a great start downing a 2016 playoff team. 

PHOTO: Walled Lake Western defenders wrap up a West Bloomfield ball carrier during Western's 19-14 win Thursday at Wayne State University. (Photo by John Johnson). 

Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 26, 2023

Mendon’s run to the Division 2 Final last fall included some of the strongest rushing performances over the history of 8-player football.

The Hornets ran for 4,317 yards, second-most all-time, on the second-most attempts (520) and with a record-setting 682 yards Oct. 14 against Marcellus. Mendon also set the record for total offense with 692 total in that game, and made the single-season touchdowns list with 76 including 66 rushing (also second on that list).

Junior Jack McCaw made the single-season scoring list with 212 points, most coming on 29 touchdowns, and Evan Lukeman made the single-game rushing list with 401 yards against Marcellus. Mendon’s defense also earned praise, twice making the fewest-first-downs-allowed list with a low of three.

See below for more recent additions to the 8-player portion of the football record book:

8-Player Football

Athens’ Landon Bennett earned a pair of record book entries after reaching the end zone seven times during his team’s 72-0 win over Burr Oak on Sept. 8. His seven scores are tied for third-most in 8-player history and included three rushing, three on punt returns and one on an interception return. The three punt return touchdowns are a record. Bennett is a junior.

On the night Powers North Central broke its 8-player record for consecutive wins, claiming its 28th straight, senior Luke Gorzinski tied Jets great Jason Whitens for the record for interception touchdowns in a game with two, scoring on returns during the second and fourth quarters. Gorzinski has signed with Michigan Tech, and North Central’s winning streak is 37 games and counting.

A pair of Atlanta offensive playmakers and a top defensive lineman earned a total of seven entries in the record book for achievements last fall. Senior quarterback Tyler Currie threw for 30 touchdowns over eight games, and also made the records for six touchdowns and 419 passing yards against Whittemore-Prescott on Sept. 23; the passing yards are second-most for one 8-player game. Sophomore Landon Galea was added for 263 yards and five of those touchdowns against the Cardinals, and also for 1,418 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns over nine games. Junior teammate Tucker Kendrick made the tackles for loss list with five against Hillman on Oct. 6.

Adrian Lenawee Christian senior Brady McKelvey became the first to make the career extra points list in 8-player football this past fall. He bettered his previous single-season record making 64 of 66 extra-point attempts over 11 games and finishing his two-year varsity career with 123 extra points in 127 tries.

Sam McKissack reached the record book showcasing multiple skills for Crystal Falls Forest Park during the 2021 season – twice for rushing attempts in a game including with a record 59 against Ontonagon that Sept. 10, and then with a record 70-yard punt Oct. 30, 2021, against Lake Linden-Hubbell. Teammate Devon Basirico also made the record book with six fumble recoveries over 11 games that season. As a team, Forest Park was added twice for single-game rushing attempts – including 73 total in that Ontonagon game – and for 424 rushes over 11 games for the season. McKissack and Basirico are seniors this spring.

Nikolaus Lewis tied for eighth-most rushing touchdowns in an 8-player game when he reached the end zone six times for Carsonville-Port Sanilac in its win over Caseville on Oct. 7. He’s a senior this spring.

Bridgman has won 24 straight games over the last three seasons, and an exceptional offense – and exceptional offensive star – have played major roles. The Bees were added for 658 total yards in a win over Lawrence last season, that total ranking third all-time, and also 613 yards in a win over Eau Claire. Those included totals of 575 and 547 rushing yards, respectively, and Bridgman was added for 3,598 rushing yards (sixth on the list), 59 rushing touchdowns (fourth) and 76 total touchdowns (seventh). Senior Reid Haskins capped his four-year, 32-game varsity career with 13 record book entries, including for 254 points last season over nine games (tied for fifth all-time) and a record 620 career points, 41 touchdowns last season (fifth) and a record 95 for his career, 2,344 rushing yards last season (third) and a record 5,206 for his career, and 41 rushing touchdowns last season (third) and a record 94 for his career. Senior teammate Tanner Peters made the records three times including for 50 extra points last season (fourth) and 99 over 26 games and three seasons (second on the career list).

Mio's Austin Fox rewrote the 8-player passing record book this past fall, with his 621 yards in a game against Whittemore-Prescott setting a single-game record as he totaled four of the five-highest passing yardage totals. He also set a record with 3,516 over nine games for the season, another record with 289 passing attempts over those nine games and a third record for nine touchdown passes in that game against the Cardinals. His 41 touchdown passes total rank fourth. Teammates Gage Long and Nathan Hurst also earned several record book entries on the receiving end of those passes. Long’s 297 receiving yards against Whittemore-Prescott were tied for third most, and Hurst’s 266 against Alcona rank eighth. Long set a single-season record with 1,739 receiving yards, with Hurst sixth all-time at 1,321, and Long’s 14 receptions against the Cardinals and 70 for the season also rank second on those respective lists. Hurst set a record for longest 8-player kickoff return with a 99-yarder against St. Helen Charlton Heston. All three are seniors.

Peck was one of the first MHSAA 8-player champions, claiming the title in 2013, and Cody Abrego one of the state’s first 8-player stars. The Pirates were added to the MHSAA record book 52 times, and Abrego 14 times individually. Among the most notable entries for the 2015 graduate were for 462 points scored over his two-season career (ranking sixth all-time), 74 career touchdowns (sixth), 2,202 rushing yards in 2013 (fifth) and 35 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (sixth). Current senior Caleb Lentner was one of the stars statewide this past season, and he was added eight times including for 50 points scored in a game (ranking second), 272 points for a season last fall (fifth), eight touchdowns in a game (tied for second), 42 touchdowns in a season (fifth), an 8-player record of 2,694 rushing yards from last season, and 38 rushing touchdowns also last fall (fourth). Others to make the individual lists were Nathan Robar, Caleb Dudley, Steven VanConant, Kyle Abrego and Nathan Neihaus, Dudley for a record 20 career interceptions over two seasons and VanConant for a record 12 tackles for loss in a 2022 game and 36 tackles for loss for the season last fall. The Pirates also are all over the 8-player team record book, including for a record 97 touchdowns in 2013, a record 5,895 yards of total offense that season, 528 carries, 4,346 rushing yards and 73 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (all ranking second); and 24 interceptions in 2014, which ranks second on that list.

Senior quarterback JR Hildebrand was one of the most dynamic players in 8-player football in the fall in leading Martin to the Division 1 title. He had one of his most exciting nights in a playoff opener against Tekonsha, making the single-game touchdown pass list with six in a 68-6 victory.

PHOTO Mendon’s Jack McCaw (21) eludes a tackle during the 8-Player Division 2 Final in November at Northern Michigan University. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)