Drive for Detroit: Week 2 Preview

August 29, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Opening week of this high school football season predictably fulfilled anticipation and expectation.

The encore should be pretty good, too.

Up this week is a rematch of last season’s Division 1 championship game, which also is among a number of league openers matching conference title favorites all over Michigan. Reigning Division 3 champ Muskegon won’t be starting league play for a few more weeks, but again might be hosting the most intriguing game statewide as another Detroit-area powerhouse comes to town.

Nearly all of this week’s games will be played Thursday night in advance of the Labor Day holiday. Check out the MHSAA Score Center for the full schedule and results as games are completed, and if you’re not watching in person check out one of eight games live on MHSAA.tv.

“Drive for Detroit” previews are powered by MI Student Aid. Games below are Thursday unless noted.

Bay & Thumb

Frankenmuth (1-0) at Saginaw Swan Valley (1-0)

Big-time rivals during the 1980s (when they shared a league), Swan Valley and Frankenmuth will meet again for the first time since 2010 and this time as statewide contenders. Swan Valley is the reigning Division 5 runner-up and Frankenmuth was a Division 5 semifinalist a year ago as both fell to champion Grand Rapids West Catholic during the playoff’s final rounds. Both are coming off big wins over bigger competition last week; the Vikings downed Cedar Springs by nine, and the Eagles defeated Bay City Central by 23.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (1-0) at Reese (1-0), Goodrich (1-0) at Ortonville Brandon (1-0), Flint Carman-Ainsworth (1-0) vs. Midland (0-1) at Northwood, St. Clair Shores South Lake (1-0) at Marine City (1-0).

Greater Detroit

West Bloomfield (1-0) at Clarkston (1-0), Friday

This is a rematch of last season’s Division 1 championship game, when these two combined for the second-lowest scoring Final in MHSAA football history – Clarkston winning 3-2. Not telling by the score, West Bloomfield’s offense was loaded with future Division I college players – but the retooled Lakers scored 39 in a win last week over Birmingham Groves, while Clarkston’s defense looked stingy again in downing Grandville 12-9. And don’t forget: These two also both play in the Oakland Activities Association Red, and West Bloomfield won that matchup last season 37-16.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Waterford Our Lady (1-0) at Sterling Heights Parkway Christian (1-0), Oak Park (1-0) at Birmingham Groves (0-1), Livonia Churchill (1-0) at Belleville (1-0), Warren Fitzgerald (1-0) at Auburn Hills Avondale (1-0).

Mid-Michigan

Haslett (1-0) at Lansing Sexton (0-1)

In finishing 8-3 a year ago, Haslett posted its best record since 2006. The Vikings picked up on the same foot last week, opening with a 28-7 win over Coldwater – and they’ll now try to make it two in a row over 2017 playoff teams. Sexton just missed giving new coach Johnel Davis his first win, falling to Gaylord by 23-19. But the Big Reds would love to pick up some steam heading into a new league, the Capital Area Activities Conference White, and it’s already possible to forecast this as a key game if Sexton is to qualify for the playoffs in two months.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Lincoln Alcona (0-1) at Breckenridge (1-0), Brooklyn Columbia Central (1-0) at Leslie (1-0), Walled Lake Northern (0-1) at DeWitt (1-0), Ann Arbor Huron (0-1) at Williamston (1-0).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Traverse City St. Francis (1-0) at Maple City Glen Lake (0-1)

St. Francis had a lot to enjoy about a 42-3 opening-night win over Marquette last week, while Glen Lake ran into a regular-season superpower in falling to New Lothrop. But a win over the Gladiators would certainly heal the grief of that 32-point defeat. These teams have met in both the regular season and playoffs two of the last three seasons, with St. Francis claiming last year’s regular-season meeting 35-9 – but then the District Final rematch only 13-0.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Tawas (1-0) at Rogers City (1-0), Lakeview (1-0) at Lake City (1-0), Gladstone (1-0) at Gaylord (1-0), Marquette (0-1) at Traverse City Central (1-0).

Southeast & Border

Napoleon (0-1) at Addison (1-0)

Last season’s Cascades Conference race saw Addison beat Napoleon by two, Napoleon beat Michigan Center by three and Michigan Center beat Addison by 12 – and all three share the league title. It wouldn’t be shocking if this matchup played a big part in the chase again. Addison opened last week with a big win over Dearborn Heights Star International and Napoleon fell to Brooklyn Columbia Central – both repeats of 2017 results and not necessarily telling of what to expect.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Jackson Lumen Christi (1-0) at Parma Western (1-0), Hudson (0-1) at Morenci (0-1), Lake Fenton (1-0) at Ida (1-0) FRIDAY Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1-0) at Saline (0-1).

Southwest Corridor

Saugatuck (1-0) at Watervliet (1-0)

Both saw their 2017 seasons end against eventual MHSAA champions, Watervliet in a Division 6 Regional Final to Jackson Lumen Christi and Saugatuck at Ford Field where it fell to Pewamo-Westphalia in the Division 7 Final. Watervliet scored at least 50 points in its first seven games last season, and opened this one with another 50-pointer last week against Lawton. Saugatuck actually was more of a defensive force a year ago – but started this one with a 55-pointer that’s been the expectation most other seasons this decade.  

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Dowagiac (1-0) at Three Rivers (1-0), Portage Northern (1-0) at Stevensville Lakeshore (0-1), St. Joseph (0-1) at Niles (1-0), Kalamazoo United (1-0) at Lawton (0-1).

Upper Peninsula

Iron Mountain (1-0) at Ishpeming Westwood (1-0), Friday

Iron Mountain’s one-win finish in 2017 was quite a rarity – the Mountaineers had made the playoffs 16 of the previous 18 years and not had a one-win season on the field since 1990. So it made sense that they equaled last fall’s win total last week with a 12-9 victory over Negaunee. Westwood, meanwhile, is coming off its winningest season ever at 9-2 – and started its campaign last week to show that wasn’t a one-hit wonder with a 42-0 shutout of Houghton.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Negaunee (0-1) at Calumet (1-0) FRIDAY Lake Linden-Hubbell (0-1) at Ishpeming (1-0), Petoskey (0-1) at Escanaba (0-1), Iron River West Iron County (1-0) at Bark River-Harris (0-1).

West Michigan

Detroit Martin Luther King (1-0) at Muskegon (1-0), Friday

When Muskegon opens with back-to-back home games against Warren DeLaSalle and now Martin Luther King, it’s hard to not tout them as the biggest games of many exciting matchups from the west side of the Lower Peninsula. Quarterback Cameron Martinez showed what he’s capable of in last week’s 36-21 win over the reigning Division 2 champion, and expectations will only continue to grow. But King – which fell to DeLaSalle by a point in their Division 2 Semifinal in November – could be an even tougher test coming off a 52-38 win over Illinois powerhouse East St. Louis.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Rockford (0-1) at Lowell (0-1), Lansing Catholic (1-0) at Grand Rapids West Catholic (0-1), Benton Harbor (1-0) at Grand Rapids South Christian (1-0), Holland West Ottawa (1-0) at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (1-0).

8-Player

Eben Junction Superior Central (1-0) at Cedarville (0-1)

Superior Central stunned the 8-player community with a 46-24 win over reigning Division 2 champion Crystal Falls Forest Park last week, and the Cougars can start 2-0 for the first time since 2012 by following up against another perennial power. But Cedarville surely is eager to get back on the field as well after putting up 40 in a six-point loss to Stephenson. Don’t be surprised if this turns into an offensive display.

Others that caught my eye: THURSDAY Central Lake (0-1) at Onekama (1-0), Engadine (1-0) at Pickford (1-0), Powers North Central (0-1) at Rapid River (1-0), Bellaire (1-0) at Suttons Bay (1-0).

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: A Flint Beecher linebacker readies for the snap during last week’s win over Flint Southwestern at Atwood Stadium. (Photo by John Johnson.)

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.)