Drive for Detroit: Week 2 Preview

September 5, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

After rain soaked many of this fall’s football openers, just about anything would be considered returning to business as usual this weekend.

But while we’re all hoping the storms stay away, will the heavy helping of unforeseen results we saw on the field follow us into Week 2?

Below again is a glance at games from every part of the state that appear especially intriguing. This week’s MHSAA.tv schedule includes live streams of 25 games – click for the full listing.

"Drive for Detroit" is sponsored by MI Student Aid.

Bay & Thumb

Ithaca (1-0) at Millington (0-1)

These two have met in the Division 6 playoffs two of the last five seasons, with Millington winning 50-33 in the opener last year to end the Yellowjackets’ shortest postseason since not making the playoffs at all in 2008. Now the teams are in the same league – the Tri-Valley Conference West I – and Millington will try to hand Ithaca just its second regular-season defeat this decade.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Freeland (1-0) at Essexville Garber (1-0), Midland (1-0) at Flint Carman-Ainsworth (0-1), Standish-Sterling (1-0) at Frankenmuth (1-0), Lapeer (0-1) at Midland Dow (0-1).

Greater Detroit

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

This is a rematch of last season’s Division 3 championship game, won by King 41-25. And while rosters certainly have changed, an impressive group of the headliners are back for this second meeting including Big Reds’ quarterback Cameron Martinez and King running back Peny Boone. Few teams statewide this fall have loaded up the early schedule like these two – Muskegon downed two-time reigning Division 2 champion Warren De La Salle Collegiate 41-7 last week, while King fell 24-22 against Division 1 power Detroit Catholic Central.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Toledo Whitmer, Ohio (1-0) at Detroit Catholic Central (1-0), Birmingham Groves (1-0) at West Bloomfield (1-0), Southfield Arts & Technology (1-0) at Lake Orion (1-0), Detroit Mumford (1-0) at Detroit Country Day (1-0).

Mid-Michigan

DeWitt (1-0) at Portland (1-0)

These remain two of the Lansing area’s elite, and they’ll play for the first time since 2014. The Panthers opened with a solid 31-26 road win at Traverse City Central and are prepping for their second season in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue – while hoping to extend a 13-year league title streak. Portland won big over Ovid-Elsie last week and has claimed five straight CAAC White titles. But this matchup should will pay off toward bigger goals as well. Both have realistic aims to play in November as the Raiders finished Division 5 runners-up last season and DeWitt made the Division 3 Semifinals.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Grandville (1-0) at East Lansing (1-0), Lansing Everett (0-1) at Lansing Eastern (1-0), Montrose (1-0) at Ovid-Elsie (0-1), Grand Rapids West Catholic (0-1) at Lansing Catholic (1-0).

Northern Lower Peninsula

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

St. Francis has won the last eight meetings between these two, including a pair in the playoffs since Glen Lake's most recent victory in the series in 2012. But the Lakers are coming off a 19-point win over Millington (mentioned above), with their 26-point first half a positive sign after last season's decreased offensive output. St. Francis will be ready, of course, after extending its winning streak over opening-night opponent Marquette to five with a 14-point win.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Harbor Springs (1-0) at Frankfort (0-1), McBain (0-1) at Roscommon (0-1), Boyne City (0-1) at Charlevoix (1-0), Escanaba (1-0) at Petoskey (0-1).

Southeast & Border

Parma Western (1-0) at Jackson Lumen Christi (1-0)

The reigning Division 6 champion Titans extended their state-leading winning streak to 24 with a two-point win over Kalamazoo United last week. The Panthers also opened with a two-point win, over Whitehall, after setting a program record for victories finishing 10-2 last season despite losing 34-7 to Lumen in Week 2. Western's lone win in this rivalry came in 1976, according to michigan-football.com. But the Panthers should relish this opportunity to take another big step.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Carleton Airport (1-0) at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (1-0), Sand Creek (1-0) at Adrian Lenawee Christian (1-0), Erie Mason (1-0) at Britton Deerfield (1-0), Leslie (1-0) at Brooklyn Columbia Central (1-0).

Southwest Corridor

Stevensville Lakeshore (1-0) at Portage Northern (1-0)

This might be one of the most competitive yet little-hyped annual matchups in the state. Before Northern's 17-0 win a year ago, the previous seven meetings all were decided by eight points or fewer. Both put up 40+ points last week, but if recent history holds neither team will approach that level of offensive output. History also tells us the winner likely will contend for the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West title.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Mendon (1-0) at Cassopolis (1-0), Marshall (0-1) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (1-0), Berrien Springs (1-0) at Constantine (1-0), Mattawan (1-0) at Battle Creek Lakeview (1-0).

Upper Peninsula

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

This also will have an early but heavy influence on a league title race, as Westwood finished second and Iron Mountain third in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper in 2018 after Westwood won their meeting 34-7. The winner this time very well could push reigning champion Calumet for first place again, and the Patriots get the Copper Kings next week.

Keep an eye on these as well: FRIDAY Calumet (1-0) at Negaunee (0-1), Gaylord (1-0) at Gladstone (1-0), Traverse City Central (0-1) at Marquette (0-1) SATURDAY Ishpeming (1-0) at Lake Linden-Hubbell (1-0).

West Michigan

Lowell (1-0) at Rockford (1-0)

Last season's 36-0 Rockford win contributed to Lowell's uncharacteristic 1-8 finish, but it's likely this game will return to relevancy tonight. The Red Arrows opened with a 19-6 win over Detroit Loyola and the Rams started with a 24-14 victory over Grand Rapids Christian, those successes quickly reinforcing expectations for this season for both traditional powerhouses.

Keep an eye on these as well: FRIDAY Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (1-0) at Holland West Ottawa (0-1), Watervliet (0-1) at Saugatuck (1-0), Grand Rapids Christian (0-1) at Zeeland West (1-0), Holt (1-0) at Hudsonville (1-0).

8-Player

St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (1-0) at Bridgman (1-0)

As a number of notable programs have moved from 11-player to 8 over the last few seasons, curiosity has grown about how those teams might shift the balance of power. Both of these teams made the move this fall (Lake Michigan Catholic had played a handful of 8-player games previously), and both put up at least 56 points in big wins last week. Both also have been frequent 11-player playoff qualifiers this decade.

Keep an eye on these as well: FRIDAY Hale (1-0) at Hillman (1-0), Pickford (1-0) at Engadine (1-0), Powers North Central (1-0) at Rapid River (0-1), Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (0-1) at Martin (1-0).

Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews 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 www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter@mistudentaid.

PHOTO: Clare, here on defense, opened with an impressive 35-0 shutout of Alma last week. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

Record-Setting Viney Gained Lifelong Confidence at Marine City

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

July 17, 2024

Olivia Viney didn’t have to look far for inspiration while taking on the challenge of applying to veterinary school.

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosThe 2015 Marine City graduate and record-setting placekicker simply drew from her own experience as a high school athlete.

“It just really taught me that I could do hard things,” Viney said. “I was very involved when I was in school. I did soccer, theater, travel soccer and then football. Especially with football, I learned that if I put my mind to it, I can do it. That helped me to excel in undergrad. When it came time to get accepted to vet school, it was like, ‘This is what I have to do,’ and I did it. That was very confidence-building. It taught me that I really can do hard things.”

Viney, who graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2019 and Michigan State Veterinary School in 2023, is now working as an associate veterinarian at Deporre Veterinary Hospital in West Bloomfield. 

Accomplishing her goals is nothing new to Viney, and not at all a surprise to those who watched her come through the Mariners athletic program.

“She was very serious, she was focused and she was dialed in,” said Dave Frendt, who coached Viney in both football and soccer at Marine City. “She knew what she wanted to accomplish, and she set out to do that. She was a fierce competitor and very driven. She was a good leader in that way where she was kind of feisty, but the team would follow that.”

Viney was an all-state soccer player for the Mariners, leading them to a pair of District titles and a Macomb Area Conference Gold title during her four years as a varsity player. It’s the sport she grew up playing, but the one she was most known for after graduation was football. American football.

The 5-foot-1-ish center attacking midfielder found herself in the MHSAA football record book after hitting all seven of her extra point attempts in the Mariners’ 2013 Division 4 Final victory against Grand Rapids South Christian.

“I think it makes sense,” she said. “There were lots of great soccer players, even that I played with. Great players that had gone through school, so I don’t think it’s weird that people remember me for that. When I talk with people, they’ll connect the dots – ‘Oh, you played football.’

“I was more accomplished as a soccer player and had more accolades. But I’m prouder of my football accomplishments, because it was really setting a pathway for girls that wanted to get into that. It’s so much more common now, or accepted. Even though it’s been almost 11 years since we won at Ford Field, I’m so proud of high school Olivia and what she did, the courage she had. She wasn’t scared of anything.”

Viney graduated from MSU’s Veterinary School in 2023. Viney joined Marine City’s football program as a sophomore, playing on the junior varsity squad. While she was there only to kick, she was all in when it came to practicing.

“Coach (Joe) Fregetto made me do tackling drills and drills in the mud – I really did earn my spot on the team,” Viney said. “I think it was mostly because he didn’t know what to do with me, so I guess just do everything that the guys do.”

She handled varsity kicking duties the next two years, setting the school record in 2013 for most extra points made during a single season – a record that still stands. Former Mariners coach Ron Glodich said that Viney actually never missed an extra point that season, as the four failed attempts were never even kicked.

It was her performance in the Division 4 Final that gained her statewide acclaim, as she hit 7 of 7 attempts, tying a record for most extra points made in a Finals game. It stood until a pair of kickers hit eight in 2022.

One record that never will be broken, however, is Viney becoming the first female to score a point at the Finals.

“Everything was so surreal, I was so nervous,” Viney said. “One of my most vivid memories was that day, or maybe the day before, Coach Glodich said, ‘Just so you know, when you get to the field, the goal posts are two feet narrower on each side. But that doesn’t matter if you kick it in the middle.’

“We got there and watched the team before us so we could get used to it, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re so narrow.’ … Seeing myself up on the big screen was kind of almost a little embarrassing, because I knew people were talking about me being the girl. But once we were in the game, it was a lot like any other game. I was just waiting for my turn to go on the field and do my job.”

Viney later was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” – ironically, right below current U.S. Women’s National Team forward Mallory Pugh – but she wasn’t looked at any differently by her teammates, and she wouldn’t have wanted to be.

“That team was all about sacrifice for the team,” Frendt said. “For them to realize, ‘None of us can do what she does, so we better embrace it, because no one else can do it.’ They really made her feel like part of the team. They wanted to protect her, too. But she was tough. She wasn’t going to take anything.”

Viney went to SVSU to study biology and played for its club soccer team. During her time there, she volunteered at an animal shelter and made the decision she wanted to help animals in her career. She works in general practice at Deporre, and would eventually like to work in shelter medicine.

She and her husband Matt, who were married in May, live with their three dogs. She’s not far from home, and in the spring of 2023 she visited Frendt’s college and career readiness class to speak with students at her alma mater. Her presentation and the attention to detail and hard work she put into it, Frendt said, blew his students away. Not that it surprised him.

“That’s poured into her life after sports,” he said of her work ethic. “She just kept plugging away. She’s awesome.”

July 11: High School 'Hoop Squad' Close to Heart as Hughes Continues Coaching Climb - Read
July 10: 
Nightingale Embarking on 1st Season as College Football Head Coach - Read
June 28:
 E-TC's Witt Bulldozing Path from Small Town to Football's Biggest Stage - Read

PHOTOS (Top) Marine City’s Olivia Viney kicks at the 2013 11-Player Football Finals, also during her spring soccer season, and cares for one of her patients as an associate veterinarian. (Middle) Viney graduated from MSU’s Veterinary School in 2023. (Photos courtesy of Olivia Viney.)